Monday, June 17, 2013
“He didn't mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn't matter.”
- Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
I am learning lessons in humility and inner peace this week, one of the harder concepts for me to grasp. I'm constantly rooting around in the attic of my head, kicking up dust and opening boxes. Over-analytical, self-conscious, reflective, introspective - call it what you will, I've heard it described as a great many things (where would we be without labels?). Suffice it to say, peace is always a hard won spoil of my inner war.
There is an unflattering photo of me floating around facebook. I mean, I have taken bad photos (I'm not all that photogenic) but this particular photo is extremely bad. It's one of those candid, frozen-in-time moments when your face is contorted and askew and you're completely unaware someone is taking a photo nearby. My first instinct was to untag and crop the photo so all trace of myself was gone.
But, there was a larger message looming here.
It's incredibly easy to honor the truth of myself when I do something positive, but it's a much harder proposition to appreciate my individuality and uniqueness when it is unflattering. All too many times I've been eager to feed the idea that I'm only good enough when I'm, well, good enough. I'm only worthy when I have achieved, earned, performed, or otherwise fit-in. You can imagine what happens when the negative script kicks in and there is little praise to be found.
I realized, little by little, I have been cropping myself out of the picture. Every time I caved into this manufactured idea that I could only be liked/loved if I had done something to earn it, another part of me disappeared. Soon, precious little of myself remained.
There is an insidious ease by which one can erase oneself, the harder choice is to be Real; to be seen and heard and to work out a casual acceptance as the result of both. I'm certain it's going to be a messy, uncomfortable process. I'm reminded of a scene from Harry Potter in which the nurse chastises the group after Harry broke his arm, "Should've been brought straight to me. I can mend bones in a heartbeat - but growing them back... Regrowing bones is a nasty business."
So, here is to the first step in regrowing some bones.
Rip Van Winkle
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Summer has been slow in arriving. From winter snowstorms earlier in the month, to the delayed bluster and rain of April, it seemed as though summer would never arrive. So, imagine my surprise upon waking to find that the world had been transformed literally over night. Lush foliage, rays of sun, a warm breeze... it feels as though I slept far longer than a few hours overnight.
And other flotsam is stirring; less tangible, less visible things beneath the surface, straining like tiny buds to reach the sun and the surface. Words begin to stir, emerging from cavernous hibernation, coaxed into grumbling consciousness with the promise of new life.
I find my return to the ether of the internet to be one surprisingly complex. Between the constant hum of social media, the tethers of my smartphone, and the lure of media at my fingertips on the web, my 'online' time is stretched incredibly thin as it is. It will have to take a concerted effort to pencil in a moment to sit down with my thoughts and mold them into something worth sharing. I hope, as time marches on, it'll become second nature to me again.
Polyphonic Sounds of Silence
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Why is a raven like a writing desk?
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I've sat here for the better part of three hours, alternating between meaningful quotes, an essay about abstract expressionism, and the infuriating white background of a blank page.
The words remain obstinately out of reach; a punctuating testimony to my abandonment of writing for the past two years. I always assumed it was like riding a bike: once you learned, you'd never forget. How different I am finding the reality.
So around and around we go, in this exhausting dance of near-starts, almost-beginnings, and discarded narratives.
I am certain it will take a few messy introductions to find my footing again.
Until then, my writing will be that guy at the cocktail party, nervously sipping his second martini, anxiously hoping someone will save him from his own awkwardness.
Sunday, January 30, 2011Reinventing yourself is a ghastly business
...or that is what I would imagine I would say, years from now, in some nondescript airport bar where everyone is escaping to or from something else It seems somehow fitting, meaningful in its own way.
The constant tight rope walk between giving and giving up, the way sometimes they occupy the same gasp of breath. The way transformation never really prepares you for that which is left behind, the pain in growth. It builds on its own momentum until things pass by in a glaring blur of light and sound.
The way every day decisions take on larger than life meaning, the realization that we are sculpted and molded in each blink of an eye. It's the slow build-up, the rising crest of an orchestral interlude. Funny how change always implies a surge forwards.
The metamorphosis of the mundane.
I've always clung so tightly to these granules of chaotic inspiration, buoying me along the tides. These revelatory moments as the world becomes stilled, blanketed in the night sky not yet dawn. This place of in-between, ripened with the possibility of imagination. The future and the past colliding in this hour.
For once I feel prepared for the unblemished dawn.
Thursday, January 27, 2011I have a confession: I hate exercising.
It hasn't really been a problem up until now. I've always had a quick eye roll at the ready for the lifers of the gym, the ones whose rippling biceps were the size of Rhode Island. It seemed like such a practice in vanity to me, and I was determined not to get involved. The irony that I said all this while having a flat stomach and little body fat was completely lost on me.
Fast forward five years.
The process of getting ready now includes finding a pair of jeans I can actually fit into, or at least clasp the button. I stubbornly refuse to buy a larger pair of pants. It's like I want to believe that, magically, the weight will melt off or somehow redistribute itself in my sleep. And in the meantime, I am biding my time.
I wouldn't consider myself overweight, for once I am actually at a healthy weight, but I am desperately out of shape. I have what some have affectionately referred to as a muffin top, and it basically drives me insane. Of course, the practical approach would include getting involved in an exercise regimen and monitoring my diet. But, in case we haven't met yet, I'm anything but practical.
That isn't to say, I haven't had good intentions - I've started cooking at home more. Instead of indulging in truffle macaroni and cheese, I'm preparing organic kale salad with naval oranges and walnuts. It's one of the few concessions I have been able to incorporate into my life on a regular basis.
The exercise routine still remains a struggle.
Mind you, at the height of my battle with depression, I used exercise as an outlet to purge all the angst frothing to the surface. I ran about six days a week for an hour or more - with weights. I had lost so much weight at that time I was put on calorie drinks just to keep up with what I was losing. My cardiovascular system was in the best shape but the rest of me wasn't doing so well.
So I stopped. And picking up that particular torch has not been easy. Yesterday, I unrolled the yoga mat and popped in a disc and got about 10 minutes into the routine, barely enough time to warm-up before I abandoned the project.
There is some inner resistance that I need to pinpoint and overcome.
It's a humbling experience, to be on the other side of the struggle with weight. Before, I couldn't manage to keep a pound on, now it feels like I have too many. A bit of a goldilocks dilemma. But, it isn't so much the weight itself, like I said, I'm at a really healthy weight for the first time, it's just about toning and being active at this point. But it's still weird to have to think about these things for the first time in my life.
What I am lacking is motivation, at least when it comes time to sit down and devote an hour to a yoga routine. I have plenty of motivation when I am at my wits end with trying to hide my stomach underneath a sweater or sucking my stomach in until I am nearly out of breath. It's completely obscene.
I suppose a lot of it has to do with re-imagining myself as a different person, in this case physically different. A person who has, up until now, been completely foreign to me. It's about reconciling the me I strove so hard to get back to and the me I am today and trying to work through the dissonance between the two.
Or maybe, just maybe, I should just find some way to get through an hour yoga set and let the rest sort itself out.
much ado about nothing
Wednesday, January 19, 2011there are only so many entries i can begin with an apology. i meant to write, i really did.
i have been nibbling around the crust of life, prim and proper, one pinky extended outward. i owe most of my outings to a parade of first dates, the type when there is the clatter of silverware and every time someone opens their mouth the sound of uncomfortable rustling fabric comes spilling out.
i believe i am beginning to become quite adept at navigating the awkward. the universal signal of food in the teeth, the soft, slow spreading grin and gentle eyes in between words compacted together to fill the silence. i've mastered stirring the drink and the lean-in. sometimes i am a million miles away, buoyed only by the faint twinkle of champagne bubbles glowing in the glass; others, clinging to a shipwreck moment.
i wish i still had a vocabulary for such things. the cleft hearted pitter patter of possibilities, the white knuckled do i or don't i kiss as the velvet curtains shuffle closed on the evening. my phone overflows with alphabetized dinners and drinks. most of them i have forgotten.
it's been interesting, an adjective i fall upon when nothing else rises to the frothy surface. some day i might collect these moments, spread them out in the late summer moonlight until they become nouns, adjectives, and verbs all at once.
for now the static will suffice.
Sunday, January 9, 2011behind my eyes there is a foggy stew condensing, puddling into murky images of last night's revelry - effervescing lights, the sanguine humour of the word latina as it rolls of the proprietor's tongue, a champagne cork bobbing listlessly in a bucket of ice. beyond the windows the city hums electric, punctuated by the staccato movement of traffic at the nearby light. i become jello and let the music inside reverberate through me, causing me to sway. there are stories, like keys, jangling in my pocket. i lease myself to the night, claiming it later at the coat check - an ending that seems more like a beginning.