Monday, August 29, 2011


I am so depressed today.

Here's the problem. And I'm sure this is going to be a bit incoherent because it's well past my usual bedtime. I'll use a micro example to illustrate a macro problem.

I have self-image issues. As discussed at length previously. I'm trying to work through them. One of the primary problems I've always had with my image is that I have almost no internally-derived sense of beauty. I mostly only feel beautiful when other people make me feel beautiful or tell me I'm beautiful. So when there's a lack of people in my life filling that function (particularly in a romantic context) I have a much, much harder time believing that I'm attractive. A friend recently said something so simple it should have been obvious to me long ago, but seemed revelatory to me at the time he said it. I think it went something like this: "I find you attractive. No matter where you go in the world or what you're doing, I'm attracted to you. And you can carry that with you. And know that it's true." No one had ever said it just like that before. Compliments had always seemed contextual rather than lasting or permanent. It helped a little to think that the good things people have said about my appearance don't go away just because those people are no longer right in front of me. Of course, it's also harder with appearance because one's appearance is often changing. Or at least mine seems to be.

Anyway, small example right? Well, not small, but well defined.

Now let's apply that micro problem to the rest of my life on a macro level.

I'm depressed right now because things have been going really shitty lately. Ticking off some of this shittyness: (1) I lost something sort of important to me that had been brightening my life. (2) An opportunity that I thought was going to help me make some significant changes to my direction and my lifestyle failed to pan out. (3) I have been struggling with eating again, and surrendered an important weight-loss milestone I had hit a few weeks ago with some irresponsibly earned gains. (4) I have had a few other disappointments and hard times best not discussed here. Point being, it's been a challenging few weeks.

Instead of bucking up and pressing forward looking for a different source of light, another opportunity, exercise and discipline to restore losses, and things that might make me happy, I've been wallowing. And letting all these things make me feel totally invalidated as a person. They're just setbacks, yet I've never been great at dealing with setbacks. I let them completely derail me. My weight watchers leaders have talked in the past about the difference between a "lapse" and a "collapse." In a lapse, you make some bad choices but you quickly right the ship and return to good habits, or better yet, compensate with extra discipline to balance bad choices. In a collapse, each bad decision leads to more bad decisions because of guilt, shame, negativity, etc. Spiral. One has to not let a lapse turn into a collapse. Stop the spiral. Difficult.

I'm having a collapse right now. I just see all the challenges strung together and think, "How am I ever going to right this ship?" or "Maybe I'm not meant to or capable of righting this ship." I start to question core things I should know about myself. Positive things. I stop believing in myself. But see, like the attractiveness, the good things I know about myself don't stop being true just because day to day existence has been a bit more challenging. But dear god, it is hard for me to remember that. Is it hard for other people too? Sometimes I wonder if it's just me. But I'm sure that it's not, even if I wonder. Humanity, man. We're all so much more alike than we sometimes like to believe. We gotta keep learning from each other. So I'm gonna try to apply the lessons of attractiveness to life writ large. Try not to let it take me down. Lose my sense of self. Lose my validation. Gonna reach deep down inside and try to find the will to keep on keepin on.

Fuckin a.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hilarity, Courtesy of My Sister-in-Law

As Hurricane Irene descends on the East Coast, federal disaster officials have warned that Internet outages could force people to interact with other people for the first time in years. Residents are bracing themselves for the horror of awkward silences and unwanted eye contact. FEMA has advised: “Be prepared. Write down possible topics to talk about in advance. Sports...the weather. Remember, a conversation is basically a series of Facebook updates strung together."

Hurricane Irene is a'coming Jersey. Be ready to converse like never before. Lol.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Other Thursday Thoughts, In Rough Order

I'm sure this isn't all of them, but it's as many as I could recall at this late hour.

10amish: In case I forget to mention it later, I think it's adorable that you still call me every time there's a bad storm or a natural disaster. That you remember how much these things scare me, that you subsequently think to call and check in, and then actually follow through and do it. It's amazing. It makes ME feel really good and also speaks to what an awesome person YOU are. Way to go, you. :)

3pmish: I've had a lot of family around lately. This has led to a lot of rehashing and discussing the past. Learning each other's perspectives on events we for so long have only seen through our own eyes. Managed to verbalize something I've known about myself for a really long time, but never summarized quite so succinctly until describing to my sister during her visit. My parents fought kind of a lot when I was in middle school and early high school. Or at least, it felt like a lot to me. A lot of times this fighting was about the younger of my two older brothers. He was going through a tough time and they were right there with him. And had their own issues compounding any problem that came along. I remembering hearing the fights they had with my brother, the fights they had with each other, remember the fights my brother and I had. I remember thinking, "I don't ever want them to fight like this about me. If I can be a perfect kid, maybe they'll stop fighting all together." And I think this hypothesis dominated a LOT of the decision making I made in the latter half of high school. Hell, even much of the decision making I've done since then. Be the perfect kid and your parents won't fight. Be the perfect kid and things will fall into place. Live for everyone's expectations and you'll find satisfaction therein. And it did provide a kind of satisfaction (and definitely did lead to some really positive decisions, but plenty of negative ones too), but I don't think it provided overall happiness. I've started to come out of it some. Being in Durham has helped. Being isolated means making more decisions for myself, rather than for anybody else. Awareness.

6pmish: I am going to rock it at bowling tonight. I have been kicking ass lately, so I'm gonna keep kicking ass.

7ish: (After X / X / 9 - / X / X / 9 -) YEAH! I am kicking ass. I hope I can keep this up, it's looking like a record breaking game for me...

745ish: Well, balls. A 118. I choked. Hardcore. That sucks.

945ish: I really want to call. Really badly. I am about to be in the car for 35 minutes so it's a perfect time to call. It's sad not to talk to you, so I want to talk to you. AND YET. Talking to you will make me aware of how much I miss you. Too, it will be sad to talk to you and have it not be the same. I don't know if I'm ready for that sad. The first sad is easier. But boy do I want to call. Give it time, I tell myself.

10pmish: I'm going to start working on a mix. It'll be called "A decade of friendship" or something similar. I already know what songs will open it and close it, plus three in the middle. It will be cathartic. I'll have to narrow down the long list of good songs about regret, in reference to that night. How it could have been so different, how I still think of it sometimes. But maybe it's better that it wasn't. Oh shit, it's being cathartic right now. It's catharsising the fuck out of me just thinking about it. Oh crap. Here come those tears that have been waiting to pour for two weeks. I was wondering when I'd finally cry and boy can I cry. But it's good. The crying is a good sign. A sign of healing in progress I think. I hope. Mix tape. Yes, it will have to happen.

That's How Long I Want to Be Your Friend

A circle is round, it has no end... (you know the rest)

My day has come full circle. There have been at least 10 things I have wanted to write about today. There's no way I'll remember them all now, but I am writing at a feverish pace trying to get as many out as possible.

I started out the day thinking about how time makes us see the past with rose colored glasses. I was thinking of a recent visit with an old friend.

Before I start, because I don't want this whole post to reek of negativity, let me say this. I love this friend dearly and he is super important to me. And though it might sound from what follows as though there's bitterness now, it's quite the opposite. We have a really great relationship. I so enjoy our hangouts and I am super happy of the place we have reached that allows us to remain close friends in our adult lives. And our recent visit was GREAT, despite the small excerpt to the contrary below.

Ok, back to the main story. I often think of this friend, when he's not around, with nostalgia and fondness. Sometimes I'd even go so far as to say longing. And yes, this was a friend of the romantic variety. But I spent the last six months of my relationship with this friend thinking to myself at least once a week, sometimes daily in the worst times, that it was not meant to be. That I was incredibly unhappy, and that I should just say so, even if it meant the end of things. But it is so hard to remember what that feeling was about when I look back on it. What I remember instead are all the things we had in common, the fun times and laughter we shared, the intellectual arguments and banter, the hikes we went on, the great sex we had (sorry Dad, if you're reading this). It's hard to remember the bad times. Our brain naturally wants to push those things to the rear of the filing cabinet, make them take the F train to its end in Brooklyn (if your brain is a subway system, like mine). But when hanging out with this friend recently, he got more and more cranky and whiny as the night wore on. Cranky and unwilling to make decisions, and then annoyed when I stepped in and made the wrong one. I had forgotten about how cranky he could get. Then, the next day I wanted to hang out again. And my friend didn't. But his excuse was that he didn't feel like it, didn't feel like doing anything in fact. But then we proceeded to talk on the phone for an hour and half. This used to drive me CRAZY during our relationship. He'd be all, "nah I don't want to hang out," and then want to talk on the phone for two hours when we lived TWO MINUTES AWAY FROM EACH OTHER. I was like, if we're going to spend all this time talking, WHY NOT DO IT IN PERSON? Wtf, mate? At least now that we're no longer in a relationship, this doesn't bother me, because expectations are a lot different. But it reminded me of how much it USED to annoy me.

So while we still share things in common, still have fun together, it is good to take off the pink shades every once in a while and see things as they really were. See him as I truly know him - the good AND the bad.

In between then (7am) and now (11pm) I've had approximately a million other thoughts. And yet, I came back to rose colored glasses not five minutes ago. And not on purpose.

See I went to the pharmacy today in between work and bowling league (more on that later) to kill half an hour and pick up some toiletries I'd been needing to replace. One item on the list was toothpaste. When I got home tonight, I went to put the new toothpaste in the medicine cabinet. And I noticed that even though I switched brands over a year ago (before I even moved to NC) to a 'sensitive' toothpaste, I still had my old regular aquafresh sitting in the cabinet. Right next to the nearly empty tube of sensitive stuff. "That's really old," I thought. "I should totally get rid of it." I reached up and grabbed it, and it jerked me into a memory as quickly and jarringly as I imagine sticking your face in a pensieve must feel.

I am in bed, in my Westwood apartment. I'm trying to sleep but the sound of video games wafting in from my living room is keeping me awake. I have to work tomorrow, and I'm annoyed. Finally the TV turns off. The bathroom light and accompanying fan turn on. Running water. Toilet flushes. Fan goes off. Bedroom door creaks open. Clothes swoosh gently off skin and land with a soft "whoomp" on the floor. A thin frame slips under covers and set of arms wrap tightly around me. It should melt my heart but I remain unmoved.

"I couldn't sleep; TV was too loud," I say in my most pitiable voice.

"I'm sorry."

It's said with sincerity. He kisses me softly on the neck.

"Your breath reeks of cigarettes," I complain, even more annoyed now that he's being conciliatory.

"I brushed my teeth," he offers, a little defensively.

"Well it smells like shit," I snap.

"Well that's because your stupid toothpaste tastes like shit!"

"If you don't like it, why don't you bring your own damn toothpaste over, and stop using my stuff!"

"I don't know what your problem is."

The arms recede away, rolling with the body now facing the opposite wall. I shiver. And immediately regret my attitude.

Flashback to the present. I am holding the toothpaste, transfixed. A dumb blank stare on my face that hasn't yet awoken from memory, though my mind is already returned. Rose colored glasses would have hidden that moment from me. Toothpaste revealed it. Isn't it funny, the things you remember? And how funny that I'm back to rose colored glasses at the end of this long, full day. It's like my brain knew it would be a nice cap to the day to return to what we started the day thinking about.

Anyhoo, I think I shall write another post for some of the other stuff, as this one has taken on a life of its own with all the embedded reflection.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

RIP, Todd Wharton

I've been processing my thoughts on his death for a few weeks now, and I still have a lot of emotion about it, even though we'd been out of touch for many years. I'd like to come back and say some more, as well as display some of the pictures that speak to favorite memories of Todd.

In the meantime, I'd like to share this poem written by Todd. One of my old PHS classmates found it and shared it on Facebook. It's pretty amazing, and haunting. I'm not surprised he turned out to be a talented writer; he showed a lot of promise in that area when we were in school.

I Shouldn't Say...

...that I'm trying hard to believe, because it's not hard to believe. I know in my heart that of course it is better. No regret.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Distracted by Vacation Crazy Time

I should have mentioned yesterday that the vacation was insanely good. It was full of adventure, thought provoking discussions with friends, dancing (as all good weddings should be), and much more. For now, I'll leave you with my favorite picture of the trip. Taken of my friend Peter in the early evening hours on the Delaware River, just as the fog/mist started to roll in and give everything that soft edge and beautiful light. As always, click the photo to embiggen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Just came home from a long trip and there was so much here, piled up, waiting for me. Particularly mail. One piece of mail made me a little sad. Later, I started to sort out my dirty laundry from the trip. In one of my pants pockets was a movie ticket. It too, made me a little sad. I put them together in a place where I wouldn't have to see them for awhile but wouldn't ever lose them either. It's kind of a metaphor. I'm trying hard to believe that it is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all. Fate is a cruel mistress though.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Musical Mondays: KJ, This One's For You

Sometimes I wished we still loved each other. Regina Spektor understands. Here's "The Calculation."

Was good to see you.