Au Revoir​, 2016: A Reflection

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invicible host against difficulties.” — Hellen Keller

Ah! Por fin! This year has come to an end at last. For certain this year was a roller coaster horror ride, which many I am sure can agree with me. Personally, this wasn’t my year at all. As you know from countless blog posts, I suffered deeply from my mental illnesses, falling to what to me felt like rock bottom. Throughout the year countless of lives were taken from us, both iconic and personal, that lead me to question just about everything. My world was turned upside-down, or I should say right-side-up because of the events of this year. Honestly, this year wasn’t a complete dud. I found a new meaning to the creative and adventurous life I wanted to live, vowed to live a life unapologetically and spontaneous and with an afro embracing the natural way my hair coils and curls, made and maintain lasting, genuine friendships that I wouldn’t dare give up for anything in this world, expanded the fruits of my knowledge so that my brain could soak up every bit of information it gets about the world around me and everything that is occurring in it,

My world was turned upside-down, or I should say right-side-up because of the events of this year. Honestly, this year wasn’t a complete dud. I found a new meaning to the creative and adventurous life I wanted to live; vowed to live a life unapologetically and spontaneous and with an afro embracing the natural way my hair coils and curls; made and maintain lasting; genuine friendships that I wouldn’t dare give up for anything in this world; expanded the fruits of my knowledge so that my brain could soak up every bit of information it gets about the world around me and everything that is occurring in it; and ultimately, learned to value my existence, love myself for all of my strengths and weaknesses, virtues and vices, specialties and flaws.

Remarkable events that occurred in one form or another are my extraordinary travels to Toronto, Pittsburgh, and the Poconos; succumbing to a new low with my depression and then surpassing that phase of having a mental illness; celebrating my nationalism for the United States during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; ultimately, ashamed and quite frankly, afraid to be a queer afro latina American in Trump’s America; and lastly embarking on a new life plan to become a professional writer and artist.

Despite the bad, there were a lot of kickass achievements accomplished this year. Some of which include:

  1. 50 million trees were planted in 24 hours by volunteers in India
  2. The Anglican church agreed that same-sex marriages are the same as opposite-sex marriages
  3. Panda’s are no longer on the endangered species’ list, and many other species populations are improving
  4. Physicist confirms Albert Einstein’s theories of the existence of gravitational waves
  5. Simon Manuel became the first black female to win gold in an individual swimming event
  6. Hamilton happened thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s beautiful mind
  7. The Harry Potter wizarding world is alive and thriving with a new book and movie series.

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It is best we put 2016 behind us (and locked far far far away), value the lessons we’ve learned from our mistakes and head into 2017 with full, unbreakable force.

May 2017 be the year for you!

-KIB

My World Turned Upside Right

Use your imagination with this scenario:

After two years of taking hard core schedules of biology and chemistry courses, your life is uprooted and planted in a different world that you’re used to.


This new world is small; even in its minuscule appearance the products of this world are comparable to the universe our human world resides in. Once I used to squeeze the names of the 20 amino acids (alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic, glycine, …) into my brain much like when I attempt to zip close a stuffed suitcase for winter break by sitting on it. It’s in there, but by the sheer faith in the strength of a series of interlocking metal nibs.

This new world requires me to pull out the silver thread of creativity from my mind’s eye, weave it into a delicate and intricate web of words. That’s the beauty of being an English and Writing major. Life isn’t filled with formulas and unbelievably long words for every component Life is made up of. Life isn’t analytical anymore, nor so rule heavy. Don’t get me wrong, the linguistic world I’ve moved into definitely has its fair share of rules. Such as, how to properly use the semi-colon and knowing the difference and significance between the n-dash (–), the m-dash (—), and a hyphen (-). Yes, they are not the same and are not used interchangeably. In this world, playing with the rules in your favor is encouraged. I can move freely, stretch myself out, and take up the space I need. My fingertips work in conjunction with my mind and soul to fabricate my own unique universe.

Fragments of my old world still cling to me like a child with a long loved blanket. That part of me will never fade to dust; it’s embedded into what makes me, me. I’m along for the ride to discover more worlds I’ll assimilate in.


Hello my dearest readers,

It has been a long time since my last published post, way too long for my liking. I present to you the first of a series of writing pieces I have written in the course of the past four months I’ve been AWOL.

Fall semester definitely kicked my butt and tested me in ways I never would’ve expected. I dived into the pool head first without any floaters. This past semester I was taking all english and writing classes which I’ve concluded was a very bad idea, at least for me. I was overwhelmed with writing assignments meanwhile my brain was still rewiring itself, thus causing me to be unable to produce my best. This is also why you haven’t seen any activity on TinyBlueBackpack since August. While I’m not at my best in terms of mental health, I see the clouds receding in the sky.

This Fall semester wasn’t a complete dud. I discovered that technical writing, as in magazine feature writing, is not my niche; and that I gravitate towards creative writing.

Next semester I begin the process of creating my own graphic novel by creating the story and further improving my illustration skills. In addition, while I met many crappy people which is expected in Purgatory I have met a group of very special individuals that have joined me in endless memories, that keep me sane, and that are there for me at the drop of a hat.

2016 was an overall rollercoaster from Hell kind of year (more on that in a future post before New Year’s Eve). But, 2017 will be a year of growth, happiness, and adventure. I’m excited to see where we go.

Much Love,

Krizia Isamar Bruno

Anxiously Excited

15 days, 10 hours, 38 minutes, and 50 seconds.
15 days, 10 hours, 38 minutes and now 34 seconds.
In 15 days, 10 hours, and 38 minutes I will commence my third year of university.
I’m excited, but I’m also anxious.
I say “Hello again” to the gates of purgatory. Still the same with its academic buildings Swartz and Fisher, the Commons and the Library flanking the sides of the quad. Its suites, townhouses, and apartments spread across the campus. But, the environment, the feeling of purgatory has changed, just a little bit.
This year I begin a whole new life at purgatory. Instead of a Biology/Pre-med student, I join the ranks of the English students. Stepping into a world filled with lovely words, thoughtful prose, and the inevitable all-nighters typing away at a computer trying to complete an essay that is due at 8 am the next day.
I start fresh or dare I say this year is a re-do of sorts. A second chance to get things right, the way it’s supposed to be.
However, I cannot ignore the dark stain, like spilled ink on white paper, in the sky over purgatory.
A stain in the bright clear blue sky with its tentacles creeping steadily stagnant in its place.
A stain soaked with the memories of heartbreak, pain, and nothingness. A stain wretched with all things detrimental to one’s identity, to one’s sanity.
I’m weary.
I keep an eye out searching, checking not once but twice. Checking for any spread of its tentacles. Checking for advancements to block my view of the beautiful bright sky once again.
I will try and try again and again to keep myself underneath the radiant light of day. A new life filled with ambition and drive. A do-over from the life underneath the dark stain in the sky.
I will try and try again and again to hinder its plan of leeching the warmth of happiness from me once again.
I cannot help but think. You see, thinking brings forth clammy hands, racing heartbeats, a tight chest restricting the flow of breath.
I cannot help but reflect on the words of my favorite poet Sylvia Plath in her novel, The Bell Jar:

“How did I know that someday – at college, in Europe somewhere, anywhere – the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn’t descend again?”

And thus, I begin my third year at university anxiously excited about the possible fresh start, the new, the better, healthier life in purgatory; or the looming probability of the stain’s spreading dark tentacles or the descent of a bell jar.

Nevertheless, wish me luck.

-KIB

A Piece of Me in the Andy Warhol Museum

“Art is what you can get away with” — Andy Warhol

 

The Andy Warhol Museum located in the North Shore neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Conveniently, it is also Warhol’s hometown. Admissions are set at a moderate price (at $20 for adults, ten if you’re a student with a valid ID); luckily for me, I happened to visit during the Art Fest celebration throughout that week, and I saved myself $10.

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Visiting the museum wasn’t my first time at an art museum or gallery. Born and raised in the bursting cultural bubble that is New York City. I found myself in the presence of a plethora of great works of art on display on the streets and in museums like the MoMA or the Met; in which I gladly delved into.

However, one that warm, sunny day in Pittsburgh I discovered a new piece within myself as I became enticed by the works of Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei.

Not only were the pieces themselves fascinating, but the entire layout and architecture of the building were also a work of art! Six floors of gallery space traveling in a steadfast downward cohesive spiral. As advised, you must start at the top level where it all began. The top floor showcases the earliest work of the namesake artist with insider tidbits about the Warhol family. Throughout my trek down the spiral, I participated in each and every exciting interactive room display.

The museum as a whole had an exhibit running showing the works of Ai Weiwei alongside Warhol’s work. Intricately they wove each piece together to demonstrate the juxtaposition of their lives in ways such as how they focused on their subject matter, themes throughout their artistic careers, and how both Warhol and Weiwei represented the prospective century in which they lived (20th and 21st, respectively).

All my life, for as long as I can physically remember I’ve had an acute interest in the arts. I love to draw, to read, and to write. Creating something out of nothing but my mind and the impenetrable imagination lured me. The jumbled mess of neurons in my brain fired like a midsummer’s thunderstorm nonstop. Many times I genuinely appreciated, and was emotional, spiritually, and physically affected by a work of art; no matter the subject, no matter if it was a song vibrating its sounds into my ears, or a painting, or a sculpture, or a book, a poem. All works of art leave an everlasting mark on me. Indeed, some particular works of art wrought out the emotions and sensations from deep within my inner core to which I have no words to describe them. I found a couple on the walls of the museum. At the time of my visit to Pittsburgh, I was… No, I am experiencing the world where everything is a little duller. For the better half of the year, I saw the world as if it lost all of its colors. I couldn’t feel anything. Kaput, nada, zilch. It was as if one by one my senses experienced a power outage and a couple of the screws and nails in the infrastructure of my mind and soul were unexplainably missing.

Until my day trip across one of the many bridges the City of Steel had and I found myself strolling into a building completely unaware of the impact it will have on me. Oh, naive Krizia has not the slightest inclination or clue she will find a piece of herself within the walls of the Andy Warhol Museum.

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Before this warm, sunny Pittsburgh day, I wasn’t a huge fan of Andy Warhol. I knew of his iconic pop art Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup cans and Marilyn Monroe; that is how far my knowledge of the man went. Now, I hold a piece of him in my heart and thank him (and Ai Wei Wei) for clearing my view like a pair of brand-new prescription glasses. As well as, making my world a little less dull, and on teaching me how to appreciate and find the beauty in everything, even the little things.. especially the little things.

–KIB

Proud Matriarch

She sits there,

Silently observing.

Years and years go by,

And she sits there,

Silently observing

With a content smile on her face.

She watches as her children grow-up,

Her children’s children,

And her children’s children’s children too!

She sits there,

Proudly as the matriarch

Of a loud, robust, plentiful family.

I sit here observing,

With eyes filled with wonder.

My heart explodes inside my chest;

Filling my body and soul with love.

I say, “Happy Birthday Mama,”

Again and again,

“I love you more than the stars in the night sky.”

She sits there,

84 years and counting,

Happy and proud.

–KIB

Monthly Wrapup #2

“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won’t matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does, only that boy earns your heart.” — Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

Today I say farewell to June, and hello to July. We are half way done with the year 2016, and as I reflect on 6th month of the year I am noticing a fire from within that is burning stronger and brighter with each passing day. This fire is symbolic for the growth I’m seeing within myself where I am finding myself and my passions, slowly restoring my drive for a better future.

{My Month In Pictures}


{High-key}

  • Visited Bhavya in Pittsburgh for a week
  • Got my first tattoo
  • Began taking drawing and painting lessons
  • Began a classic books reading challenge
  • Attended my first concert, saw Beyoncé!

{Low-key}

  • Prescription mishaps
  • Sick Shiloh

{What I Read,Watched, Heard, and Ate}

  • Read
    • A Thousand Nights by E.K Johnston
    • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
    • A Clash of Kings by George R.R Martin
    • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Watched
    • Gilmore Girls (Netflix)
    • The 100 (Netflix)
    • Game of Thrones (HBO)
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
    • The Pursuit of Happyness (Netflix)
  • Ate
    • Pop Burger in WestVillage
    • New York Burger in Chelsea
    • Patacon Pisao in Elmhurst

{Achievements}

  • Acted spontaneous: got a tattoo
  • Landed a job interview
  • Decided what I wanted to do in the fall: going to school to finish my Bachelor’s degree
  • Drank significantly more water
  • Wake up before 10AM everyday

{Looking Ahead}

  • June TBR
    • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    • A Storm of Swords by George R.R Martin
  • Life Tales
    • Myrtle Beach vacation
    • Adventures in DC
    • Mackinac Island in Michigan
  • Goals
    • Get everything settled (tuition, fin aid, housing) for year 3 of university
    • Sketch everyday
    • Produce a work of art every week
    • Publish content 3 times a week on TinyBlueBackpack (Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday)
    • Spend quality time with mom

–KIB

For The Love of Pans

As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect — our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains. — Barack Obama 

Pansexuality? What is that? Another sexuality? Do you love pans, plates, and pots?  (No I don’t)

There are many questions being asked regarding the concept of pansexuality, and I’m here to help you understand a tad more than you might have known before.

Pansexuality is essentially the attraction to a person of any sex or gender. Rest assured that there is no love for inanimate objects here. The deal is that as a person who identifies as pansexual, is attracted to cis males/females, trans males/females, intersex, androgynous, non-binary, any and all genders and sexualities.

You may be asking yourself, “why does this matter?”

It matters because it is very important to understand the abundances of identities one can possess. It is important to accept and honor one’s individual identity.

I identify as a pansexual cis woman. I am attracted to everyone regardless of gender or sexuality. This doesn’t make me indecisive or confused. I just believe that a relationship needs not to matter if the person is bisexual, or gender-fluid. All that matters is the bond myself and the other person forms. Yes, I have preferences and yes I’ve only been involved with males but that shouldn’t negate my ultimate decision.

Many people in my life don’t know of this aspect of my life and might be shocked.  I know there will be many who will be appalled and will outright reject it. There is nothing I can do about that. Except what I can do is love myself and cherish those who do accept me for me.

Still confused on what pansexuality is? Here are some outside links to help fill in any gaps in your knowledge.

  1. Heavy.com || What is Pansexual Definition? 5 Fast Fact You Need to Know
  2. Everydayfeminism || Pansexuality 101: It’s More Than ‘Just Another Letter’
  3. CNN || What It Means to be Pansexual
  4. The Gaurdian || Deadpool: the pansexual superhero who has never had a non-heterosexual experience

–KIB