Oh, It is Love…But Not the Kind on Two Legs

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I wrote a short piece a while ago about goals and things not truly hugging you or your spirit.  One of my lines included “Goals/to-do lists will not give you hugs, or just cradle you if you are having a rough go of life at the moment.”  However, there is another side of what I wrote some time ago that I would like to share.  I had to give some more thought to a topic that I often internally struggle with–being busy to a point of a possible workaholic.  I have often chosen to work, write, dance, do projects or many other things as opposed to being with my beloveds.  If I am in a relationship, I would rather a partner who understands my many passions and supports me as I dive deep into them.  Many moments throughout my life, my ideal of spending time together was sharing space while we both got high off of what we loved to do.

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Often in substitute of a partner or relationship, I become intimately involved with everything that sets my soul ablaze.  Someone recently said that they noticed that I was a borderline workaholic but that much of what I did was not really work because I enjoyed it so much.  This has always been my rule for being so engaged with everything.  Whether paid or volunteer, whether passion exploration or something nameless that my intuition has to chase–it must have meaning, I must fall in love with it.

Thus, this is what I want to say to many of you who may be like me–chasing your white rabbit while setting your path ablaze so that you may also stoke your inner wild fires.  You may be questioning whether or not this is time well spent or if you should be plotting to find your partner instead.   Projects, work, and all of the things that feed your passions may not walk, speak or look like love because they are not standing upon two legs with a beautiful face.  But they are love in many ways.  For many who may feel like they are waiting or wanting to be with that special someone or wished to have things to share, I offer that you are already in the moment of sharing when you have become so engaged with that which feeds your soul.    No.  These things or externals don’t take the place of arms or a shoulder but we should expand what love looks and feels like.  It is seeing your creativity come to life in the world, seeing the faces of those who become engaged with what you have created & shared.  Most importantly it is the spark in your eyes or glow upon your skin from the inspiration that made you dizzy.  So look around you.  Your love may not be standing upon two legs, but most likely it is already in everything that you do.  And if you don’t have that…then go it it because it is waiting for you.

Perhaps Perfect Imperfection is About the Long Road to Accepting

1622258_10203460167610063_2072834426_nI always like to call myself out on things, especially over the past several months.    The most recent piece of self honesty is in regards to the awesome work that Liz LaVorgna and I are doing for the Perfect Imperfection project. For those of you who may not be familiar with our project, Perfect Imperfection is a collaborative effort that will include our joint photography alongside the written quotes, poetry, or short prose submitted by various individuals.  The exhibit is debuting this Fall and will also include  summer activities which will provide individuals with an opportunity to anonymously share their stories about their perfect imperfections.  This particular post is about some of my challenges with accepting my own imperfections even as I seek to do more work to help others accept their own.

Throughout the years I have been fascinated by the concept of what we view as perfect and the many roads we will travel to seek it out.  We want perfect partners, the ideal job, that perfect house, car, and the list is endless.  With growing access to social media over the past decade,  we can now convince others of our perfect or ideal lives through visual or written posts and sharing.  I am just as guilty as the next person of this- setting permissions just in case less than ideal photos were taken that I don’t want shown or sharing/posting pictures that are most favorable in regards to my attractiveness.  If there is anything that feeds my body insecurities, I delete or hide it.  As far as written posts go, I like to attempt brutal honesty with myself but even those include some editing as well.  In other words, I photoshop/wordshop just as much (and perhaps more) than the next person.  Except my version of photoshop is just making sure certain images never see the light of social media.

In-other-words-duringThis past Monday, Liz and I went on location in preparation for our exhibit.   There were a number of fabulous photos taken of me to represent some of my self identified perfect imperfections.   I noticed in choosing the photos I wanted to have on display during the exhibit, I tried to avoid the ones that included me in a full body shot.  I was having this discussion the other day with someone about this internal struggle and they noted the irony of the whole thing.  Here I am working on encourage others to embrace all of themselves yet I was having trouble doing so as I was looking at the photographs Liz took.  In fact, while viewing the photographs and noticing what I was doing in making my choices, I thought to myself “Isn’t this some shit?  This is crazy.  I am crazy”

In other words, during the moments of trying to seek out the photographs that spoke to me, I was on a ‘search and destroy’ mission for all of the things that I viewed as major flaws.  Was my lazy eye noticeable?   Did the camera add 10 lbs?  Were my hips too big?  Because these were things that I did not choose to put on display as my imperfections, I noticed that I now entered the realm of contra dancing with my various flaws and insecurities.  This moment alongside many of the conversations I’ve been having about the project is just a reminder that we are all in different states of our acceptance.  Perfect Imperfection might imply that one has come to embrace that which is viewed as a flaw.  However,  the things that I chose to put on display are pieces of me that I am still seeking to fully embrace.

imagesThus, it may not be your perfect imperfection because you have come to accept or embrace something about yourself that is a self-perceived flawed emotional, physical, or character trait.  But you may have many things that you are seeking to gently hold as you attempt to embrace the many woundedly perfect and imperfectly whole beautiful pieces of all that is you.  I know that I certainly am.

 

Just Say It….But Only In 140 Characters

indexI have been participating in what I would call National Public Radio’s flash poetry on twitter.  I’ve had a twitter account off and on through the years and had a hard time wrapping my head around the 140 character rule.  I like to tell stories, share information, and just share my thoughts but with twitter you are limited to 140 characters.

It would have been easy to pull things out of previous work for the NPR Twitter challenge but I decided to challenge myself.  How could I express all that I wanted in fewer words that still packed thunder?  Even with some of my quotes or ponderings that I designed–how could I say more with less?  Admittedly, as someone who loves to converse and who does talk a lot (no surprise right?), I have always been challenged by seeking out fewer words.  In business, we call in the elevator speech or your pitch.  What do you want to say about what is most important about a specific project in little time?  During some of my current efforts to create buzz and get the word about about various events, a lot of the online calendars request a brief description within 150 characters.

The less with more rule has challenged my writing many times.  But regardless of the difficulty, I am still intrigued by the idea of linguistic simplicity.  Perhaps in this age of social media and especially in regards to twitter, there is something we can transfer over to our everyday interaction with each other or with the world.  How can we say less to each other and still convey the weight of meaning or emotion?

Are You Icarus?

indexWe are all Icarus everyday of our lives.  We fashion our wings or freedom out of wax while using those same hands to fashion our prisons.  In other words,  in the midst of the land of the infinite, some of us are only choosing whether or not we shall dare to fly too close to the sun in order to bemoan a severe face plant of our own creation.  Then you have the others who use those wax wings, though temporary,  as a vehicle.

Why I Won’t Ban Bossy

There is a new crusade that has been causing a bit of a buzz in the media.  It has gained the support of Beyonce, Condoleezza Rice, and a few others.  This campaign is about the banning of the word bossy.  Sheryl Sandberg, an executive at Facebook and public figure is launching a campaign to ban a word that has negative connotations for girls and women in regards to leardership.  In an interview with Parade, Sandberg lends more detail to the reason behind her campaign and efforts,

“Women still represent only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs. And more worrisome is that the number has been stagnant for a decade,” Sandberg told Parade. “What hasn’t changed fast enough is our acceptance and encouragement of female leadership. That goes for all of us — parents, teachers, managers, society, everyone.”

This campaign has attracted some critics.  The Huffington Post has a piece (along with others) countering that this campaign misses the mark.  Another article openly makes a case not to ban the word bossy in a recent New Yorker issue.  

2014-03-23-banbossybadge2-thumbThis dialogue is reminiscent of my days as an undergraduate Gender, Women, and Sexuality major though I am a self-declared life long student of gender dynamics.  I recall these discussions about language and the reality it shaped for girls and boys.  For example, becoming more conscious of the way that we comment on the way that a girl looks as opposed to other qualities that she has (like what I discussed in the “Hey, I’m not Cute” piece some time ago).  Upon hearing about this campaign, and the example of how words like “jerk” was used in a gender specific way, I made my decision.  I am not banning the word bossy.  Sure, it is a word that has been used to describe my personality and in my world, the usage of language is applicable to any gender.   In the example I just gave of the word jerk, I often use that word to describe both female and male behavior.  I have often referred to some of my actions or antics as jerk-face moments.

Which brings me to my refusal to participate in this war on the word bossy.  I’ve not gravitated toward this word to describe male or female behavior.  In my personal life, all sorts of words that are usually attributed to a specific gender become equal opportunity moments to describe all genders if the tailored coat fits.  But the attempt to ban it illustrates a bigger issue that I have seen over the years with the attack on specific words.  Either groups have felt the need to brand new ownership of a term or declare that we issue an eviction notice to the land of “Let’s Forget It Exists.”

Well, I offer a different dialogue around all of this–let the word and many others that make us uncomfortable stay.  How else do we dialogue or address anything if we are forever sending way the things that make us uncomfortable or carry bias?  We can certainly create new language that words or do extreme make-overs on terms that no longer work in their original form.  But we should not go around banning words.  We should continue to have them available for usage, debate and thinking about their existence while we challenge the root causes of our discomfort with these linguistic offenders.  Also, with the existence of the uncomfortable or words that carry offensive connotation, how will we ever get an effortless and instant vacation from our comfort zones?

 

Something about Alice…

Alice-never-fell-down-aI have been fascinated with Alice in Wonderland all of my life.  However, with each passing year, I gain more appreciation of the layers that exist within this tale.  So, my current pondering is an extension to my eternal fascination with she who is Alice and the inspiration for my quote.  If you are also a fan, I also want you to think about how we all might in fact be Alice.  Creating our lands of confusion or becoming kidnapped to ourselves in a world of our own making.  The possibility that Alice never truly just fell down the rabbit hole, but that she in fact created it.  On that note, I will also leave you with the Shel Silverstein poem which also pays homage to our dear Alice.

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The Broken Glass That Is The Human Spirit

690d306d95723f15071250b2f02f5a66I want you to take a few minutes to think about this.  I happened upon it while talking with a friend in one of the local coffee shops as we were discussing life and various other things.  We stumbled into the topic of brokenness and I shared with him my analogy to the human spirit:

“Imagine we have a broken glass.  It is shattered, cracked, missing some pieces, and complete with small holes from the missing pieces that could not be found.  Yet we expect it to still be a type of container we call a glass.  We expect this broken, battered and shattered glass to still hold our contents.  Does that make any sense?”

Long after we continued our chat, many hours after we parted from our conversation in the cafe what I shared with him stayed with me.  Heck, we can even apply it to real life.  Ever been in a restaurant and discover that your glass holding your water had a crack in it?  Immediately you are flooded with doubts and worry:  will the water seep out slowly, will the crack grow, will the glass eventually break?

The analogy of the glass is a strong one at least in my mind in regards to the human spirit.  Our bodies are but mere containers and with time, experience, and various situations we become a little shattered and broken.  We are not always capable of finding the pieces after the shatter yet we have created pressure for all of us to perform as if we are whole.

The wanting to be whole in and of itself is not a problem.  However, we should redefine what that means.   If we stick with the analogy of the worn glass with all of its cracks and such (or even a glass without the wear and tear) we could learn a lot.  How do we wish to gain any new contents if we want to only hold what we have inside?  How can we confine ourselves if we have new bruises, wounds, and missing pieces to accommodate?  How can we still duct tape or super glue ourselves just as an effort to perform that we can keep it together?  For who and for what?

There is nothing wrong with being a broken, shattered or cracked glass.  We just need to allow space for the beautiful new formations and indentations caused by life.

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Surprisingly, What Goals Can’t Do For You…

imagesI have noticed something in myself and others for years.  In our youth, we all talk about “the next” in regards to our goals, our to do lists and the like.  When I talk to older individuals, they talk about their relationships with loved ones, engagement with life,  or other things that do not include checking something off of a to do or getting to some unidentified point.

In other words, they have realized that you can’t go to sleep at night with your goals.
Goals/to-do lists will not give you hugs, or just cradle you if you are having a rough go of life at the moment.
Goals don’t attend your funeral or share those memorable moments with you.
When you are sick or crying, goals/to-do items don’t wipe the tears away nor help nurse you to health.

I keep thinking that at some point, even I will remember this.  That perhaps even I can shift some of my attention to my beloveds and perhaps finding/nurturing a future partnership as I fall asleep most nights with my cold laptop under the covers beside me.  But, I have not.  I am busy, I have goals, to-dos, and maybe the shift will come with the illusion or lack of promise of time.