Train rides

Drifting slowly along the sun setting down on the horizon through the window reflection of the train.
It’s reverse rush hour. It’s the hour where you feel the rush of everything that is nothing when put into words.
No more coffee.
No more emails.
No more meetings.
No more uncomfortable encounters.
No more struggling with your self-esteem and ambition.
Simply a peace of mind.

Yet, looking at yourself in the window reflection while you move quickly through the landscape,
Makes you feel vulnerable like transparency, like air.
The everyday world is over.
But the eternal inner world never stops getting over.
It’s heavy.
Only where the heart hangs.
Maybe you’ll get past the past. Life is supposed to be short anyway.
Maybe solitude grows old.

Maybe there’s hope as spring knocks on the door.
Maybe winter was around for too long.
Maybe the past is not temporary.
Just like humans, the past just grows older and reaches the present days before the future.
It’s hard to carry all the weight since the day you understood what pain is.
It’s hard to endure.
It’s challenging to grow strong.

Where to find strength where there is pain,
Where to go when nothing is waiting for you,
How to move when everything aches,
How to know when you don’t know anymore,
How to be where you don’t belong,
They say time will tell or show.
Emotions will just surface back up
As the sun sets and rises day after day.

Time keeps being time.
Life keeps being life.

Diary 23.04.2018

She doesn’t belong to anybody but to the universe

Winter came and it was complicated. I let go of a lot of healthy habits such as working out in order to focus on some new changes at work. It’s now a new year according to the lunar calendar and everything seems idle. I think it’s time to kiss goodbye to hibernation and to work up my internal world, re-explore creativity and reconnect with myself. There are a few things that may get me back on a healing journey.

1. Rupi Kaur
Someone that I admire a lot is this young author and illustrator. I love her minimalist writing, poetry, and illustrations. They look minimal but do say so much beyond dominant white space. Her lines resonate with my past and present. Her talent and exposure make me proud to be part of a hybridized identity and one that tirelessly fights for her voice. One of my favourite poems from  the sun and her flowers is:

i am of the earth
and to the earth i shall return once more
life and death are old friends
and i am the conversation between them
i am their late-night chatter
their laughter and tears
what is there to be afraid of
if i am the gift they give to each other
this place never belonged to me anyway
i have always been theirs (p.206)

As a product of immigrants and the Canadian dream, I feel like I’m the bridge between two countries. As a woman growing from heartaches, I feel like I don’t belong to anybody but to the universe. As a mortal being, I feel like my duty is to leave an immortal print behind.

I used to write and draw stories to myself, parents and friends. I never really put my imagination forward, in the eye of the public because I never felt I was ready for them or if the world was ever ready for my words. Now that I’m getting less young, I start to think that maybe what’s more worrisome is that my voice never reaches out there. I’m tempted to get back at creative writing and maybe to carry it through my re-exploration of film-making. I never had any idols, however, reading and watching Rupi Kaur’s work gives me back courage.

2. Black Panther
The best Marvel movie by far regardless its cheap-looking vfx. The hype is real and I want to go see it a second and possibly a third time. It’s the right combined dose of good storytelling and mainstream entertainment. There has been a lot of critics circulating already and what I would like to add to this conversation is that a cultural-futuristic utopia is a safe place that I and many people dream of. As demonstrated in the movie, traditions and technology can marry each other and give birth to the most powerful and safe nation. Wakanda is a secret African nation that’s protected by its advanced technology product, vibranium. In parallel to the nation’s richness, Black Panther presents us the good king T’Challa (of Wakanda) versus the bad king Killmonger (of California). Both are part of the same family (they’re cousins); Killmonger seeks revenge for the murder of his father by burning down Wakanda and its vibranium. The board of advisors of Wakanda wants to keep its line and not welcome strangers (with a different bloodline), but T’Challa wants to change the past ruling of Wakanda. Logically, our roots and our new generations together should reinforce our world. I observe that in our current day there’s this constant search for our identity whether we are the parents handing over the heritage to our little ones or children trying to get a grip of our ancestors’ presence for protection and comfort. Killmonger finds comfort right before he dies as he kneels down and gives a last gaze of the landscape of the beautiful Wakanda, something he dreamt since he was a little boy. Following Wakanda’s destruction and repair, T’Challa is in the United States to announce how he decides to open the borders of Wakanda and expand overseas its advanced technology research and social outreach programs.  Someone in the crowd challenges T’Challa by asking what can a third-world country offer. To simply put, in order to rise we must fall. As a person of colour who lives in a developing country, I’m part of a nation that, like many other nations, has been colonialized and stripped off from its richness. From this fall, we can only rise up and, together without repeating history’s mistakes of abusing power, heal our nations that are part of one world. We rise up with compassion, that’s our vibe.

3. Representing Montreal’s vfx
The day Blade Runner 2049 won Best Visual Effects at the Oscars was a festive start of the week at our Montreal studio(s). Champagne for every employee, handshakes, greetings and congratulations given among a big crowd; of course there was pride. It feels great to be part of the vfx community, especially in Montreal. Yes, it’s my hometown but to be fair, the vfx works we’ve been delivering are good. The amount of work we do within such a limited time frame is incredible. Our studio keeps securing projects one after the other. I’m so glad that Montreal is on the map. I remember my dream was to have a foot inside the industry just to have a taste of it like virtual reality. Here I am with my full body in it and living my dream, building it and growing throughout it. The Oscar nomination and win gives me hope to fulfill further accomplishments either with my team or by myself.

I’ve seen many inspirational things happening so far. Maybe I just need the right space to work with my imagination. I’d really love to create again. Managing projects has been great and it’s getting even better, but there’s this “I don’t belong to anybody” persona that I’d like to grow in me.

Moods in winterland

Why is Winter so difficult in Montreal? It keeps getting colder and slippier. Or maybe I’m just getting older. For the first time in my life, I wear spikes to survive the slippy roads. I have 2 layers of gloves, a hat & hoodie, a scarf that covers half my face, inner pants, and a very warm winter coat. I’m all bundled up for this challenging long season and still cannot stand it. Here are some of the mood that I go through on a daily basis under this blue weather.

1. Caffeine
I go by Nespresso. I kind of got used to good coffee, especially after my visits to Italy. Nespresso doesn’t have to do anything with Italy though. Italian coffee is the best because it’s espresso. I prepared myself for Montreal by buying myself the original Bialetti espresso maker. It’s sitting in the kitchen staring at me every morning while I just press on the button of my Nespresso Vertuoline machine. Bad habit, yes. When summer comes, I’ll make more effort to enjoy my mornings.

2. Vitamins
Omega-3, A, B6, B12, Zinc —it’s been difficult downing all these in my throat every single morning. For someone like me who put my work out routine aside during winter and who’s been suffering from opctic atrophy, it’s not really obvious to work in a fast-pace visual industry. My eyes need those vitamins and so does my body. I need to keep up with the visual work (shots, data, excel spreadsheets, computer screens) and the supervisors.

3. Bos$
From typing “yo bos$” in a chat message to one of my supervisors to proving them that I’m on top of shit, it’s great to feel that the balance between professionalism and playfulness works to everyone’s advantage. It’s demanding to showcase our optimism and good humour under pressure, but the only way I can deal with stress is laughter. Also, what keeps me in a good mood is how I dress myself for work. Clothes express non-verbally a person, so I ejoy to put a bit of effort in my wardrobe to go through the day. Whenever I feel like shit with lipstick on, it doesn’t feel so bad. But when I feel like shit and I also look like one, well that’s shitty. Should I talk about the way I walk —I feel so sorry for others. It’s like navigating in the metro at rush hour; the person in front of me who’s taking all the time of world to move forward should not be in my way. Please, I need to be somewhere. I have the same feeling at work; I don’t like not to be punctual. I have meetings all day long, so I need to get to my meetings all day long.

4. Siesta
If I could apply the Spanish lifestyle here, it’d be amazing. After lunch, we should have time for a coffee and a nap. At lunchtime, I always go see my girls in Compositing (it used to be a fun land). With the conversations and laughters, I don’t feel like going back to productivity mode. Speaking of Spanish lifestyle, I do want to go back to Spain, Italy, Portugal, France… Take me back to Europe! I wish every hour I spend at work gets accumulated to the hours that I can spend in Europe for free.

5. Friyay
End of week…finally! Every week is a marathon to get the job done for sends. Everyone seems to let it go loose and our team doesn’t mind having pastries, chocolate, rum, wine. We work long hours, we troubleshoot technical problems, creative misintepretation, tackle adminsitrative workload, endure different moods from different people, following the logic behind the clients’ decisions and feedback notes, etc.  Cheers to all that.

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