Friday, December 26, 2008
1. I lead a double life... It's a well known fact (or so I think) that I consider myself quite spectacular and am not afraid to say so. I swear I'm not conceited... Not by any stretch of the imagination. Half of the time, I'm living my life like an out-of-body experience. I can see myself objectively and I know that I'm a package that comes with all the bells and whistles... Meanwhile, I'm stuck inside my own head where knowing and believing are two very different things. I am spectacular... and spectacularly insecure.
2. "Quirky" is one of my general characteristics that I am proud of. I'm very quirky. I'm 2 parts Monica Gellar, 1 part Peter Parker, and a Goonie at heart. I am quite literally a comic book nerd in a woman's body.
3. And I fall down. A lot.
4. When I was in the 2nd grade I lied in an eye exam so that I could get glasses... Turned out I have astigmatism in my left eye.
5. I spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Besides showering and make-upping, you might find me plucking, clipping, filing, brushing, straightening, whitening, spraying, stretching, reading, self-tanning, dancing, mugging... and just being a general mirror monkey.
6. I run towards the fire. Seriously. If I'm warned about something (or someone)... if I know it's a bad idea... if there's any chance my heart might get broken... then, apparently, I'm all in. I don't just run... I sprint for the fire. I guess there's a part of me that always hopes I'll be able to put it out before I get burned.
There. Now... the sad news is... I don't have 6 bloggers to tag. So, I'm tagging my two favorites...
Jax in Noho
Not the Murderer
RULES: Mention the rules on your blog. Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself. Tag six others. Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they are tagged.
And now I'm going to hang out in the bathroom...
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Today I happened upon this blog on the Redbook magazine website (don't ask). And because I happened to have a very specific opinion about the last bit, thanks to my experience in the agency trenches, I couldn't help but leave a comment. Except the damn website keeps Error-ing me like a comment cock blocker. I refuse to let my well-worded pontification go to waste, so I'm posting it HERE:
Look, Sue Mengers was only offering the kind of astute opinion that made her legendary. She knew the biz just as well as Mr. Michaels and her success as an agent was predicated on her shrewd, informed viewpoint of how Hollywood really works. Everyone knows it's as much -- if not more -- about beauty as it is about talent. It's unfortunate that this microcosm of the professional world happens to have the greatest influence on how we, as a society, deem what is worthy of our attention and adulation. In this celebrity-obsessed era, we've forgotten that film & television is created as FANTASY. Logically, we know that we shouldn't be comparing ourselves to the lovely creatures we see on screen... but that's exactly what we do. And thus, we become fixated on how an "average" person like US has suddenly transformed into one of THEM. It's sad, but true. Thankfully, shows like UGLY BETTY are helping to change our narrow perception of this beauty ideal.
HA! Cock block that Redbook!
Monday, November 24, 2008
What I Had to Have...
Huh. Y'know, this is a funny one to me because, well, there are so many things in my life that I HAD to have.
Let's go with the obvious first...
I'll admit that up until just a few years ago pretty much every article of clothing, shiny new shoe or bag that I fancied in the moment became something I had to have. I've been this way my entire life. Even in my single digit youth, I remember perusing the Sears catalog and marking all the pages of clothes I wanted. Always with a certain image or persona in my head that I desperately wanted to achieve. This habit has grown with me over the years. Now it's the entirety of the J Crew catalog that I pine for. I must've been born a clotheshorse. Honestly, I think it's a trait that is more inherent than it is learned. We all know there are those girls out there who hate to shop or just don't really think about it as often or as passionately as the rest of us. My best friend Amy is one of them. She's never been the type to plan her monthly budget around a pair of shoes. Sometimes I wish I could be like her. It'd make life so much more simple. Instead, buying new things is like a lifelong addiction and I'm a recovering addict just barely in check. Turning 18 was a joyous day for me. Why? It wasn't because I was of voting age (I registered) or because I could get a tattoo without parental consent (and I did) or because I was finally a legal "adult." No, the most exciting thing about turning 18 was being able to apply for credit cards. To me, at the time, it was like "Woohoo! Free money!" The very day of my eighteenth birthday I was in Express signing myself up for a future of debt management. Everything I had to have came to a grand total of nearly $15K by the time I was 23. This whole "adult" thing is a two way street and I've since been suffering the consequences of my uneducated, wanton credit card adventures. Now I'm much better at reigning myself in. EBay was a great help with that, surprisingly. On EBay I can ooh and ah and put everything I think I have to have on my Watch List. Then I get a certain number of days to decide if I really want that thing I had to have in the moment. I've found that most of the time I'll let an auction pass without bidding... and without remorse. By the same token, the things that really capture my attention then merit the effort of bidding to win them. Of course, when my competitive streak is ignited over a pair of J Crew boots, watch out!
The other category of my life in which this want it, need it, have to have it mentality has proven perilous for me is -- c'mon, take a wild guess...
Or men. For some reason, even though I'm at an age where I should be calling them men, I still think of the opposite sex collectively as "boys." Well, most men are still boys anyway. Either way. As I mentioned previously, there is a part of me that likes the chase. Being able to prove to myself that I can win a guy, in some cases, has overruled having any real feelings for that person. But it's the targets that prove increasingly challenging that are the real bread and butter for my have to have it soul. The less they have to have me, the more I have to have them. Like a desperate, self-destructive, dysfunctional junkie I've fallen hard for the ones that were the worst for me and brought out the worst in me. And those situations have landed me in far deeper debt. Now, at 28 years old, I'm having to relearn the power of the poon because my own hunt and gather nature allowed me to fall prey to the deceptive power of the peen.
In general, I think I approach my entire life with this have to have it strategy. It's a double edged sword. Thinking you deserve to have anything your heart desires versus the lengths you'll put yourself through to get it. You think you're in control because you're the one doing the chasing, but really it's the pursuit that's controlling you. At what point does an object of desire trump your own self-worth? The answer should be:
But that's not always true, is it? Not in this greedy, image obsessed, consumerist world we live in (that we created) where we gauge our self-worth based on the shoes we wear, the bag we carry, the car we drive or the relationship status on our Facebook page. And I am most certainly a product of my environment (hello, expensive SUV gas guzzler that I naively thought I could afford!)...
However, with age I'm developing more awareness. I'm realizing that time flies fast. People come and go. Things change from minute to minute, day to day, year to year. Including my moods and desires. Fulfilling a compulsive want in the moment provides only a short term fix before I'm on to the next. What I had to have last year is irrelevant now. What I had to have last week is replaced with a wish bubble of what I have to have this week. Etc, etc, etc...
I've realized that coveting is more like a fun, motivational game not to be taken too seriously. If I can't get what I want right when I want it, that's probably because something better is in the pipeline... If I can't catch and conquer, it's probably not meant to be...
Yeah, I know. It's all easier said in theory. It is a lifelong addiction -- this pursuit that we call happiness. A moment is a gripping thing and instant gratification sure is tempting. But these days I TRY to remind myself that the relief will be fleeting. Because what I want is always changing...
Which is why I have a wardrobe full of treasures I wanted, needed and bought in the moment, but don't wear 75% of most of the time. And, why I've had those few moments of regret, wondering why oh why did I think I had to have him?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
So please enjoy the read and tell me... Do you want to know what happens next?
Wakeful dreaming. That’s what I like to call it. That time of night when you roll onto your side, eyes blinking and drifting shut, unseeing. Becoming aware of the city sleeping around you – or just rising. Its breath lifting the sheer curtains on your window, whispering over your furrowed brow. And you try to hold onto it. Onto that perfect dream…
I am always in that place, between sleep and awake. Always chasing the fading memory of a dream. And so it is, then, that I always know when it is time to rise. Sometimes I am thankful. Thankful that I always rise in the dark. When it's easier to let them go.
But the first night I dreamt of her, I held fast. Desperately willing my eyes to stay shut, squeezing them tight. She wasn’t a girl I knew. I had never seen her before. In the dream, though, she knew me. And every night thereafter, she followed me. From city to city, home to home. The way she spoke to me, like an old friend, a lost lover – it scared me. I had grown so desolate over time, as those like me do. Never letting anyone in, past the walls I had built. Somehow she got in. So familiar, so intimate. As if we'd known each other, had shared the world together. It thrilled me. Even when she would admonish my choices...
“She was too young.” “He was too dirty.” “Too wealthy.” “Too innocent.” She disapproved of them all. But really, she disapproved of me.
I never knew where she came from, invading my sleep. But I always looked forward to her company. She was beautiful, I knew it, even if I couldn’t distinctly make out her features. She was soft and light and sweet. I could feel her beauty. And that was how I recognized her… when I finally did see her. Awake and alert in the real world…
Echoing voices woke me. Lilting vowels and syllables carried on the brisk November wind, lifting from the street and up past the wrought-iron balconies of my ten story apartment building. And mingling with the musical conversation: A cab’s blaring horn... A barking dog... High-heels clicking on pavement... Joyous laughter and drunken shouts...
Another night in the city of lights...
It was only ten o’ clock and the streets just beginning to come alive. Time to get up. It was Saturday, after all, and there was fun to be had. I decided to head to Oberkampf, where I knew that pretty young things were easy to pick and rarely missed.
Always cautious, I never entered or exited through the front door of my building. I liked to come and go as I pleased, without the hazard of a doorman who could track my movement. I decided on my subterranean route, to match the dank and dour mood which had settled upon my shoulders like a heavy wool sweater. Down the spiraling staircase I went and into the cramped basement where, behind the bank of water heaters, there was an opening in the wall. A tunnel. Only big enough for a ten year old child to crawl through… or someone whose joints could bend and stretch inexplicably.
I emerged unnoticed from beneath the Arc de Triomphe and replaced the sewer grate carefully. The few pedestrians around not giving a second glance, hurrying past in their newly bought winter coats. I took the Metro from Champs-Elysees.
I had grown to like the Paris subway immediately, though it stopped running at only 1 am – midday for me. The swaying motion of the train always rocked me into a pleasantly mindless reverie, allowing me for just a moment to feel like one of them.
That night, however, I was anxious. Overcome with the feeling that something was about to happen. I fidgeted in my seat, fingering the collar of my black silk Versace shirt, smoothing my Armani slacks. I was dressed to kill. Hah.
God, I’m old, I thought.
The year was 2005. I'd been in France for three years already. In Paris for 2 years, 5 months, 9 days. I liked it better than most places I’d been. Perhaps because it was the first city I'd settled in for longer than six months. As was my habit on the Metro, I let my mind tick through the growing list of places that had failed to quell my restless spirit:
Nice, Monaco, Provence, Cannes. Malta, Majorca, Milan, San Sebastien. Berlin, Amsterdam, Prague – though Prague was more appealing every day. Hong Kong, Tokyo, Nepal, Bali, Fiji. London, Dublin, Glasgow. Cairo, Morocco, Dubai. Cuba and Mexico. The United States... Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Dallas, North Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas – frightening – Washington D.C., South Carolina, New York and my favorite, Miami, with all its gorgeous, blazing, blinding flesh. And of course, New Orleans... I'd return someday.
At St. Augustin the train moaned to a stop and I was knocked out of my thoughts as everything shifted. People stepped off, avoiding those who stepped on. The metro was like a ballroom and the commuters all engaged in a long practiced waltz. It was something I found at once amusing and somehow comforting. This dance would continue forever, as I would.
When those who had climbed on took their positions, there was that moment of perfect stillness. The wait for the lurch of the train that would carry them off into a night of experience. It was in that moment, that suspended time, that I first saw her...
She came flying down the stairs, graceful as a ballerina and possessing such beauty as I had only seen in Renaissance paintings. The loud horn sounded, warning that the train was about to depart, its doors slamming shut within seconds.
In a tenth of a second I was at the doors, resisting against the mechanical force. Holding them just long enough for her willowy figure to slip in past me.
“Merci,” she murmured.
American. I knew it immediately. Her perfect French accent was betrayed only by her pure and innocent gratefulness to a stranger. Her eyes barely met mine, but in that instant I was struck.
I sat directly across from her and studied her discreetly. She was definitely American... California... Los Angeles. It was obvious by her carefully careless look. Tall leather boots over perfectly faded jeans. Black cashmere coat, concealing a hint of some filmy, creamy material at her wrist. And haphazardly wrapped around her neck and shoulders was a shawl. The color blazed against her fair skin: pulsating, vibrant, deep, bright red.
Yes, I was taken with her… even before the realization hit me.
For a fleeting moment, I thought… As I said, she had fair skin. Pale as porcelain, flushing faintly over delicate cheekbones. Her lips were a soft, ripe pink. And to be bold enough to wear such a color, as if it were her trademark, a signature... But, no. It wasn't possible. She couldn’t be a vampire. The plain truth was right there in her eyes.
Her eyes which, every moment or so, would flick over mine, not quite meeting them. She was aware of me watching her. I sensed that she was used to this kind of attention, but not entirely fond of it. However, I could not relent...
I searched those eyes. The same burnished gold as her hair, differing only in the center of the iris where they faded into a clear, olive green. Her eyes were not those of one whose innocence had been sucked clean from her soul, against all will. They were not eyes that looked ahead into a bleak eternity. They were not eyes that had watched the life leave the face of another human being, quickly and gasping.
She was all of nineteen years old, twenty at most. She was fascinating. And so familiar...
That's when I knew.
“Why are you following me?”
She spit the words out, trying to enforce her strength as she spun around, wildly searching the dark street. Trying to see the predator she could feel lurking in the blackness. For an instant, she looked like a fierce Athenian warrior standing there in the moonlight. Her arms hung light at her sides, her fists clenched. Ready to attack. But I could feel her fear.
“I know you’re there.”
I let her wait a moment longer, as long as her adrenaline kept her rooted to the spot. As soon as it released her and she finally turned to go, I stepped out of the shadows...
“I’m not going to hurt you.”
Friday, October 31, 2008
The truth is, it's mostly thanks to commercialization and the omnipresent church that Halloween is perceived as being at the opposite end of the holiday spectrum. In some narrow minds it's referred to as the Devil's holiday because it "celebrates" and "flaunts" Satanic themes. (I actually heard this at a Sunday youth group service I attended in high school, right after... "God, doesn't care if you get bad grades.") Basically, if you look back at the history of Halloween, the Christian church tried to exert its power early on and now is bitter because it obviously failed.
Okay, here's a Reader's Digest version:
Halloween was originally a Celtic Pagan holiday that often was referred to as Celtic New Year. It started as a festival called Samhain which celebrated the end of the harvest season (the Light Half of the Year) and the beginning of winter (the Dark Half of the Year). Because it was "between" seasons, it was considered a magical day when the veil between the worlds was lifted and the dead walked among the living. This was a time when the dead were honored as living spirits of loved ancestors and guardians of wisdom. The Druids (Celtic priests) would attempt to make contact with the spirits of the departed because they were considered sources of guidance and inspiration, rather than as sources of dread. Then when Christianity spread, the church was unable to get the people to stop celebrating this holiday. So, in order to make the celebration "church sanctioned," two pope dudes decided to move their celebration of good, dead people -- the Christian Feast of "All Saint's Day" -- from May 13th to November 1st. Back in that time days were measured as starting at sunset, thus Samhain became All Hallow's Even (hallowed = holy = saint) and soon "Halloween."
In some ways, Halloween is not so different from Christmas (besides the whole birth of a savior bit, Christmas is another Christian holiday all tangled up with Pagan tradition, by the way). It's got the unbridled gluttony and its own Charlie Brown special (The Great Pumpkin, if you've been living under a rock). No presents, but I think Halloween offers a much more worthwhile gift: the opportunity to be whoever I choose for a day. I'm obviously not the only one that loves Halloween for this reason. It's become an annual excuse for all us sexually repressed females to get in touch with our inner trash-tastic whore. Other than 8th grade -- when Natalie and I eschewed the norm of using "slutty" as an adjective to a generic profession and literally went as SLUTS (despite our best efforts we looked less like hookers and more like Fly Girls) -- I've always been into more ethereally pretty mythical/magical personas. Fairy, witch, Greek goddess, vampire...
Which brings me to the main reason why I love Halloween: I believe in magic.
And, literally, magic is in my blood. My family has a moderate history of experience with phenomena. Things like some great-great-great-great etc uncle being able to stop horses in their tracks (yeah, that far back) or make them charge off using his mind. And another ancestor on her deathbed seeing a black cat that no one else could see right before she passed. And my grandmother's prophetic dreams of a litter of kittens that they actually found hidden in a shed in the backyard and of a plane crash that was announced on the news the next day. And my grandfather, whose best friend appeared to him at his mechanic shop at the exact moment he was pronounced dead in a hospital across town. Given that my grandparents are two of the most staid, traditional survived-the-depression Germans you'll ever meet, the fact that they tell these stories with amused reverence and believe in their significance is pretty cool.
As for me, I've always had a strong affinity for the occult, the idea of a supernatural world beyond our own. I believe in reincarnation, psychic abilities, and obviously, inexplicable phenomena... That's why I've never been a fan of horror movies. Slasher flicks, eh, I just think they're stupid and unnecessary. Movies like Poltergeist, The Shining, The Exorcist... they scare the crap out of me, because I believe in their possibility. By the same token, I believe that Halloween is a day for celebrating the possibility of another world existing alongside our own. There's never been a Halloween morning when I haven't stepped outside with a feeling of giddy anticipation. It sounds crazy, but I always can feel a stirring in the air and it puts a swagger in my step. It's like, I finally feel that I'm part of something bigger, something beyond and my part is just as important as everyone else's. It feels like a celebration day for MY people. Magical people. People who believe that anything is possible.
Who knows, maybe I was a Druid in a past life?
Monday, October 27, 2008
What I have noticed is that I'm quite good with pithy one liners on Facebook... Passing observation like that is something I can easily commit to. Why can't status/comment/wall writing be a profession? I'd be a millionaire! And you remember those ABOUT ME surveys that people would email to 10 other people and ask for them to send back and to 10 more and then when Myspace and Facebook were born would post them on their profiles? Those, too, only require short, encapsulated bits of genius. I have always LOVED filling them out. Y'know... that much I can handle.
Funny coincidence... both Jax and DaVida have recently blogged lists of their own. Naturally, I'm enticed to follow suit. (I just noticed... I'm writing as if my audience is more than just 3 people...) I'll start with the one that (hopefully) won't take me all day...
SOME THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY
lazy, hazy summer days by the pool
warm pubs on cold nights
PG Tips & soy milk
walking in New York City
DANCING... anytime, anywhere
singing passionately at the top of my lungs
the first feel of crisp Fall air
a clean home
getting all dolled up
While You Were Sleeping
when my eye for talent is proven
the Metro / the Subway
big, yummy salads
French romantic comedies
black & white photography
afternoon movie & lunch dates with Mom
TV that makes me laugh, cry, identify
good friends, good food, good wine
climbing into bed with freshly washed sheets
Love Actually at 6am on Christmas morning
realizing i was one step ahead of a trend
the patio at Dominick's
getting stoned and going to see stoner comedies
live audience sitcom tape nights
Sunday lunches with my grandparents
getting lost in a good young adult fantasy novel
bitchy queen humor
the word "cunt"
finding out at the register that something costs even less than its sale price
discovering new music
high heels & jeans
when things work out perfectly
reconnecting with old friends
"Flight attendants, prepare for take-off..."
staring out windows
moments of anticipation
creating pretty things
imagining the future
liking what i see in the mirror
feeling like a badass
feeling like THE PRIZE.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Why do people do the things they do?
I like to think I have an innate perception, or intuition, for sussing out people's motivations. Y'know, all the little bits and pieces I learn about a person -- where they grew up, what their parents are like, ex-boyfriends, past jobs, tragedies and triumphs -- get catalogued into my brain and form a sort of open ended equation until one day I go, "Oh, I get it. That's why..." Kind of like the way Sylar on HEROES can look at the innards of a watch and understand what makes it tick. Except, the screws and dials of a person aren't tangible things you can actually see. Though based on facts, they only ever add up to a theoretical conclusion. And the conclusion is always a very personal thing. So, for instance, you can insist that you know the exact reasons why a guy won't commit but he'll never admit that you're right. Trust me, it's no fun being a know-it-all without the hard proof to back yourself up.
Equally frustrating is knowing, logically, the roots of your OWN motivations and still not understanding them. Exhibit A: ME. I don't get myself. Most of the time I think I get myself, but sometimes I'll turn around and, in hindsight, realize I had pulled the wool over my eyes once again. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. This is so true. It's not until after the fact that I can objectively see why I've done the things that I've done. I understand my past self perfectly. And I try to apply the same equation of adding the bits and pieces of my history to conclude who I am in this moment... I'm getting better at it. The gap between "Now" and "What the fuck was I thinking?" is shortening. But a clear understanding of my mercurial present self is ever elusive. I suppose it's a lifelong equation, then.
So, instead of writing about Something I Wrote or Did That I No Longer Understand (numero 3 on the memoir assignment list)... here are a few things that -- while I wish I had done differently -- I fully understand:
1. I ate a diet consisting 95% of Jelly Beans, Sweet Tarts and McDonald's ice cream cones for 75% of my senior year in high school. WHY?
This one at first seemed obvious. Walking down 3rd St. Promenade with my friend Natalie, I noticed 2 cute boys headed in our direction and checking us out. As they came into earshot, I heard one of them say, "Not her, the skinny one." By no means was I "the fat one." And it's possible he'd just said something mean about "the skinny one." But this moment was the catalyst. Years later, I realized it was more than that. One common denominator with anorexics is the need to have control over something in their life. Around that time, I was slammed by two events that I had absolutely no control over: My mom and I lost our house and had to move in with my grandparents. Then, five weeks into the semester, I was transferred out of my Algebra class -- in which I had the highest grade ever in my life for math -- into a class with a teacher who was notorious for failing students AND in the ensuing parent-counselor-principal meeting, I was basically told point blank by the principal that he couldn't give 2 shits about me. SO... I decided to control what seemed to be the only thing that I could -- the food that did or didn't go into my mouth.
2. I chose not to "walk" at my high school graduation. WHY?
See above. There was no way in hell I would've been able to shake the principal's hand and not spit on his shoes.
3. I dated a future Death Row convict who had Fidel tattooed in vato font on his arm. Yeah, seriously. WHY?
He was the sales manager at LA Fitness. He wore Hugo Boss to work. He was a charmer. I was 19. He was older and seemed sophisticated (he wasn't). I'd just had a string of boyfriends and I guess I felt like I needed to keep it up. This was the guy that ruined me for all future relationships. I'd like to say I learned my lesson... but my bad choices in men are a recurring theme. And could've been the main subject of this entry!
So, okay, I'm going to be lazy and make that the subject. Because there are a few others that I've looked back and thought: Really, Bianca? Really? The main ones being:
4. Chad aka The Gay. WHY? He looked like Hayden Christensen. He was kinda funny. And I hadn't had a boyfriend and/or sex for 2 1/2 years. Turned out he had weird preoccupations with Muppets and Disney movies and Hedwig & the Angry Inch and celebrities and compulsive lying. Everyone that met him thought he was gay. Hence the name.
5. Craig aka The Nottie aka The Loser. My most recent loss of sense. He was 34. And still an assistant with no real ambition. He was also: not cute, not funny, not interesting, borderline alcoholic, a heavy breather and had a little peen with saggy balls. Pretty much the only thing he had going for him was a black BMW. After dating a guy with no car, that was a plus. Look, I'll be honest, I was NOT attracted to him. But he seemed nice (at first). It was obvious he liked me. I figured... a guy like him would WORSHIP a girl like me. I needed that. I ignored all the red flags in pursuit of just being wanted and brainwashed myself into believing that I actually wanted to be with him.
Being wanted. I've done some things (okay, slept with some guys) that I've looked back on and wondered WHY? I'm certain it's some unresolved daddy issue. I am not a slut. That's not me. But I like to feel wanted. I want to feel loved. Yet I'm always flabbergasted when I realize I've tricked myself into caring about someone totally unworthy. I'll never understand how it happens. But at least I understand why. Now the matter of being able to recognize it before it happens again...
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” – Satchel Paige
Age is all about perception and relativity. I am a newly turned twenty-eight year old. Considering that “fifty is the new forty” and “forty is the new twenty-five,” I’m barely pre-pubescent. For me, though, twenty-eight was like my thirty. Not to be confused with what will be my actual thirty. Thirty is that mythical age I’ve aspired to since I was sixteen, which essentially means my thirty will be like my twenty-one.
Still with me?
I’ve now witnessed a few friends thirtieth birthdays and not everyone shares my enthusiasm for entering the 4th decade of their lives. For some of us, thirty is that dreaded crest of a rollercoaster where you hang suspended for a second, looking back on your twenties, before plummeting downhill into real adulthood. If you’re not strapped in, feet firmly planted on the ground, you might fall out.
My feeling about thirty is that it will be the age when my life finally emerges from this steep, winding canyon to coast along the open road at exhilarating speed. Except this happy middle, if you will, would be contingent on having made every correct turn to find my way out of the canyon in the first place. Thus, twenty-eight was like a marker for my final lap…
Am I strapped in? Feet firmly on the ground? Wait – was that last turn supposed to be a right instead of a left? Shit. What am I doing with my life?!
More than one psychic (a recurring theme of my life) had told me twenty-eight would be my year. By the time I turn twenty-eight I will be very influential in my business. By the time I’m twenty-eight I will have hit my stride. Coupled with a self-imposed wunderkind stigma and I had a lot riding on twenty-eight. I started freaking out as my birthday approached, because I was nowhere near where I thought I should be for those predictions to be true. Now that I’m here, I realize I still have a whole year of twenty-eight to make it happen. After all, I’m only a newborn twenty-eight.
I've spent the majority of my years leaning headlong into adulthood, but now… I think a deeper part of me is responding to some starting-line gunshot and pulling out all the stops. Like, the adult me suddenly woke up and heard the little me banging on the door, yelling, “You’re never going to get there without me, so let me out, you big dummy!”
Because, yeah… The little me got left behind.
The little me is the original me. Just like the little you is the original you. At the end of the day, the little you is the real you and the you we should all be answering to. We become so removed from the person we were when all we cared about was just being, that we forget some of the fundamental things that make us happy. The roots of our dreams are formed during childhood but, over time, experience and necessity chips away at them.
To a certain extent, it’s inevitable. You get older, you get drunk, you flunk a class, you have sex, you crash a car… You get a job, you get credit cards, you get an apartment, you get a new car, you get bills… You experience doubt, worry, frustration, disappointment, heartbreak, loss, and tragedy. You grow up. Life intervenes and the little you gets benched because you have more important things to think about. But that might be one of the greatest mistakes we all make.
“When I was little…” I say it all the time – increasingly so over the past few years.
When I was little… I loved to play pretend. I acted out imagined scenarios with imaginary friends. Once I pretended I was driving a car when suddenly I went blind… and I rode my bike into the pool. (I always had a flair for drama!)
When I was little… I would practice turning and posing in the mirror just like they did during the theme songs of Saved by the
When I was little… I’d rock out to Def Leppard and Madonna on my Walkman, I’d sing and dance to MTV in my room, and I loved to make mix tapes.
When I was little… I started writing a script for Bartman: The Movie.
When I was little (adolescence is still childhood)… I could lose myself in writing or drawing for hours.
When I was little it didn’t matter what anyone else thought.
I didn’t think about why or how. I didn’t second guess myself or worry if I was good enough. I didn’t think about failing. I just did things that made me happy. I thought I was pretty F-ing awesome... and that was all that mattered.
I lost that unerring self-love, that infallible confidence – the original me – somewhere between then and now. As soon as I equated my talents with the potential to earn money... as soon as I realized I had the power to change my life, literally, in my hands… That’s when the little me started to fall behind.
As I got older, the pressure I was feeling to just get there, to make money, to reach success, became crushing. All consuming, really. No matter what, no matter how, I just had to be successful. I set off in hot pursuit of money, designer labels, a nice car and bigger, faster success. And I completely lost myself along the way.
My writing – the one thing that used to come so readily to me – stuttered to a stop. If I pushed myself, I could get words out in fits and starts, but never in the same easy flow. My simple desire to tell a story got all tangled up with thinking I had to do it in order to achieve something tangible. The fun of writing something that I found interesting or entertaining became irrelevant when I started worrying about anyone else finding it entertaining enough to give me money. I’ve only been intent on reaching for the carrot dangling at the end of the stick. It turns out that’s just not the way it works.
So here I am, finally understanding that I haven’t been doing the things I wanted to do for the pure love of doing them. My innocent joy when creating something, my jubilant pride in my own abilities, my love of my own mind with all its varied and quirky facets... That’s what got left behind.
Twenty-eight was my reckoning. I feel more confident now that thirty will be the age I've been waiting for: the age of celebration. Because now I get it. And slowly but surely - whatever it takes - I’m reconnecting with the original me. I’m drawing again, I’m writing free form; the way I did... when I was little. I’m doing it for myself and no one else. It’s necessary to please the little me, otherwise the big, adult me can't move forward.
You never realize how important that connection is until it’s gone. That relationship with your original self is what reminds you where you came from, why you wanted the things you want and what made you happy in the beginning, when joy was your only concern…