karena tsai
lettering artist + writer + creative

personal writing

thoughts + worldview

my child,

i must admit, i have always been afraid of you. i still feel like a child myself, and i don’t know how i could possibly teach you the ways of the world, make you understand how cruel and beautiful and frustrating and liberating it is.

i do know that the most important thing is to acknowledge that learning is the key to happiness. knowledge is power, as they say. you are the product of someone who has struggled and used learning to conquer her fears. there are just so many things in the world to learn, and i hope you see them as opportunities to grow.

i don’t know what kind of life you will have because i barely know what kind of life i will have, but you should know that however it turns out, it’ll be okay. you may have nothing, but you will have yourself, which is everything. you may have everything, but remember who you are and what truly matters to you.

the world may not treat you well, but take that with grace and know that you are a stronger force than its torment. the world may also treat you well, but remember not to take advantage of its gifts.

i did not have a mother growing up, so i do hope that we get to live a long time together. i want to show you how to navigate the world with your own eyes and so that you are happy.

even from long before your birth, you are loved.

your mother, april 3, 2017

Language and Thought
April 13, 2015

Today in my  philosophy class, we discussed Martin Heidegger's views on language* and thought, which I felt a very exciting connection to. Oftentimes, we separate the two, but Heidegger believes that language and thought go hand-in-hand. Essentially, thinking does not exist without language. That is not to say so hypocritically that people who "aren't good with words" don't think or engage in deep thought. The use of language is not a math problem, where you can just plug in numbers and come to a solution. Language is a deep, on-going process -- a phenomenon that is the means to experience pure thinking. The point is not what is the most efficient use of language, as we may believe words are good for, but rather what is most true.

I find this topic particularly interesting because I am intricately sensitive to words and the way they are presented. This matters to me not only because I am a writer and a communications major. It matters because it is the only way I know how to live a small, chaotic, vaguely sane life. I use words to convey my feelings, my wants, and my needs. I use words to express empathy and sympathy and make my very own mark on the world. I use words because it's the only way we can survive without being left utterly alone in the world. It's the only way we can get out of our heads and communicate to other human beings that we need them, and we need our feelings to be felt.

We only have ourselves, but that is just a sad truth. Language allows for thought to become real. And just by reading the content in this blog, you've carved your way into my head. You, the reader, and I, the author, are no longer alone. And that's why I love words. That's why language is such a beautiful thing.

*The word 'language' used in this context is the way in which we communicate, not any specific language like English. Heidegger actually disliked the English language and instead favored Greek and German.