Tag Archives: Emotion

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.

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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?

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?

The Raw Beauty of a Moment

A moment is a specific and significant, yet immeasurable period of time. A moment is distinct in comparison to that which surrounds it. Distinct, unique. Fleeting.

People share moments, wait just a moment, wait for their big moment, things have had their moment. There are moments of force, magnetic moments, moments to remember, Moment skis that are made in the USA from 95% North American materials. Someone will be with you in a moment. There are momentary lapses of judgment. Nikki Minaj wishes that she “could have this moment for life, for life, for life.” You can measure the internal strength of an object to find its bending moment.

There is the moment of truth.

Douglas Kennedy received a four-star Amazon book review for, “The Moment: A Novel.” One nail-biting Ebay bidder sits on the edge of a seat, 12 seconds away from a Precious Moments figurine. This Magic Moment is having a wedding sale you will not want to miss. Fireworks awed Squints and Smalls to the tune of The Drifters’ “This Magic Moment.” There are awkward moments and moments of clarity. For $259 you can stay at The Moment hotel in Hollywood, California.

Take a moment. I will be with you in a moment.

A moment. How do you know when a moment begins and when it ends? When does the present suddenly become the past? At which point does that specific and significant moment appear to be clutched in your hand? And at which point does it slip through your fingers? Is there a static instant, a “NOW?” Can you be aware enough to know it? Is there enough time to know it?

A moment, this moment right now, is incredibly fast, fleeting, gone, tossed into the past. Every sentence, every word, every letter, every breath, suddenly in the past. This one. Now. Right now, and now, and now, and now…

One incredible moment, however impermanent, however skewed by synaptic memory, existed and fleeted into my past. I existed outside of passing time, absorbing that one moment, that one “now.”

With the help of a team of creative, talented, and generous people, I am able to revisit a representation of that moment whenever I choose. It was January 5, 2012, a day at the beach depicted in the photo, the day I filled the box. I felt like Squints and Smalls, when nothing else existed but the raw beauty of a single moment, one I will share with you in the future.

 

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Gratitude, Self-Doubt, and a Dog

A question was posed by blogger “Clarabelle” this morning about gratitude. What does gratitude feel like to me? While you toss that around in your own head for a few minutes, or visit her blog right here: Clarabelle, I will explain how I arrived at my answer.

My mission was to write an incredibly fabulous, poetic, and unique piece that would fetch large audiences who would all be in agreement about my brilliance. It would make people wonder how, or if, a mere human could create such perfection. They would argue that the author must be a team, as even the greatest wordsmith could never encompass such complexity in plain language. It would read as if it had always been written, always existed, and was just waiting for the right moment to be unveiled.

I sat there, at my desk, in a Mexican poncho, one slipper, drinking the sludgy, chalky bottom of very strong coffee.

While I waited for Brilliance to begin, Self-Doubt stopped by with breaking news. Self-Doubt couldn’t wait another moment to tell me that trying to fill a box for twenty years is just stupid, writing about it in a blog is even stupider, that I am my only audience, and that an illiterate child is more skillful at written language than I.

Whomp, whomp.

I closed my laptop. I replaced my slipper with two walking shoes, the Mexican blanket with a jacket, and filled my cup with coffee and cream. I set out for a walk, just me and my dog. I thought about Clarabelle’s question of gratitude. I thought about the beautiful red autumn leaves, the salty smell of ocean air, how it makes my hair feel, how Amy Hempel’s writing is so perfect and precise. I thought how truly happy my dog was to sniff the fallen leaves as he looked up at me with admiration and a wagging tail. I stood still, waves crashed, clouds slung low, a stranger smiled at my happy dog. I was so incredibly thankful for that moment.

Although I am not a seasoned professional writer, and many a novice is far more masterful than me, no one before me has ever created this combination of words. No one before me has experienced the beauty of the moment which inspired them. It is beautiful in and of itself.

Clarabelle, I thank you.

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So Much Guilt, So Little Time

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I think about the box every day.  It gives me unimaginable guilt every day.  Guilt for owning it for twenty years, for trying unsuccessfully to give it purpose, for giving it purpose but not fulfilling the purpose, for trying to hate it, for trying to like it.  I think about it at work, while driving, washing dishes, replenishing my car’s fluids, showering, and walking my dog.  I think about it while running, serving my opponent, quelling boredom, trying to get it all done.  I dream about it, wake up thinking about it, but mostly I try to avoid it, and mostly I try to make it work.  All the while, it nags from behind a closet door, nesting within boxes, begging to finally be what it is supposed to be.  I mean seriously, how long is it going to take?  Its concern is valid.

This thing that should be, but isn’t yet.  The thing that could be, but isn’t.  Arguably, the box is my biggest secret.  No one knows about it, except for you, but all names and places are changed to protect the guilty.  I would die if anyone knew that I were the one who failed miserably at so many half-hearted attempts at nothing.

So there it rests, in that naggy, blamey part of my brain, behind a closet door, nesting within other boxes, filled with something I’m too afraid to take out.