is that it haunts you. like a good song, a wonderful piece of art, someone’s scent.
and this is what’s been haunting me:
It’s good we only see each other once a week. A young man about to move in with his fiancée died of a sudden heart attack at twenty-six. One hears these stories all the time. The heart is trained to handle deprivation, not unforeseen happiness. Just as when you throw your arms around me I start to overflow, but then I think of course, where was she before? I deserve it and a lot more besides— your love gets soaked up quickly and I pull back brooding over something I never had. But don’t stop on that account, keep going.
I was brought up to make the most of accidental brushes with kindness. My pleasures were collected almost unawares from stationary models, like the girl who sat in front of me in tenth grade, who let me stroke and braid her golden hair and never acknowledged it. I wouldn’t know what to do with frontal love; would I? One snowy winter night in Montreal I felt so great I danced a flamenco and insisted that everyone call me Fernando. But then I was by myself. And last night, if there are many more nights like last night with you — when I think of all my nights of total happiness I get the panicky sense that the balance has already tipped, and I will never again feel free to pass myself off as a have-not.
Maybe it’s good we only see each other once a week. But don’t stop on that account, keep going.
“He is always too slow, he is always afraid, and he is always being scrutinized. In the winter, he is cold, but if he looks cold he is screamed at. There is no solitude. The constant screaming and the running, along with chronic exhaustion, produce in him a state of low-level panic, which is also a state of acute focus. It is as if his thinking mind, his doubting and critical and interpreting mind, had shut down and been replaced by a simpler mechanism that serves the body. The idea is to throw away his self and, in so doing, find out who he is. A well-trained monk, it is said, lives as though he were already dead: free from attachment, from indecision, from confusion, he moves with no barrier between his will and his act.”—Last Call
A Buddhist monk confronts Japan’s suicide culture.
Shortly before I left him, I told a counselor that my husband was hitting me and showed her the bruises. She held me while I wept in her arms. I then told a close friend that he yelled at me and called me names, but I didn’t yet tell her he was beating me.
My counselor said, “You are taking everything he says, and playing it on repeat over and over again. You have to stop the tape.”
But I couldn’t stop the tape. I heard over and over:
You are a fucking cunt. You are a fucking cunt. You are a fucking cunt. You are a fucking cunt. You are a fucking cunt. You are a fucking cunt. You are a fucking cunt.
I’ve been doing social media work for almost two years now. And only recently have I really experienced a sense of community on the net. Not surprisingly, these are from Moms who want to share photos of their kids.
But more than anything, it’s made me realize just how valuable it is to acknowledge people—just to say yes, i see what you did there and what you’re trying to show me. it’s really minor and i’m sure that all the social media gurus in the world will see this as a completely useless metric. But meeting my community for the first time, their first reaction was “you always respond to me.” like they were surprised.
and of course, there is still a huge chunk of people who want a response now and it has to be yes to what they were asking—i’ll just take that. it’s the very twee You see me.
and though, I’ve discovered that I like the content planning and even the media planning (how am i going to streeeeeeeeeeeeetch this budget?) This might be the closest thing to the favorite part of my work.
Probably because I am still so enamored of social networks and the internet, and I still feel a little pop of joy when someone likes a post or retweets me or whatever. I like the thought that I may have made someone happy.
There’s a word in Hebrew—malkosh—that means “last rain.” It’s a word that only means something in places like Israel, where there’s a clear distinction between winter and the long, dry stretch of summer. It’s a word, too, that can only be applied in retrospect. When it’s raining, you have no way of knowing that the falling drops would be the last ones of the year. But then time goes by, the clouds clear, and you realize that that rain shower was the one. Having a mother—being mothered—is similar, in a way. It’s a term that I only fully grasp now, with the thirst of hindsight: who she was, who I was for her, what she has equipped me with.
Like a last rain, my mother left behind an earthy scent that lingered long after she was gone. Like a last rain, for a fleeting moment, everything she touched seemed to glow.
“We didn’t give women the right to vote (in the U.S.) until 1920. …That means American Democracy is 94 years old. There are three people in my building older than American democracy. Women have had a rough time. It was so okay to beat your wife until so recently, that today we have a kind of shirt named after it. There’s a piece of clothing in our culture affectionately nicknamed after beating the crap out of your wife, and for some reason this is offensive to nobody.”—Louis CK monologue (via sonnyjohnson)
“The heat inside the human body
grows, it does not know where to throw itself—for a while it knots
into will, heavy, burning, sweet, then into generosity, that longs
to take on the burdens of others, and then into mad love.”—From “Walking Swiftly,” a poem in Robert Bly’s Stealing Sugar From The Castle: Selected Poems 1950 – 2013. Damon Ferrell Marbut reviews it at The Rumpus. (via therumpus)
I’ve always sort of secretly thought of feelings as a weakness. I think growing up I always wanted to be someone tougher than I am, and so when I first started not having feelings anymore I thought, “I’m finally this person who doesn’t react. I’m not sensitive anymore.” I enjoyed that for a short time, especially when I hadn’t lost my feelings completely, where I just felt like I was emotionally very strong. And then once all of my emotions disappeared, I very quickly realized that emotions are the only thing that provide variation in your life.
I think there’s a common misconception that depression is about something or depression is sadness or some form of negativity. It can represent a sadness or a self-loathing, as the first half of my depression did. It sort of circled back on itself and made me dislike myself more because I was so sad, and I didn’t know why, and I felt like I needed a reason. … It took me a long time to figure out that something was broken on a fundamental level. There was no reason behind it; it was just the way things were.
“Thanks very much for your compliments on my [writing/illustration/whatever thing you do]. I’m flattered by your invitation to [do whatever it is they want you to do for nothing]. But [thing you do] is work, it takes time, it’s how I make my living, and in this economy I can’t afford to do it for free. I’m sorry to decline, but thanks again, sincerely, for your kind words about my work.”—
At the end of his must-read New York Times op-ed on why we shouldn’t devalue our work by indulging all the requests to give it away for free (so that it can be sold for advertising), Tim Kreider, author of We Learn Nothing, offers this perfect reply-template for responding to such requests respectfully but resolutely.
He adds an infinitely necessary note on how referring to creative work as “content” commodifies it and exposes the greatest tragedy of mainstream media – the vendorship of advertising for which all else is a mere vehicle:
This is partly a side effect of our information economy, in which “paying for things” is a quaint, discredited old 20th-century custom, like calling people after having sex with them. The first time I ever heard the word “content” used in its current context, I understood that all my artist friends and I — henceforth, “content providers” — were essentially extinct. This contemptuous coinage is predicated on the assumption that it’s the delivery system that matters, relegating what used to be called “art” — writing, music, film, photography, illustration — to the status of filler, stuff to stick between banner ads.
I’ve always likes the idea of completely mundane places being sacred spaces—-and only to the devoted or to those who need.
What if purgatory was a perfect dunkin donuts in the back streets of makati? Only 3 tables and without a bathroom. Obviously a place you can’t spend a whole day in (my bladder wouldn’t allow me)
But there was something so exact about three people seated in three separate tables reading or staring out with a cup of coffee and a doughnut. Is it too much to read benevolence in the lone guy at thw counter, his lazy eye blinking just half a second too late while he rings up your order or dunks the munchkins in a plastic tray of confectioners sugar?
With a life so small lately, my words feel too big in my social media mouths.
Am slightly embarrassed, but I’m not sure why. It’s either that I’ve revealed how desperate I am for emotion that the simplest mundane things produce such exclamations or that I realize that words will always be too big and my life just exceedingly plain. Or worse yet, how I can see through my own lies to myself.