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Youth is vitality, excess collagen, fluids and oil from our pores. Our restlessness feels edgeless like the galaxy, scary and exciting like exploding stars, new like unopened books.

Youth is arrogance—we act as if we invented sex, and mock the old for their weary bones. But they were once young like us and was it not from them you and I and our parents sprang?

Youth is rage, against our predecessors’ norms, against our parents’ wishes, against the preachers and teachers who know not what it is to be young today no more than theirs did, against our own better judgement.

Youth is power: it is power harnessed from our vitality, arrogance, and rage. We can change the future because it is ours—because, if not us, who?

Henry Winter


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@zxwo ❤️

A post shared by kat irlin (@kat_in_nyc) on

Ladies and gentlemen of WordPress, readers, book lovers, fans of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History: I give you Henry Winter in the flesh.

No, his name is neither Henry nor Winter, and he is far from fictional. He is a model, real name Ivan Kozak (@zxwo), featured in @kat_in_nyc‘s mini music video from which it is unlikely I will ever recover. Continue reading

Toxic comparison: the ugly side of social media


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Phone hot and heavy in your exhausted hand, you scroll down Instagram, the fourth (or is it fifth?) time you have done so in the past hour. You pay close attention to posts by female account holders—they set the standard against which you measure yourself. Some girls make you feel like Princess Buttercup (rare), others a big green stinking ogre (torturously frequent). Some women appear so rich and successful, with their marble apartments and glossy jobs in fancy faraway places like London and New York, that it fills your chest and stomach with a hollow despair faintly resembling hunger. Others have so many followers and fans that thinking about it makes your head spin. On the flip side, some have so little, or post such poor content that you are instantly elevated, in your own twisted head, from poor imposter to plush super-master.

It all comes down to comparison and self-perception, the root of all glee, all unhappiness. And the issue at hand is social media, Continue reading

The loneliest second


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Every year, on the 31st of December, the old year and the new are separated by a flimsy second at 23:59:59. For me, not for as long as I remember but as the years piled on and forced me into the 25th anniversary of my existence with an unrelenting hand, that second is the loneliest, saddest, most hateful out of all the 31,536,000 seconds there are in a year. Continue reading

My Anglo-American Christmas


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I am Chinese, my family is small and we are not religious. We don’t do gifts and parties, nor do we transform our home into a tricolour tinsel and cedar wonderland. I never even believed in Santa, thanks to my mother’s casual ‘Santa and magic and stuff are not real, it’s all made up’ when I was very young.

For Christians, Christmas is the birth of Jesus. For the non-religious, it is about Santa, reindeers, and snow. For us, it is a time to eat together: we mark the day celebrated by many with food and family, the pillars of Chinese culture, and I would not have it any other way.

But Christmas itself—be your take on it Christian or capitalist—is not Chinese, no matter how I celebrate it. Christmas in my mind is a kaleidoscope of Anglo-American sights and sounds. Continue reading

Excerpt from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce


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How beautiful and sad that was! How beautiful the words were when they said BURY ME IN THE OLD CHURCHYARD! A tremor passed over his body. How sad and how beautiful! He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music. The bell! The bell! Farewell! O Farewell!

Reader, whenever I post a quote, know that it is because I found the words profoundly beautiful; know that I was saddened to find that their sadness echoed my own; know, if you can, how words on a page move me so.

Passage, beautiful, inky temptress, I pressed my fingertips on your imprint hoping you’d seep inside and stay.