25 Things About Me

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1. I was 11 years old when I understood, in its full magnitude, the burdensome paradox of having no foreseeable desire to listen to others yet always having to live in their world.

2. I am sometimes afraid of the places where my mind goes—self destruction lurks in the shadows. I’ve put measures in place to keep that in check but the knots slip at times. I fear madness may be in my future.

3. Ominous as that sounds, the mind ventures in the opposite direction just as frequently. I have moments of intense illumination that leave me absolutely breathless, to the point that it is difficult to reconnect with my immediate surroundings at will. I hope and pray something like that doesn’t catch me while driving a bus full of people.

4. Life as a flatline is not something I’m interested in. That doesn’t mean I’m committed to going out on a limb to provide myself with thrills at the expense of others (though I’ve been guilty of it, and I regret that, I truly do). What it means is that I strive to experience as much of the spectrum of human existence as my time and capacity will allow.

5. Yet I wish I never had to sleep, eat, talk, have sex… I wish I could exist as a disembodied mind with the ability to see and transform matter, so I could focus on what I’m here for.

6. I have an undying love for the beauty of the desert.

7. I wish I had discovered Ayn Rand as a teenager…

8. …because I understand reality as something that exists independently from the mind. Moreover, I think ultimate truth (the structure of things) is a multi-level, multi-dimensional affair, its reach spanning far beyond our perceptual and cognitive bandwidths. Short of the Einsteins of our kind—whom are/were limited in their own way—most of us can at most aspire to deal with aspects, dimensions, fragments of the whole, which is a recipe for eternal confusion, conflict, and suffering.

9. I am happiest when I’m thinking, alone, and figure something out.

10. I have more art projects in my sketchbooks and notes than I could possibly accomplish in a lifetime.

11. I am well aware of the fact that some (sometimes relevant) people find me troublesome and contradictory, as if undefined or not-quite present. I simply have no reliable way of sharing my internal structure, and fear that even if I could they wouldn’t understand.

12. My particular brand of wicked humor has connected me (personally) with more people than anything else about me.

13. I’ve explored self-perception issues by obsessively photographing myself nude in all sorts of settings… I’ve gotten some interesting results out of that but have yet to decide what to do with the images.

14. Because I think images, in that sense, are ultimately a cop-out.

15. I’ve internally declared war on various causes, systems, and people over time, but get bored halfway through the effort and never carry it out.

16. I think of knowledge as something to be consumed.

17. My hatred for television peaks anytime I’m exposed to Latin American telegarbage.

18. I find it easiest to be friends with people I admire in some way.

19. I find it easiest to love people who share their processes of self-discovery and self-creation with me.

20. My life unfolds in 11-year cycles. I took possession of myself at 11. It was like waking up. That’s how I divide my life now: pre-11, post-11. 22 was quite the year as well. I think I know exactly what will happen at 33.

21. When I was 12 years old, my mother fell ill and could no longer take care of us. This is how I learned to cook, iron my clothes, etc. Today I can iron a dress shirt in 90 seconds (I’ve timed myself!).

22. I used to create land art as a child, using rocks, twigs, and earth. I didn’t even know there was a term for it, or that anyone would care to see it. I just wanted to put my signature in the land, to bring an element of creative order to it in some way.

23. I grew up in rural Mexico, in the Baja California desert. We lived for years without electricity or running water. My grandmother had a water pump in the patio. Shoes were something we would only wear to school. In the summer I worked picking cotton or harvesting grapes in the fields, along with other kids from my school; I remember it was grueling work under a merciless sun, but also a great deal of fun. People bartered food and services all the time. We used to get citrus fruit, cucumbers and fresh milk from nearby farms. We always grew our own chickens and often harvested wild plants to eat. Life was a day-to-day survival process that required a direct connection with the land and the people around us. For all this, I am grateful. I cannot imagine what sort of dull creature I would have become had I grown in the urban conditions that are known to me today. I cannot imagine life as a child without that great open sky, nights ablaze with stars, the riverbank, and the creatures whose secret lives I came to know. To me, civilization was a set of human dwellings that could be traversed from end to end by foot in minutes… then there were the fields, and beyond, the vast expanse and mystery of the desert. I lived in an ideal world and was immensely happy.

24. This is not a ‘woe is me’ note, I’m actually quite content today. 🙂

25. And, as Frida Kahlo once said: “I hope the exit is joyful, and I hope never to return.”

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Angel Villanueva
August 5, 2009
Claremont, CA

One Response to “25 Things About Me”

  1. Sheryl Heth Says:

    I am in awe of this man.

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