Discover more from chaos theory
He hath returned.
Put yourself in my camo Crocs: you’re on your 8th hour of screen time for the day, scrolling listlessly—and shamelessly!—on Instagram for the umpteenth time, swiping through stories of people you hardly know posting of things you hardly care about. The past ten weeks of scornful academia has traumatized you in ways not even Jimmy Darling from AHS Freak Show can count with his lobster fingers, and you’re just happy to be out of it and into break. Everyone in your life is scattered: your sister in Southern California is having a baby shower you’re not attending, your roommates are in Puerto Vallarta on a trip you skipped, dear friends are in their hometowns, in Florida, in Seattle, in Portland. And you’re staying in your farmland of a college town sixty miles east of the city. It feels like you’re the only one here for spring break—because you are.
And then you get a pop-up notification that reads, in that signature Instagram interface: We’re reaching out to offer help. In smaller size: Someone thinks that you might need some extra support at the moment and has asked us to help. You get to pick: See Resources, in bold and blue, or Close, basic black.
If only someone cared about my mental wellbeing the way Instagram did. Actually, wait, someone does—because someone had to have told Instagram about my need for “extra support” for this canned notification to pop up—what a gesture. That, or it’s Instagram’s algorithm at work and spitting in my face yet again, and not in the way that I like. At any rate, I clicked Close and carried on scrolling through the day’s 36 Days of Type.
Like your ex scraping and scuffing their way back into your life through your DMs, here I stand back in your inbox a month and a half after my last email. I wish I had more glamorous, more dramatic justifications as to why that is, but really it was just the devilish combination of Pisces season and a disrespectful amount of college. As in I had to draw, design on a 3d software, prototype, test, and build in full-scale a chair. Yes, a chair. Or as my professor (god bless her and her silver, glitter high block heels!) preferred to refer to them as: a tool for sitting. All while getting in my feelings about upending my entire ~career~ and maybe or not maybe saying fuck it all and moving to a country in Southeast Asia and getting paid the beaucoup bucks teaching rich, private school Asian schoolchildren how to speak English. (I have since been informed that this in fact is not as easy it sounds [for what in life is?] and that if I were to go down this path, I’d have to live a life of no alcohol or drugs and having to cross over from Bandar Seri Begawan to Kuala Lumpur just to have me a mezcal negroni. So fret not; no immigrating to Brunei just yet here.)
But what goes up, must come down, for as my friends were in the middle of binge studying for their ochem finals (or whatever it is STEM bitches [an inclusive, gender-neutral term] be studying for], I was at The Warfield second row seeing Still Woozy live. Not only that, but after having my post-concert hotdog (with everything, please!), we run into and meet him face-to-face—without even trying! We were on our way back to the car and saw a tiny crowd and there he was, Sven, sweat glistening, saying hi and taking photos. And as I turn away to leave him alone after a few minutes of talking, he exclaims: “I LIKE THE WAY YOU DRESS! THAT’S A NICE SHIRT.”
What went down, went up indeed.
You may be curious as to why I’ve elected to rename lunch party, and not unlike my reasoning for ghosting your for the past few weeks, I wish I had sexier reasons other than that I was tired of the name and no longer felt like it was, as the kids say, The Vibe.
So then why “chaos theory”? This one is also simple: its definition is very me and my life—the study of apparently random or unpredictable behaviour in systems governed by deterministic laws. From another source: “chaos theory suggests a paradox because it connects two notions that are familiar and commonly regarded as incompatible.” This speaks to my Libra moon that could never, not once help but see every angle of everything, which gets to be quite the task, because I wish I were just a tad bit more single-minded, making my life easier and making my brain a little less fucked up, but let’s save that conversation for another email.
I’ve been pondering lately on money buying happiness. I think it was the great philosophical sage Ariana Grande who lyricized once that whoever said money can’t solve your problems must not have had enough to solve them. I tend to, and here goes my Libra moon and her chaos, see both sides.
Obviously, obviously such platitude—“Money can’t buy you happiness”—isn’t to be taken literally, but sometimes—a lot, actually—it’s kind of fucking true. In our brand new civilization where gas prices have a low of $6.20 per gallon and $50 worth of Trader Joe’s not quite filling up as many bags as it used to, yes, money can buy me happiness, because money will solve such problems, ergo taking away my financial worries and in turn supplying me with stability and subsequently happiness. That’s something that cannot be argued. We were raised to always second think what we think we deserve. Why do you think designers charge too little for service on which they work too hard? We deserve to get paid our worth and then some. We deserve to get the guac at Chipotle. We deserve to check out our cart at Sporty & Rich and Rowing Blazers. We deserve to take a flippantly planned vacation in the tropics. We deserve to have a seafood dinner with bottles of orange wine on a whim. And we deserve to get another round, all without sweating about it. I’d rather not get into all of my sentiments on our quality of life, but all this to say: the ultra-decency with which we’ve been ingrained has turned into a psyche of low self-worth and even lower self-advocacy. It’s f*cking mental how inter-permeated facets of our lives can get to be, so much so that in the middle of enjoying your oat milk latte (that your parents tell you is the reason you can hardly pay rent), you ask yourself: am I poor and without a fruitful future, or am I living—nay, surviving—in a post capitalist society where I am forced to carry the burden of undoing and repairing the damage done by the money-hungry patriarchy? (In this dissertation I will…)
And then you see people with success stories, and they’re at the top, they’ve made it, they stand where everyone else want to be, they have more money than the US Government could ever owe other superpowers, and they feel empty. Unhappy. That, I get. I made a poster last year that said: When you get there, will you be happy?
The caption read more on the side of appreciating the journey from where you came from to where you’re headed, but the main copy still applies here. Money doesn’t solve everything. Yes, it is conducive to a comfortable quality of living that we all spend our lives killing ourselves towards, but it’s true. Money isn’t going to absolve me of my deep-rooted issues, or my trauma from years past, or anything else but rent and my recently resumed **** *****. So until I come into some coins, whether that be by way of getting hired in-house at a design firm with hefty pockets, or I marry the son of an oil baron, I’ll be here, sitting at a bar with a friend, sipping on that aforementioned mezcal negroni that I completely deserve yet also completely cannot afford.
And so should you.
Headspace LinkedIn – Hear me out. I am well cognizant of the fact that LinkedIn is a hellscape that engenders the compare and despair effect on anyone who dares enter it, but Headspace’s LinkedIn has quickly become helpful to me both professionally and personally. You almost never see a page post the way they do on a platform as stiff and austere as LinkedIn. Whoever thought up their social media game wins, because their posts are so important and really breaks up the looking-at-what-everyone-else-is-doing spiral we fall into whenever when we’re on LinkedIn, with questions like: “When it comes to burnout, how do you reset?” and “Mindfulness challenge: write down 3 moments you showed up for yourself this week.” Again, how many pages on LinkedIn do you see post such things?
Catching Fire - last week, over Thai chicken curry and slutty brownies, a friend and I rewatched the second instalment in The Hunger Games franchise, and it might have been the best decision she and I have ever made in our lives. I forgot how killer this film was: the fanfare, the get-ups, the dialog, the sexiness of every single character in it (Finnick Odair I am free this Tuesday I don’t know what you’re up to but I am free Tuesday on Tuesday I am free hit me up on Tuesday when I am free.) (Also, how has it been NINE YEARS since this film came out!? I’d like to cry now.)
Philz Mocha Tesora – it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t ramble on about a caffeinated bevvy! If you have a Philz near you, change your life for the better and order a Mocha Tesora over ice with oat milk and clove inside and on top.
James Beer – (Trigger warning for LGBT: mentions of beer.) This past Thursday I met up with a colleague and dear newsletter reader in the city for some drinks. The weather, serving as Pisces season’s one last swing at me, was uncharacteristically cold and windy, and I, a coastal SoCal baby who always dresses for 70-degree weather, donned an airy shirt with no jacket to fall back on. To get warm I ordered a—please gasp with me—beer named JAMES! How so very meta. It’s a peach pale with meridian and strata hops (whatever that means.) If you ever find yourself in Haight-Ashbury in need of a drink, walk into 530 Haight St. and get yourself a pint of me.
Chaos Theory Mixtape – the newsletter playlist has rerisen and with more tunes I’ve been vibing with lately to boot. Updated every email.
since I have you, please consider clicking on any of the links below to support.
Thanks for reading CHAOS THEORY! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.