“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.

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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.

FUCK Fear

FUCK fear.

It’s been vetoed.  It’s been overturned.  The cake was a lie and we acknowledge that you THINK you can dance/sing/write/insert thing here but…  We get that you think you know it all.  And you have the piece of paper to “prove” it but….  But what?  You’re too afraid to stand up for yourself because of some outside source?  Some inside source?

Ok, well let me remind you today that fear gets you nowhere.  If anything, it only robs you of opportunities.  Opportunities to succeed.  Opportunities to be more than you knew.  Opportunities… to learn lessons.

So please say with me.. FUCK FEAR. 

Suck it up buttercup.  Make more for yourself you baby. Yes. YOU. Baby.    Because you fucking deserve it.

Let’s review:

FUCK fear.  The new you thanks you in advance for listening.

/Class dismissed.

One week of sobriety: A test of self control

Last week was a blur of disappointment and successes, but not for the reasons most might be thinking.

The biggest stateside video game conference had come and gone. It hadn’t been a fun filled week for me as it was for the many that gather here to our great city to celebrate the latest advances in technologies.

I work in two fields: journalism and entertainment. And while video games are a part of my 9-5, they are followed by my true passion: journalism. I have been fortunate to have resided on both sides of the fence. Each has its perks and setbacks.

I did my laundry Sunday. I washed away the remnants of people that I had thought more of before last week, of someone who I didn’t know what to think, of someone whom there exists a war in my head with what to think, and of pieces of myself that I’m learning more and more about.

I waver in between worlds within the spotlight and highlighting those who sparkle under it. But this camera sees a depth of field that…

With any conference comes the after parties. Behind these scenes is where the real magic and disasters occur. It’s the stuff of a million stories that writers won’t write about. It’s the stuff of stories that they probably should write about. It’s stuff that gets compiled into your brain and begs and begs to be released but rarely ever does.  Its the stuff that you wish you didn’t know.  It’s the stuff of stories that can drive you insane due to the lack of ability to release.

It’s the story of someone making an ass of themselves meeting someone for a secret rondevous. It’s the story of trying so hard to impress someone that the only thing that surfaces is the detestable.  It’s the story of having so much alcohol in order to make others tolerable, that a black out happens. It’s the story of [redacted] and the story of [redacted redacted].

When you work in the entertainment industry, you see this in so many instances that eventually, you have two options:
1) Let it overcome you.
or 2)Find a way to overcome it before it consumes you whole.

Life becomes more exhausting than usual. Not only does the weight of your own reality weigh on you, but so does the weight of the people vying for their chance to shine in the limelight of a coveted piece of fifteen moments of fame on the tabloid of choice.

Fearing an impending overdose on it all, I elected to take a command step forward. Paired with someone to assist in co-miserating the experience, I embarked on a journey into a world of glitz and glamour free of a method of escape. For one week I would be alcohol and smoke free.

Notes: I am not a daily drinker. I drink on a number on an occasional basis: networking parties where everyone has a glass of something in their hands, happy hour with coworkers, dates, and when something is really getting to me. The same generally applies to my smoking habits sans for one additional place it enters. Ah the “joys” of Los Angeles traffic.

Day one was to start when he left. He and I had spent the whole day together booze free. The evening had been cut short unexpectedly. Our plans to disappear into historical places taking roost in fabled haunts with as equally fabled spirits faded into the ether (for the time being).

An hour after he’d left however, I found myself assisting a friend (and veteran featured personality) with an art show she’d curated located within a seedy motel downtown. My time was spent in a bed navigating perverts (read: art enthusiasts) through the graphiti clad thrashed rock themed art room. He and I had talked earlier about me attending the show and I was originally going to stay at home and work on my book, but yet there I was. In the middle of it all, I stayed true to my mission. I remained sober and penned away at a notebook as the crowds waved in and out.

One shocking thing happened from the alt-shock event extravaganza  was not what I was expecting in the slightest. Among the sea of onlookers was one of the artists featured in the show with a very special guest. He was a “short” man.  Five ten with brown hair, scruffy and parker-esque. He had a smile that illuminated the room. His words faultered as he was nudged to “Just ask her”.

He talked to me a few minutes.  He’d wanted to take my picture with this artists work. Both of them were delightful people but there was something more about this gentleman. While talking about how we’d both ended up at the event by way of serendipitous routes, my tale of my mission to be sober for the week came up in conversation. He turned to me and said “I completely understand. I’m sober myself.” Does like energy really attract like energy?

When I arrived home however, it was nearly 2am. I was exhausted from the event. I’d had to help scrub the graphiti off the walls and clean up the aftermath. There had been four of us toiling away that evening cleaning. Being an art curator (or in my case, assisting one) is not always as glamorous as it sounds.

The bar below my apartment had my favorite beer on tap. I immediately walked up the steps and got a glass. But after I’d paid for it and it had been poured in front of me, I began to feel horrible. Day one of sobriety had been going so well. Within an instant, I’d ruined it.

The next day I went to visit family in Huntington Beach. I was intending on spending some time as a mermaid beachside a bit as well. Of course, the outfit I chose as I headed to the beach felt more suiting of the event I was at last minute then what I’d ended up wearing. Cest’ le vie. As I packed my bag my brain immediately went to “cans of beer and smokes”.  I shook the idea off and headed seaside.

Even after I’d arrived to family bbq, the two items I’d left behind were pushed into view. My family helped to make excuses for why it would be alright.  So did friends who’d invited me to return back to the bar below my loft bribing feats of hilarity in kiddie pools.  Everyone seemed to chime in “You can just start tomorrow.”

Remembering the night prior, I stuck true to the goal. It was a bit frustrating but it was nothing compared to the temptations that would follow the rest of the week. One such example happened later that evening when I’d arrived home. My secret guest and I had limited ability to enjoy our weekend as my roommate (who isn’t usually home and isn’t home as this is being written) was home for the entirety of it. However she’d had a guest that evening. I wanted nothing more than to go downstairs and have a beer. No can do.

I found myself as the week progressed, and as life continued to rapid fire bullets of everyday flies in the ointment, running a gammit of emotions from intensely frustrated with my lack of easy escapism, to rationalizing the act, to… undeniable clarity.

I went to my first networking event without the escapism. At one point, I’d thought that the booze was necessary. You need a glass in your hand in order to be approachable after all right? Almost right. The event had been a test of wits. It forced me to modify the way I went about my interactions. With the sobriety came more clarity and control over myself in navigating the event than I’d remembered experiencing for a long time.

My eyes were wide open.  I saw everything.  I was better able to gauge who would be the best conservators. I met more valuable, more mature and more truly talented people than I might have had I not been completely sober. I immediately was able to see how I could make their businesses better.  I was more on point with statistical and competition information.  I felt empowered by my lack of a barrier to readily access that information.

The main rationalization I’d previously turned to for the reason to do it “I deserve it” became the reason not to do it. It evolved. Perhaps I did a little in the process as well. And while I may not go completely sober or smoke free right now, I will continue to follow this path. The lessons that I have learned from this week shall not disappear into the ether. I highly encourage each of you to try this for yourself. You don’t have to have a huge problem for it to be effective.

Why?  Because “You deserve it?”  Almost.  It’s because “You deserve more.”

If you or someone you love is experiencing a debacle great or small with alcohol or any other substance, don’t be afraid to seek help with it. You are not alone. For more information on support centers and other outlets, or if you just want to attend a meeting to see what others are saying to see for yourself, feel free to look into the following link at your leisure:

Alcoholics Anonamous

The Repercussion of Things Said Too Soon

I don’t throw the word “love” around much anymore.
Saying it out loud seems to make it disappear.

The L word is the kiss of death when uttered too soon to someone not ready to hear it… even if they already know.

I don’t throw the word “love” around much anymore.
Saying it out loud seems to make it disappear.

Maybe I should have kept that to myself until we were both ready.  But it was how I felt.  Deep down I wondered if you felt even a portion of what I did.  But you didn’t.  You were too selfish to let anyone in but yourself.  The thing is, you’re so insecure that you don’t even do that.

Love is based on sharing an emotional piece of yourself with someone else.  Why does telling someone how you feel about them have to come with such major repercussions?

The act of falling in love is the craziest experience one can ever do.  It encompasses you.  It takes you away.  And when it’s over… you never feel more alive.  There’s just so much pain in even the wake of it.

I don’t throw the word “love” around much anymore.
Saying it out loud seems to make it disappear.

Things like this take time. It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination. The heart is a very delicate thing.

Emotions are gifts and they are also vices. Blessed are those that are truly virtuous to maintain a degree of decorum in the midst of a storm.

Love is a battlefield. You don’t have to retreat but you should keep your shield up- lest your sanity be obliterated more so by the blow of unrequited love and heartache.

 

E3 2010: A week to remember… and forget?

Traffic jams and riots.  A center filled with flash, glitzy signs… and hordes of nerds.

Welcome to E3 2010: the Lakers are in game 7 edition.

I watched the downpour of exclamations for the latest and greatest toys of the moment on various twitter and facebook feeds.  I checked up on the news on some of my favorite (perhaps biased) news outlets.

Strangely enough, with the exception of that first day, I really didn’t care as much about weather I’d be able to attend or not.  The thrill of E3 just wasn’t what it used to be.

I thought about it and wondered- what changed?  At one time I was so determined to go to as many events as I could.  Nothing would satiate my palate.  Events that I was told I couldn’t get into?  I didn’t take no for an answer.  I’m bad with no’s sometimes.  This- one of the most major conferences of the year would have been a given that I wouldn’t accept that.   Was it that I had just become numb from one too many?  I mean, I have been to quite a few…

I swear I'm not an addict...

There are a few conferences a year which rank up there in high importance to me: professionally and personally.  Last year I was told I would not get into 2 of them: E3 and E4all only to somehow find a way.  I honestly didn’t expect it this time.  It just… well sort of found me.  It is a happenstance that has been occurring quite a bit these past few months.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I was able to attend- albeit only a day and for miscellaneous parties on time in between work and well, more work.  It was more than enough.

This year is the first in many that I was not attending as Press.  Instead, it was a covert operation made possible by one fellow Culver City crusader as I played the part as someone… in town from Turtle Beach.

Walking the halls of the Staple Center this year was a window into my past.  I barely work in gaming nor have I been penning as a journey from the sidelines currently.  I have been swallowed whole by a different world and popped right back again.

It’s the wee hours of the morning at my last day of contract work for a toy company with a small MMO in beta- and in the silence of the office, I’m left to think about the proceeding days off and into the world of my past.

It seems that this time of year is an intersection.  This year, however more than others.  But we’ll dig deeper into why later.

People from all over the globe come together to this spot.  Like many other conferences, the attendees share a passion.  Fundamentally this is one that has been something that holds a very special place in my heart.  It is one of two most prominent forms of entertainment for me since childhood: video games and comic books.

I arrived late.  A meeting with a client after a very full night out to a couple of parties the night prior had me on a bit of a later start that I had planned.  Add to that the extra chaotic parking fubar of a big city full to the brim.

I got lost in the city.  I don’t know how that’s possible considering I’ve been here nearly 3 years but it happened.  It has happened quite a bit since I’ve lived here but given that it’s a huge convention center it’s a bit of a stretch even for me.

I’d gotten lost the night prior as well.  After being accompanied to find my car by one who claimed to know the way but apparently had too many free drinks at the Cheap Ass Gamer after party at the Golden Gopher I ended up in an area not my home.  I am positive it was not from the amount I imbibed.  I have been cutting back considerably and only had a couple of beers despite it being open bar.  It was peculiar.  This month has been full of moments like these:  of journeys and arrivals to destinations unknown.

My cohort greeted me.   I would assume this alter ego as I walked the halls with the rest of the entourage.  I met up with my best friends from Fantastic Forum.  But my day was mostly spent with the crew of Angry Bananas.

The boys showed me the ropes of what had been missed of the con so far.  Luchadores. Epic Mickey. Move. The new dance game.  The Comic game.  Marvel vs. Capcom.

And as much fun as I had while walking around, I still found myself somewhere else.

E3 has been a week where I will see people and get messages from my past.  Failed lovers.  Secret affairs.  Near romances.  Friends from past lives.  Of people known digitally from cross country and halfway around the globe.

It is a time where I remember where I have been.  Of the collection of people both good and bad I have had in my life.  How they’ve effected me.  How they have colored the canvas.

I was only there one day but it was enough.

To the lovers I have had in the past.  To my former coworkers.  To the people I have met along the way…

Thank you.

This hasn’t been the easiest time for me.  It’s a test.  I am breakable.  But I am capable of being repaired.  Time and time again.

Time and time will pass again.

And while not all of my intersections this year brought up the best of memories, I feel stronger because of them.

I’m looking forward with anticipation of the unknown… of next year and the next conference and the other miscellaneous destinations that I arrive and exit along the way.

One day a year

Yesterday was the anniversary of two people brought into this world that have changed my life: my ex husband and my sister.  Happy Birthday to the both of you.

I took a bit of time as I was going to get the mail at work to call my sister.  She lives back home in IL in a small town in Bloomington.  We live in two completely different worlds, not just zip codes. 

Hers is one of black and white.  Mine is…

She works at a school over there doing administration and testing.  She went right into college after high school and has a degree as a social worker.  Until a couple of years ago, she was doing nothing with it.  She was working in a Copy Max as a retail manager.

She, for the most part has stayed in the same place her whole life.  I have lived the life of a vagabond. 

Her relationship with my more colorful yet corporate dad is strained.  My relationship with the mundane nothingness that is my mother’s world is far from being anything grand.

My sister and I look little alike.  She takes after my mother and I’m very much so like dad.   I have had no problems finding suitors.  She has always struggled.

She nearly married her high school sweetheart. 

Nearly is a good word when it doesn’t apply to you.

Nearly won the Pulitizer prize.

Nearly made it to work on time.

Nearly got into that club for the party of the century.

Ah, nearly.

It’s definition should simply be: first loser.

It’s a word that would succinctly capture the story about Shawn.  But that’s the cart before the horse.

Jessica’s highschool sweetheart, Willy, broke up with her and married the woman right after her.  My sister must not have taken this very well as she then turned around and married his older brother- a year to the day after.  But hey, maybe she really meant it when she said it wasn’t intentional and that Shawn didn’t remember that when they picked the date.  I mean, he is a recovering alcoholic after all so I could completely understand that reasoning of logic.

My sister had been since supporting him throughout the duration of their marriage thusfar while he just mooched off her.  After exiting a marriage where my husband didn’t want me to be independent financially, I couldn’t fathom why she ever would want to carry a “man.”

I remember the days when we were younger we used to play together.  Hell there may be a cassette tape where we recorded bits and goofed around with buried somewhere in piles of things left in my mothers garage in suburbian IL.

These days?  We don’t talk much.  Not for lack to talk about, but more of the “agree to disagree” sort of lifestyle differences.  I understand her choices but I don’t think she understands mine.  Again, she is like mom and I oftentimes find myself questioning mom if she and I even legitamitatly share DNA.

Needless to say I have never really been close to that side of my family.  I wish it were different.  Maybe in another dimension it would be.

Yesterday I called her.  I’d heard pieces from dad about how things were with her.  Reminders of how much so we really were not alike.

I wasn’t sure if the rumor that Shawn would be going to jail for violation of his probation was true or if somehow he’d gotten his act together.  He’d gotten into drugs and was being watched regarding selling.

My family has said that they hope she leaves Shawn, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.  They have a child together.  My sister has always wanted to be loved and have children.  I saw the look in her eyes as I went on my way and had mine. 

Envious. 

Longing.

It is for these reasons that I tried to talk to her yesterday.  I wanted to see if she was alright.  Instead when I asked how things, she was secretive.

I asked her if she was ok.  She operated as if nothing were wrong.

“He’s away.  He will be away for a long time.  But it’s alright.  We are still together.”

She didn’t need to tell me.  I knew then that he had gone to jail.

  “Where is away?  Is it a business trip?  What’s going on?”

She got upset.  Told me it was nothing.  Told me thank you for calling.  She got abrasive.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the entrance of two people who would change my life.  I am happy with where I came from.  I am happy with where I am going.  I am glad that our paths crossed ways.  I am also glad… that we are parting.

Like so many people I run into… she seems to not realize her potential. 

I’m noticing a pattern and taking some action.

It’s going to be a long December.  For me, this one is going to be focused on working further towards my own potential in double time.  Thanks for the reminder sis and best of luck to you.