Showing posts with label deepities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label deepities. Show all posts

slightly dirty sweaters

I was watching an old woman knitting on the subway today, when suddenly she dropped her yarn. It rolled a good five feet, unravelling on the dirty floor of the train; everyone's eyes were drawn to the bright red ball.

Someone nearby handed the yarn back to her. She nodded a thank you, and brushed it off before taking back up her knitting needles.

She couldn't possibly have gotten all the filth of the subway car off of it. The dust and debris will be woven into whatever sweater or scarf she was making. Something no less sweet for the accident suffered during its creation.

It is impossible to always give love that is pure and untainted with mistakes or misapplied intention. Slightly dirty sweaters still keep us warm, though.

your next mission

This morning I posted my ski boots on Craigslist. They hadn't seen the light of a snowy day in a very, very long time. They say that if you don't use something for six months, you should get rid of it. I hadn't used these in six years. Plus they were a gift from my former in-laws, a pair of individuals with whom I have zero pleasant associations.

Terence hates getting rid of things. Just a few days ago I went on a clean/purge spree and he rescued a weird, small, mysterious halogen bulb from the trash where I'd tossed it. "What are you doing?" I said. "We don't even know what that goes to. It doesn't have a regular screw-in base."

"It must be from one of your lights," he said. "I'll return it to Samy's Camera. They can use it."

I gaped at him, trying to comprehend. "What are you talking about? You don't even know what it's for! You're going to drive forty five minutes and spend gas money returning what's probably a five dollar bulb? They're going to look at you like you're crazy." I didn't add what I wanted to, which was that if he's got forty-five minutes to spare, I know some baseboards that could use wiping. Physician heal thyself, or some shit.

But that's just another inverted mirror we see each other in. Hoarder vs. purger. Every time I start a new pile for Goodwill, Terence worries over my discards. "But what if you need that?" he'll say, watching me stuff a tutu into the bag. "What if you go to, I don't know, a tutu party?"

This exasperates me. He'd probably say it's optimism at the heart of that thought, but I see fear. Fear of letting go, of moving ahead into the unknown. Of saying goodbye to tangible, touchable remnants of good times. And anyway, a tutu party? Yeah, maybe. But packing for every random contingency in life sounds like a really cumbersome way to move through it.

He asked whether I'd made the Craigslist ad funny, as I usually try to do. (In college I posted a flyer in my apartment building's laundry room trying to unload a fish tank. "From non-smoking home, housed non-smoking fish." I got a call a day later from a guy in the complex who didn't want the fish tank, but wanted to meet the girl who wrote "non-smoking fish". I had a boyfriend, but the lesson stuck. Funny gets love.)

Not really, I texted back. Though I did include a crack about obviously not skiing much lately, so I sent him the link so he could read my post.

I like the intrigue of why you used them just once in 2009. :)

LOL. I should imply a torrid affair with a ski instructor. Brief but torrid.

Super spy on an Arctic mission. You held onto them awaiting your next mission.

I posted some other stuff, too. Pieces of another me that don't fit anymore. I'll get pennies on the dollar relative to what I paid for them, but their value lies in the memories they made me, anyway.

Sometimes it's hard to be honest with yourself about what you no longer need. Hard, but necessary.

headbangers bawl

I am at a goth punk rock show. I am at a goth punk rock show because a friend of mine has just run the LA Marathon, and we are celebrating. We are celebrating at this goth punk rock show because I, in charge of the evening's festivities, didn't realize it would be quite so goth punk.

My friend (around whose neck is the race medal I insisted he wear, and which I am having great fun shining the flashlight of my phone on as we walk into darkened bars, bragging to anyone who'll listen about his 482nd place finish, which among 26k runners translates to the top ~1%) is an '80s music fanatic. It's Sunday; there's not a lot going on; I thought it would be more new wave and less headbangers ball. I tried.



But we are making the most of it, the three of us. We venture gamely into the throng and watch one and a half sets, from a lineup of five bands. We don't understand a goddamn word of any of the songs. We joke a little, but we're careful not to be obnoxious and disrespect the scene, which from the seriousness of the faces around us, is clearly not to be disrespected. I take notes. Literally. On my phone, in two or three recesses while I withdraw from the crowd and slink off to the shadows, so as not to be disruptive. These are the ones I've since run through the filter of sobriety:

Everything is smoke, black, and damaged hair. 

Save for some halfhearted head bobbing, no one is dancing. Wait, one guy. Thrashing with his head down. The others make room for him but none seem interested in joining. Everyone looks so terribly sad, so glazed. Is this really as holy for them as EDM is for me? 

When you find yourself in the wrong church, you may as well see what you can learn from the prayers. If only I could make them out.

On stage: a waif-like blonde tries to seduce a microphone that wants nothing to do with her. She twists and dips around it, but any softness in her voice has been bullied down by drums and screeching guitar. I want to give her a cupcake. Some sugar, anyway. She looks like sugar, spun and spun and spun into near oblivion. 

A background scrim with visuals evoking fire or blood - or bloody fire. Just flashing blobs of light, really. (I've no business judging, though. The graphic I gawked at, captivated, two nights prior at Eric Prydz? A grotesquely skeletal face, gaping mouth and hollow socket eyes. The creepier the animation, the better IMO.)

Watching from the fringes, it's a sea of ripped denim and slouchy jersey. I studiously avoid eye contact on the way to the restroom, in my pencil skirt and tennis white pointelle sweater. Fucking white pointelle. What an obscenity I am in here.

---

We call a Lyft before the third set starts.

blues / clues

I have these to share from the part of my weekend that was good:

She doesn't have eyes. She sold them for the hair. 
Oh, does my alien arm frighten you? HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL I'M ATTACHED TO IT
I've just realized the pointlessness of the previous three decades of my life. Ugh, so embarrassing when that happens. 
Gearing up for my turn at Chameleon Bowling

I have this to share from the part of my weekend that was not:

I call it "50/50 probability". It's embiggenable!

And I have this to share from the part of my brain that stopped developing at Intellect Level: Teenage Lit Mag:


Hope everyone's weekend was just as fucking exciting!!11!

upcoming

I'm fascinated by dark emotion. By the heavy feelings we are taught to suppress - to contain and manage. Anger, fear, envy, shame, hatred. We police these impulses strictly, whipping them like lion tamers, convincing ourselves that we're in control. But they remain wild and, to some degree, intractable. And I think there's a kind of honesty that comes along with their release. That honesty is what interests me.

If some of my posts seem a little weird, that's probably where I'm at: in the folded-over space between propriety and positivity. It's pure and it's intriguing, and sometimes I get sick of pretending it doesn't exist.

the hassle of the haul

Gifting is such an interesting cultural phenomenon. Bestowing our loved ones with something by which to remember us is how we, as a society, have decided is the best way to express affection and gratitude. But when you think about it, it's actually pretty presumptuous to burden someone with some thing that you've decided has value, meaning, beauty. To essentially say to them, I'm giving you this physical item with the expectation that you will carry it with you throughout your entire life, because I think it's special - and because I think I know you well enough to know that you'll think it's special, too. I expect you to pack it and unpack it, every time you change homes. I expect you to find a place for it in your life, for the next several decades.

It's not that I'm so cynical and minimalist, though I cop to both in small measures. It's just that as a lifelong apartment dweller (whose residences, by and large, have gotten progressively smaller over the years), I think about this a lot. I have to, because every single time I move, I must assess the value of my belongings. What's worth the effort? What's worth the expense?

The other night, Terence and I spent about an hour going through several boxes and bags he'd carted over from his house but had yet to go through, because they were an overwhelming jumble of essentials, gifts, junk, and emotionally-charged things that he'd been lugging around for several years and was none too sure he needed anymore. We all have that stuff. The stuff we're keeping for one reason or another, about whose necessity in our lives we're conflicted. The stuff we just can't bring ourselves to ditch, but when pressed, whose presence in our closets and cabinets we can't really justify.

It's much easier to be stoic about the things we buy or acquire ourselves. It's difficult to part with the things others have saddled us with, especially when they were given in love. Thanks in part to my mother's shopping habits, which clued me in at an early age to the dangers of hoarding, I, however, am pretty ruthless about it.

It started right about the time I was headed to college. My mother took it upon herself to go scouting for deals at discount outlets and thrift stores, on things I was going to need as an independent adult: home goods, bedding, kitchen items, etc. And while it was kind of her, and her heart was in the right place, I knew her - and the shopper's gene I inherited from her - well enough to know that she was feeding her spending addiction, as well. Calling out those two birds, one stone doesn't make me any less grateful - though as a teenager, gratitude wasn't my strong suit. Opinions were. And I had opinions about the silver flatware set she scored for me at Tuesday Morning, and the Pfaltzgraff serving bowls she unearthed in the shelves of Goodwill, and those opinions were basically, Ugh, do not want. Would rather pick out my own.

Still, I kept the things she chose for me, and I lugged them from my first apartment to my second and third and fourth and so on, until I earned enough money, and enough time had passed, that replacing them didn't seem like such an insult. But years of schlepping several dozen pounds of wares that I never asked for in the first place left an impression on me, and I vowed never to give anyone any thing, unless I was at least ninety percent sure they'd want it, or it was cheap enough to discard guilt-free.

I've penned a lot of silly, personalized birthday poems, for this reason. I've read long-winded toasts at parties, filled with inside jokes and sentiments intended to show their honoree that I know and love what makes them them. I've written and performed mini plays (one a few years ago with popsicle-stick puppets), invented games, created goofy graphics and flyers - anything to make the recipient feel special and understood as a person, without burdening them with a material good they might have no use or desire for.

I've done all this because I hate the hassle of the haul, not because I know for certain they do. And I've reached such master status at remorseless purging that I'm happy to oversee and advise on the efforts of others, including the boyfriend with whom I just moved in. Because it's a lot easier to raise my eyebrows at the fourth Ganesh idol he pulls from the carton than to direct my critical gaze to the bottom shelf of my console, where a sticker maker I've used once in the past five years sits laughing at my hypocrisy.

When we were finished, and while he was waiting for me to change so we could go grab a celebrate-the-decluttering bite to eat, he grabbed his ukelele and started strumming. "See?" I lit up. "Do you see how getting rid of actual physical stuff clears the way mentally, makes you want to create something to fill that void?"

I had no idea what the fuck I was talking about, and still don't, but it sounded true-ish and like a good justification for the donate/sell piles we'd rather hastily created, so I was definitely enthusiastic about the idea. So was he, I think, because he smiled and kept playing.

The ukelele is not going anywhere. The sticker maker, however, is living on borrowed time. I mean, no way am I carting that thing around to more than, say, the next four apartments...

whiskey vs. tea

Our experience of art is always colored by the things that make us who we are. Our preferences and prejudices, our fears and values, our desires and dislikes, even our beliefs about ourselves - we bring all of that to the table when we read a book, or look at a painting, or listen to a song. We are moved or offended or amused or frightened according to this complex and ever evolving prepackage of perception.

I think that reading blogs is no different. If, when I find myself impassioned (positively or negatively) after reading a post, I take a moment to consider why I have so many feels about it - it usually has at least something to do with me. I hate to see the intimate family moments of children essentially sold on mommy blogs...but maybe because not so deep down I realize I'm being similarly exploitive with my loved ones, and by displacing my disgust, I'm avoiding having to own up to that? Then there are the bloggers whose values run so counter to my own - whose personalities so repel me - that no matter what they say or do, I will always find fault with them. On the other hand, there are bloggers who I know next to nothing about, but by virtue of some shared experience (say, depression), I will root for unconditionally...until they disappoint me, that is - and then I'll have probably some feels about that, too.

I've also noticed that when someone with whom I personally identify experiences a major life change (move, new job, marriage, baby), the ways in which I relate to them change - and sometimes weaken - and therefore affect how I perceive them. This is true for both people I know in real life, and those I follow online. (I think that's why reading novels is so exciting to me; I'm taken on an adventure with only the hope that where we end up is someplace that both the protagonist and I are satisfied with.)

The best I can do, in this space, is be authentically me while I explore my own ideas about the world and experiment with creative ways to convey those ideas; while I share the experiences that make up my days, months, and years. This blog is an intellectual playground and an occasional self therapy session - nothing more. It isn't a score card of my life's wins and losses. It's not a reflection of my worth as a person. It's a place where some of the details of my life, and some of my thoughts about that life, are shared. And I have to remember that everyone reading along will come to my words preloaded with their own ideas about the world.

The lens through which I am viewed is, as of today, 364 posts long. I've had 364 posts with which to make myself understood and liked and respected so far. Based on the feedback I've gotten, I'm mostly happy with the job I've done. I think most of the critical feedback has been fair, even when it's been tough. But that's why I love blogging so much; I have the power to keep developing the picture of my life, in whatever ways I choose. That's the challenge I thrive on: Can you keep sharing your life in a way that's compelling and fun to follow along with? And more importantly: Can you keep growing as a person, so that the things you have to write about are more interesting, useful, and relatable?

I hope so. I want that. But I also saw a quote today that really struck me for some reason. "I'd rather be someone's shot of whiskey than everyone's cup of tea."

Maybe I'm whiskey, or maybe I'm tea, or maybe I'm one with a chaser of the other. I don't know. But I do know if I could, I'd throw a huge party and invite every single of one you to come and enjoy an open bar stocked with both (and plenty of other libations), so I could at least say thanks for caring long enough to decide whether I'm the drink for you.

Cheers.

empathy

Empathy is my emotional miracle drug. Correctly applied, it can resolve almost any external conflict I find myself in, and many internal ones as well (most of which, if I think about it, have their genesis in some external source, anyway).

It's the ultimate injection of fresh perspective. Slip out of your own shoes and into another's, and suddenly it's a lot harder to be angry with them.

Sometimes it takes imagination. It can be difficult to generate compassion for someone that I don't like, or whom I feel has hurt me. But if I make the effort to truly understand what life is probably like for that person, based on what I know of his or her daily challenges, I find my own negativity toward them suddenly feels cheap, ugly, and unfair. And once I'm forced to face that, I've essentially shamed myself out of my right to those negative emotions. Take it easy on so-and-so, Ellie. It's probably a lot harder to be him/her than you realize. 

Then poof! Gone are the negative vibes, clearing a space in my head for, well, anything better.

It's a pretty handy little trick. I just wish I remembered to use it more often.

two away zone

I'm having a rough night tonight. I'm so, so sick of being housebound with two bad feet. Yes, two. A couple of weeks ago, I managed to jack up my right foot, I think from all the hopping around on it? I thought it would feel better in a day or two, but instead it got progressively worse. And then I spent all of last weekend running around town on it, going out to dinner, to bars, to the pool, and by Sunday night, it was murder to even stand on it.

Anyway, I know it's just a matter of a few more weeks, so I'm trying not to be a whiner. But these little demons in my head keep whispering things that make me scared, all these what-ifs about improper healing, about permanent damage or chronic pain, about the possibility of not being able to run again.

And I'm at that point where I know I have to ignore these demons and just have faith that everything's going to be fine.

Faith, I have come to realize, is nothing more than the decision to anticipate a positive outcome. And I like thinking of it this way, because it gives me a sense of control where otherwise I felt none. At the very least, I can choose to anticipate good things vs. bad. That choice is mine to make. It's a small thing, but it's something to hold on to.

The one thing that invariably overcomes negative feelings, for me, is taking action of some kind. Action beats the shit out of worry. But there are occasionally times when there really is no action I can take. This is one of those times. Inaction is, in fact, my only and best option.

And it sucks.

---

New to me, music-wise:

The Eastern Sea (The Match, America)
James Vincent McMorrow (Sparrow and the Wolf, Hear The Noise That Moves So Soft and Low)
The One AM Radio (In a City Without Seasons, Sunlight)
The Neighborhood (How)
Radical Face (Always Gold)
Whitley (More Than Life)
Beta Radio (Where Losers Do)
Turtle Giant (Dry Eye, Something That You Need, We Were Kids)
The Helio Sequence (Back To This, Downward Spiral, Shed Your Love, Lately, October, Hallelujah)

There's also a new Washed Out album! Haven't listened to it yet though.

---

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, with the following sentence stuck in my brain: No one ever had their heart impounded for parking it in the wrong place. 

I've never had that happen. The words were just stuck there, and wouldn't budge. I almost felt breathless when I woke up, it seemed like such an urgent thought. I grabbed my phone and typed it into a note, but beyond that, I don't know what to make of it. I don't even know if it's true. I think I've had my heart impounded a few times, and it was hell getting it back.

Anyway, for fun, I half-baked this up in the Paper FiftyThree app:

the strength of my stomach

A few days ago, I completed a task that had been assigned to me a good two months prior: some paperwork related to my inheritance that my attorney needs in order to finish the estate administration. I stalled and stalled and procrastinated with the passion of an undergraduate English major who's read the book, loved it in fact, but who despises/fears research and is therefore hamstrung by the "outside sources" requirement, and who would rather blow the paper off until she's on her second extension, which she obtained from her all-too-compassionate professor by utilizing a cunning mixture of half-truths and appeals to pathos.

A vaguely familiar feeling, in other words.

My resistance to this assignment was all twisted up in emotions that made it easy for me to minimize the shame I felt in failing to just fucking do it. Like, I really resent that my brother has done precisely fuck-all to help with any of this, and here I am about to write him a six figure check. Anger, in other words, with a deep and storied genesis. Also: finishing this final chapter of things related to my father's death makes it bracingly clear that he is, in fact, quite dead and gone. Grief, in other words, that creeps through the crack of a door I keep thinking is good and shut.

Plus I just plain dreaded it, because it promised to be colossally boring and tedious - and I wasn't even sure how to go about it.

Anyway, carrying around the pressure of needing to do this paperwork has been, for the past couple of months, like toting around my own personal storm cloud. No matter how bright the skies around me, every time I looked up with a smile to take in the sunshine, bam! A bolt of lightning would crack above my head, and the downpour would start. Oh, you think you deserve to feel good and happy, do you Ellie? THINK AGAIN, you lazy, incompetent girl. 

A normal person would just do what needed to be done. A normal person would draw the logical conclusion that Hey, this feeling sucks. I can make this feeling go away by just doing it. But when it comes to things that I'm anxious or fearful about, normalcy isn't even a card in my deck. (Queen of Neurosis, yes. That one is always somewhere near the top...)

Well, something shifted inside of me the other night, and I think I just got tired of how exhausting it was to feel that anxiety. So I pulled out all the documents I needed, jacked myself up on caffeine, and invited my friends Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane over to keep me company while I worked. And then I sat down and faced my fears.

What I thought would take me days to finish took about two and a half hours, max. Fucking ridiculous. And the worst part? All the relief and release of pressure that I thought finishing it would afford me were nowhere to be seen. I just felt stupider, in fact, than I had before. Like, Uh, well, good job Ellie. You made a mountain out of a mole hill, completely unnecessarily. Maybe now that you've tasted adulthood, we can move on to embracing other responsibilities, too. 

Though for added lolz, I apparently didn't do it right, anyway. My lawyer told me this morning that it needs to be x, not y, so at least I get to sulk over the semi-failure a little bit while I fix it.

In the past year, I feel like I've made some breakthroughs, emotionally. I have true self love for the first time in a long time, and I've gotten much better at self-soothing, and looking for comfort within. Time was, when a depressive spell - or just plain grief - would knock me down, I'd clutch at anyone around me, nearly drowning them in my pain. Now I'm able to just sit there at the bottom of the rabbit hole, concentrate on breathing, and know that it'll pass. That it may be a bad day or bad night, but it's not a bad life. And self love has a big stake in this, because it's what allows me to say, Hey, it's ok to be you Ellie, with the extra serving of saddies you've been built with. It's just who you are, and part of your experience of this world. It sucks sometimes, but that sensitivity to life has a lovely silver lining that, at other times, buoys you up to unbelievable heights. So just breathe. You're ok. 

(Though if you think I wouldn't like to be laying with my head in my mother's lap and hearing those words from her, ha!)

That self love and self acceptance have been tools to help me puzzle through other challenges in my life, too. Like determining my boundaries with other people - being able to say, No, I can't do that, or No, I won't accept that behavior, because it compromises my emotional well being and damn it, I deserve to be well. It's also what allows me to forgive myself bad decisions of the past, and stop beating myself up over what's in the rear view mirror.

So I'm trying to channel that newfound strength into areas I still struggle with - such as estate paperwork that I dread, and other things that sit on my plate, staring up at me balefully like overcooked brussel sprouts that I would much rather feed to the dog than choke down with my now-warm milk. Because there's nobody else to make sure I eat those brussel sprouts which, I have to admit, are chock full of nutrition. There's no one left at the table but me. Just me, staring those motherfuckers down. They're smirking at me, doubting the strength of my stomach. Hell, I'm doubting the strength of my stomach.

But somewhere deeper than that, there's something inside that's rooting for me, saying No, they don't taste good. Yeah, they're mushy and bland. But they're good for you, and they'll make you healthy, and healthy isn't necessarily a quick-fix sort of happy like you're addicted to, but it's a very, very important kind of happy nonetheless. And you deserve to be happy, because you're awesome.

Jesus. This post may constitute a new record for most tortured metaphor, sorry. But come on - they're brussel sprouts. They were totally asking for it.

cowboy boots

Every once in a while, the subway car will start to move, but I won't feel a thing. There's a disorienting and slightly nauseating few seconds where it feels like the entire world is moving around us, while the train stays still. While I stay still. Then I realize it's just an optical illusion - the train on the opposite platform has started to leave the station, giving me the brief, false impression of personal momentum.

This is what depression sometimes feels like: an inability to distinguish my own inertia from the progress of the world around me. I can't tell if everything is moving past and beyond me just because I'm still for the moment, or if I actually am moving forward, and just can't tell yet.

--- 

Recalibration is such an emotive, empowering concept to me right now. To shift the standard, to reset the bar according to my own scale. Zero goes there. Ten goes there. Negative ten goes there. I can take control of my experience of some input, therefore getting a clear idea of what output I can expect. 

---

The other day I bought a plain white, crew neck t-shirt. Unbelievably, it was the first time in over fifteen years that I've done that. I've had a couple of otherwise white graphic tees, an off-white, v-neck tee, a sheer, white long sleeve v-neck layering tee, even a few plain white men's v-necks for working out. But this was the first completely plain white, short-sleeve women's crew neck tee I've purchased in nearly two decades. WTF.

I'm obsessed with it. I want to wear it every day. I love how bright and clean it looks against the grime of downtown - against the all-dark uniform of so many of its inhabitants. It's so quiet that it practically screams. It's ironic without being so, because how the hell can a white t-shirt have anything ironic to say? And because I'm relaxed and happy in it, I know it probably looks better on me than shirts I paid three times as much for. 

I love wearing something so absurdly simple, in a city that's anything but. It's like turning in a blank sheet of paper, five minutes into the essay exam. Everyone in the class glances up, nervous and embarrassed for me. She knows she has to write something, doesn't she? She's going to fail if she doesn't at least try...

Anyway, I realized how apt a metaphor this is for the way I live my life. I refuse to let anything be simple and easy. I refuse to do what's best for me. I embellish, needlessly. I complicate. I choose poorly. I choose too much. 

I need more plain white tees in my closet life. 

---

Being rejected is like jumping into a cold swimming pool. At first it's unbearable, and all you want to do is get out, to escape the sting. But if you just keep moving and breathing, after few minutes it becomes tolerable. Pretty soon you don't notice the cold as much. And after a while, if you continue to swim, you forget how miserable you were just a little while prior. 

---

I dreamt the other night that I was standing on a street corner with two middle-aged men, both cowboys. They wore dusty jeans, stetsons, and shiny new boots. Their faces were well-lined and tanned, but handsome. I felt very young and fresh next to them. 

One of the men wanted me to dirty up his boots for him. He was afraid he wouldn't be taken seriously as a cowboy unless his boots showed signs of wear. 

For some reason, this invitation felt like the most erotically charged proposition I'd ever received. But I welcomed it.

I decided that the only way to properly break in this man's boots was to stand on them, and grind the soles of my own street-filthy sneakers against them. I stepped carefully onto the tops of the man's feet, gripping his shoulders for balance. He put his hands around my waist and held me while I twisted my dirty shoes onto his clean ones, pivoting back and forth, left and right. I felt tremendous joy, not just because it was such a silly, childishly fun thing to do, but because it was working so well. I could see the smears of dirt dulling his boots. All this time, the other man just watched us in silence.

I looked up at the man holding me, and I laughed, delighted by our bizarre dance. The expression on his face was one of utter charm and beguilement, and it made me feel alluring and beautiful. I looked at the other man; he was smiling at me, too. The way they looked at me made me feel like I was some exotic creature from another time and place. An angel - no, a nymph. Something magical they'd lucked upon, that was going to give them exactly what they wanted.

It was then that I woke up, feeling intensely aroused. And thirsty. 

Weirdest dream I've had in recent memory. 

frivolous

Suffering from depression is like being handed a closed carton of eggs every morning when I wake up. I have no idea whether, when I open it, there'll be a dozen perfect eggs, or if they'll be broken, all jagged flakes of shell and yellow goo.

I never know if I'm going to have anything to cook with, or just a fresh mess to clean up.



A small dose of cynicism is a good antidote to naivete, but a large dose is fatal to rare and beautiful things like faith, wonder, and magic.



I feel like every time the ATM asks me if I want a receipt, what it's really saying is, Do you want a tangible reminder of this financial indiscretion? No? Didn't think so. Please take your cash and enjoy it, you frivolous woman.



Dating someone is like trying to guess how they like their coffee, and then bringing them a cup of it. You have no idea if they take cream and sugar, or how much, or if they prefer it black. You're going into it completely blind, just hoping and gambling that they like it as sweet and creamy - or not - as you do, because that would make it so much easier to share.



Scratchers tickets depress me. All that hope, hanging on a gaudy, flimsy little card covered with promises and dollar signs. The mindlessness of the challenges - tic tac toe, three of a kind, match the symbols. The grimy little pile of dust that collects when you rub it with a coin's edge. The way that people just go ahead and play at the register, not even bothering to bring them home. It's such a non-event.



One person's principled is another person's sanctimonious, and that's a really good thing to keep in mind when talking to someone you don't know very well, because there's a world of difference between the two.



There's nothing noble or honorable about loyalty for loyalty's sake. If you're loyal to someone, it should be because they exhibit qualities you respect and aim for yourself. Loyalty should be earned by demonstrating character and integrity. It shouldn't be given away lightly, and certainly not by virtue of association.

criticism

Receiving criticism is like having someone come into your home, uninvited, and hang a photograph of you on the wall. If the criticism is private, it's hung somewhere personal, like your bedroom. If it's public, it's hung somewhere everyone can see, like your living room.

You can ignore it all you like. You can walk back and forth past it and pretend it's not there. But it doesn't go anywhere, even if you cover it up with another picture - one you like better. It's still underneath.

But if you want to lead an examined life - if you want to be self-aware and grow - you'll look at it closely. You'll examine the subject (you), the composition (the context), and the perspective (who took it).

Sometimes you see that it's just a lousy photo. It's poorly framed, or so blurry that you and your surroundings are unrecognizable. It doesn't reflect who you are at all. In that case, you can just throw it away, like you would any bad picture.

Sometimes it's pretty good, and you can definitely identify yourself in it. And while it might not be the most flattering shot of you, you have to admit it captures some of your features fairly well.

And sometimes when you look at it, you see it's not a photograph at all. It's a mirror. And it's up to you how long and hard you look at it.

The trick is to be honest with yourself, about how good, clear, and accurate an image has been hung on your wall. And if you find that multiple people are coming again and again to hang the exact same, unflattering shot of you, it might be time to give the world something different to photograph.

wrong left turns

Depression combined with insomnia is like being locked in a room until morning, with some of your favorite and most familiar things. Only, they're all broken, and you have no means with which to fix them.



Optimism: my life is a series of wrong left turns that took me to the right place. Pessimism: every road is a dead end, and I'm out of gas, anyway. Defeatism: fuck it, I'm going to pull over and wait for a tow truck.



Have you ever cooked something that stuck to the bottom of the pot? You scrub and scrub as soon as you're done, but you can't get it clean. All you can do is wait while it soaks, until what's been burned breaks off and floats to the surface. Only then can you rinse it away and cook again.

That's what some breakups are like.



Sometimes I wish there was an afterlife, because my dad would have been chilling in the waiting room with Neil Armstrong, Ernest Borgnine, Nora Ephron, and Phyllis Diller. He wouldn't have been bored.



If you write the invitations in disappearing ink, don't be surprised when no one shows up to your party.

peacotums

Stuff I've thought and seen this week:

They should sell that silvery stuff they use on Scratchers tickets. In a small bottle with a brush, a la Wite-Out. Think of the possibilities. Love letters, telegrams, resumes. STD test results. Newspapers could make obituaries a lot more interesting.

Been walking around Little Tokyo a lot lately:





There are, like, 27 varietals of hot pepper, but basically one kind of banana. This seems unjust. I love bananas, and I'd love more kinds to choose from; I do not think I am alone in this. A sweeter one, maybe, or a softer one. Fuck, how about a blue one? Who wouldn't love to peel and eat a blue banana? But we just have the one: yellow, tantalizingly short window of ripeness, bruises easily. Also, why do all the hybrid fruits sound like painful geriatric afflictions? Grapples. Pluots. Peacotums.

Just discovered The Lumineers. Awesome debut album.

Had coffee with C. a few days ago, and he brought his girl. She seemed less than thrilled that Chaucer was allowed the dregs of my caramel macchiato:





Watched The Woman. Holy shit. If it was just slightly less gratuitous, it would make for a great feminist reading. Lots of interesting things going on there, for the strong-stomached. Also - great soundtrack.

The summer concert series has started in Pershing Square. A few nights ago was Berlin. Went to check it out:



It's easy to settle for pretty good, where relationships are concerned. Lots of people do it, for years on end. Lots of mediocre marriages out there. I know. I was in one. But it takes real balls to hold out for amazing. This is what a lifeline-shaped thought looks like, anyway.

K. put up a massive, seven foot projection screen on his patio, for showing movies. Put out an air mattress, pillows, and chairs, and had some people over. We ate pizza and watched Wrath of the Titans, which was LOLzy and fun. The views going to and coming from the Metro station in Silverlake:



bullshift

Things I've thought and seen this week:

I am unnaturally calm in the face of a falling gavel.*

Resentment is a pool you can walk out of anytime; or you can wade deeper into it.



Sometimes I think My Beloved Monster is the most romantic song ever written.

When I was younger, I think I considered my boyfriend's professional success and wealth a reflection of my own self worth. The truth is, they weren't even a reflection of his own.



If you're going to read the writing on the wall, first make sure that it wasn't written in disappearing ink.

Some of my favorite people are the most exasperating. It eventually comes to be something I love about them - rely on, even.



My computer has a bullshift key. I accidentally hit it all the time.

I was wrong about her. She's actually a very sweet and friendly girl, with a hard candy shell. I'm glad I got to know her better.



* I read that a similar concept inspired the film Melancholia - depressed persons already expect the worst from life, so they're more emotionally prepared for tragedy than others.