Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Sleep Paralysis Series

Let me preface with a description of what sleep paralysis is. It is a phenomenon that occurs during transitional phases of falling asleep or waking up, wherein the body is still at rest while the mind is experiencing a cross between dreaming and staying awake. What the victim of sleep paralysis feels is a strange inability to move or an uncomfortable prickly sensation crawling over their skin when attempting to move. This originates from the state of paralysis that the body sinks into during deep sleep to prevent them from acting out their dreams. However, they are able to open their eyes. Victims like me are suddenly caught in a terrifying warped sense of reality. Your dreams blend into your immediate vision, thus, causing many to hallucinate or hear voices screaming at them. In Chinese, a direct translation of such feelings is called “Ghost Oppression,” which many describe comes from how paralysis resembles the feeling of someone pinning you down.

Sometimes the images you see in the mind's eye can disappear as soon as you wake up. But sometimes they stick to you for a while, even when you try to forget them. 

That’s my curse. 

Often, I remember my dreams as vividly as real life. A friend of mine heard the dreams I recorded and said, “Girl, you sound like you’re tripping on acid.” See, it happens so much that I’ve had to train myself to realize when it is happening to calm myself. The period of lucid dreaming can be turned into something quite amazing.

A surrealistic mental journey.

So, I thought I'd share it in this series, which captures specific parts of my half-asleep, half-awakened endeavors. Enjoy.

In Harmony of Scales and Stripes, there are two characters I once dreamt of—a reptilian and a tigress-wolf hybrid. They embody aggression and hard-headedness. Although they see each other as foreign beings, they are drawn to each other with a common understanding of how they are perceived from the exterior. It connects them on a level where they find mediation in their anger towards a judgmental, misunderstanding world. They lay their heads low to avoid instigating conflict, and in doing so, they relinquish the initial intimidation. Like yin and yang, these two opposing colorful beasts are able to maintain peace as they lay resting, intertwined with each other. In this sense, they have chosen camaraderie instead of conflict. But peace can be fleeting, so at least in the moment of sleep, we’ve captured an eternal picture of tranquility. Even the most clashing characters can find resolution.

"Harmony of Scales and Stripes"
Modeled by: Sarah Hussain & Christina Nguyen

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Single Awareness Day

It’s the day of love. A day where cupid shoots his pointy arrows at our ass so that we see people through rose-colored visions. It is a day people express their status as someone else’s secret admirer, or celebrate the relationships they already have. It’s also a day known for bitterly cuddling tubs of expensive ice cream. 24 hours expecting the unexpected. But to me, it’s just a huge disarray of hormones.

So here’s a toast to appreciating your sexuality, for whichever gender or type of person. Find that chemistry between your special someone or absorb a sense of self-empowerment. Let’s have fun. Here’s a shoot I did in collaboration with a very talented photographer, Arlo, in attempt to capture power-play, flirtation, foreplay and silliness altogether.

Because, guess what?

It’s F**king Valentine’s Day again.

"It’s F**king Valentine’s Day again"
Photography by: Arlo Perez
Modeled by: Cindy Chen and Jeremy Baldwin


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

It's Not Always About the Pot of Gold

This is the end. Actually, it's the start of a new beginning.

This girl has officially exhausted herself with countless hours of thinking, rethinking, crying, reflecting, blaming, and hating. Now, she puts her sharp, stiletto heel on that playing field again, more than ready to accept a freedom she's been offered, even if she tells herself she doesn't want it. Yes, it sucks when, after all that caution and insecurity, you realize that it's not that you can't find anyone else, it's that you refuse to look for anyone else. It's been told to everyone again and again in different words, but this fear—fear that bites you like an insect you can't see—reigns only in the circular hallways of your mind. And you are always capable of escape. It just takes the courage to realize that you've been sprinting after ghosts of demons in a labyrinth of your own thoughts. This closing of the Heartbreak Series highlights a crystallization of experience—a frozen chunk of time that's been shattered into diamonds, which you wear like a crown with renewed pride. The thrill, the sacrifices, the trembling hills we rolled on when we agreed to the relationship in the first place...whatever we made of it has now been embedded onto me like sunlit beads. Now I can bring myself to smile and giggle at the past. 

After all, it was a damn good adventure.

Playground of Jewels
Photography by Arlo Perez


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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bare and Exposed

The second to last stage of the Heartbreak Series: Acceptance. I'll keep it short: There's no more mask. She's finally come to terms with what has happened. The blemishes will fade, the scars will heal, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and all those cliches. But this healing process is in motion and it's calming to feel like you finally escaped the zones of uncertainty. Now it's time for her to focus on herself, to reflect and to understand what she truly deserves.

Modeled by Lea Oriol