How embarrassing!

The feeling arises within me as I take the jeans from his hands — him, you know, the customer, the consumer, the anointed one to whose spending I give thanks. Not because I am thankful, no! But because he feeds the machine — the feeling grips me tightly and all of a sudden:

“I’ll put those in a change room for you” — how pitiful the gesture is. Of course He is capable of doing so himself. Of course! I feel myself sink into myself.

A shame falls over me like a cloud’s shadow passing over the ground. A shame so powerful it ought not to be the result of this gesture alone. A single instance of shame that represents the whole shame of my existence. Self pity like honey. Alone in the dank mucus of my soul. At least it’s warm.

I walk to the counter. I feel sick. Hungry too. I want to vomit. At least then they’d let me home.

Toes buried in the sand to escape the cold. Sleeves overhanging arm’s length by an inch. Seated on a log facing North-East; the city in view. The Westwardly sunset in view only insofar as the cityscape reflects its glow. Two persons perched on a log. Topics of conversation include: Blink-182; google reviews; and, unfortunately, work.

Eventually—perhaps inevitably—a meditation arises: why is it so difficult to spend time with oneself? Rather, why do I prefer the company of anyone—or thing—to myself?

Imagine: heading out on a walk sans a good tune; going to sleep without your best f.r.i.e.n.d.s; commuting to work without a podcast playing; waiting for the bus, phone still packed away.

Heartbreaking fantasies, aren’t they?

To be fair, the aforementioned hypotheticals might well be inefficient uses of time. After all, when else is a person expected to discover new music? Or unwind after a tedious day at work? There simply aren’t enough unoccupied hours in a day. Still, why is it that I—and perhaps you too—feel the compulsion to fill all of these crevices in a day with menial (relatively speaking, of course) activities. Why not, instead, put the phone (or book—this post is hardly a rant against screen time specifically) away and spend time with oneself.

After all, a(ny) relationship takes time and effort. I only know my sister’s favourite colour because I’ve asked. And I only know that she’s no good at table tennis because we’ve played together. There are literally thousands of micro-instances that constitute my knowledge of my sister, and they have spanned over a twenty-two year lifetime, each a symbol of my prioritization of my sister (and her prioritization of me) over any other available possibility. My knowledge of my sister is the sum of its parts. If I had chosen (conveniently, for the sake of this example) to listen to music on every occasion I was situated in conversation with my sister over the course of her life, my knowledge of her would be, without a doubt, stunted. And the same goes for any person I choose to invest in in my life. I know only insofar as I try to know.

What troubles me is that I can’t see why my knowledge of myself would be any exception. How could I know everything there is to know about myself? Especially if I believe (and I do) that I am a constantly changing individual, susceptible to being inspired, manipulated and shifted by the social and psychological climates I find myself in. Thus, if I was interested in claiming confidently that I know myself, it would require the type of constant and rigorous effort a best-friend-ship, or marriage, should require. Troubling still: I know that I do not invest that much effort in getting to know me.

I only urged against listening to music and scrolling through digital feeds because we so often do while we are alone. We treat time alone as if it is to be jettisoned; as if it is scrap time worth only half the value of time spent with others or spent doing something. I believe, however, that we’ve been gifted moments of solitude in an otherwise too other-centric routine of life. We ought to take advantage of these moments of solitude in this life long quest to discover self.

Finally, the pair lift off the log and mosey through the sand with only a faint sense of direction. Their trajectory takes them away from the water; the swells of waves slowly disappear from the sonic landscape. His toes dry and cold; lightly eroded by their digging into the sand for warmth. They part ways, each to their own vehicle. His heart heavy with thoughts like a soaked shirt. He dusts his feet and packs into his car. Music plays on cue with the engine’s start. He turns it up loud; loud enough to relinquish himself of his damp thoughts.

Perhaps Camus was right; forever I shall be a stranger to myself.

Been a while since the last post, hasn't it? I'm no good with keeping myself accountable to, well, most things, to be honest. Rest assured, I haven't given up on this space.

I figure I'l use the spare minutes I have now to give a little update on what's been going on since January. After all, a semester has transpired—a final semester, I must add, but more on that in a minute—and like the passing seasons since the last post, I've transitioned from one climate of life to another. Or at least, I'm in the midst of that transition. 

School is done. For good. At least, this portion of it is. Pursuing a master's degree seems a mountainous and daunting task at this time; though, I don't doubt I'll start to miss school the further I float from it. For the time being, however, I'm done school.

What's a psychology degree good for again? you ask politely. 

Oh, sorry! I studied philosophy, not psychology, I respond. (why I exclaim sorry here remains a mystery to even me, but it's too oft the case). 

Oh, right! So what do you wanna do with a philosophy degree? 

Convenient we just had that conversation there. Let me do my best to explain what's next (warning: what's next may not actually warrant or require said philosophy degree, but wave your hands in the air if you just don't care). 

Re: the aforementioned question (what's a philosophy degree good for?), there are a plethora of good and practical answers (i.e., law, teaching, academic writing), but the one I chose to give whenever prompted was less so. Still, it's the answer I return to time and time again. Philosophy is less career building than it is character building, I'd say, confidence half-mustered, followed by, and that's what I aim to get out of this whole school business. But was it? I'm not sure. Though, I do believe that my repeated saying so gave me a growing confidence that it was a viable reason to pursue a degree anyways (despite what common sense seemed to dictate).

So philosophy builds character? Sure. I mean, being a student to any discipline does, I think. The idiosyncratic practices that belong to a philosophy degree are valuable, sure, but there is equivalent, if not greater value in the journey that leads a person from day one of a philosophy degree to day 1+x when the degree has been earned. The journey's more important than the destination is what I'm trying to say. The successes, failures and lessons learned along the way are more important than the philosophical skills earned by the end (e.g., being able to discern between necessary and sufficient properties (lol if you know, you know)). These successes, failures and lessons build character. And in my particular case, they helped me in this seemingly life long quest to discover myself too—even if only marginally.

So to finally answer the previously posed question about this seemingly useless psyc—no, philosophy degree... a philosophy degree is good for building character. In the same way an anthropology degree has the potential to be. Or a biology degree. Not to mention the plethora of knowledge you'll have about the enlightenment period, existentialism and logical sequencing (all fantastic party tools when used in good taste, of course). So what is next for me? I don't know, to be honest. But I suspect it'll include more character building and self-exploration along the way. 

Oh, and also a trip to Japan. But more on that (edit-undo: another 6 months from now) soon.

There is something that is so innately attractive about one dimensionality. That sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but please pause your doubt and follow me here for a second. 

The most coveted instagram accounts are the ones that steadfastly replicate their golden, California hues and pastel pinks without fail. The exemplary modern living space is bare, white, skeletal. Uniquenesses are, perhaps, lost. Of course, golden hues and white walls needn't be the empirically defining parameters here. My point is that this modern generation seems to celebrate a person's adherence to arbitrary norms (and as a result, condemn idiosyncrasies). And yet, we all claim to know (and worse yet—be) thyself

I myself am no exception to this paradigm. In fact, I started a second instagram account within this 365 because I had photos I wanted to post online that I convinced myself I could not post on my primary account. My primary account was, in some sense, a gated Valhalla whose Odin only permitted the most-likely contenders to receive #likes. Although my uniting theme may not have been photos of cacti and sun-kissed beaches, I clearly had imposed conventions upon myself which limited—in severe measure—the content I uploaded to my account. I realize now, however, that the dismissed misfits that ended up being posted on my secondary account made up a unity of photos that represented me best. I now regularly update this secondary account with photos that make sense only insofar as they mean something to me or represent some part of me (that is to say, they themselves fit no particular, over-arching mould or theme); and I don't post very regularly on my primary account because the 'creative' parameters I had set for myself began to funnel so narrowly that I now end up feeling suffocated and, for lack of a better term, insecure. 

Of course, no person is required to use their instagram as a candid exposition of the intimacies and nuances of their life. Private life belongs to the private sphere. Furthermore, intentionally pursuing an attitude of posting photos without any uniting theme may in itself lead someone to the same paralysis of self I find myself dissecting here. I must believe that there exists a sort of self-expression which is effortless—subconscious even. Surely there is. I've felt it. And if this type of effortless self-expression exists, it must be the case that it operates meta-contemplatively; that is, below the surface of self-induced pressures and social strains. 

In the few days which have transpired since the creation of this online space I've had time to contemplate how I would like to use it. As I began to mentally wrestle with the multitude of relevant considerations, I found myself instinctively limiting my uses. If I post worded muses, surely I can't post videos I make too. Or, more particularly, if my tone of voice is serious in one post, surely I can't introduce comedic verbiage in future posts. But why on earth, if the purpose of this blog is in fact to discover and encourage authentic self-expression, would I limit myself to a particular voice or schema? What if the abundance of fluctuating and diverse voices I produce here collaboratively represent me best? 

What if I were to embrace the many varying, vastly unique, often times embarrassing dimensions which make up my composition?

I've spent a lot of my silent, waking hours battling this issue in my mind so I am grateful for your time spent listening to me battle it, no more effectively, here on this page. I encountered a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt some time ago while writing a paper on the self for a course in existentialism which I find useful when contemplating matters like this: 

“When you adopt the standards and the values of someone else [...] you surrender your own integrity. You become, to the extent of your surrender, less of a human being.”

I look forward to being able to continue to update this blog with, well, anything. Whatever permeates my emotional sanctuary and elicits a response. I do believe it will take time—training even. An undoing of the social norms I've become complacent with. But in time I hope that this space begins to reflect the the oddity that I am: a physical chamber whose white walls are but thin streaks peaking through a messily scattered orchestra of mismatched colours and textures. 

Btw, i might delete this post later lol. /s

It's hard to describe what exactly foster indigo is when I myself lack clarity on the matter. I presently find myself sat in bed at a late hour in the wintertime night, typing to the tune of Tom Jones' It's Not Unusual playing only melodically (who really knows the accompanying lyrics to this tune?) in my head. Safe to say, I've got fog in the noggin

I have no idea what I'm doing, and I certainly have no idea what this—what you're reading; what I'm writing—is. 

So, instead of delineating the nature of this new and molten medium—evolving, breathing, brimming—perhaps it would benefit us both if I were to instead describe what foster indigo might be[come]. 

I'm Levi, by the way; how do you do.

The up-until-now-story: I'm twenty three and in my final year of my undergraduate degree. Please don't do the math. I'm studying philosophy which, in case you're wondering, is helpful when your parents and peers need a social scapegoat to boost their confidence. I like making still images slightly less than I like making moving images and I think I'd like to (without limiting my options by saying so) do either-or once I've graduated. 

I've wanted to start a blog (for simplicities sake, we'll call this a blog; however blogging has obvious limitations I have fantasies of transcending—more on that soon) since about 2012. In fact, I distinctly remember sending a text to a friend of mine around the time I graduated high school wherein I earnestly displayed my desire to start publishing personal musings online. That didn't happen. But not oft has a week passed where I haven't re-entertained the idea. I've now reached a point in my life where, at the liminal brink bordering maturation, I've realized that I might actually need something like this. Something to help me sound out the terms that will define my next stage of life. I'm at the end of a defining past two-or-so years in my life. I felt, for lack of a proper diagnosis, like I had been evicted from me. Accordingly, I spent the next nineteen months trying to figure out what properties of me had gone missing that I direly wanted back. In the end, I realized that in order to move on, I needed to stop fixating on the prior version of myself I had become comfortable with and work towards constructing a blueprint for a future me which I would start from (near) scratch. 

The from-now-on story: As I near the end of my undergraduate degree and prepare for the inevitable uncertainty that bellows just yonder, I feel uncomfortable. Insecurities which I have been able to hide in my shadow are starting to grow past the limitations of their bounding shade into partially (and eventually fully) illuminated mental tyrants. However, having recently been inspired by the endeavours of a few close companions of mine who use the internet to spread influence and intimacies, I've taken it upon myself to create an online space where I can do the same. foster indigo will be a journal, a sounding board, a behind the scenes, an exhibit—anything I need it to be or want it to be. Photos, stories, experiments, failures, films, fashion, philosophy and design all in one place with only a single uniting feature: me. In the same way I have no real plans for the future of my life, I have no plans for the future of this online medium. This uncertainty, I hope, creates a space that is organic, non-binary and free of inhibitions; an online space which confines to no single mould and instead shifts moulds in order to accommodate singular instantiations of what it feels like to be. 

This brings us to the present evening. It's colder now in my bedroom and It's Not Unusual has stopped playing in my head. This is likely for the reason that I lost hold of my physical sensibilities while navigating the flood of mental fragments and memories from the past two years which have, over time, dampened the cerebral hallways they occupy. I am now, more than ever, in need of foster indigo, whatever it may be. 

Briefly, and in summation, what I hope to accomplish here is simple: I wish to use this medium as a way for me to reflect on the past in order to prepare for the future. I imagine that, like a construction blueprint which contains pictures, descriptions and diagrams, this forum will host a multitude of media which will, in their combined service, assist me in figuring out who I am and who the heck I want to be. 

Welcome to foster indigo

P.S. in case rhetorical meditations are not your cup of tea, see my about page for an (only slightly) more concrete description of what foster indigo means to me.