Steps – Self Ownership

Although we have full agency over our own bodies, our own actions and so our own outcomes, I’ve come to realize that life isn’t so so linear and singular. We all seem to be knotted and tangled in one another, sometimes by choice, other times by nature and circumstance.  If you’ve taken any support in any form from others that have helped shaped the you that is today, made promises to be a pillar for other parties, or become a body that possesses any type of value to anyone else, do they own a piece of you? It was a difficult mental hurdle for me to climb over as I’ve never administered such a form of self-importance to myself.

On days where I’ve had difficulty finding personal reason to get out of bed, I’ve embodied that mindset to get me through the day. And even that sounds like a contrived way of thinly veiling selfishness. Perhaps this is one reason why some people bring pets into their lives, or even have children; to make the mountains of life worth climbing. Because some days your own purpose isn’t enough.

The current status quo of culture seems to shift heavily on individualism. I’ve certainly adopted such a mentality, to want to leave a unique footprint in this world. But in the duration where my personal journey has become murky, I’ve been humbly reminded that my own life is not merely painting of my own wants and needs. We’re all still cogs in a bigger system that we borrow from. Everyone wishes to be a special snowflake, a star. But maybe we’re only meant to be snow for someone else’s White Christmas, or only as a star to guide a lost one home. And that should be enough of a reason to strive to become the best version of you.

STEPS – Nothing to Worry About

I’ve always been a bit of a worry-bug. Over-worrying is a forte of mine, and a criticism that many around me have offered. Though I have learned to tailor this instinct to more appropriate levels congruent to situation, I also have to simultaneously credit it for being immensely instrumental to many of my accomplishments.

Today, like much of my ideas that sprout into my mind’s eye during mundane tasks like bus rides home or folding clothes, I started to wonder about my own worries, what others worry about, and what this can reveal about someone. What I concluded is that, it’s a blessing to have things to worry about in your life. It indicates that you’re connected and invested in the people, place and stories around you. My career, my growth, my family & family… some of the things I worry about constantly, but I’m also glad that I have a career to worry about, goals I want to reach in life, and people I’m deeply connected to.

Because, there are things I miss getting to worry about; old responsibilities from past hobbies and clubs; shopping for that person’s birthday; if my snowman was going to melt overnight. Some of these are tokens of the past, but other worries I’ve lost privilege to or have not yet attained.

It’s perhaps a bleaker way of looking at life, but it’s a fair question to ask yourself, what are the ideal things you’d like to worry about. Compared to many out there who have to worry about their rent or putting food on their family’s table, I’m lucky. But in some ways I feel a greater somber for the people that have nothing to worry about; no people they’re connected to; no dreams they’d like to accomplish; no real investment into their own lives.

My picturesque life is not one of serenity and silence. It’s attaining all the right worries in my life, so that there’s work to be done tomorrow, and the day after.  With no worries, there’s no risk or responsibility, and without those, what purpose is there to live?

What are you worrying about?

 

FASHION – Style Post #6

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Suiting, tailoring and anything sartorial has become one of my favorite avenues in fashion. From the aesthetic form it creates for the male silhouette, to pairings of different colors and fabrics, to the rich history of suit making and tailoring, I believe that suits are the pinnacle of menswear.

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In the grand scheme of fashion, the suit has changed very marginally from generation to generation; with emphasis on different details, cuts, colors, textures and fabrics. And it’s the respect for the perfect mold that forces designers, tailors and stylists to be creative in a confined box that is the suit.

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There’s something unsaid but illustrated about his respect for art, culture and identity when a man knows how to wear a suit that fits like it’s his, with the perfect pairing of shirt, shoes and accessories. I myself naturally walk different, talk different and certainly feel different with a suit on. It’s somewhat like a super hero costume that allows me to feel like the best version of me. 

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Me in my first Strellson suit. 

Photographer: www.mikashiota.com

STEPS – Stories

We tend to see ourselves and one another in a multifarious number of lenses with an infinitesimal total of combinations. These lenses are usually cultivated through roots like social upbringing, education and culture. A biologist may see people as a living museum that carries millions of years of evolution; a religious individual may see people as the work of a greater power; a business man may view people as working capital; and none of them are wrong or right, though definitely unique in their perspective.

As someone who loves visual art and literature, I happen to view people as houses of stories. The current makeup of every individual is an accumulation of the stories they’ve acquired. So when I meet a person who’s profoundly different than I am or catches my interest, I’m always seeking for the opportunity to hear their stories, especially ones I’ve yet to hear. What I’ve found is that every two individuals – no matter how similar or different at face – will have at least one story that’s near identical, and another that neither of them have heard before. For me, persistently finding that story(ies) that connects me and another  individual has been the chief process in allowing me to acquire a wide variety of people into my life. And allowing me to hear their stories has been my blessing.

Beyond individual people, I see stories in everything around me well. I want to know the story of the tree that grew a funny path and that one of the old house that refuses to decay around a new urban neighborhood. When I looked down at Seattle from the Sky View Observatory yesterday, I saw a living web of stories from cars, to every lit up window on the face of skyscrapers; all things, people, places exchanging and acquiring stories.

As someone who wants to “write” my ideal story, I think it’s imperative for me to also be a story collector, which is what pushes me to continuously meet new people, go to new places and try new things. We never lose the stories that we’ve amassed, but we can certainly change them as we add new ones.

 

 

STEPS – Been Busy Being Better

 

It may sound obvious, but sometimes the best way to get the most out of living life is to just live it; let your body take it’s course in extracting the experiences that are right for you. At the beginning of this year,  I think I became overzealous in making sure every action of every day had some functional benefit to bettering myself, and as much as that may be a good attitude to carry, it also ironically became a hindrance. I spent too much time reflecting and planning my life, and it became almost robotic and disingenuous at times. A large part of it was due to wanting to come up with a lesson learned to write about on a weekly basis. So I decided to go on auto-pilot for a little bit and focus living life rather than thinking about it.

But overall, these few months I’ve been allowing myself to go on auto-pilot and putting all my focus into my work and passions, playing hard when my schedule permitted it, and by the time I hit my bed it’s lights out until morning. This approach really allowed a natural sense of growth other than a synthetic one, and I think the next step for me is finding the sweet spot: the balance of living that puts the right amount of steer into my life where I’m able to carve out a clear road for where I want to go without blocking out the humanizing moments that keep me grounded and curious about the world.

FASHION – Style Post #5

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They say suits are like lingerie for men, and that’s been double-confirmed ever since I started working at a luxury menswear company that’s deeply rooted in men’s suiting. I’ve always been drawn not only to the aesthetics for suits but also the tradition and culture that it holds throughout history. Suits have always been emblematic of attention to detail in self presentation, and when you develop a deeper knowledge of suits, you also begin to understand that you’re not just putting on a piece of clothing on your body.

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This day, I didn’t quite wear a suit, but an tailored Strellson sports jacket with some matching socks instead.

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The black threaded texture and slight luster is really interesting in this one. One of the most important components of a good looking suit is fit, and most people are going to be slightly off the ready-to-wear sizes. Investing a little more and having the right alterations is the final and most crucial step in making it yours.

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FASHION – Style Post #4

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Challenged myself to see how many looks I could put together with one sweater. Took a lot longer than I expected but it was really fun to put everything that I’ve learned to the test.

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Each outfit is loosely inspired by a week of the day, but I’ll let you decide which is for which day.

 

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I – like most people – tend to fall into the same cycle of wearing outfits that I know already work, when there are many more combinations that just haven’t been tried yet with my existing closet. You don’t need to keep buying new clothes to make a new look.

FASHION – Style Post #3

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This is pretty close to what I’d wear on a normal or “lazy” day; just the typical baseball look with a little something extra.

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When all the elements like fit, color story and details align, even something simple can look like more than it is in my opinion. Ever see that one person that just looks spectacular in a white t-shirt, jeans and sneakers? Yeah.

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Also turning 22 today. Not sure how I’m feelin’ bout that.

FASHION – Style Post #2

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Went with the classic American leather-and-denim combo for this a bit of a twist. To me, it’s always about taking inspiration from different eras and cultures and refurnishing into something of your own.

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Bought theses suede Chelsea boots a few months ago and I’ve been wearing them with everything because it really adds an essence of uniqueness to any outfit whether if its street style or  more formal.

 

 

 

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