saturn | atlas

CREDIT: NASA / NASA.GOV

atlas is a series based on the planet songs off of sleeping at last’s atlas: year one.
this is saturn: a reflection on life and infinity


I often think that if I had an understanding of things the way that you did, I would be a different person. My house would be upon a rock rather than on the sand, and I would know more – with all of me, I would know. But, how good it is to know that we will never know everything.

You taught me that knowing isn’t worth it, sometimes. That the courage of stars is maybe all that I would ever need: the audacity to exist, to shine, even after death has pronounced them dull. I wonder if I would would live more audaciously if I was a star. Will you live? Will you continue to live, now that you’re gone?

The infinite interested me too much. What less is expected from a child that wanted so much more that they too became fragmented; lost in time and space? I wanted to be everything, to feel every surge of energy that this great blue ball had to offer and still, I was stopped by myself. I am so infinitesimal, but I wished to be infinite.

I wished to exist as everything, but you reminded me I would not. You reminded me to stare blankly, to go in uninformed, to learn, to grow – to live.

Now, I live.

How rare and beautiful it is that we exist.

 

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laugh until our ribs get tired

spotify recently told me all of the music i’ve been listening to since i got it – so since august. ribs, by lorde, is up there in the top 20 and it baffled me to see it there considering the fact that i don’t remember listening to it any time after 2015. it did make me think about the fact that it is no longer 2015 – nearly no longer 2017 – and i still get that same rush i did when i listen to it.

it’s not enough to feel the lack, so here’s a snapshot of 2014 and ribs.

2014 through 2017 is a bob ross painting, except all the paintbrushes are rock solid and the end result is a bit of a mess – but bob ross made it, so it’s worth it. 2014 was dancing behind “do not enter” signs and making enough mistakes to only make them four or five times over. i learned and loved and felt, and all in a spectacular sixteen year old way. it’s crazy to think that i’m not 15 any longer, because i can still remember that year like it happened in last night’s lucid dream.

2015 was spinning until i was dizzy in every aspect of my life and being very proud of myself for not throwing up despite it all. goodness, do you remember your last year of high school? two years later and i can still tell you about change room discussions and story exchanges and eating chips in a theatre costume room instead of being in maths. high school ends, and so does 17.

seventeen ended and i was heartbroken and devastated in such a way that i still don’t understand it. i’m so grateful for first loves and what they teach us, but more importantly, i’m grateful for first heartbreaks and how surviving them is the bravest thing you could ever do at one point. boys and girls and non binary pals will break your hearts and i don’t know about you, but i’ve always liked puzzles and putting things back together.

i wish i could tell you what 18 was, but that was a year and a half ago and now i’m closer than ever to two decades of whatever it is i’m doing here. i’m finally learning the joy of being a carbon based lifeform – how lucky we are to never struggle with a logical notion of forever.

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anyway, i took a bunch of photos with my roommate today and they reminded me of ribs and they reminded me of how i wished i’d feel when i reminisced.

high school ends. it ends.
thank god.

happy last day of school, south african students!

love and light,
shalom xo

// l o v i n g s o m e o n e //

ohhhhh we’re back with those the 1975 song posts aren’t we just! well, i’ve had this one in my drafts since june and i just got a moment to get this out of my head. so, here we are. loving someone. also, i’m trying to write something every day this month. bedid?

you should be loving someone, shouldn’t you? i like to think that despite what we may have conditioned ourselves to do, we all are loving someone at any given point. despite being what i believe is the base human emotion, loving is difficult in every way it is simple. loving freely can be illegal, loving wholly can be all consuming, loving at all can bear a kind of hatred that burns with the passion of a was-love – loving is complex. but i think, you should be loving someone.

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as easy as it is to see love and chalk it up to romance or familial duty, i like to think the joy lies in the choice. you should be loving someone, if you choose to. you should embrace the freefall of romance, if you choose to. you should throw caution and advice out for the end goal of more than you could give your heart yourself, if you choose to. if you choose to, you should be loving someone with your heart out.

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i think for the most part, all actions are based in love. i think that the default human emotions are love and apathy. the opposite of love is apathy. in any case, the two motivate everything that anyone’s ever done, as far as i know – be it a love for control, or apathy towards the plight of others. regardless of which is at work in any given situation, there are people. people with hearts for others and desires to live, people with nothing to live for and nothing to die for and yet, here we are. loving what and who we love without ever fully understanding why. i think that’s a part of the human condition – not fully knowing. what a shame it would be to know everything at all.

amy winehouse sang that love is a losing game, and i sometimes i wonder if she was right. if we’re all human and we’re just loving to be more whole, then it really is a losing game. love isn’t the cure for brokenness, and i think that using it as spackle really gives way for further destruction. loving as we may be, the human condition is a fragmented one – the quest may not stop but neither will the cracks that appear in us all. love can’t fix that. i don’t think it can – not when loving someone holds the power to jam a crowbar into those cracks. maybe i’m naive. sometimes i hope so.

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i am forever in alongside the boys in jumpers
on bikes from schools and cars
with autumn leaves fallen sparse across mid-afternoon
she blazed about how
cultural language is an operating system
a simple interface rendered feeble and listless
when tested with a divinity or a true understanding
of the human condition
i never did understand – the duality of art and reality
living life and treating it as such but with a certain disconnect
to touch that cajoles at the artist with comfort and abandon
and between the spires and rolling roofs of the white city
that orange, english light cast only one, singular shadow
for you are not beside but within me

you should be loving someone.

love and light,
shalom xo

monthly me | november ’17

November was a fucking blast. I don’t think I’ve ever started off a monthly me so brash, but looking back on it, this month has just been pretty good.  Here’s to that, and to the fact that it’s December and my monthly me posts are still the only consistent things in my life! November.

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november

November really seemed to fly by, but it also took so long to do so? I think this is because there was just so much going on this past month that I didn’t even get a chance to stop and freak out about the time passing. The month started off with anti-prom (what it says on the tin) and two or three shows and my friends’ EP release party! The Off Brand released their self titled EP and it’s so good I would not be wrong to be upset about how good it is. It’s over here!

What else? This month there was a lot music wise and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it all. I met Walk The Moon? Things are MAD. In essence, I bought tickets to their January show and was something like 2nd in line for the presale, so iHeartRadio invited me and a guest to a secret show that blew my bloody socks off. I am shook. It was honestly one of the most incredible, intimate moments I’ve ever experienced. Bless that band. I also happened to celebrate my first full American Thanksgiving weekend in Wayne, NJ with my friend and her lovely family. It was rad as hell and ended with two shows in two nights and a dance party where lights fell down before we returned to school. Speaking of…

bri born

I’m gonna be real with you all and tell you that Bri has had such a major effect on my life just by existing near me. I love doing life with her. We’ve found ourselves caught up in band business and bond over a love for LANY and Almost Famous. She’s so full of life. Bri reminds me of everything I want to be when I catch myself dissociating – I often feel like I can’t open my eyes wide enough because I don’t feel real, but Bri’s eyes are open and take in everything. Bri reminds me to live more. How lucky I am to do so with her. Dream team, baby.

tunez and vids

we got carried away

for you are not beside, but within me

backseat taxi love

 

other loves

  • planning a trip to another state for break! and? yes. it’s fun
  • getting on top of my shit
  • my new meds that get me out of bed before 8 every day
  • bri born and every experience we’ve shared this month

snippets of internal monologue

  • ten bucks says you vomit as an escape strategy. i dare you.
  • how many times do you have to say boobs until it sounds weird? three or four, i think.
  • look….at his hair…..i just. i’m weak
  • okay shalom go ahead sabotage yourself NOTHING WE’RE NOT USED TO

And now November is done! We’re in the last bit of 2017 and I’m ready to go baby, I’m ready. I’m going to try to write more in December because it’s exam month and I love procrastinating, so. Thanks for sticking around. Hi to the newbies around here!

love and light,
shalom xo

tunesday: live edition

Welcome back to Tunesday! We’re back! Today’s edition is focused on an EP release show I went to last week, and I am so thrilled to share it with you. Yay for live music Tunesdays. On with the show!

shoobies: cherry ep

The show was for Shoobies’ latest offering, Cherry. Shoobies, who’ve been around these parts before (see October monthly me) are a New Jersey four piece making the best kind of noise. Cherry is their secondary offering, putting out a completely different sound from their debut EP, Claude Monet. Cherry is heavy with soul influence and does the job of getting into your bones expertly. A more mature collection, the songs are called Love, Sex, and Drama. It’s a metaphor. But, if you take it literally and create your own, it’s just as good.

If there’s something that the guys from Shoobies know how to do, it’s put on one hell of a show. Complete with 70s esque mustaches being hastily shaved off before the show, an intro that did it right, roses, and an actual smashing of a guitar (which I never, ever thought I would live to see), Shoobies elevated The Saint in Asbury Park.

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You can listen to Cherry here, and Claude Monet here. Find the band on Instagram, Twitter, and everything that matters at @shoobiesnj.

the happy fits: awfully apeelin’

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The Happy Fits are three boys who find themselves bathed in blue light more often than not. A rock band with a cello, they’re an eclectic mix of The Black Keys, Alt-J, and Vampire Weekend. They played songs off their EP, Awfully Apeelin’  and just so happened to treat all of us with some songs from their upcoming album. 2018 is going to be a big year for the band – which is saying something, considering the fact that they surpassed 1,000,000 plays on While You Fade Away and expanded their fan base by quite a bit. Keep an ear out for their debut album coming out in the first half of next year.

hannah riley

Hannah Riley performed her first ever show at The Saint, and I was blown away by how good she is. A mix of heavy Lana del Rey influence with touches of Lorde and Halsey, Hannah’s voice is power and is full of tremendous capability. Her debut EP, Recovery, has true bangers including IDWBY, but her cover of Lana’s In My Feelings absolutely blew me away. To say that she’s going places is to understate just how good she is, so listen for yourself.

trustfall

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Trustfall is emo math rock that makes me think of 2009 and jumping. If this made sense to you, you’d adore them. Their set at The Saint was a joy – if you’ve ever wanted to yell lyrics with people who wanted to do the same, you can probably imagine the vibe to come from that. That’s exactly what the atmosphere was, and I am so grateful to have been there. Their latest release, Space Dawgz 2: Dogs in Space is full of the same; listen here.

 

and so concludes the live edition of tunesday! honsetly, this last weekend was incredible, and i’m thrilled to be able to tell you all about it. congratulations to shoobies for releasing one hell of an ep, and to all the other bands that performed – what a night. now, back to my regular programming of being a mess? i think yes.

love and light,
shalom xo

mindmaps

I made my first mindmap in about a year yesterday. It was for a maths class I’m taking. If you’ve been reading here for a while, it should come as no surprise to you that I am very bad at maths. If you are a new reader, let me spell it out for you:

I am terrible at mathematics. I am so bad at maths that every time I finish a problem, there is a mini earthquake in the classroom I’m in and a voice from the depths of the earth that bellows, “HER ANSWER IS WRONG. AGAIN.” I do so dismally in maths that the one time I finished my homework for this class early and submitted it, I got such a low grade that my professor chose not to count it. I am horrific at crunching or crushing or chewing or chomping numbers. I cannot numbers. I can’t maths.

Right. Now that that’s been made clear that I am bad at maths, I’ve forgotten what else I wanted to say and why I’ve titled this post “mindmaps”. Do excuse my haphazard writing and website and self. I’m a mess, but you knew that. If you didn’t – don’t worry, I won’t give you a paragraph of imagery – I am a mess, and now you know.

If there was a mindmap of me, it’d probably look like this:

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I like how mindmaps are really just a big mess that has a purpose, so it’s not so messy anymore. I like the idea of myself as a mindmap. Maybe there’s something to show for it; something more than a failed test or a mess of a girl in love with every bassist from any New Brunswick alt/punk/rock band. Maybe.

love and light,
shalom xo

nobody cares about your loud exhaust, michael

His name probably isn’t Michael, but I’m gonna go with it.

Outside one of the buildings where I go to school, there is a parking lot. Inside this parking lot, there is a motorcycle. Upon this motorcycle is Michael, and I want to knock him off of it.

Michael drives (rides?) a shockingly orange, very loud motorbike. When I say very loud, I mean startle you from sleep loud. I mean, get on the ground and duck for cover loud. I mean this boy spends 20 minutes revving his bike every time I have the misfortune of walking past the academic building loud. I have no intention of hurting him or his ego, but I swear to Jesus, Mary, Joseph and saint above that I want to destroy that bike. Good heavens.

The first time I walked past, I was with a friend who yelled, “We get it, your dick is MASSIVE” as we walked past. I laughed. The second time, he was just doing it. I didn’t want to yell but also, I just really hate how loud it is. So, I walked past muttering obscenities to myself. I most recently walked past last night at 7:50 pm while trying to get to my 7:40 French class, and that experience is why I’m writing this post. Y’all, I have never wanted to kick a bike so badly in my life.

I was already in a daze, having slept through my alarm, so the first kick of the exhaust was like a gunshot ricocheting through my entire body. Fine, it woke me all the way up. Not fine because it continued. The second kick made me mad because I jumped and bit my tongue. By the third, I was so close to just walking right up to him, but I didn’t want to be so close to the noise.

Essentially, what I’m trying to say is maybe you have the world’s biggest dick and you want everyone to know it via the ridiculous noise your vehicle can make – you can still just not. Consider just…not.

Nobody cares, Michael. Fuck your exhaust pipe.

love and light,
shalom xo

there are things that i would never say or do

have you listened to parekh & singh’s album, ocean? friend, you should – i just finished my maths homework before class in a bit and i’m feeling tentatively okay. just the right side of tepid.

last week i was in the pit. i didn’t go to class for three days, and all of those classes had attendance policies. have i gone ahead and messed up my grades? maybe. could i have avoided it? unfortunately, no. it’s what the great sciencey people who put definitions to what happens in my life call a hypomanic hangover. baby, do i have an analogy for you.

imagine you’ve been feeling really good for a while. i’m talking two or three (two and a half) glasses of that really good merlot and then a shot of tequila because party time, type of good. lots of dancing – the kind of drunk where you’d dance to a siren – and lots of good feelings. you got things done, you’re allowed to relax, the people that love you really love you and things are good. you never stop drinking because you don’t have to. things are good.

 

then, after being drunk for three and a half weeks, you get hit with the mother of all hangovers. every single one you avoided manifests in one big boulder on your head and chest and legs, and suddenly you can’t get out of bed for a week.

the hangover is depression, my friends.

today has been remarkably better than last week monday, and while i’m still walking about in a bit of a hnagover haze, i’m hoping this doesn’t turn into a full fledged depressive episode. the whole world and jesus know that my gpa cannot handle that.

in case you were wondering about the title, it comes from the featured song. but, here’s a list anyway:

things that i’d never say or do*

  • yell at someone for not having manners and ask if it’s because their mother didn’t teach them
  • squinty-eye a vegetarian or vegan who didn’t want to be plant based anymore
  • betray my heart
  • eat butternut pie or smell some sort of squash with cinnamon without gagging a little bit
  • make fun of people with eating disorders or people who actually like nickelback or people who like fanfiction
  • vote for fascists
  • not marvel at how stunning people are
  • stop wanting to be more true to myself

have a good time of day, people.

love & light,
shalom xo


* in some instances, this can be read as things that i’d never say or do again

monthly me | october ’17

and is it worth the risk
just to crash your car for the sound of it?

hannah, coin

Bottomless void and friends, it’s the end! Of October, I mean. October is over. What happened this month? This is a fun one to write because I spent most of this month manic and/or dissociating. Still, I made it to the end of it and so did you, and we’re all here so we may as well experience this experiment in oversharing and overdocumenting together.

from the camera roll

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october

If you’ve read any of the all two (wow Shalom calls herself a writer but never writes Obisie-Orlu) posts I got up in the last month, you’ll know that I am currently coming down from the longest manic episode of my life. It’s been a lot of stress and confusion and dissociating, but it’s been okay because I survived it. Someday, I’ll write about the shit, but first I must survive it. I survived October!

Class is happening and university is happening, again. I’ve settled in okay, and I have some really good people in my corner in terms of where I live. Demarest Hall (shoutout Junot Diaz – he lived there) is full of freaks and geeks and a couple of gross frat bros, but its mostly just people who were lucky enough to meet their people there. It’s been nice living in a space that’s just art. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s what I have to say about Demarest.

I managed to write some good poetry this month, and got a couple of articles in re freelance because I’m a writer. My anxiety is a big mess and I haven’t collected my last paycheck from my old job (you know the one that I was excited about and then got fired from? That’s the one.) even though I could very much use the $100.

My letters from Dora arrived and I spent an afternoon reading them and sobbing (see last camera roll photo) because I have so much love for that woman. Wow. Actually, here’s something:

dora

  • What an encourager, what a woman.
  • WISE. My owl friend.
  • God, I am so privileged to call her friend.
  • Such a knack for photographing and reviewing good spots? I wish I was good at that? I am so glad that she is?!
  • Truly a lover and a fighter. Kindred spirits, me and Dora. Goodness me, do I love her.

What else have I got for this month? I got terribly ill. I’m on the mend but I was so sick it was a problem. I’ve been having a bit of more of an identity crisis than usual but mostly because of my accent. You know the voice in your head? The one that sounds like you. In my head, I sound somewhat English. Not entirely, but somewhat. When I’m with my mom and siblings, I have a mix of that accent, an American accent my entire family has, and then some of my parents’ Nigerian accent as a mixer for the whole thing. While I’ve been here without my siblings, I’ve just sounded very English, and I fear that I’m a fraud for it. I know I’m not, because it’s not a conscious choice really – I’m just trying to hold onto a bit of myself while here. Has this little bit of a waffle made any sense? We’ll never know.

tunez

I went to shows this month! The big one was the LANY concert in New York which was stupendifyingly good, but I also went to a basement show that introduced me to probably my favourite band at the moment. Anyway here are the tunez okay good on with it!

shoobies

i’m an antisocial socialite; your mother says “you’re so polite” – it’s disgusting

Easy new fave. Easy. I saw them at a basement show in New Brunswick in mid-October and while they put on a really good show (even without their guitarist) I was more shook by the lyrics? Apart from the fact that they did the thing where lyrics carry meaning if you listen twice but the music accompanying it is so good you can enjoy it in passing, the lyrics are so clever and I am so impressed? It may be because I noticed my writing style in they lyrics, or because “skinny lovin’, what’s your style?” made me want to make stuff, but Shoobies lyrics are 9/10.

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site: shoobiesnj.com
instagram: @shoobiesnj

they say we’re going to hell, let’s find a cheap motel and stay a couple nights

we’ll connect eventually if you stay you and i change me

and if i play this every morning and time my stepping out of the door with the guitar? none of you will have anything to say about it.

snippets of internal monologue

  • Look, if you’re actually crazy on paper then can you just say yes? Are you mad?Clinically, Janet, yes.
  • For Halloween I am…what is this? Corset girl?
  • Shut your mouth Shalom “my-eyebrows-are-eyeshadow” Obisie-Orlu. You just stop.
  • Uh, if I get approached by the police, I’ll just tell them I’m dead. Sorry! Can’t arrest a dead gal! Happy Halloween!

until the next, dear friends.

love and light,
shalom xo

 

‘i’m never buying an exercise guide again’, or, ‘wasting money while manic’

i have a lot of things to do at the moment. apart from beating this upper respiratory tract infection & sinuitis, almost all of them are school related. i’m tired of school, friends. we are eight weeks in and i am eight weeks more homesick-ish. it’s a different kind of homesick. anyway. i am a bit of a spender when i’m manic, and it hurts me and i wanna talk about it! here we are!

when i’m manic, i feel like i can do anything. i can save the world, write songs, create series, become anyone – i can do anything. this being said, i also believe that i can buy anything. fellas. i cannot buy anything.

ya girl broke.

i have a nasty habit of buying in sixes while manic; see strawberry whirls (2013) menstrual cups (2016), tide detergent (2017), books?? (present). i’m gonna be telling y’all about the books.

i’m not sure why i started it, and i’m not even certain i remember what the first book was. [edit: i do! it was neil hillborn’s our numbered days.] anyway, i bought a book for a regular book price and didn’t think it was a dangerous purchase because it’s a book! i just wanted a book! (it’s never just a book, silly shalom.)

the spiral began softly: poetry book (acceptable), john green’s latest offering turtles all the way down (i mean, kinda okay, i’d been waiting for it for a while and it was on sale!), rae earl’s it’s all in your head: getting your sh*t together (which is both okay and not okay. mostly not because how did i get there? how did i get to the point of ordering it? i don’t know. also, i ordered it from ireland. ireland? why do i let this happen?)

and then. and then.

i bought an exercise guide for a stupid amount of money. stupid. truly, fuck instagram fitness and fuck my brain for doing me in like this. when i say stupid, i mean money i will need for a winter coat stupid. i mean “save for essentials” stupid. i’d never felt the urge to buy this stupid glorified ‘strictly no refunds’ pdf for twice the price of a normal book ever. and yet, here we are. here i am, crying about it night after night because i did.

friends, i wish i could say it stopped there, but i am too untrue of a person to become even more so by lying. it didn’t stop. i bought jonny sun’s everyone’s an aliebn when you’re an aliebn too and then ordered anOthER (excuse this, but i am offended at how ridiculous i’ve been) book by an irish author because i saw “eating disorder” and “sale” in the same sentence. (it was on sale, and book depository makes shipping free, but it’s still unacceptable.)

would someone please put an end to this?

if i’m being honest, i spend most of my time while manic begging my brain to stop. i’m tired of spending money i don’t have on stupid things in stupid patterns because boop! it be like that. i really hate it.

i really want this to be over. i will never forgive myself for buying that guide so help me God.  anyone wanna transfer their powers of moderation to me? i haven’t had any. ever. really, i went through a childhood journal of mine a few months ago and realised that i’ve been doing this shit since i was 12, albeit with less important things. i.e. not money. that i  n e e d.

i have too many books. i don’t have the time to read them all. at least i’ve hit six now, i guess. guess i’ll just freeze!

love and light,
shalom xo