The Power of Two Realities

20140314-132717.jpgOne particular night, I lay writhing in pain and in fear of the baby in my belly. It seemed to have “slipped” into a position that I knew was wrong, as if a stiff brick were lodged in my right side. It felt foreign, unconnected to my body, like an object wedged between thick layers of skin, and in a way it was foreign. It was my sister’s baby, not my own. You see, she couldn’t carry a baby and since I could, or thought I could, I did what any sister would do given the situation.

So there I lay, with this stiff brick-baby in the wrong part of my belly, writhing and fearful. I cried and cried. My pain wasn’t taken seriously, not by doctors, not by anyone. Maybe it wasn’t painful enough. I wondered how high the pain would escalate before someone would intervene.

On cold nights, I find refuge in my guest bedroom where I share a small bed, symbiotically, with my giant bulldog. He loves the company, I love to be warm. We begin in a sweet cuddle, his body curled and his heavy head resting sincerely in the crook of my legs. Within minutes he snores like an old drunken sailor and sprawls across the bed with his nethers far too close for comfort. Too big to move, I endure, for the sake of warmth.

On this particular night, when I lay writhing and fearful, crying and crying, I woke to the feeling of two giant bulldog legs lodged into my right side. They were kicking and running in their sleep, kicking and running into my belly.

The absurdity, the relief, the questions…

The kicking didn’t hurt, but in my dream, it produced anguish, fear, physical pain, disconnect, desperation. A physical outside force entered my body and caused it harm. I let my sister down, I failed, my physical body was incapable, I was desperately alone, yet, when in a split second those deep emotions were replaced with the sweet, sweet touch of a bulldog’s paw. He finished his run, stretched, and snored away like an old, drunken sailor. I lay there wondering how such a simple paw could do so much. I wondered if anything is really as bad, or as good, as it seems.

Paint in White

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I painted this using a pocketknife and white paint on white paper, in very dim light. Its inspiration was a suffocating, grey, bitter cold day not unlike the long stretch of days prior to it. In an effort to find beauty somewhere, anywhere, I extended my mobile phone out of my front door and captured an image. This one:

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I chose white because white can be terrifying, and I needed to feel something, anything, amidst the dismal winter. I used a pocketknife because it was near and I couldn’t be bothered to search for a brush. Chipping away at this tree, scraping paint, and building texture, I remember losing myself in the cello and Radiohead and then the cello again. Had the day been filled with yellow sun and blue skies, I wouldn’t have learned the beauty of white on a bitter grey day.

I keep this painting displayed alone on the large grey wall of my office to remind me how to manipulate what is near and transform it into something beautiful. It teaches me to just sit back and absorb the everyday.

Choices, Choices!

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I sit here, at a desk, typing about choices. Why do I type and why haven’t I chosen to walk to the shed, gather an axe, and work at felling the evergreen across the street? Why am I not strumming a banjo? Why aren’t I honing a furniture-making skill? Stealing money from an unsuspecting victim? Painting a woman’s fingernails? Painting a red tree with fingernails as leaves? Painting my portrait? Painting your portrait? I could paint your portrait, all you have to do is ask. Painting your portrait with spray paint on the street? Painting “I love broccoli” in Hindu on the street. Or on my house. On a man’s fingernails. On broccoli.

Sit still for this one moment and consider what you are doing. Are you sitting, standing, wearing a skirt, chewing tobacco, tapping your fingers, rolling your eyes at my words, eating jellybeans? Now, think about the trillions of other possibilities that exist, that you could choose to do, right now. You’ll blow your own mind.

Who Are You? A Little Monday Introspection

Sit back and take a few minutes for yourself:

What sort of person did you expect you would be? Have you become that person? In what ways are you different than expected?

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Does Everything Become Ordinary?

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I am consumed by the question, “Why do we tire of things?”  We tire of music, however shocking and original it was.  We tire of people who were once the brightness in our day.    Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring will never produce another riot.  A mini skirt lost the ability to offend.  We don’t notice art after being subject to a masterpiece for any length of time, even a terrifying Calder.

Alexander Calder painted a seven-legged dog with furious red teeth and eyes.  When I first positioned this animal adjacent to my couch, I had trouble sitting still.  While trying intently to read a page or nap in the sunlight, my eyes were pulled in the direction of this primary-colored dog. Always conscious of it, terribly afraid of it, I ended up abandoning the living room and took my reading and napping to the tiniest room in my apartment which, not coincidentally, was the farthest room from the Calder beast.  To avoid crossing its path, I began exiting my apartment through the back door, just in case.  Just in case of what I’m not sure, but since I’m incredibly reasonable, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Arriving home was a different story.  I’d carelessly bounce up the flight of stairs, let the door fly open, flick on the light, remove my coat and shoes, walk thoughtlessly halfway into the living room preoccupied by this or that, and stop dead in my tracks.  There it was.  The sneak attack.  That damn primary-colored snarling animal floating on my wall.  This happened for weeks, until I outsmarted it.  I learned to leave a nightlight on, to peek around the corner before disarming myself of my coat and shoes, just in case.  Just in case of what, I still wasn’t sure.

Gradually, its pounce began losing its punch.  I began exiting through the front door without fear, arriving home without a nightlight.  I napped deeply on the couch after particularly tiresome days, waking without fear.

I’ve since moved, and the Calder dog followed me.  There it hangs in my living room where I nap without hesitation.  I go days without noticing it.  Somehow, its teeth are not so sharp anymore, its eyes with earthly depth, its primal nature quelled.  I miss the terror I once felt of this now tamed creature.  I miss the mystery of such few colors and crude shapes.  I miss the ridiculousness of avoiding the beast.  It was exciting and new and unpredictable then, and because of this, I ask, does everything inevitably become ordinary?

Showtime!

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Although I haven’t written about it in weeks, the box is, and has been, a constant thorn in my side. Today, it represents success: what success is, how to achieve it, and how to make it last.

I believe that I have a bundle of successes under my belt already, but will I ever be satisfied? Is anyone ever really satisfied? Is it showtime?

The Implication of Now

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I am fixed on time, on the notion of now being the only moment in which we exist.

Watching the snow fall, I sense motion.  Listening to my bulldog snore, I hear motion. Sitting at my desk, completely still, my body is in incredible motion: cells dying, living, splitting. Synapses firing, ceasing, firing.  Plaques and tangles forming.  Skin flaking, hair falling.  Thoughts racing, forgetting, creating.  Stan Getz vibrating my eardrum, coffee stimulating olfactory senses, blood rushing, mitral valve failing, information gathering, fingers typing, erasing, revising, second-guessing, muscles degenerating, skin oiling, capturing a moment, remembering it differently, creating a fancier moment.

If it’s in the past, did it exist?  Is now a compilation of fictitious nows that form a fictitious past? How divisible is now?  Is it a Planck moment?  A whole universe grew in a Planck moment.  Where was I then?  Was I then?  If I was then, I always am.  The whole universe could fit inside my box then.  I wonder if I want it to fit inside my box now.  What is the implication of filling it?