Self-Loathing and the Second Language

se habla espanolI’m writing this from Costa Rica, where I have ensconced myself in una escuela intercultural in an attempt not just to improve my Spanish, but to get over my fear of speaking it. I had another one of those “no shit” revelations last week, to wit: I can choose to be happy about how much Spanish I’ve learned instead of being disappointed in how much I’ve forgotten or have yet to learn. Yeah. Who would have thought that was an option? Not me. It’s certainly not my default position. I have always been disappointed in my failings in Spanish, at least ever since my very first year of studying the language in 7th grade. I grew up in a neighborhood of Mexicanos y Puertorriqueños = I should have already known the basics before I ever stepped into a class. Seemed reasonable to me at 11. And at 40. Continue reading “Self-Loathing and the Second Language”

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What’s Wrong With Wanting to be Perfect?

perfectYou know how all those hippy-dippy new-agey pro-therapy weirdos are always saying you can’t really love someone else until you love yourself? I’ve always said I believe that, but to be honest, I never really understood the logic behind it. That started to change last winter, when the weather crept into my heart and I was filled with … I wasn’t sure what, but it manifested as anger, my fallback emotion. I was blowing up more than I have in years – particularly at Ben & the Dog. And while the specific trigger for my anger was at times a legitimate complaint, it did not justify the intensity of the reaction. Being, let’s say “blessed” with self-awareness and apparently benefiting from years of daily meditation (maybe? a little?), I didn’t revel in feeling angry the way I used to and I knew there had to be a personal reason for it. Continue reading “What’s Wrong With Wanting to be Perfect?”

Unlearning the Lines

The_Memphis_Blues_4I am a lyrics junky. I know lyrics. Not just beloved lyrics, either. I know the lyrics of hundreds of songs I actively avoid, and probably twice as many that evoke not a single emotion. I’m guessing this takes up about 5% of my working brain.

I am also hard-wired with lyrics that are totally fuckin wrong. It’s happened more than once that after blithely, boldly singing along with a song for decades, one day, for whatever reason, I stop and actually pay attention to the song I’m accompanying, instead of getting wrapped up in the drama of my own (private) performance. Listening to the song with adult ears, I realize I’ve had it wrong this whole time. And now that I think about it, my version made no sense at all, whereas the actual lyrics were really pretty clear and sometimes disappointingly banal. Continue reading “Unlearning the Lines”

Hey, look! It’s almost winter again!

According to my last post, I was “almost back” in June.

You’ll be happy to know I have been enjoying myself these last several months, though working for money more than I would like. I’ve had lists upon lists of things to do, have done some of them, and have enjoyed quite a few. Alas, those things are also such handy writing avoidance tools, that I’ve composed barely a page all the lovelong summer. But I promise you, dear reader, I will have a piece for you before the next national holiday. And another after that.

That’s probably enough commitment for this Autumnal Equinox. Happy harvest!

(almost) back, baby!

It was a difficult winter – physically and emotionally – and it kind of set me on a path of self-examination that has been both illuminating and burdensome. That’s my excuse for not writing in I’m-not-going-to-check-how-many-months. I put this out there now to let you (singular? plural?) know that I’m still here and would really like to discuss some things with you in the near future. You up for it?

Ben is still here, too, but I can’t speak to his plans.

Best to all,

How Winter Kills*

winterWoman & Guy go out for dinner & a movie at the art museum. Pleasant conversation follows – good film, bad audience; good food, bad waiter – as they join the line of cars waiting to exit the parking lot. Woman, sitting in the passenger seat due to her low tolerance for alcohol, looks at her sideview mirror and remembers she got the car – finally, right?! – washed today. Did the mirror get moved? She asks the man if he can see out of her mirror. He doesn’t answer. She waits. She calls his name. He responds with mild defensiveness. She sighs, “it’s just … exhausting!” She presses her palms against her face, hard, and wills herself not to cry.

And just like that – winter depression makes its grand entrance! Continue reading “How Winter Kills*”

App vs. Enlightenment

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sorry for the crap image; our phones have terrible cameras & WordPress is TESTING ME

Early on, I mentioned my meditation app in passing. Since then, I’ve been forced to confront some spiritually materialistic tempations of the app, temptations in the lure of which I was a squirrel on an unsustainable California almond farm.

The good news is that the app has corrected itself! I no longer have to be strong (or start being strong)- the poisoned nut has been removed.

Here’s the deal. Continue reading “App vs. Enlightenment”