After Bluets

After Maggie Nelson's "Bluets"

"239. But now you are talking as if love were a consolation. Simone Weil warned otherwise. "Love is not consolation," she wrote. "It is light."
240. All right then, let me try to rephrase. When I was alive, I aimed to be a student not of longing but of light. "
  - Bluets pg.95Maggie Nelson


1. Before the West came, Hawaiians did not have a word for the color blue.  Instead, the word Moana existed. Moana, a word used to describe the deepest shades of blue in the sea. To accommodate English language speakers, Hawaiians created the word Polu to describe blue for eyes, clothing and western objects.

2. "You take a lot of photos of the sea, don't you ever get tired of it?" He asked her.
"Every time I see her, she's a different shade of blue. Almost like she's putting on a new dress just for me. I take picture of her to remember what she looks like on days when I feel too much like concrete & city lights." she replied.
"You sound like you're in love."
"Yes, I sound like I'm home."

3. My first year living in San Francisco depression grew inside of me as ifthere was a leak in my ceiling and home was beginning to flood. Weeks had gone by before I found myself at Ocean beach. There, I realized that the sea is where I had died last and where I was born again. Many moons had gone by while living in the bay where I felt like I was drowning. Ironic, that I was never in the water.

4. It is scientifically known that the color blue doesn't come easily because true blue pigment don't exist in plants. Instead, other pigments and plant minerals combine with wavelengths of light to create the colors people see. Among all the purples, violets and reds, some naturally blue flowers result.

5. "Vincent van Gogh, whose depression, some say, was likely related to temporal lobe epilepsy, famously saw and painted the world in almost unbearably vivid colors. After his nearly unsuccessful attempt to take his life by shooting himself in the gut, when asked why he should not be saved, he famously replied, "the sadness will last forever." I imagine he was right." - bluets pg. 36

6. There are many days when I wake feeling like a phantom 5,000 leagues under the sea. On those days, happiness doesn't come easily. Instead, other pigments of love and hope combine in wavelengths of light to create colors people see in me. Among all of the smiles and laughter, some natural blues bloom as a result.

7. A month after I broke up with my love of 2 years I shaved half of my head. My body needed to shed something from that phase of my life like petals from a bouquet of violets falling in autumn . My eyes did not want to look at the same face that was once madly in love that was now feeling "blue" (sad). This past summer marked an entire year since remembering what it was like to love myself before anyone else. Thus, I dyed my hair blue. Before I could even see a touch of blue in my hair, I had to first bleach it many times, killing each strand. The jar labels the shade i picked, "Voodoo blue" a cross between indigo and electric with a hint of green to make the dark royals feel a little more like the tide hitting the reef at noon. The sea is where I had died last and where I was born again.

8. "Why do you paint your face such monstrous things?" He asks her.
"Because for a moment in time, I can show the world what the inside of this body feels like. I can show the world how even the villains we hold in us can be beautiful too." She replied.
"Because the bad guys have more fun?" He assumed.
"Because the bad guys are just the good guys that no one believed in." She said.
"So you paint to tell the other side of the story we all got? Is that right?"
"I paint because not all stories are told one way. Or are even told at all. Some stories are just a brush stroke open for translation. And most times I don't feel like a writer. I just feel like a woman with puddles of colors begging to cover skin."

9.  “Oceania is vast, Oceania is expanding, Oceania is hospitable and generous, Oceania is humanity rising from the depths of brine and regions of fire deeper still, Oceania is us. We are the sea, we are the ocean…” - Epeli Hau'ofa

10. When I say I am feeling blue.
It no longer means that I am sad.
What I mean is that I am vast
and endless.



Jocelyn NgComment