“You need to start listening to other people more” part1

A phone call this afternoon bid the remark in the title of this posting.  As a person who works with communities and does this as a job, I found it interesting that someone would even say something like that.  And then you remember how diametrically opposite some of our personal lives are in comparison to our professional lives.  How many of us fight with that inner struggle of this form of multiple personality disorder?

Analyzing things further: I laughed at the statement.  Because, frankly, it was pretty accurate.  In the recent past I have not listened to my friends in their warnings about Joshie Bear.  People warned me back in the beginning stages that he was a bad idea.  Back in November when he started on… and in December when he was gone for the month visiting family (read: cheating on me with another woman but none of us knew that until recently) or in…

Well you get the idea.

I look back even further.  To my parents.  To my rebellious punk rock days and what not.  About how the fashion and the ideas have continued to flow even after all of that… not completely changed but… evolved as I stepped away from that lifestyle and created another and yet another.

I know that in the past I might have essentially had a similar conversation with my parents.. well… if I had stayed in Illinois and things were a wee bit different but you get the gist of it-

Stevo: Wait, time out. I just wanted to ask real quick, if I can. You believe in rebellion, freedom and love, right?

Mom: Absolutely, yes.

Dad: Rebellion, freedom, love.

Stevo: You two are divorced. So love failed. Two: Mom, your a New Ager, clinging to every scrap of Eastern religion that may justify why the above said love failed. Three: Dad, you’re a slick, corporate, preppy-ass lawyer. I don’t really have to say anything else about you do I dad? Four: You move from New York City, the Mecca and hub of the cultural world to Utah! Nowhere! To change nothing! More to perpetuate this cycle of greed, fascism and triviality. Your movement of the people, by and for the people got you… nothing! You just hide behind some lost sense of drugs, sex and rock and roll. Ooooh, Kumbaya! I am the future! I am the future of this great nation which you, father, so arrogantly saved this world for. Look, I have my own agenda. Harvard, out. University of Utah, in. I’m gonna get a 4.0 in damage. I love you guys! Don’t get me wrong, it’s all about this. But for the first time in my life, I’m 18 and I can say “FUUUUUCK YOU!”

Dad: Steven, I didn’t sell out son. I bought in. Keep that in mind. That kid’s gonna make a hell of a lawyer, huh?

Mom: Yeah, he takes after his father. He’s a son of a bitch.

Dad: Well fuck you dear.

But now, years later (I mean that movie is from 1998 for chrissakes) even after that whole speech and ultimate conclusion of one of my favorite movies of my teenage years, perhaps the message and culmination was telling me more than I knew.  More that…

For the longest time my family and friends have been saying so many things about my potential career path.  Marketing, although that is where my home has been and continues to be when clients surge (btw: Muse for Hire currently- comment here to connect about your projects) it wasn’t the two places I’ve been told I should essentially be since birth: writing and law.

I have stopped my world from evolving with my previous choices in lesser men.  I’m not blaming them.  I made the choices too.  And you can look at even the postings about how much I stopped my world again the last time for this… stupid guy I fell in love with.

I gave Bear so much shit about pushing forward and pushing harder.  He in turn gave me that same “sell out” argument above that… well I had over ten years ago.  He told me recently that he never said he was a grown up but he was trying to be, at thirty five years old and counting he said he was “just a little behind…”  and then he’d made fun of my arguing and corporate tendencies again.

So maybe Bear was right about that initial statement.  Friendship wise.  Career wise.  Life wise.  But not for the reasons he likely thinks.  At the end of the day I guess this likely just makes me a… well, watch the video below and you’ll know the end punchline.

Cracked Lights and Cassette Tapes

Lately I listen to more Cohen than I do Waits.  I’m not sure how to feel about it.  Mr Cohen just seems to pop up more and more fluidly.  Like he did this morning.

I saw a word referencing a leak about a video game news story coming… down the Valve. And instead of following immediately to find out the news, I immediately thought of this quote and subsequent song by Leonard Cohen.

“There is a crack in everything.  That’s how the light gets in.”

This year has had so many life changing moments.  This past week… oh my… it’s been a shark week…

I woke up to a phone call from an office in a land of enchantment.  A land where, coincidentally, someone is returning to as if to take the other’s place.

I thought so much more of that one… and the magic that I thought he helped create.  Like the nuclear explosion in a white dwarf star that makes the world brighter by its occurrence.  And he was, if only for a moment at least.

It wasn’t good news about either non sequitor situation.  It was… a snag in progress.  I have hit so many snags with all of this.  I’ve been starting to lose a bit of hope throughout all of it.

The holiday weekend brought with it so much affirmation and perspective it was mind blowing.  My mind goes through it again and again analyzing each moment and trying to: make peace with it, make sense of it, and change it.

I feel like a jammed cassette tape.

My brain.. under the microscope

(Ps if any of you feel compelled to do so I also wouldn’t mind getting this t-shirt)

I’m about to hit the showers.  Analyze why the phrase hit the showers exists.

(I mean, what did the showers ever do to me beyond get me all clean and smelling good?)

Head downtown to a courthouse with a pen, several notepads, my computer, chargers, and… this heavy heavy heart I have as I trudge through it all.. on the bus system… with an entourage of naysayers strewn across my path.

I think about the words of Mr Cohen once again.  I think about the beauty of enlightenment.  About how the greatest things to happen and the greatest works of literature and art seem to have come from cracked places like this one.

Is it weird that I’m smiling through tears?  That it’s not just society’s’ force that guides me to that smile right now but it’s… this silly stupid optimistic heart?

Maybe I’m just stupid.  Hell I’ve heard that in the past before too.  Either way?  Fuck it.  This is important to me and it’s worth fighting for.  If I don’t, the potential for it to change really is zero.

So here goes [hopefully not] nothing.

Fat Lil’ memory Notebook

Lots of time on buses and what not running errands and dealing with Dr’s shit and, forgetting my Kindle in my friends car meant some quality time with the ole Fat Lil’ Notebook today. I bought it a few months ago for on the fly notes and what not as it’s essentially only a little bit bigger than two Post-Its (5 1/2 x 3 1/2).  You see, I have a little bit of a Post-It fixation as previous co-workers can attest to… but that’s for another entry.

On occasion I will flip back towards previous entries. Today was one of them as I realized my book was beginning to get a bit thin.  There’s only about 20 or so pages empty left in it and so, another is likely needed in the pretty super near future.

This notebook says so much it’s a bit crazy. There’s notes on an abundance of things from the everyday directions list to meetings to.. little snippets and memories of things from when I first found out I might be pregnant.  Reading the entries brings about thoughts that, although fragmented, show just how much brevity can still weave a story.  Reading this I’m able to watch the excitement and happiness I felt initially to…my latest entry which is, suffice to say, not.

I’m curious how much one could assess about my mind and it’s inner workings from seeing these little notes and blurbs. About the other notebooks that have been lost in moves. Who knows what happened to those old pages? Perhaps they never saw anyone else’s eyes before they were tossed into a trash. Perhaps they weren’t. Perhaps it’s for the best either way.

These pages are evidence of a life lived. They are a reminder of why I ALWAYS will have a notebook and a pen on me… and why that hasn’t changed for as long as I can [not always] remember.

These pages are why I know that I know that what I am before anything, first and foremost, is, and ever shall be: a writer.  Till death do I part.  And that ain’t bad even when it is bad.

Food for thought: On birthdays and the detached connected generation

So this week I turned the page on yet another chapter of my life.  I officially entered my 30s.  Last year was the BIG “dirty thirty” turnover and this was the step in.

As I had been not single for a majority of this year, I haven’t seen as many of my friends as I’d have liked to.  Add to it last year’s awesome birthday trip to Seattle was not in the works as I’m currently a Muse for Hire as well as teensy bit pregnant.  (Read: not even showing just yet)

As things have been a bit all over the map and tumbling down as well as riding up (I will go into them in other posts but you can start by reading this one here and this one here to get an idea of where to start) I started to have a few rain cloud thoughts about this year’s birthday.  A couple of shitty phone calls later from my past and, well, I wasn’t exactly feeling the most bubbly about everything.

Granted: there were TONS of birthday messages on my Facebook wall and a few of you even reached out to me on Twitter.  And that was fantastic and completely appreciated.

Despite the TONS of friends and wishes, There were only a few people who even asked what I was up to… less than I could count on one hand… and one of them lived cross country.

I felt crappy about it.  Silly as it were, and knowing that I had dropped off the radar a bit with my relationship, I still was bummed.   Moreso, I felt bad about being bummed- worried that it was potentially just another case of pregnancy hormones trying to get the best of me on my otherwise productive day.

It wasn’t until I ended up telling my current roommate about my plans for the evening that things really came into view.  As it turned out, he had talked to another friend of mine who also knew what was going on and they were trying to arrange a small little outing for me.

I felt like a total asshole.

“People probably assumed you already had plans because, like me, you’re always so busy.”

I bucked up a bit and helped pull the reins.  I reached out to a few close friends and asked them to dinner.  As it turned out, there will be more dinners in the works in the next coming days.  Friends were happy to go and hang out with me and have dinner and what not to celebrate.  They, like my friend commented, just assumed that I had other plans.

At dinner I mentioned the whole thing to friends as well.  It was a unanimous thing said amongst everyone.  As active as we are in our daily lives, how often, unless you have a set group of friends that you do things with CONSTANTLY how often do you take the time to ask someone what they are doing for their birthday?  Really take a moment and step back and think about it.  You might be incredibly surprised.

In a day and age where we are so digitally connected, we too often forget just how much it means to someone (who yes might totally be busy a lot of times) to even get asked the question of what they’re doing.  It may seem petty in a the scheme of things, it could mean the world to… even the people you think might think are social rockstars.

Special days are special because of the people we share them with.

While it’s true that social media is a great tool to stay connected with friends it doesn’t replace the power of going one step further and showing you are also real life person outside of a page.

 

I loved you at your Darkest

Half of me. Half of you.

 

And last night was a very very dark night.

I’m frankly ashamed of how it went.  It was not something to be proud of.  It was something that I hope that my coming child will never do to someone no matter how poorly they act to them.

I had had a very difficult few days.  Mother’s Day had come and gone… but not without leaving its own marks and scars.  I’d get into it, but I’d rather not get into it right now.  Perhaps I will when I’m ready.

Let’s just say that the events that occurred this year cut that much deeper as one of them relates to my unborn child and my current relationship (or rather near complete lack thereof) with the father… a man who I had no intentions on meeting and falling in love with in the first place

But life, of course, often has other plans.

Bear and I have gone through some very difficult and dark points throughout our relationship.  We have been off again, on again, so often it’d make your head spin.

Oh how my head seemed to feel like I were spinning we were so in love.

Once upon our time.

We were supposed to have been broken up (again) when I found out that I was pregnant.  However, after the news, we “tried again” (albeit briefly) and… it still ended up failing miserably.

In hindsight, I know what went wrong.  We were trying to conquer the same problem but we weren’t actually doing anything differently.  It was, the very definition of insanity.

One night, several months ago, he came to me in a mess of emotion.  I asked what it was.

“Darkness.” he cried to me.

And for a bit we held each other tight throughout it.

I hoped it would be over.

I know you did too.

It continued to get darker as the months went by.

We fought and fought.  We thought we were fighting the darkness but we were mistaken.

The darkness enveloped us.

It blinded us.

It was so difficult on our own and united we were too scared to stand.

I know I loved you at your darkest.

Unfortunately, in the process of trying to save us both from all of that, things only got worse.  He slipped further and further into the shadows.

They consumed us both.

Especially last night.

Our love had hit its expiration date even if the child inside me hadn’t.  The killing blow had been on Mother’s Day when Bear texted and later called me.

“Happy Mother’s Day”

He did not seem to understand how this “kind gesture” could be taken poorly.

So yesterday I made some phone calls and worked on things.  I consumed myself in other things.  The things that transpired throughout the day continued to beat me down.

So this is what it feels like to be alive huh?

The day had been a repeat of heartbreaking events.  Little did I know that it would be nothing compared to how it was last night… to the wee hours of the morning.

There was more crying.  More and more darkness.

I’m embarrassed.

How did it get this bad?

In the morning I would text him an apology.  I got up and sat in the quiet.  And then there was beauty. First the music.  Then a call from a recruiter again.  I was smiling.  My world had changed and I was still so sad but… why the hell was I smiling?

A friend messaged me asking how I was feeling.  She had just recovered from strep and yet, she was curious how I was.  If I’d slept much.  It was like… she knew.

Today was spent at the fashion district in downtown Los Angeles.  Curious… the little girl in the big city that loved and had her heart broken downtown was… going home to surround herself with… color.

Today was a reminder that no matter how dark it feels there is also color. (*See pictures from it by clicking the link*)

A part of me will always love you.  No matter how much pain and hardship we have gone through together, and apart, nothing is ever going to change that.

Someone once told me a phrase that I, in turn, flipped it around. “Where the light is brightest, the shadows are the deepest.”

Maybe part of the reason it got so bad is that we are so alike.

My friend Karissa summed things up wonderfully yesterday in private.

“No one’s a monster.  We’re all traumatized in some way… some more than… others… just looking for a way to heal.  That’s ultimately the purpose of all relationships– to serve as a mirror so that we may understand what is unbalanced within ourselves.”

Maybe we are both in that darkness… but in the light at the same time.

No wonder it scared the crap out of both of us.

If I hadn’t left that night

Sometimes (read: often) I think about that last fateful night when…

And I wonder… what would have happened had I not left that night.

But I needed to leave.

You needed to feel my absence a bit.

I needed to feel yours.

When I left that night, I was just as upset about it as you are now.

I didn’t want to leave.

I didn’t want to fight.

I just wanted things to stop.

I’m not sure you would have done anything to change those things

If I hadn’t left that night.

I wanted you to be better.

I thought that by me leaving, you might appreciate me more.

That I might appreciate me more.

In several ways I have found one of those things to be true.

As breakable as I feel like I can be

I’m not.

There are amazing souls that appreciate me.

I used to be one of them.

I should have been more of them than I had been.

I don’t know if I could have remembered that as strongly

If I hadn’t left that night.

In the midnight hour I still dream of you

Of the person I believed in you

Of the love that I hoped would return to me

Of the happiness that I thought might appear again

But likely couldn’t…

if I hadn’t left that night.

And the texts keep coming

The answers are painful

So very very painful

And knowing might be half the battle but it still hurts wondering

Would it have been different?

Would we have been different?

Would I have been different?

If I hadn’t left that night.

It wasn’t always like this

Let’s rewind to almost a year ago.

I had been working two jobs- a freelance client opportunity and a full time “mundane” office job in downtown Los Angeles.  After years of trying to make it (between freelance and temporary contract jobs amongst other life matters) I found myself not only capable of doing it, but doing a fantastic job at that.

So much so that I had saved and had no worry or care when my then boss at the time tempted not give me time off to spend my 30th with my best friend in Seattle.

I had conquered a mountain of debt, spent several thousand dollars in investments into personal matters and was thriving.  I had worked hard and it was finally paying off.  This was a milestone moment and I was going to take it.  Thankfully it was approved and off I was on my first real vacation trip on my own in ages.

Something curious about the time?  I was also single.

Sure I had gone out on a few dates here and there but it wasn’t anything major.  Hell, it was one of those experiences that had it’s magical moments but we both knew we weren’t ready or able to give the other the fairy tale happily ever after tale at the end.

When I left for Seattle for that trip last May I didn’t have a real care in the world.

I was whole.

I was complete.

I had no one but I felt like I was everyone.

I was awesome.

It was all going to be alright because I made it alright.

I was enough.

And it was absolutely amazing.

Seattletripmayme1When I think about how far I’ve come from that, and how far I was before I got there in the first place, it’s kind of difficult to wallow in sadness for too long.  Yes, I’ve had probably a million moments of sadness.  I know that there likely will be more where that came from.  But there will also be that many moments of joy.

I learned that magic isn’t just something that exists in this world, but it’s created.  It’s an internal choice.  It’s an external mission.  It’s often great shared (and sharing I would find is also its own process at times, especially in the dark hours) but… it’s also great when it’s not.

In Seattle I spent my time primarily with Jo.  We had a blast talking about the past.  About the moment when I couch surfed at her place when I had a bump in the road.  About how we missed being roommates.  About the silly stupid stuff that best friends talk about and miss when they are miles apart physically.

However that trip taught me so much about what companionship was and balance that…

The day I arrived we were to meet up with a few of her friends who were also in town.  The night was amazing.  I hadn’t previously met these women but they treated me like they had known me for years.  It was heartwarming.  A reminder that strangers are just people waiting to be friends.

And then there was that last day.  With that trip, as with the next that followed, the last day would be my day.  It was to be treated completely at my whim.  The day was whatever I wanted.

The last day was always the best day.

On my rush to the airport that day I ended up on the train where an old man started talking to me.  We talked about being strangers.  We talked about the town.  We talked about destinations and the future.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” he asked me.

“No.” I said with a laugh.

“Why not?”

“I don’t need one.” I said with a smile.

For all those times when things are hard, this post is to remember that day.  It might feel like ages away but it really isn’t.  A person is capable of going farther than they would imagine.  No matter what the hardships… no matter how bad it seems like it could possibly be (and it was pretty bad), it can always get worse.  Or…. it can get better.  You just have to suck it up and believe.

Remember what it was like to believe.