Verbs.

February 23, 2013

Today I had brunch with my dance teacher and she posed a really interesting question. We’ve been working on a slew of things lately, and she blurts out: “I feel like I’m my most authentic self when I’m dancing.”

My mind has been in a tailspin trying to process the verbage of that statement. Inarguably, if that’s how she feels that she communicates her insides most truthfully, then that’s her complete personal business. I’ve just been thinking about what verb I would attach to the end of her unintentional question. What’s my “-ing”? When do I feel the most myself? What verb helps me communicate this to others? I thought about it all day, but every answer I came up with seemed like the wrong one.

I have items that represent me, nouns and things that represent my most authentic self; but no verb. I thought about paying attention to Carmen McRae’s phrasing, but I couldn’t be my most unique self experiencing someone else’s form of communication, could I? Listening to jazz music and drinking a cup of coffee couldn’t possibly be me at my most myself… Which begs the question: how do you even quantify what your most authentic and pure self is?

If I was going to rip myself down to my core and figure out what that’s made of, I may say jazz  singers, caffeine and scarves; but I might also say a combination of other extraneous factors that serendipitously united either by accident, or because I knew that it would be the perfect equation of happiness.

Perhaps I’m at my most authentic self when I’m repurposing other people’s lives so they make sense to me. (I.E. stealing things or people from my real life, and re-appropriating them through my writing.) I don’t even know if that counts.

When do you feel like your most authentic self?

What is your verb?

Firsts.

February 16, 2013

Here’s a fun, semi-detailed list of how you could spend your first official all nighter of 2013:

  1. Start by cleaning your room the fuck up. 
  2. Then reward yourself by watching Maternal Instincts on youtube, and having Melona popsicles for a late dinner. melona4
  3. After that, and while the movie is still playing, start working on drawing skulls.
  4. Wonder why Beth Broderick has such a circular face. (This is optional).
  5. Finish the movie with a standing “O” and a realization that you can’t really paint on sketch paper with watercolors.
  6. Try to hook up your broken external hard drive to see if you can find the *one* picture you’ve been looking for for the past hundred years.
  7. Neglect to find said picture, but instead remember that you saved the entire first season of Dynasty (before they switched Fallons).
  8. Scream.
  9. Remember it’s 2am, and that’s probably not a good idea.
  10. Continue looking for the picture,
  11. continue drawing blanks.
  12. Get an email from the lovely Kat Williams telling you that while you haven’t exactly *won* the blogcademy scholarship, they loved your entry and are saving a seat for you.
  13. Try and go to sleep.
  14. Freak out.
  15. Email Kat back, trying expertly hard to form complete sentences.
  16. Try and go to sleep.
  17. Get a million ideas of how to make enough money for a ticket.
  18. Email best friend/facebook spouse with excitement.
  19. Try and go to sleep.
  20. Get another idea, flip on light, write idea in journal.
  21. Try and go to sleep, yet again.
  22. Think of last idea that necessitates you writing your facebook spouse another email *immediately*.
  23. Get debilitating hiccups.
  24. Try and sleep again.
  25. See sun coming up, fuck it. 

Chess.

February 10, 2013

M: I just feel like a fucking chess piece. Everyone’s been trying to move me around for their own benefit. 

H: The only way to stop being a chess piece is to remove yourself from the game. 

(Sometimes my friends say the most insightful things.) 

dreamsville.

February 2, 2013

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Let’s talk about Dreamsville: originally a song by Andy Williams, it’s covered by Janis Siegel on her album The Tender Trap. I like to think of it, not of a place where lovers hang out (as Williams describes it); but as a place where all of the world’s intangible dreaminess congregates.  Or, perhaps just *my* intangible dreaminess. The kind of quietude that seeps into your bones sometimes, or the fullness you want to expel with the same amount joy that brought it into your system in the first place. Perhaps also catching the inbetweens of those two poles. All I know about it for certain that the feelings are as full of wonder as they are indescribable. I enjoy inhabiting this space in my brain quite a bit. When your heart fills to your ears and you can’t help but curl up in yourself folding each appendage over itself multiple times, and your head has a hard time comprehending how something could be so beautiful. These few moments when you thank the universe for bringing such divine coincidence into your life and weaving each breath blissfully together with carefully planned expertise.

I have these moments often, and I consider myself incredibly lucky to say that I do. I try to keep my eyes open for such beauty, without expecting it around every corner. Perhaps “often” is a bit of an over statement. I suppose I just try and keep the memory of them in my heart alive and as true-to-life as possible. I bottle them up for later, and go back to them whenever I wish.

The other night I had the fortune/misfortune to see Madeline Kahn’s episode of Intimate Portrait. Madeline has long been the voice of reason in my frenetic existence. I often imagine her giving me advice on how to calm myself down, which is weird I realize. It’s been this way for a long while. She is someone I consider canonical in my sanity. I hold her in such a high regard; but I had known so little about her life as a person, as opposed to an artist. I made the mistake of watching it right before bed. It was a mistake because I couldn’t sleep from the cacophony of feelings that eroded from my system after it was over. I felt like I had lost my favorite aunt. I knew the end of the story going in, but experiencing her life in such a tangible way was really heartbreaking.

It forced me to think about my own neuroses and accept that my idea of her was just that: an idea. A guess. An amalgamation of what I’d taken from her work as an artist. It was hard. I was claiming weird ownership to one small facet of this very complex human being who I wanted nothing more than to have a cup of coffee with.

Then it hit me.

I was in Dreamsville.

I didn’t know it until much deliberation, compartmentalizing, and crying; but it occurred to me suddenly how lucky I was. I realized I was turning up the music in my brain to drown out the sadness of everyone’s inevitable life journey. As if when the imaginary speakers hit eleven, I could stave off everyone’s death for another brief, fleeting second.  I kept thinking. After sitting on my bed for a good twenty minutes after the show had ended, I realized that I felt the same way I did after listening to Martha Argerich play Prokofiev for the first time. The same way I did after I sat and let Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese really enter my system. The same way I did the first time I heard Miles Davis’ Blue in Green during a rainstorm. The reason I couldn’t put my finger on it was because all of those things made me feel so good. How could the same feelings be brought on by something so inherently tragic? (To which I imagined her telling me not to dwell on it, and that things would be ok.) 

This is what I gathered from the experience:

We, as human beings are so incredibly lucky that we get to have emotional conversations with art. We are fortunate beyond explanation that people have taken time out of their lives to create something that would unknowingly reach directly into our hearts and make us feel this way. Our emotional palets being lit up by millions of atoms fusing together at just the right time, coming into our lives at just the right time, is so blindingly miraculous that it’s just indescribable.

Remember: wherever you are right now, the universe has brought you here for a reason.

Be thankful for those brief blissful moments, and store them in your heart for safekeeping.

Always keep your dreamsville populated. ♥