6 — Chelsi Teo
Words, as tattoos, as reminders, as objects
Welcome to Objectively, a series about people and the objects that hold meaning for them.
Leading with curiosity, the project is interested in objects as extension and embodiment of selves. We want to give space for people to reconsider their relationships with things, maybe acquiring new understandings of themselves in the process.
Today we have Chelsi Teo chat about the words that serve as reminders for her to live and love in ways true to her.
Chelsi Teo is a 26-year-old living life a day at a time, fully open to the possibilities of this world and where it may lead her. It has currently led her to living out a Product Design career in the fabulously eccentric city of Berlin. On her days off Figma, you can find her either at the spin studio, an Asian supermarket, or chilling by Mauerpark.
What is an object that holds memories for you?
I don’t tie a lot of meaning to material objects, mostly because I am extremely careless and end up losing many precious items. But one “object”, or “objects”, that hold memories for me would be my tattoos. They remind me of a specific time in my life and the headspace I was in when I decided to have them.
For example, having been in toxic partnerships, I tattooed “n'oublie pas de t'aimer” — “don’t forget to love yourself” — to remind myself that I am strong enough, and that I should never lose myself at the expense of others. And even as I may not have the courage to get out of situations that do not serve me at the time, I know to always have compassion and be a little gentler towards myself.
I’ve also got a cute starburst poke done by a dear friend, which always brings a smile to my face whenever I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror.
Imagine you could be any object. What would you want to be?
A submarine or a way more advanced piece of technology that is able to successfully descend into the depths of the ocean. With talks of Atlantis and other forms of life, I have always been curious about what else is going down beneath the surface, and how trivial our problems are as compared to how vast and deep the ocean is.
I also have random stray thoughts and curiosities around how living without sunlight could possibly be like. It equally fascinates and terrifies me that humans have not explored, mapped, or seen more than five percent of what lies in the ocean.
Lastly, what would you be in object form?
A leaf. A leaf is an accurate representation of the seasons and also symbolises growth. I really identify with the ephemerality and transitory nature of life, and am hyperaware of how temporal every experience is — good and bad.
This poem sums up the way I view life:
Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
If not on a spin bike, an Asian supermarket run, or the steps of bustling Mauerpark, Chelsi may be on Instagram.
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