Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Five Things I've Learned in My 26th Year

1. My six-year-old son is, hands down, the coolest person I know.

I mean, how could you not be madly in love with this kid?

He cracks me up everyday. Some of his greatest hits?
  • He writes songs with titles like, "Life's So Hard" and "We're All Just Friends." And he really puts thought into the lyrics. He told me if I take a video of him singing his song "Life's so hard" I should be sure to show it to people who are having a rough time because, "it will cheer them up."
  • His dance moves are sick. He has one called The Elevator where he cranks down to the ground to the beat.
  • He declared this week in our household to be "Fashion Week," where we will all have to pose and take pictures of each other.
  • When he turns on the lights in the living room, he precedes the flip of the switch with a dramatic "Lights. Camera..."-flip-"Fashion!"
  • There's a song in my laptop titled "How to Fight Loneliness"...he was looking over my shoulder at it and asked me to pronounce the word 'loneliness.' Then, without missing a beat he goes, "You can't fight loneliness."
  • He owns a still-in-the-box action figure of Princess Leia in her Jabba's Palace bikini.
  • He knows every word to Rehab by Amy Winehouse and emphatically gyrates his pointer finger when the chorus goes, "No, no no..."
  • He has a crush on a girl in his class named Talullah because "she's smart."
  • Once, when we were playing the dozens...just throwing random insults at each other to stretch our imaginations...he called me a "blog."

2. Boundaries are important.

I came to a realization this year that I'm tired of being a victim. Yeah, some crazy shit has happened in my life...some of it as a result of my own choices and some of it at the hands of others. It dawned on me, though, that I've used these negative experiences to justify my most unsavoury behaviors. This breakthrough also helped me realize I can be proactive about this pattern in my life. I can set boundaries with people. I can let them know how far they can go with me. I can put a stop to being the victim by defining and asserting my personal boundaries. In putting this into practice, I was surprised at the people in my life I found myself distanced from. But it feels good to be able to say, I'm not a victim anymore. Certainly, I can own my role in the crazy shit that has played out, but I can also stand by my decision to not let the other parties involved dictate my success and happiness.

3. Professionalism is giving your all when you have nothing left to give.

It's a lot like being a parent, actually. To be a professional, you have to be able to put your own needs, gripes, unhappiness and angst aside to what's best for the organization that employs you or--to put it on a more micro level--to do what's best for your career. And I like the idea of thinking of your career as an extension of yourself in the same way a child is just that. It makes sense.

4. It's easy to be a cynical asshole.

It's infinitely more difficult to be a good person, standing by your convictions and keeping an optimistic outlook. Everybody gets shit on. Everybody knows the world can be a harsh place. The easy way out is to expect the worst, to reciprocate every blow you've been given with your own venomous lashings and to roll your eyes at anyone who has the audacity to keep a positive attitude. Staying off this path is the real challenge.

5. Music can heal you.

Last Fall was a reeeeeeally low point in my life. I was in a dangerous living situation, my family was in chaos and turmoil...and I was beyond broke and without the resources to remove myself from any of it. Luckily, in the midst of this crisis, I was scheduled to go on my first cruise. A client of mine runs the Blues Cruise, a weeklong cruise featuring more than 20 of the world's greatest blues artists playing 70+ shows in the ship's many venues. I went on the trip to represent my agency. I realized quickly that the fallout from my personal drama had followed me onboard. I found myself unable to let go of all the anger and sadness I had accumulated throughout the ordeal at home. Then I got sick. I stayed in my cabin for a day and a half feeling miserable, vomiting and everything. And when I finally emerged from the depths of seasickness/food poisoning, I went to watch Earl Thomas perform at the Queens Lounge.

Earl Thomas is a soul singer and songwriter. As is customary in blues, he invited some other artists on stage to jam with him. He began to sing the old gospel song, "This Little Light of Mine." And as the other singers joined him, the entire room of mostly middle-aged white people began to sing and sway along. Then this tiny woman named Chick Rodgers got up for a solo. Her voice and her intensity brought tears to my eyes. I walked out of that room feeling refreshed. I really believe the energy in that room healed me, brought me out of my funk and helped me to move on. It was a life-defining experience and I often think back to it when I'm spiraling towards those depths again.

I've heard people say before that music saved their life. I feel like I kind of know what they're talking about now.


Duncan said...

I assume from the selective points you shared with the public that you know the kid's going to be at Missie B's at least once before his 18th Birthday, right?

Meghan said...

I like to think it's just the influence of having a gay man for a roommate. But we shall see...I think he's more destined for Musical Theatre.

Nadia said...

I love, love, love all of this. I wish there were ten theengs!

surviving myself said...

I 100% agree with #4. Unfortunatly for me, I can't seem to not be a cynical asshole.

somechick84 said...

He's adorable! And I agree that music can heal you, it's an amazing thing! I love your blog and I love the way you list your posts.

Anonymous said...


My name is Sep Kamvar, and I'm a digital artist and computer scientist based out of San Francisco. A few years ago my collaborator and I made a project called "We Feel Fine" (http://wefeelfine.org), which collects human feelings from the Internet. Basically, it searches blogs for occurrences of the phrase "i feel", and when it finds an occurrence, it automatically adds the surrounding sentence to a database. The project has been running for more than three years, and collects around 20,000 new feelings per day, having collected around 13 million feelings in all.

We are currently working on a book about We Feel Fine to by published by Simon and Schuster. In assembling the book we have searched through millions of feelings captured by We Feel Fine in hopes of selecting what we believe to be the most powerful. From statements that made us laugh to ones that made us cry, the most important criteria was that they simply made us feel. One of these selected statements and images was authored by you. You can view the image here :http://a332.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/127/l_1ba3e65d5b34896e6ba51a1931ec2d63.jpg
And the statement reads : “I feel like I kind of know what they're talking about now."

I am contacting you today to ask if you would allow us to include your image and statement in the book. We think this is a really beautiful sentiment and would love for it to be part of the book.
Please let me know if you would be interested in participating. It would truly be our honor. If you decide you would prefer not to be included I thank you anyway and hope you will continue to express yourself as openly and beautifully as you did in this case.


Sep Kamvar


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