Jan 22

show your ugly, she says

I’ve been selfish.

Because I’m afraid of sharing. 

My thoughts. My words. My art, and my ideas. The things I think about when I’m staring into space, and the places I go to when here becomes too much. The way I see the world. What frightens and what inspires. What motivates and captivates, angers me and irritates.

It’s not that I don’t like you.

It’s that breaking a silence so loud that its ringing cuts through me, opening my mind and letting its contents fly free and exposing my heart to a world that isn’t nice…is…terrifying.

I recognize, however, that in not doing so I am being shamefully hoggish.

You see, I have a problem.

It has served me well from time to time, no doubt. But in my line of work, my life and my relationships…my perfectionism has only held me back.  

To break through that brick wall of imaginary terror has been my biggest challenge. To speak my mind. To show my work. Not just even, but perhaps especially when I haven’t yet picked it apart, turned it around, tucked it in and ironed it out.

But in those moments of paralyzing fear, when it feels as if I have nothing of interest to say and nothing of value to contribute, I think back to one of the most influential moments of my still-budding career.

It was my first real copywriting assignment, and my ache for approval was palpable. Looking back, the amount of pressure I put on myself and the painstaking over-analysis that went into a first round attempt at impeccability was…ridiculous.

I literally lost sleep at night tossing and turning over whether or not I could play the part. Everything had to be right. So much so in fact, that it was wrong.

So when I sat down to go over my work with my creative director, she looked at me and said,

“Ya know…

 sometimes you just have to show your ugly.”

Prim and proper may be polite, but they sure are dull and boring. Sometimes the good stuff — in life, as in creativity — is in the ugly. That raw, authentic, impulsive, real, flawed, uncensored, jacked-up, dirty, no-good, wrinkly, rotten imperfection.

It takes a lot of courage to go out there and radiate your essence.*

Indeed it does. But I must admit that life’s a lot more fun when you do. 

*I can’t take credit for this. I got it from a Baths song. It’s called “Maximalist”. You should listen to it. It’s sweet. 


Mar 26

the original al-fray hee-ko and his definition of “happiness”.


chiralize me

so i was facetiming last night. and i couldn’t help sneaking peaks at myself on-screen. partly because i’m vain, but mostly because i noticed something peculiar.

i look super awkward. i’ve always disliked being filmed and photographed, but i never really thought about it. now i know why.

you see, i don’t usually carry on conversations with myself…so i don’t see my expressions and quirks in action. when i see the weird tendencies that i have and faces that i make, it makes me uncomfortable. 

which got me to thinkering. mainly about this short i listened to a while back on radiolab.

let me tell you about radiolab. i’ve recommended this gem before, but it’s worth mentioning again (and again). that’s how good it is. if you haven’t yet, i implore you to listen to a few episodes. if you’re even an eighth of the nerd that i am, you’ll be hooked. i promise. 

anyhoo, in short (eh heh…), jad and robert chat a bit about chirality [ki-ral-i-tee]. of molecules and, uh, people. the way we are used to seeing ourselves (in a mirror) is deceptive. we’re flipped…or if you want to be fancy, “laterally inverted”. (more on this)<-really cool article

so it makes sense that we look a bit funky to ourselves on film. we’re seeing ourselves the way the world sees us. 

after gettin all geeked out with the molecule business, they talk about this mirror image phenomena. one dude swears his life immediately improved when he had this realization and made a simple change: the way he parted his hair. 

after looking at this, i think said dude might be onto something. so i decided to test his theory for myself. notice anything different about me today?…


1
Feb 29

speaking of food.

what’s your favorite food? 

i love this question. you can tell a lot about a person by their response, of which their are usually 5.

1. hands down, _______. 

the man with an opinion. quick. confident. he is well-informed and he knows what he wants. takes a stance and has something to say about nearly everything. he has pondered this quandary before and is resolute in his decision. he not only votes, but he may even campaign. the man with a plan.

2. i don’t know, i’ve never really thought about it.

damn dirty liar. that, or vapid. everyone has thought about it. you will put about 25 tons of food in your mouth over the course of your life. if you have thoughts in your brain and buds on your tongue, it must have occurred to you at least once, of all the foods in the land, this…this one is best. in not so many words.

3. i don’t have a favorite food.

accepting. adventurous. amiable. he’s the non-planner. your stoner friend who goes with the flow and gets along with everyone. or maybe your yoga teacher. a puppy of a person. he’ll try anything and sees the good in everything. he’s easy to please and happy to see you. you can’t help but love him and his nondiscriminatory love of life and food.  

4. well, that depends.

the deep thinker with a tendency towards complexity. he might ask in turn, what is food? he is open minded, sometimes to a frustrating degree. he is the seeker of truth, a lover of libraries, and a fan of socrates. he will never know his favorite food, but his quest for the answer is never ending…

5. it used to be _______, but now it’s _______.

the wishy-washer. feline, changeable. the one who is hard to please. when he likes something, he loves it. but the feeling is fleeting. he can just as easily fall out of love as he did in. although, given time, he may very well fall back in. his disposition is predictably unpredictable. he changes with the weather, and so do his tastes. you may know him as the pain in the ass.  

now i know what you’re thinking. (i’m psychic) you can’t put people into boxes, we’re all special and unique and quirky and sunshine and rainbows. and that’s great. i’m just sayin.

my favorite food?

it used to be cottage cheese. then it was strawberry banana smoothies. then dark chocolate. lately i’ve been on a cantaloupe kick.

winky emoticon.

okaybye.

hth


1
Feb 15

my cat is an asshole.

she is a master manipulator. a bossy little shit. she’s got a big bag of sneaky cat tricks up her little cat sleeves and she knows just how and when to use them.

like those stupid whiskers. they’re all long and cute and tickly. and sometimes they fall out and i find one laying on the floor and it’s weird and gross but kind of cool. then there are those little white paws that look like she walked through a paint pan. which she totally would if given the opportunity.

the way she knows when i’m home and waits by the door and meows before i even get there. and i know she does this because i can hear her from the stairwell.

her “mow” and the pigeon noises she makes…like a little cat grunt. her demanding “MEOW”— that i’m sure the neighbors down the hall can hear— when she doesn’t get what she wants…which is usually attention. and how it’s so goddamn annoying that i end up picking her up and holding her because i know that’s what she wants but then i can’t be mad becauseshepurrsreallyloudandgivesmelittlecatkisses withherlittlecatnoseandiknowsheonlydoesitbecause she loves me. and she does.

the way she gets embarrassed when she tries to jump up on something but misses because she’s older and fatter and less agile than she once was but that doesn’t really matter because she did this when she was little too…the way she looks up at me as if to say “let’s pretend that didn’t happen.” and yes, cats do get embarrassed, don’t tell me that they don’t.

the little nests she makes out of the towel or coat or sweater that i left on the floor during the tizzy that is my morning routine. the little nests she makes out of anything that smells like me. the way she eats when i eat.

the way she sits on top of anything new that is brought into the apartment. the way she plays with bags and hides in boxes. how sometimes when she plays with bags she gets her big fat head stuck in the handle and walks around like she’s wearing a cape until i save her.

the way she sticks her ears back when she gets pissed.

the way she’s extra well behaved and lets me snuggle her when i’m sad because she knows that i’m sad.

her rivalry with bubbles.

her red bow tie with the bell on it. the white fur on her belly that’s softer than all the other fur on her body that only i—and sometimes my mom—can pet without getting attacked. her big fat belly. and don’t even get me started on that sophisticated mustache…

the way i want to be mad at her right now because she is the naughtiest little cat but i can’t because she’s just a little wuddawuddawuddawuddawudda!

asshole.

goddamn you, alley cat.



Feb 13

a fresh variation on some stale purple prose

Glassy, bloodshot eyes scanned the lawn before me, scrupulously weighing pros and cons of each potential resting place.

In life, as in produce aisles, menus and thesauri, I never settle on the first available option. After careful debate, and often numerous wardrobe changes, I may very well come back to it

but I never settle on the first.

A patch of grass on the southwestern-most side of the park. In the sun. Far enough to escape awkward pleasantries, close enough to still feel like a part of something.

A perfect day. Friday. Sunny. Hot. And I had found the perfect spot.

My bag, far too heavy with things unneeded and books not read, fell to the ground with a clumsy thud.

I unbuckled tiny belts securing sandals to my feet, giving each a lazy shake.

Freed from the confinement of dainty black cages, I spread my toes wide. Little green blades poked their way through the spaces between. A deep, full breath. Warm dirt beneath bare feet. Sturdy, solid, stable.

I closed my eyes as my arms floated skyward, alternately stretching up and up with each breath…as if I could graze the clouds with my fingertips. If i could just…reach…

I like to stick my arm out of open car windows. I like to play with the wind. That resistance, the way it lifts…and drops…and lifts…and drops…the way my hand dances to an oscillating rhythm, spanning the length of my journey. That sensation. That’s what they feel like. The clou—

Reality came and yanked me half way out that window, rolling it up with his sneaky, snakelike trickery. Caught off guard, I find myself pinned

half in. half out.

My car is out of control and it’s heading toward the edge of a cliff.

BAM

A jolt of consciousness rushed through me, popping my eyelids open.

The clouds? I can’t feel them anymore.

I knelt on the grass and fished a lightweight sweater from deep within my bag. I held it up to the breeze, letting the air rush beneath, lifting it like an open parachute. Slowly, my makeshift sit-up-on floated to the ground. A perfect spot, a perfect day. Me and the perfect sun.

A perfect paradox.

At least…at last…

Solitude. My best friend. My worst enemy.

I peeled the sticker off a green apple and used my skirt to rub away invisible gook. A big, juicy bite. Kind of sweet, but mostly sour. It stung my tongue. Shit. Nothing tastes good anymore.

Chewing slowly, I flipped through pages of the latest read. Absorbing nothing, pretending everything. Going through the motions. Fake it til you make it! Mind blank. It’s all about attitude! Body aches. Smile!

The Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Bullshit. It had been on my list for a while and I had high expectations. I thought it would put things into perspective. Tell me something I hadn’t heard before. I thought it might enlighten me. Or maybe I just needed it to.

But it didn’t. It pissed me off. Women destroying order and corrupting society. Disease. Pain. Suffering. Justified by…karma. The solution to everything: meditation. Depressed? Go meditate. Go meditate? Go fuck yourself.

I used to eat this stuff up. It’s strange the way things change. In one instant…everything can change.

Maybe I just got a bogus translation. Maybe I am just a mean, nasty rotten little hag. Maybe this is karma. Maybe it’ll make more sense the next time around…

 

Maybe sometimes things just don’t make sense.

 

Completely absorbed in my own melancholy, annoyed with this idiot book. As close to content as I could muster.

Then I felt it. Something strange. An unexpected whisper in your ear. A noise in a dark room. That feeling. I knew you were standing there. I could feel you staring at me.

Careful not to move a hair, hoping the opacity of my shades concealed curiosity beneath…I took a peak.

Thin as a rail, black as night. A style that can only be described as beatnik biker hippy chic. There you were.

Overdressed for the weather. A white tee nearly covered the faded tattoo etched into shriveled triceps. Over it, a black leather vest, covered in patches. Coarse, salt and pepper curls peaked from beneath a matching pageboy cap. The flare of funky jeans over Harley boots. You were an odd juxtaposition of youthful fashion draped over a worn and weathered bag of bones.

Your whole world changed in 1966. And for the world, much had changed since then. But you…you were never able to escape that year. Frozen in time…eternally nineteen. Your body had aged, but your style and your state of mind most certainly had not.

Your knuckles nearly poked through a thin layer of skin as you gripped the top of that shiny, tortoise cane. Aviators over your eyes. A black canon hung around your neck.

Cool as a cucumber, there you were.

“I remember you,” you said.

I remember you, too.

We had met earlier that summer. An uncomfortably hot day. I was reading a book, kneeling beneath a tree. You approached me. You crouched down to my level. I worried your brittle bones might break.

“May I take your picture?”

Muscles, tense. Shoulders rolled in and down, a shield around my heart. I could feel the heat radiating. From the sticky summer air, no. But from my chest.

It never fails.

Embarrassed, upset, awkward or uncomfortable.

Beet red betrays stubborn pride, swallowing my entire body. Sweat practically drips from my brow. I can feel it happening. Instant, intense heat. I can’t fight it. I certainly can’t hide it.

Emotions seep through my pores.

It makes some people uncomfortable. I can tell. You can tell a lot of things about people if you pay close enough attention. The physical manifestation of my anxiety makes them uncomfortable. Maybe it scares them. I think they feel sorry for me.

You could tell what I was thinking.You paid attention.

“When you’re an old man, you need hobbies,” you said. “I like to take pictures, that’s all. It passes the time.”

I stared at you for a moment. You were wearing that same vest. I read your body language. You spelled tired, broken, sad. One of your patches spelled VIETNAM VETERAN in yellow stitching. 

“Fine,” I sighed. “But I’m not posing for you.” I looked down again at my book.

Snap

You crouched down. Again, I feared you might break. You held out your camera so I could see.

And what I saw caught me off guard. “Nice,” was all I said.

But it wasn’t nice.

It was beautiful.

I don’t like having my picture taken. Normally, I would not have let you.

But let’s be honest. Things haven’t been normal for some time now. I haven’t had what most would consider a healthy sense of stranger apprehension or concern for my own wellbeing.

Depression has a way of stripping you of fear. Replacing it with a sort of flat-lined apathy. A sick, calm sense of indifference. You’re no longer phased. It’s not that you’re unaware. You just don’t give a shit. Que sera, sera.

Normally, I’d give a shit. I wouldn’t let strange old men take my picture. But I didn’t give a shit, so there I was in your camera.

“You take good care of yourself now.”

I nodded, not looking up from my book. The letters on the page started to bleedandblurintoeachotherformingonebigblobofunitelligiblemuck.

All I could see was that picture.

You had captured the shadows. The sadness. My dark. And in some bizarre, unexpected way, I saw that it was painfully beautiful. I didn’t fake a smile for you. I didn’t pretend. I just was. And good, bad or scary…being is beautiful.

I lifted up my head and watched you hobble off. Searching for the things only sadness can see.

hth


Feb 07
'tis love that makes the world go round, my baby.
charles dickens

Jan 03

The Science: The brain was designed to focus on just one task at a time

do me a favor. if you’re going to read this at all, click the link first, mindfully read the article, then come back and read the post. i know it’s tough resisting the urge to bounce all over the place when internetting. just give it a try. 

thank you huff post for tweeting this article. we (read i) have a tendency to juggle a thousand and one different thoughts/projects/ideas/to do’s/conversations/lists/plans/deadlines/errands/chores/blah/blee/blah/bloos at the same time. throw “emotional frenzy” into the mix and you’ve got one hot mess.

i often find myself apologizing for not listening to someone when they try to start a conversation with me…when i’m intensely focused on something else. it’s not that i’m trying to be rude…it’s that i literally do not hear you.

are we really that impatient that we can’t wait for someone to finish thinking what they’re thinking, reading what they’re reading, writing what their writing…engaging in what they’re engaging in before we throw more stimulus at them? are we that self-centered to believe that our question/comment/concern/complaint is really more important the the one being addressed in someone else’s conversation? or worse, when that conversation is being had over the phone? 

it’s great being able to do ten things at once, but is it ever a good thing to tackle ten projects at once? get more shit done in less time. be efficient. how efficient are you when you half ass everything? sure you get things done sooner, but aren’t you just going to have to go back and fix them later when you realize what a sucky job you did? wouldn’t you rather produce quality work…be a good listener…chill the eff out? i know i would. science thinks i should to. 

and thus concludes my rant for the day. namaste, people. 

hth


1
Jan 03
knowing you don’t know is wholeness.
thinking you know is disease.
only by recognizing that you have an illness
can you move to seek a cure.
lao tzu

249
Jan 03

(Source: funeral-wreaths)


Dec 02
because it&#8217;s friday. mow. 

because it’s friday. mow. 


Dec 02

life is rough.


4
Nov 28
paul de gruccio, pump up the volume

paul de gruccio, pump up the volume


1
Nov 28

dear you

janurary 3, 2011. i saw you at the airport.

we were both sitting on the carpet near the corner where the wall meets the window. the one people stare blankly through while waiting in their designated terminal. there’s nothing terribly interesting to see—loading and unloading, suitcases being roughed up by men who, if i were to venture a guess, hate their jobs. landings. lift-offs. something to look at, i suppose. 

we were waiting for flight 606 to chicago. it had been delayed an hour. it was around 4:00 p.m.

i had just sat down and was peeling an orange.

it’s hard to tell sometimes whether a man is laughing or crying. you let out an ambiguous sort of coughing noise. i looked up to see you struggling with something. someone. yourself? you were crying.

you were sobbing. 

you had dirty blonde hair, poorly—perhaps purposefully—cut so that the lines from the clippers could be seen along the sides of your head. like rows of freshly mowed grass. or trails left in carpet by a vacuum.

you were wearing glasses. frames a bit too large for your face. it might have been the look you were going for. you wore a black tee with the letters MVP written in turqoise ink. medium-wash jeans. black high top nikes, their purple swooshes stitched into outer edges and inner tongues.

your skin was an olive tone. or maybe it was more fair, but covered with the dirt colored film of a restless, weary traveler in dire need of a hot shower…a clean shave…a laundromat.

you had on a pair of headphones. the kind that make me think of that paul de gruccio photograph. it’s called pump up the volume. it’s what i think of when i see grown men and women wearing them. the image of big babies walking around in giant headphones makes me smile. 

you were sitting on a sort of maroon-ish quilted blanket. maybe it was a bag. i didn’t notice until you stood up, but you had a tie hanging from the back pocket of your worn out jeans. it was red and it had some sort of cartoon-y character on it.

but what you wore is unimportant.

you affected me that day. a day i often think about. you reminded me that i too have hurt. i too have cried. wailed. uncontrollably. in public. i knew the agony in your sobs. i recognized the pain in your eyes.

i wanted to reach out and touch you. to hold you. tell you it would be okay. tell you it was okay. to feel. to hurt. to cry. i wanted to remind you to breathe. i wanted to give you what i so desperately needed when i, myself, was wearing your black and purple nikes. comfort.

i wanted to tell you that you’d be okay.

or maybe i wanted to know that you would be.

now i want you to know that i am sorry. i am sorry for not offering my consolation. a shoulder, even if you didn’t want it. i am sorry for being too afraid to do what i felt i should. 

if nothing else. at the very least. i want you to know that in a sea of strangers who looked the other way, there was at least one who cared about you. who still thinks about you. wonders who you are. how you are doing. why you were so sad.

i’m sure a lot has changed for you since that day. nothing is the same for me. but there is one thing i’ve kept with me. one thing I believe. one thing I want you to know.

that in a sea of strangers. there is at least one.