December 25, 2013

The Things That Matter

Did you know that this Windows wallpaper is called "Bliss"? Me either.
Not to get all sappy and shit...but the things that matter in life really come to light when you're so focused on the wrong things that everything seems upside down. Yes, that was practically nonsensical (it's not just you). What I'm saying is: life has this way of putting things into perspective so that you know what's actually important.

When you're down on yourself about all of the many ways that you've "failed" (using some external measure of success), something so magical can happen to remind you that there is a God.

Okay, so I get it; most of my friends, followers, readers (non-readers), and acquaintances don't exactly subscribe to a religious belief or even spiritual or metaphysical philosophy, but I definitely believe that there's something greater than me. Greater than you. Something so deeply conscious and all-knowing that it reveals the most wondrous aspects of this existence simply through believing in it. Something so innately powerful. It is either external (particularly on those days wrought with defeat) or internal (especially when I need to believe that I am part of something phenomenal), and it is 1,000% subjective. But, I know it is there. My faith (for cynics, read: ignorance or naïveté) pulls at my core and shines a light on it regularly.

I've been feeling weird about this place lately. That it's less than what it is, because I've been (wrongly) focused on the most insignificant, unimportant, minute details of my physical surroundings. I've allowed my emotional and mental state to become so intertwined with these meaningless parts of life that it's had an effect on my spiritual wellness.

Until today. Today, I was reminded that this place is full of the most amazing stuff that it brought me to tears. It's full of such love and belief, and happiness. It's the place that brought me into existence. And the people that I love so much. It's the place that's taught me to be who I am, and I am eternally grateful for it. And it's worth the pain and frustration. It's worth the despair, the angst, the obstacles. Because if in a million years another person feels what I'm feeling right now, that million years was worth it.

December 22, 2013

How to Fail at Christmas

Well, this post could be all encompassing, really. Swap out the existing title for "How to Fail at Parties," or "How to Fail at Vacations," and, well, honestly - "How to Fail at Life." Whatever the failure, it always involves unrealistic expectations, an unhealthy tension between anxiety and apathy, and the sinking feeling of being left out (thank you Facebook).

Regardless - I have failed at Christmas and all of its accompanying Christmas cheer fueled traditions. I feel like the Grinch, but without the malice or ill-intent. I am more like the unwitting Grinch who missed Christmas. I don't even have the wherewithal to steal it. I mean, not that I would if I had the gall to hatch a dubious plot, but I really could wake up the day after Christmas with no feeling of having missed anything. And that's why I think I failed at it.

So, I get it; Christmas isn't about gift giving (or getting), it isn't about the commercialism and living some kind of archetype of the all American December 25th. It is about Jesus and good will t'ward men. Except, let's be honest, it is about all of those things (minus the Jesus and the good will), and if you don't have those other things, you've missed the boat, kid. I'm basically Kevin McAllister. Everyone boarded the flight to the family Christmas vacation but me.

In those brief moments when I tell myself it's all okay, and it doesn't matter that I plan on spending Christmas taking Lulu for long walks and baking shit to take to work on Thursday, I feel okay. But then, I feel something creep in. Something that I can only describe as mildly related to guilt. Am I a terrorist for not subscribing to Christmas? AM I FUCKING TERRORIST? Holy balls!

No. No...I am not a terrorist. I am a...well, I don't know. Maybe this is post-modernism? But, no, wait - that Christmas commercial with the half naked guys in boxers jingling their bells is post-modern. And retarded. My use of the word "retarded" is post-modern. My avoidance of Christmas is...Kafka-esque? Um...antidisestablishmentarianism? How about existentialism? Yes, yes...I am a holiday existentialist. Why are we here? Why do we celebrate this Jesus-less Christmas that everyone subscribes to? Who is this Santa Claus guy? And what the hell is it that makes kids wake up at 5 in the fucking morning to trash their living rooms with the shit their parents spent all night putting together, only to then spend the rest of the day cleaning it up?

In the end, I felt such despair that I decided to send out the LBG signal. And now I feel so much better.

Writing. This shit's cathartic.

June 03, 2012

Random Musings - Pet ownership is HARD

As I prepare to go on a last minute trip to Chicago this week, I realized..."Well, I'd better make Lulu a reservation at the pet hotel." (And for the record, I know that "pet hotel" is a euphemism for kennel, and the people who use that phrase over its actual definition are doing it just to make themselves feel less horrible about traveling without their pet.)

So, I did.

I called. I made the appointment. I answered the awkward questions about why we haven't been in a while, and I acknowledged the fact that I'd have to bring in her updated shots records. Then, I noticed I had to get her Bordotella updated, and since this is my first time at the new vet (because I HATE the Banfield's Animal Hospital in Secaucus...NEVER, EVER take your pet there; they have awful, rude vets, who scare the bejeezus out of my pup) Lulu will have to get a full exam. Thus, I expect that by the end of this week, I will have spent more than $300 on my dog. This little terror who has, because I spent much of the weekend cleaning and moving things around, continuously peed on the floor to express to me her anxiety over the new set up, will cost me a few hundred bucks before the end of the week.

I feel like a sucker. A sucker for an adorable face and unconditional love. Why the hell do single people own pets? Dogs, no less. I could have a much lower maintenance pet. A hamster, a fish...hell, a cat.

Right now, Lulu is in the living room sleeping in her favorite spot on the sofa, because her expensive doggie bed is reserved for her blankey (my former "in case of an emergency" car blanket) and her pillow (one of my first attempts at home-sewn decor, which was NOT originally meant to be her chew toy, but somehow became such). And I kind of don't want to venture into the living room because she's still annoyed that I moved things around, and I'm still annoyed that she peed in the hallway.

However, I know that I will. Because she's like my baby. And even though I sometimes have a hard time reconciling why I pressed so hard to get a dog almost two years ago, I love her like family. She will probably sleep on my feet tonight, and jump on my head in the morning to wake me up. And I will have to grin and bear it. Because when she's sleepy and I just want a little fur-ball to play with after a hard day, she obliges.

Ugh. $300+!

She's worth it...

May 30, 2012

Random Musings - Art & Peanut Butter

I am exploring my more creative side. I think that I get into these personal slumps after particularly long periods of "right-brainedness". These are heavy workload months, or periods of stress and anxiety about the most ridiculous things...when I focus on everything that doesn't matter and ignore my inner Picasso/Maya/Basquiat for far too long.

And then I explode. And the next thing you know, my walls are covered in some weekend long left brain dump!

So. I go to bed every night after adding to a collage, painting for an hour, and eating a peanut butter sandwich. And it feels so much more fulfilling than two months of an intense work schedule and sleepless nights.

Well, duh!

September 23, 2011

Random Musings - Look Good, Feel Good

I've been feeling amazing lately. And it all begins with looking good! High self-esteem days are amazing for mental health, and while I admit to using my fair share of the EAP there's nothing better than feeling good about yourself to wipe off those rose-colored lenses.


I kind of love everything about everything right now. Mainly about myself. And it's not conceited to say, it's healthy. I like to wake up and go for bike rides, and I like to play with my pup at night after work. I also like to joke around with co-workers, and go to late night meetings and work on the weekends. Even though, I acknowledge the fact that my work/life balance is not perfect, I feel better about just about everything.

There's something to be said for eating healthful foods, and getting adequate rest. I'm moving in a good direction I think.

And did I mention...how good I look these days??????????

September 13, 2011

The Places I Go (New York Edition)

Bohemian Hall Beer Garden, Astoria (the post-Weprin special election extravaganza!)

September 12, 2011

Random Musings - New York ain't so bad!

So -

I dragged my sister out of bed to take me to the bus stop at 5am (sorry, Vanya) only to embark on a 4 hour journey back to the city. Yes, the city of Manhattan. I've been ho-hum lately about my recent placement here, but I'm realizing it has very little to do with NYC itself and everything to do with slightly more internal issues. And thus, I decided to have a happy outlook today. And it seems to be going well. Honestly.

I slept for much of the ride, but woke up right around the second circle of hell known as the Turnpike north of Newark/Kearny. You know...where it gets all eff-ed up? Yeah. There. So, I decide to turn on the iPod and tune out the ticking second hand on my watch that is practically screaming that I will not be in the city before 10am like I had hoped. Okay, so...nothing I can do about that, I supposed. Yup, let's allow Sia, Bjork, Wolf Parade, and Jay-Z/Kanye to wash over me. Transport me to a place where time stands still and I forget that I have anything to forget in the first place.

Then, while psyching myself up to the new Sia/David Guetta song "Titanium" I realize - "Ugh!! My butt has reached Numb-ville." But I shake it off. Literally - I move from side to side until it wakes from its inconvenient slumber. And I'm right back in my happy place.

Once there, I start to ruminate on more important things than how much it's going to cost to pay for my weekend parking at Secaucus Junction while I was in DC, like the fact that a total stranger has been sitting next to me for about three and a half hours, and I have no idea what his name is. I know he has an iPhone, and that he's wearing shorts with a hoodie and a jacket (are you hot or cold, sir?), but that's about it. I don't know where he's from, why he's headed to New York, if he's happy, sad, excited, or what. I suppose it could be true that even if I had asked, he may not want to disclose any of that information with me, but did I even try?

Well, unfortunately no. And it made me sad. I used to be such a social butterfly, even in the most awkward moments. I'm still a butterfly...flitting around the room, any room (you give me four walls, and I flit), but I have allowed myself to flit less in more circumstances. That makes me sad.

Then I realized I'm supposed to be in my happy place. So I snapped out of it.

But, I couldn't help but wonder if New York had done this to me. Or was it living in Philly? No, it couldn't have been Philly, because I was still a talkatoo-cockatoo down there. Then it hit me...it was my perception of New York that I was allowing to stifle me. That and several new observations about my daily life that have left me feeling trapped (but those are works in progress, nothing major, no worries). But this perception thing got me thinking.

We finally make it through the Lincoln Tunnel, and the bus winds its way to 28th St, and I'm trying to build up the courage to talk to the guy next to me if only for the last 3 minutes of this bus ride. It turns out he's visiting a cousin in the city and he's only been here a couple of times. He also was supposed to meet him at 9:45 (our scheduled arrival time), and I told him his mistake was assuming the bus would get us in on time. "Next time you need a cushion of about 20-30 minutes!" There was a language barrier, and I had to explain that I did not mean "cushion" literally, but that barrier was much better than the invisible walls we both had up for most of the ride. Much less awkward.

I'm glad that I talked to him, because it opened my eyes a bit this morning. And just in time, because while on my high of talking to someone (very sad that such a thing gets my blood pumping as it did), I totally wiped out on Varick and Grand when I got off the 1!! Somehow I wasn't embarrassed, and I think there's something about having the Kooks blasting in your ear buds that almost shields you from the uncomfortable stares of onlookers, but I was also so surprised at the genuine concern of the three women that rushed to my assistance. I assured them that I was okay, and I took it as just another example of how the reality of this place exists in direct opposition to my perception of how it would or should be.

New Yorkers are nice people. And the people visiting New York are nice too. So how is it that it gets such a bad rep?

I guess it's an example of you get what you expect, or rather what you look for. If you're looking for, even hoping for, the worst experience, you'll definitely get it. I guess it's a case of adjusting the lenses. I used to be known for wearing rose colored ones, and I was always embarrassed by it. But now, I realize, how could a rosey hue hurt?