What My World's Like

#notetoself: release your attachments.

Mar
22

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it

This is the second #notetoself letter I sent during my trip, sent on February 13, 2012.

Buenas! I hope this letter finds you in good health and high spirits. I’m coasting on the joy of so many blessings in the past week, but also a bit weighed down by the reality of the lessons I’m still learning from my bag being stolen a little over a week ago in Costa Rica.

I’m now in Granada, Nicaragua, which on the surface is a quaint and charming colonial city with humongous houses and beautiful, colorful architecture. With the feel of a small town, the pace is comfortably slow and inviting. I can walk at 2 miles per hour here and not feel hurried. It’s a nice change of pace from Brooklyn and Manhattan.

But travel not even a mile outside the city center and experience the stark oppositional reality that this is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere. Tiny, wooden shacks with tin roofs. Dirt roads. Normalized poverty. I’m accustomed to seeing…more. The standard of living in Nicaragua is lower and visitors like me are thought to be wealthy simply because we can travel, regardless of how budget that travel is or what was sacrificed to do so. Here, I’m faced with how much I have and how much I’m accustomed to having.

On Friday, what I presume to be the purpose of my bag being stolen hit me. Hard. Release your attachments.

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visual cues.

Oct
28

be this strong. plant grows through concrete.
be this strong.

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lessons from the boogie monster.

Oct
26

This past week gave me the rare opportunity to spend time with a toddler. It was a really affirmative and awakening experience. As I approach the end of my twenties, consideration to marriage and children has landed upon me quite startlingly considering the slight opposition I had to them in my early twenties. It wasn’t a staunch opposition; mostly, I just didn’t quite see either for myself. For years, I’d say that down the line, I saw myself with children, but didn’t know how they got there. Lately, that’s been all turned around. Being a great mother and wife are very important to me, despite my singleness. I see myself in an amazing partnership with lots of love for each other and for our child(ren). Being 28, this change of heart isn’t unheard of, even if it did surprise me.

Last week, my oldest friend, Alicia, was in town for a few days with her daughter, Gia, and husband, Gene. We made arrangements for me to babysit oneday so they both could get some work done. This is New York City and most of my friends are single and childless; I don’t babysit often. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I’ve watched a toddler by myself. Still, I was actually really excited.

I awoke Wednesday morning with a mere five or six hours of sleep, but up with a sense of duty: I need to trek it to Manhattan to babysit Gia. Because of her torso wiggle dance, they call her Boogie. I call her Boogie Monster. She doesn’t get the reference, but it still makes her laugh, which makes me laugh.

After four hours of watching Boog by myself, a friend stops by to tag team the babysitting process with me not long before Alicia and Gene return. I spent 13 hours with her before going home and sleeping for 13 hours after that. The next day when I saw Alicia and Gene, I joked that Gia was a higher human being who knew how to consume human energy, while the rest of us feeble humans needed food. Really, after that night, I gained an even greater respect for my friend who works from home and has her daughter with her most of the time. Where does she get the energy? How does she have so much on her plate and make it work?

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join the think tank!

Sep
25

The BMW Guggenheim Lab, currently featured in New York City, ends in three weeks. It’s been here since August 3rd, so I’m a little bothered it’s taken me so long to get over there. But…better late than never, right?

What is it? In a word, awesome. In a few, The BMW Guggenheim Lab is a mobile laboratory traveling to nine major cities worldwide over six years. Led by international, interdisciplinary teams of emerging talents in the areas of urbanism, architecture, art, design, science, technology, education, and sustainability, the Lab addresses issues of contemporary urban life through programs and public discourse. Its goal is the exploration of new ideas, experimentation, and ultimately the creation of forward-thinking solutions for city life.

It’s a pretty awesome idea and all the events they feature are free, prohibiting no socioeconomic group from attendance. Fun and free is always fantastic. It ends on October 16th, so head over while you can, before it travels to Berlin and Mumbai. In 2013, there will be an exhibition at the Guggenheim before completing two more 3-city cycles.

What My World Sounds Like: Adele

Mar
09

I remember it clearly. It was 2008. I was living in Philly, but visiting New York. Standing in a Sony Music office talking to a former co-worker, I heard this amazing music playing in the other room. Bluesy. Touching. Heartfelt. Powerful.

I was distracted. So much so that I walked away from my conversation into a stranger’s office, apologized for interrupting and emphatically, almost pleadingly, asked, “Who is this?”

Her name was Adele. The album was 19. And with that information, in an instant, I became a fan.

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softening the heart

Feb
14

The most amazing things about life are the adventures we go on — the ones we embark upon and the ones that carry us away, without consultation, and leave us somewhere we hadn’t planned on being, yet still appreciate. It happens all the time, and the journeys can be internal or external.

Right now, I’m on such a journey. A spontaneous visit to my favorite bookstore in the city led me to a book called Why Forgive? that I picked up to gift a friend. Sometimes, we choose books, and sometimes, books choose us; this book chose me, and I’m so very grateful it did.

On my commute home, I began reading it and was almost immediately touched. It’s impossible to read and not get a bit emotional. Since my contact with Why Forgive?, I’ve been on a forgiveness spree. It dominates my thoughts. I’ve been letting go of grievances both large and small and exercising more empathy. We’ve all hurt others. We’ve all inflicted wounds and caused unintended damage.

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2010: a very good year

Dec
31

wow, it’s just hitting me that it’s really december 31st. this year literally swept by in a haze. i remember clearly when it started and so much has changed for me since then. i moved…again. being back in new york has been really great for me. so much about myself and about life in general has been revealed–and is being revealed–to me. the clarity i have now is life-changing, yet i’m assured of greater comfort knowing that my vision will only begin to crystallize over time. as that vision begins to crystallize, i see a change in my being and my doing. it’s a really beautiful and exciting time for me.

the best part of this year, though, is when i looked up and realized that i am what i’ve been trying to be, but the lens through which i was looking at myself was so blurry that i couldn’t see clearly. i’ve been so hard on myself so for long, so unnecessarily. themes of acceptance, forgiveness, and love were really punctuated this year. since then, i’ve made adjustments to my thinking and behavioral patterns that have started creating an inner peace i’ve wished for for years.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
– Aristotle

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How to use your* prostitute. (*yes, you have one regardless of your sex)

Jun
01

prostitute

I’m different. I’ve always been different, always felt different, but didn’t always have peace with it. Sometimes I fought it, bumped heads with others because of it, and even embraced it. It’s a sordid past I share with it. As I matured, though, I began to appreciate the fact that I was different. I eventually found it odd that most of us spend so much of our youth trying to fit in before usually spending the rest of our lives trying to distinguish ourselves. After all, aren’t we all different?

My official occupation for the past five years should read ‘nomad’. I’ve lived in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Antonio, St. Louis, and even in an L.A. suburb. Right now, I’m on my way to South Korea. Each line of my resume places me in a different state and/or in a different industry so it’s quite likely that most companies seeking a long-term employee will immediately discard it upon review despite my qualifications; it doesn’t exactly scream company loyalty. Here’s the thing: I’m okay with that. Why? Because I’m different. That fact is evidenced not just by my thought process, hairstyle, interests or style of dress; my journey and choices are highly reflective of my individuality. My path hasn’t always been easy or glamorous, but it has been true to my essence as a free spirit.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s a little something else: you’re different, too. You have dreams you haven’t followed, thoughts you haven’t shared, passions you haven’t explored. In short, you have a life you haven’t lived.

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Challenge: Find the good in where you are

Apr
05

heal-heart

Right now, I live in San Antonio. Been here for about seven months and can’t say that it’s been the most exciting time of my life. I can say that it’s been a very therapeutic time for me. Not too long ago, I realized that everywhere I’ve lived has served a different purpose for me, acted as a sort of theme, if you will. I was raised in St. Louis, which served as the framework for my understanding of the world. In Chicago, I really grew into my own. Became more of that which I already was. I moved to New York and really began to understand my work ethic. If I care, I’m all in. If I don’t, I’m pretty much out. The second time I was in Chicago was the most broke and probably depressing time of my life. I realized that I needed to make some changes. When I moved to California, I began to make some of those changes. Insights about my family structure of my childhood, or the lack thereof, became clear to me. Shortly thereafter, I moved to Philadelphia and the overarching theme of that period was love. L-O-V-E. As is the case with many relationships, my beau at the time served as a mirror for me, allowing me to see myself as I was and decide which changes I wanted to make. My time in Texas has been very introspective. Not a lot of activity, but necessarily so. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to grow the way I have in this time if I were in a city that really had my attention. So, yes, I’ve been ‘stranded’ on the West side of San Antonio, but I’m better because of my relatively dull evenings and weekends indoors.

Operating with the understanding of why I’m in Texas, in terms of the larger theme of healing, has been incredibly helpful. I no longer hate being here or think I made a mistake in moving here. Very often, we condemn parts of our lives because we don’t understand their purposes.  Everything can be used.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  Meaning is never inherent; it’s always created.  Find the value in the experiences you’ve had and the experiences you’re having right now.  If you haven’t done this already, it will change the way you understand your world.

Find the good.

Charlie Kaufman’s at it again!

Sep
28

From the man who brought us Being John Malcovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, here’s the trailer to Charlie Kaufman’s Synechdoche, New York.