Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On Sharing Too Much

"Are you sure you want to be telling me all this? 
All What?...What am I giving you? I am giving you nothing. I am giving you things that God knows, everyone knows. ...It seems like you know something, but you still know nothing. I tell you and it evaporates. I don't care--How could I care? I tell you how many people I have slept with (thirty-two), or how my parents left this world, and what have I really given you? Nothing. I can tell you the names of my friends, their phone numbers but what do you have? You have nothing. They all granted permission. Why is that? Because you have nothing, you have some phone numbers. It seems precious for one, two seconds. You have what I can afford to give. you are a panhandler, begging for anything, and I am the man walking briskly by, tossing a quarter or so into your paper cup. I can afford to give you this. This does not break me. I give you virtually everything I have. I give you all of the best things I have, and while these things are things that I like, memories that I treasure, good or bad, like the pictures of my family on my walls I can show them to you without diminishing them. I can afford to give you everything. ...We will die and will have protected...what? Protected from all the world that, what, we do this or that, that our arms have made these movements and our mouths these sounds? Please. ...These things, details, stories, whatever, are like the skin shed by snakes, who leave theirs for anyone to see. What does he care where it is, who sees it, this snake, and his skin? He leaves it where he molts. Hours, days or months later, we come across a snake's long-shed skin and we know something of the snake, we know that it's of this approximate girth and that approximate length, but we know very little else. Do we know where the snake is now? What the snake is thinking now? No. By now the snake could be wearing fur; the snake could be selling pencils in Hanoi. The skin is no longer his, he wore it because it grew from him, but then it dried and slipped off and he and everyone could look at it."
--Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Sometimes I feel like maybe I share too much. On my blog, on social media, in my writing. That I get too personal, divulge too much information. But then I think of this Eggers quote and I'm reminded, what am I really giving away? The other night, I was thinking about how long I've had this need to write and I realized that I've had some sort of online journal since I was 13. I've been writing about my life, my experiences, thoughts, feelings, opinions for the last 14 years. But what have I really given away? A look into different parts of my life that at best someone can relate and identify with, and at worst, won't even be remembered?
I think a lot of people are hesitant to reveal anything at all, which I understand, but like Eggers says, you will die and have protected what?  Tell your stories. They're all in the past anyway, they aren't who you are now. They're just a relic of what you used to be, of where you were at one point, even if they happened yesterday or an hour ago. And more often than not, there will be someone out there who will read it and think I thought I was the only one.

Dress Normal



I must have watched this Gap commercial at least 15 times already. I'm usually not a sucker for advertisements, but there's something about this one. The song, the car, that guy, that girl, the slogan... everything about it. And to top it off, it was directed by David Fincher. And the message: let your actions speak louder than your clothes. What a concept, eh?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mondays




It seems that everyone's favorite day of the week is Friday. But I love Mondays. I haven't always liked them, but in this season of my life, I do. I didn't like them when I was in school because it meant the weekend was over. Now that I work retail, it means that the weekend is over, and everyone else has to go back to work and school. Everything goes back to normal. Everything is a little less crowded, a little more quiet. After the morning rush, the streets are a little more bare. It goes back to the regular TV schedule. We go back to the routine of life. Or at least, everyone else goes back to the routine of life, and I don't have to worry about beating the crowds during my middle-of-the-week day off. It's a shame Monday gets such a bad rap. There's so much beauty in beginnings, in starting again, in making the world a little more quiet for a few hours for the rest of us.


photo via seventeendoors

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Leading Ladies of My Life


I remember one morning when I was around nine, sitting on the lid of a hamper in my mom's bathroom watching her get ready for work. "Do you ever, sometimes watch a movie," I asked her, "and want to be like the person in the movie?" She thought about it. "No, not really," she answered. That's the moment I knew I was weird and was probably the only one that did this. Maybe not, but at nine, what do you know?

If I had to think who were the most influential people in my childhood, they would all be fictional people. And the top three would be Roberta from Now and Then, Cher Horowitz from Clueless and Rose DeWitt Bukater from Titanic. All three of these movies came out between '95 and '97 when I was 8 and 10, respectively, and at my most impressionable. Not surprisingly, I was an extremely shy child. But I found it easier to come out of my shell when I was able to pretend I was someone else. Being myself was too awkward and vulnerable, I would rather be someone that already came with a well-shaped personality. I was in 3rd grade when I first saw Clueless. Cher was like that older sister who was really popular and wore cute clothes and that's what I wanted to be. I remember buying feather-topped pencils from Claire's and searching every Mervyn's for knee-high socks (to no avail, but probably for the best) and always wearing a tiny backpack. I never tried setting any of my teachers up, but pretending to have Cher's confidence and sense of style helped me get through that year.

I was in 4th grade when I first rented Now and Then from the local grocery store. It was everything. I made my mom rent it for me every single time we went to the store. It was about a group of girls who were close to my age, did exciting, adventurous things, and lived in 1970. Not only was I obsessed with the 60s as a child (The Beach Boys was my first cassette tape), I was also quite the tomboy, always playing with the neighborhood boys growing up. I gravitated to Roberta immediately. She was strong and tough and didn't take crap from anyone. I started wearing knee-length jean shorts and Keds without socks and carried a picture of my very-alive mother in my back pocket. I rode my bike everywhere and sass-mouthed boys. It was refreshing and empowering and I basked in the persona Roberta helped me create.

Then when I was 10, Titanic came out. I was obsessed. Rose isn't that different than Roberta. She's a strong, resilient woman who didn't take crap from guys. She just did it in pretty dresses. I wanted to be as elegant and self-assured as Rose was. So I pulled out my fanciest dress from my closet, it was floor-length with daisies on it and I wore it with my white patent leather one-inch Payless heels. I would just wear it around my house, imagining myself to be Rose in her luxurious cabin aboard the Titanic, but it gave my life an air of elegance and prestige that it didn't have otherwise.

I stopped trying to be other people when I was around 13. Which is probably around the time my life started to fall apart. Joking, of course (my life didn't start falling apart until I was 18), but it did become increasingly harder to cope with things as myself than it was to hide behind the persona of another person. I always liked who I was in my teens, but I have to acknowledge that the people I tried being like in my childhood probably had a part in shaping my personality later on. Just like you start to become like the people you hang around the most, these characters were who I spent a lot of my time with. And they helped me get from where I was to where I wanted to be.

I think it was Oscar Wilde who said be yourself, everyone else is already taken. Which is good advice because it's true. But it doesn't hurt to try to take a piece of something you admire about someone and emulate it in your own life as long as you don't lose yourself in the process. After all, aren't we all just beings made up of small pieces of everyone we've ever met? Til this day I still find myself looking at others that I admire and asking myself what they would do in particular situations, except now instead of it being Rose or Roberta, it's people like Irene Opdyke and Corrie Ten Boom. People who were not only real but strong, caring and humble. People I want to be like, to take a small piece of, not because of the clothes they wear but because of the characteristics they possess. Because we're never really done evolving or adding new pieces to ourselves, at least I'm not, nor do I want to be. And while I have no desire in being anyone other than myself, it's inevitable that the people you surround yourself with will rub off on you, good or bad, so it's vital to be around people that will help you become the person you want to be, and will lead by example. The most important thing I've learned from all of this, and can pass on to you, is to be sure to choose your friends and movies wisely, for that is what you will become.


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