"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Friday, August 22, 2014

love life; live to love

sometimes we need the reminder:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

can't get enough

i finally finished grading papers for the Conflict Management course i taught earlier this month. started packing up boxes of my stuff today. AND, found the time to record some new uke songs! check them out:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Oh Girl

i wish i didn't suck at bar chords! my piano and violin-trained fingers just don't want to get flat against the finger board like that.


thoughts on Richard Linklater's Boyhood:

  1. the conspicuous role of music in creating atmosphere - like a diegetic time capsule (i'm sure i wasn't the only one in the theater last night who felt transported back to a certain time... for me it was college)
  2. the hair! Patricia Arquette's hair in particular (gorgeous!). the film was such a tremendous feat, can you imagine planning a 12-year filming project, getting all the footage you need, planning ahead enough knowing there will be no going back as time marches ever onward? obviously the actors were playing characters within a story prepared for the film, but the mind-blowing thing about it for me is that over 12 years, there must have been some blurring of those lines. for instance, with the hair, i imagine Linklater had to allow the actors to change their appearance as needed, for personal and professional purposes, so i assume all hair choices were made totally independent of the film. so, that was "Ethan Hawke"'s goatee. and can you imagine playing a "character" for 12 years? i assume, at some point, you have to become your character/ your character is you. take, for instance, Samantha's character: aspects of her personality remained constant throughout the film, to the point that you have to believe you are seeing Lorelei Linklater on screen, and not just Samantha. (interesting tidbits learned from Manlius Art Cinema's owner Nat: US contract law prevented Linklater from having the actors contractually obligated to complete the 12-year project (US law stipulates a 7 year cap on contracts), so all filming was completed on nothing more than a handshake, basically. also, yes, that was Richard Linklater's daughter we saw growing up on screen... apparently she wanted her character killed off so she could walk away from it)
  3. everyone enjoys laughing at Texas
  4. Post-Bush and pre-Obama politics -- still funny to this day. three of my favorite jokes from the film: when Sam and Mason go canvassing for their dad and walk up to a house with a confederate flag hanging on the garage ("do i look like a guy who's gonna vote for Barack HUSSEIN Obama?! i'm entitled to shoot you for trespassing!"). they then go across the street to another house where an obnoxiously perky young mom explains she made her children t-shirts that say "my mama's for Obama." finally, Ethan Hawke using the story of Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol as a teen pregnancy allegory for abstinence and contraception.
  5. life has no plot. appropriately, Boyhood was as rambling and aimless and surprisingly delightful as life
  6. biggest surprise: never expected to like Ethan Hawke so much
  7. there is something to be said about the role of video games and the constant companionship of digital entertainment, but i will leave it to others to articulate.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Doctor My Eyes

i got to cross a big one off my bucket list last night, when i saw Jackson Browne perform an acoustic set at the historic Landmark Theatre in downtown Syracuse (technically, it was also an item off my Syracuse-bucket-list).
Jackson Browne's music has meant a lot to me in my early-adulthood. Late For The Sky was the soundtrack to many days and nights spent alone at a window in my apartment in Syracuse, thinking about life, listening to his words and the letting the music wash over me. trying to anchor myself in something happy while feeling lost and drifting in a sea of sorrow i didn't recognize or understand.

it occurred to me at some point that i should try to see Jackson Browne before he stopped touring and doing shows. Ben and i looked into buying tickets to shows he did all over the country, in California, in small little townships and wine country resorts across the country, but then the other day i was walking downtown after dancing in the park to the library to drop off some books and saw in big letters on the marquee: JACKSON BROWNE. i was in total shock, i couldn't believe it. years of trying to get to Jackson Browne and here he was, days before i'm set to leave Syracuse, and he shows up practically at my doorstep. it seemed too good to be true.
so last night i put on a billowy skirt, did my hair, and power walked all the way to the theatre, grinning to myself at the joy of this moment: happily single, treating myself to a date with one of my favorite musicians. and i smiled so hard and so constantly throughout the night that i think i created some new wrinkles.

to watch Jackson Browne perform acoustic renditions of some of my favorite songs from Late For The Sky will truly remain in my heart one of the most emotional moments i've ever experienced surrounded by so many strangers. (the other one: Bruce Springsteen performing "My City of Ruins," both times i saw him).

at the end of the concert, the older man sitting next to me turned to me and said, "thank you for being a fan."

so, in honor of that great experience, my own rendition of one of my favorites:

ETA: look at this cutie! i sat up in the balcony and missed seeing this gorgeous face.

another rendition (because i have been singing it all day every day):

Sunday, August 10, 2014

To Love Somebody

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

I'm Not The Only One

another Sam Smith cover! he's perfectly in my vocal range, which is why i love him.

universal feelings

"breaking up with someone is literally the most common thing... but when it happens to you it feels so specific..."

i listen to podcasts every morning when i wake up. i've got a podcast app on my phone that keeps playlists, which is extremely wonderful when i'm moving about the house trying to get ready or get chores done (though sometimes it gets me in trouble because i want to keep listening rather than hustling!)

this morning as i was lazily going about my morning routine, my podcast playlist cycled through two very pertinent episodes back to back. i was kinda stunned by how much they spoke to my current situation, as if tailor made to my experience. it's been that kind of morning, where i feel the universe is looking out for me and i'm syncing up right where it wants me to be.

the first was TLDR's deeply upsetting interview with one of the execs in charge of OkCupid, following their announcement that they've essentially been secretly experimenting on users and their potential matches. definitely did not help my favorable view of OkC.

that was then immediately followed by this superbly delightful episode of This American Life. between the Phil Collins interview and the Jens Lekman outro, i'm over the moon with how perfect it is.

the best part was that i listened to them right after recording this announcement about my recent break-up, my introspective journey from the last few weeks, and my very exciting job decision.

all this to say, you are never alone. your experience is being shared by others all over the world, over and over again.

Monday, August 04, 2014

!!! !!! !!!

it's mostly a happy announcement! even though it starts out sad.

i've got some feelings to share. listen here ---> Play Recording

(ETA: i wish i were more eloquent and that i'd thought out more of what i wanted to say, but i initially recorded this as a note to myself for later, to turn into a longer piece of writing, but after listening to it, and hearing for myself the tones of voice and how they changed when talking about different things, it felt right to leave it as is, as rough as it is, because of the emotions present in my voice. i want to preserve the sound of happiness as it was captured there, in case i ever need a reminder.

also, our anniversary date would have been August 8, but i couldn't wait to get this out there!)

Friday, August 01, 2014

love according to Stephen Colbert

i love this so much.

Ask a Grown Man: Stephen Colbert from Rookie on Vimeo.

i especially love the part (~7:38) when Stephen starts trying to define love in terms of what it looks like:

"they want to hear your stories. they care how you feel. they want to make your day better. they want to listen to your problems. they reach out to you.

everybody wants to be loved, to have people pay attention to them. but if someone goes to the effort to call you, reach out to you, write you, to come up to you at a party, come over to talk to you, smile when they see you, ask you your problems, those are good signs they like you... if your happiness is more important than their happiness... one nice definition of love, i think, is that another person's happiness is more important than your own. and an early sign of that is that they want to make your day better."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Open Arms

Not In That Way

practice helps everything:

Monday, July 28, 2014

smitten kitten

this post-breakup life has been one surprise after another. thankfully, things are tending towards the upswing.

let me walk you through the stages of post-breakup grief as i experienced them:

  1. denial (refusing to accept what had happened, pretending that twisted relationship was worth saving)
  2. bargaining (trying to accept blame for more than i was responsible for, trying to change to make him happy, trying to do more than it was in my power to do and do it for the both of us since he was unwilling to make any effort)
  3. denial II (saving mementos, pretending like things would magically return to a better place again)
  4. depression (so much crying and wallowing)
  5. anger (vile hatred for someone you thought you knew, who promised they would never hurt you, who could treat you like detritus and discard you once he was done with you and you weren't satisfying his purposes any more)
  6. anger II (seeing your ex-partner wantonly posting pictures of him going camping with a woman, who you suspect was the one he said "he [is] interested in" when he broke up with you... this hurts because: 1. you always wanted to go camping together and you used to talk about it, 2. he brings up the camping trip he planned and you never went on as a pivotal moment in your relationship, 3. it's been how many fucking DAYS since we broke up?! 4. let's be honest, it hurts the most because it looks like he is just fine and moving on so much quicker than you expected him to and the fact he's posting it on facebook has a smidgen of spitefulness to it.)
  7. acceptance (you remove him from your friends list in facebook and put him in "acquaintances", block his news feed posts, and remove facebook entirely from your phone. you stop feeling angry and feel a bit sorry that he is so quickly moving on to another woman... you think for a moment about them getting married and having babies and feel the rage rise in your stomach but let it pass because you realize "better her than me" and that you are lucky you got away from that dick bag. you remove him from your phone, you delete his emails, you take all the pictures out of their frames and save them in a box to burn at a later date.)
  8. survival mode (clawing my way out of a funk like my life depended on it (it kinda does). applying to jobs like crazy, going to the gym and getting into fighting shape, learning uke and singing until my heart feels happy again, reaching out to friends to buoy me, branching out and meeting new people, consuming literature, news, movies and music, cooking by myself, cleaning furiously, gradually putting all the pieces of my life back together more whole and complete than before. reclaiming my life for myself.)
  9. confidence boosting (i didn't realize until after our relationship ended how unhealthy and destructive it was, for my self-esteem, my sense of purpose in life, my sense of self, and my relationships with other people. now that i have, as my dad would say, "cut that cancer out of my life," all the energy i once spent making sure Ben was happy has turned towards making sure i am actually happy. i'm doing things i love again and not worried about being judged for it. i'm finding space to express myself and be happy and meet people without worrying about how to explain it later to someone else. i'm living my life as me rather than as being defined as "Ben's partner." i'm talking to people again and having conversations i care about, rather than trying to exist in a context and parameters dictated down to me by Ben's circumstances. i am meeting so many good people who were previously hidden from me because i was 1. too afraid/not allowed to talk to them; 2. prevented from meeting them because Ben's and my life never allowed for me to grow and reach out to communities i cared about. post-Ben life has seen a wealth of wonderful people, rekindled friendships that had been starved of attention, new friendships that were allowed to flourish once Ben was no longer a hindrance, and most surprisingly of all, a flurry of new romantic encounters that i never would have had the opportunity to explore while tethered to an extremely jealous and possessive but at the same time noncommittal jerk. now that my confidence is back up and i'm happy and free to do what i want, i have seen the difference it makes in my ability to meet people. hopefully it helps me meet people who i want to be around and maybe eventually, help me find someone to love who deserves everything i have to give and will give equally in return.)
  10. adventuring (once i rebuild my confidence, which will likely take a long, long time, i hope to challenge myself to go outside my comfort zone and push myself to pursue the life i want, to live without regrets, to live and love furiously)
i'm at the 9th/10th stage right now, i think. the last few weeks i've been making efforts to forget about ben and whatever residual guilt/responsibility i feel. it had been so hard for me to even talk to a guy when we were dating, out of guilt and fear of ben being upset, that dating post-Ben has been an exceptional mental/emotional challenge. even meeting up with a guy just to talk and share food felt scandalous. 

this past weekend i made huge strides in that i flew out to Madison, WI on a whim to meet a guy i started talking to through the internet! OkCupid of all places! craziness! he and i started talking because we both used to be teachers and he works at the company i am currently considering a job with. we somehow really hit it off and he offered to buy my plane ticket out to Madison. if that wasn't crazy enough, i agreed to do it, which is totally unlike me. we spent the weekend together, getting to know each other. he's totally unlike anyone i've ever dated (younger, athletic, my height (ok, a little taller), clean (like, seriously, his place was spotless!), a former business major, has a cute Midwestern accent, totally charismatic and sweet (he can sing! Justin Timberlake songs! swoon!), and really, really into me). we shared desserts the night i got in after he picked me up from the airport, walked around Madison holding hands (i want to pause here for a moment just to illustrate the crazy levels of Stockholm Syndrome i had going on: even holding hands, months after Ben and i have broken up, felt WRONG. just touching another person's hand still felt like i was doing something shameful. that is the ridiculous degree to which i had programmed it into my head that i was Ben's possession, that i belonged to him, that being with other people was an act of betrayal. thankfully, i got over it, but come on, how insane is that!??), went to the farmer's market to buy food to make later that night, looked at apartments for my move, went to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens and saw the butterflies, made dinner together and watched a movie, had brunch, went mini-golfing (where i beat him in the first half of the course, even hitting a hole-in-one on the obligatory windmill hole), bought pots and soil and repotted his plants for his office, went out for a "fancy" date on State Street and went back to his place to fall asleep and wake up early, he held my hand while he drove me to the airport before going to work. 

it was a crazy weekend on so many levels, but the weirdest thing for me to understand is how... good it felt. to be with someone new, exciting, and excited (by me!) and start over. granted, there were a lot of difficult moments when i felt my scars exposed, when i felt guilty or afraid or uncomfortable or sad. there were times when i asked myself what i was doing, when i questioned my motives and commitment, when i questioned his. but to be able to enter into a new situation with another person and be aware of the good that could be, the bad that was, and embrace the opportunity to experience something new was... liberating. i felt like it finally allowed me to shake off the shackles of that last relationship and enter into life with a mind open to being better to myself.

i don't know what the likelihood of that encounter becoming something more is. we may never see each other again. but we shared a weekend together and we were good and we were kind. that is the weird/magical thing i need to constantly have reaffirmed to me: that total strangers can be extremely good to each other. that's what makes love seem so beautiful to me: it turns two total strangers into best friends and partners for life. i don't know what will happen with my friend in Madison, but the fact that we met randomly through the internet and then managed to spend a whole weekend together and were happy doing so endears me so much to the idea of keeping your heart open to anyone you may meet. i no longer fear being alone or never finding another companion who will make me happy. those people abound if you are open to finding them and if your heart is open and courageous enough to be happy. i held onto Ben longer than i should have because i feared i would never be able to find someone else. i never should have let him put me in cages.