I love love love TED Talks. So, I went in search of a good one to share. Here’s what I found awhile back, dug it up from the archives. I love how Rao incorporates the common philosophical “if then model” to demonstrate a very simplistic life predicament.
Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page
Today I found myself at the schoolyard amidst all those hobblyknob youngsters except this time I wasn’t one of them. This time, I was one elusive parent huddled among the classroom four corners. Little e was all jitters for this glorious occasion, and I managed to hold it together until the very end then I almost cried. Suddenly, it occurred to me that e has been attending “school” for three years, why was this any different? How could I be near tears with such a usual and customary occasion? We had done this two or three times already throughout his daycare/preschool career. I thought about it long and hard before I picked him up two hours after dropping him off.
I was probably the only single parent in the classroom of mom and dad couples. This was in no way a downer for me, but the toddles of those littler siblings was a bit dampering. I want one.
Since losing my job I have discovered something that I wasn’t fully appreciative of in the past, always attentive, but at a much stealthier pace, disallowing the full realization of it. My left-brain whispered to me, “He’s only four once Ms. whit.” That shocked me. Reality is, there are so many things in this life that we can recreate, reproduce, rethink, re-do, but our children’s childhood, that is not one of them. We may spend all the time in the world attempting to capture our dreams, provide, plentify life, but what is all worth if we miss out on a morning bike ride filled with laughter and hill climbing, or the colloquial phrase such as little e’s term “manajerky,” (referencing a turkey/mayonnaise sandwich). These were all the things I thought about while I waited to retrieve little e. The things I haven’t had much time to reflect on as of late. I thought about the times of my own youth, spent with my mother, who quit her other “assignment” to stay home with my sister and I. I know this time is fleeting, unemployed and out of school for the summer, but soon the hectic days will resume. I wish not to forget this moment, and the joy it has brought me. I guess today’s posting is less about happiness and more about the gratitude that fills me. Five. Six. Seven, Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven and into infinity and beyond he will go. I can’t stop the mechanisms of time (oh how I wish I could stay twenty-five forever and he four).
As I was bathing e tonight, in a sea of bubbly, his face full of laughter, “like my bubble beard mom?” “Oh, how I love it, just love it.” There will come a day when bubble beards are a thing of the past, so I plopped down next to the tub and there I smeared some lather across my own face afterward we conversed about tomorrow night’s soccer practice, his love of Coldplay (the band), and the weirdness of so many things his little eyes notice. It was truly joyful.
I recently saw Wicked again (I highly suggest seeing it). To accompany today’s post “Sharing Life,” I’ll share these “For Good” lyrics. You can listen to the song in its entirety here. Enjoy.
I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…
There’s this little white blank church I would pass everyday on my way to work. I’d find myself wondering, who worships here, who fills this place every Sunday? What are their thoughts, hopes, desires, and pains? That happened every morning for a few months. I was so tempted to return on a Sunday, the place was so lonely, but I knew there was a time of infusion. The worshippers would come and breathe vitality into this place.
In your life there comes an instant where you really have to sit and evaluate who you are and what you’re living for. This moment isn’t the same for everyone. For some it comes by a breath of happiness, others tragedy, some change. I can remember the day I got married. I thought this was my juncture. Here I would ask, “Who are you? Who loves you? And then, you are going to have this beautiful life with this beautiful person—you are defined.” But these moments aren’t so easily recognized, and oftentimes they happen without us even noticing it. This is how it happened to me. I did get married, I remember pieces of that day so vividly, and I hold them in my heart, mostly so I can share them with little e. I recall the pink cake, and how the train on my dress ripped unexpectedly, I remember sitting on a bench, surrounded by white, staring out through the etched windows of the church. Uniquely, I remember doing all of these things by myself (this is quite anomalous for someone’s wedding day). I don’t ever remember being scared, or worried, or even unsure. I felt blank. This was not my moment.
Six years have passed since that occasion. Now, I find myself meditating on who I’ve become and what that experience did to my life. I realize that I’m angry. I’m so mad at the person who betrayed me–he let me down. I direct that anger, not at him, but at people I’ve dated since him. It may be something they do, something they say, it reminds me, and then suddenly I see a reflection of his face staring back at me. While this is happening, I let him do whatever he wants. I never show disappointment, or rage, for him I am still blank. Once he told me, after everything was done, he was about to remarry, “I am so sorry for ruining you.” I responded with a quick, “thanks?” That was my first evaluation session (some people have more than one). I was no one, a ruined individual that was it. Well, you know what they say, “ruin is the road to transformation.” I gave myself a few months and began taking that seriously. Then with the start of this project there came my second moment. I write it out and I begin to see who I am and what my dreams are. I’ve accomplished. I’ve lived. I don’t feel ruined anymore, but I have to stop being angry or I’ll never capture what I am truly living for, happiness.
So, I asked myself last night, what good has come from the end of that marriage? Immediately I thought, the people I have met. I think about all of them.
Steve, his wife died of cancer and now he’s a single dad with two beautiful girls. Chloe, his miracle baby. She was delivered premature so that Bridget (Steve’s wife) could undergo chemo. Then there’s Grace. Steve once told me that while driving in the car Grace noticed the leaves outside falling, blowing away. She said something like, “Daddy, that’s like mommy right? The leaves come and go.” He loved that moment because his little girl understood life and death. Steve taught that there is beauty in tragedy, and hope.
Karen, when I met her she was weak but at a distance I have seen her grow into someone of strength and courage. Her family lives in Hawaii and she raises her son on her own.
Jason, his wife also died of cancer. He graduated law school, top of his class, and got a job with one of the best firms in Nevada. He bought a new home and then six months ago sold it after being laid off. His daughter McKenna is beautiful and has a stitched pillow on her bed with a picture of her Mom holding her. I met him right after my divorce and he taught how to move on.
Wayne. I wonder about this one. I spent a year crying that we weren’t together but then one day I realized, that’s a good thing, now you know what it feels like to love someone. I never felt blank with him.
Dr. S, our custody evaluator. I spent numerous trips to San Diego for sessions with this fellow. He reassured me of all my parental intentions. He never said, “you’re a great mom,” instead he said something much deeper, “you have a spectacular child, one who is very loved, I thoroughly enjoy little e.” He restored my worth as a mother.
Joey. A Mormon that taught me Mormons are good when I stopped believing they were.
Jerry. He gave me my first job after my divorce. When I started working for him I was timid. I didn’t even know how to say, “I WANT THIS.” After leaving his office I worked for a law firm (that should give you a good idea of my progression). I ran into him at the grocery store about two months ago, he said, “I can just see how you’re different. You’ve got life in you. You’re in a great place.” He was a stepping stone. I had to start somewhere and he gave me that opportunity.
The countless men I’ve dated. They’ve taught me how to date, how to pray, how to recognize a wanker, how to listen, cultural awareness, money management, passion.
Glen. He’s my attorney friend who always has good advice. He’s also always on IM chat and easily accessible. We’ve been friends for three years now.
Scott. A single Dad who loves taking me to concerts and being my “wingman.” He’s always willing to take one for the team.
Chloe. I just met her, but she reminds me of all my college girlfriends. Chloe laughs with me and it gives me a sense of “times gone by.” She’s great.
James. He taught me about addiction, what it’s like to live in the shadow of it. I pray for him. Memories of James helped me through some tough family times. I needed to meet him.
Toby. He sold me an Anthropologie rug off craigslist. A cute aussie who has since moved back to Melbourne. In a late night conversation he was able to get through to me. He also taught me the word “wankers,” which I love.
Jonathon. He started out as the perfect date. He’s an English professor who loves literature. I learned from him that I may be able to get a job when I someday finish school.
Professor Ochoa. She told me that someday I’ll write a book.
I look at all these people and cannot help but smile. They’ve given me so much life, they are all so beautiful, and have attributed to the transformation currently underway. I am like the white church, the blank lonely church, and all of my friends they are the worshippers. They come into my life, at their moments, and they infuse me. I am going to stop being angry, and self-conscious, and closed. I am going to let more people in. I said before that life is defined by moments, but I retract that statement. Instead, life is defined by the moments you share with others.
My next great read is Lolita, a novel. If you’d like to follow along feel free to do so. I’ll post some random reading thoughts in my cupcake section as I progress. Enjoy!
I’ve come to realize that there are all sorts of people in this world. Sounds kind of silly saying that, but its true. It starts out in high school a time when you think there’s only one character–yourself. Then you graduate and college teaches you all about your friends, the stupid guys you date, and if you’re lucky a few besties. From there you move into the infamous twenty somethings, a genuinely awkward life phase, it’s here where you really begin to experience humanity. You’re no longer limited to those in your age bracket and suddenly “old” people are your friends too. The problem with too many twenty somethings is that they spend their peak physical/mental decade drunk instead of utilizing such to their own advantage. I figure if half the twenty somethings I know actually pay attention for ten years, this involves being present in their own lives then they’d really have it together by the time they hit thirty and the world needs more thirty somethings like this.
I’m proud to say no particular point of my life, be it two years or ten, was or ever will be consumed by drunkiness. So, I’ve stuck to analyzing those around me (something I truly enjoy). There’s the “too nice people” those who will do anything for you almost to the point of neurosis. They mean nothing by it, unless they’re a man, except to possibly prove that kindness does still exist. These are good folks to keep around–but they will eventually get on your nerves. There are the people who use you. They take what they can, deposit nothing, and leave when your supply of whatever runs out. There are the creative artsy-type, which are always fun. The weirdos. The hippies, vegetarians, eco friendlies, you get my point, all sorts. Then you realize despite all these different types, the quirks that accompany them, there is still one thing every individual seeks–each other. This is humanity. We long for companionship, even if its not too serious, because we believe doing things in pairs is better; however, our world has really wounded such a notion. It’s too fast, too technical, too removed. Now we have to strive for this.
As I was riding my bike today I noticed something strange. With each passerby came a hello, good day, how are you doing. I thought about the countless intersections of my life (both literal and figurative). I’ve never been at a stoplight, rolled down my window, said hi, then kept on driving. Nor have I seen this type of behavior in my many life transitions (most certainly not from complete strangers). There is something about bike riding which invokes a more natural, instinctive congeniality. I was impressed and for a moment felt as though the days of Pride and Prejudice had resumed. I could imagine Jane, jaunting down the dirt road, waving with a twist of her wrist to the gentlemen passerby. They would meet several days later on another jaunt, share some sweet words, and eventually wed. This idea must be why people love Jane Austen so wholeheartedly. Connecting with others teaches about others. It also gives us that each other thing. This isn’t a text message, or an email, it takes more effort than that. Sadly, that effort might just be a few words–a few words! Today I wasn’t any happier than yesterday, but I did learn something new, and reflecting on that does make me feel good. Take a bikeride, a stroll, transport yourself to another time–slow down. Say hello to a stranger as it may provide an opportunity to learn about someone new, remember there are all sorts of people and getting to know them is what life is about.
I love this blog. The writer of it is having a contest, “What Were You Doing at 10 a.m.?” So, just thought I’d share with my readers as well. Today at 10 a.m., absent a child (he’s with his Dad in LA) and a job (I just got laid off) I spent my morning poolside–studying for the GRE. I like to do random things like that. So, this picture may seem quite odd, but I am kind of strange…
and thinking about little e…
luckily, I did find a new favorite word within the GRE vocab, look it up…
Sometimes we forget…what it means to truly embrace others. Let’s try to remember.
Sorry I have been absentee for a bit, turns out unemployment is real kicker. But I figure, hey, if I can be happy without any income or anything to do for eight hours in the day then I will be just fine in life. So, I’m still plugging away at this bliss thing and now I’m looking for it in all of the least likely places, but perhaps that is where happiness is the most abundant. They do say, happiness isn’t having what you want but rather wanting what you have. This sure as hell isn’t what I expected but by golly it’s what I got to work with.
I have a plethora of happenings to share. Turns out Ethan isn’t just an “idea” or figment of my imagination. I was feeling rather awake last night, at 3 a.m., and decided to check out the online personals. There, in a black and white photo, he was. His hair flowing and pearly white teeth. For the moment, I thought it pure luck but then I remembered, “He is just a reflection, one you have abandoned, and now you must resume with your own ideal.” In reality, I met him at a bar. He looked sad, was obviously uninterested, and ran away mysteriously when the night ended. It ended there, so I kept browsing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. Then this happened,
I took E to get a haircut this past weekend. Somewhere along the way I decide to try a new adventure—barbering school. It was one of those ingenious light bulb moments, as soon as I saw it, aha perfect. Mostly because the ad read five bucks and I was being cheap. As soon as we pushed through the revolving door I began to fearfully contemplate my previous ingenuity. We were the only Caucasian people in the entire garage-like shop. Everywhere I look, all I see, CLIPPERS! It was like one of those cheesy horror films where the girl looks from left to right to left, no escape, and then she screams.
My usual haircut order goes a little something like this,
“Scissors ONLY, not too short on the sides, about an inch off the top and clean it up around the edge—keep the sideburns. Absolutely no clippers, none.” Then I stand by nervously, invading the stylists personal space, while I give her careful instruction throughout. In no time at all, she grabs the hair between her fingers, looks at me, “is this okay to cut?” It’s true, I am feverishly neurotic about my child’s monthly haircuts.
Back to the cultural barbershop,
We approach the register and the lady informs me of their, “no card” policy, but not to worry that I can go get some money at the Dollar Tree two shops down. If I don’t die on the way. I failed to mentioned that it took a thirty minute trip into the ghetto to reach this detination five dollar barbershop. We leave and head to Dollar Tree. After twenty minutes in line, waiting for our cash dispenser, I suddenly realize we’re going nowhere. Looking ahead I spot a man pointing his fingers in an upward motion, then downward, he starts singing, stops, jumps backward, and lets out a huge “Ahhhhh Gotcha,” finger wink included. It took me awhile, but finally I recognize his behavior as delusional. That day all Dollar Tree customers got a cartful of cheap shit and a Ray Charles reenactment. After another twenty minutes and an entire scene he pays the cashier, slowly we move ahead. The man in front of us must have felt sorry for E having to wait because he slipped him a dollar bill on the way out.
Making it back to the barbershop I provide payment, after which a woman inquires what I would like (see above). She shoots a look of dismay and finally grunts, “I think I can do it.” This scares me. My little E has the most precious blond locks, but his hair is fine, and ah chop chop is an easy look for someone lacking Caucasian hair expertise.
Thirty minutes and three barbers later five chunks are missing, and it looks like someone took a weedwacker to my kid’s head. I respectfully request a refund and they scoot us out the door, quickly suggesting a salon across the way. They were quite happy to see us go–as were we to be going. At this point, I am running across the parking lot happy to pay for any overpriced haircut. Thankfully, Suzie knows what she is doing and produces a decent fix. It was the first time in four years of haircuts that I sat peacefully in the waiting area. It was while I was doing this that I noticed an older woman in the corner. She had bruises and sores covering her body complete with a chin full of hair–I bet she’d seen better days. Then I began to pity her, imagining her life.
“That poor woman probably sits in a nursing home all day. I bet her kids never visit her. I mean if I was her kid I would at the very least take her to get a chinny wax. This is probably the highlight of her week, getting her hair washed.”
I felt so utterly dismayed for this woman. Then in he came, an older man. He touched her shoulder softly and bent down to whisper in her ear. He was gentle with her and it was quite obvious that he was her her husband. He then handed her some cash (as all husbands should do). My despair for her dissipated.
This love obviously began during the innocent years of beauty, yet here it was, still, in the tender end. Living on. Everyone hopes they find that. The kind of love that lasts through bed sores, sagging tattoos, heck even chin hair!
I’m glad I let go that day, relinquishing my haircut neurosis, because it let me see something I might not have otherwise. I think from now on I’ll find happiness in being a little less compulsive. It allows you to envelop life, that’s a great thing.