Posts Tagged ‘life’

Day 121: Times

In life, loss, Love, The Tonight Show on November 4, 2015 at 3:44 am

THIS podcast starts out with a quote from Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

I share this podcast because I find it to be beautiful and relate able. As comedian Anthony Griffith shares his experience as an up- and-coming Tonight Show comedian and a father to a 2-year old daughter battling cancer, he talks about what it was like, during the early 90s, to go to work and entertain throughout the day as an amateur comedian while living a home life plagued by medicines, hospitals and the fear of losing his child.

I typically share things on my blog that I can connect with, and when I listened to Anthony’s monologue I felt an instant connection. Only last year, I had begun a new job and simultaneously my new husband left me. I would, like Anthony explains in his piece, go to work everyday and put on a game face when inside I was deeply mourning. I don’t think anyone knew, but I knew. I worked through the crisis much like Anthony did, “but I had a plan” I would tell myself. A plan that went kaput.

I was a grown woman, and I didn’t know what to do.

Until one day I did.

Just like Anthony, I had to man up. “This ain’t no sitcom, that wraps up nice and pretty in 30 minutes, this is life, welcome to the real world.”

Just like Anthony, I bucked up because that’s what I was supposed to do.

Anthony ends with this quote:

“In 1990 I had 3 Tonight Show appearances with Johnny Carson and a total of 14 applause breaks — and I would have given it all up if I could just have one more day sharing a bag of french fries with my daughter.”

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

“In 2014, I became a woman with an up-and-coming career and a title — and I would have given it all up if I could have one more day laughing in the car holding hands.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

…but the miracle to me is what we share and how one person’s story can, in ways, mirror yours — “at least if we’re alone, we’re all alone in it together.”

a whit.

Day 106: Sometimes We Have to Find Our Knees

In Beauty, Books, life, Sadness, Thoughts on March 15, 2014 at 6:15 am


If you have ever read the book Little Bee then you probably remember this line:

“Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive. The next thing you know something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile.”

Or this one:

“We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, ‘I survived’.”

Some days I feel like I’m writing a very sad story, and some moments I feel like my scars are so deep they’re imprinted on my heart. The cover of the Little Bee story features a black silhouette of Little Bee’s profile and written all over her face is scrawled the title in twisted and tangled letters. I have to admit, I couldn’t even make out the title of the book in the store, and it wasn’t until I began to read that I realized it read–Little Bee. Looking at the book again tonight sitting her aside my computer, I realize the letters are Little Bee’s scars written all over her face, her face then plastered on her story.

Tonight I sit trying to make sense of my own scars, trying to sort out which ones are jagged, raised, white from years of settling, fresh with redness and newness. I’m a thinker. Sometimes I spend hours trying to figure out these scars, how to wipe them away and make myself flawless again. Tonight I am reminded that scars never disappear, they are marks of survival, they are part of our story that got the chance to keep being written.

I fell to my knees in prayer, not because I’m religious, but because I needed some thing else to hear my story even if it was just the air. I needed to show my scars, to itemize them, and then I needed to remember that a sad story means that I am alive and with the flick of a page I will turn around to smile again.

a whit.

Day 99: On Worrying

In Happiness, Kids, life, Teaching on October 15, 2013 at 5:21 am

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote his 11 year-old daughter while she was away at summer camp. The object of his letter was simple, he wanted her to know the very things that warrant worry (and the many things that do not). He writes, “my little half-wit–”

Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship…
Things not to worry about:
Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions
Things to think about:
What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful intrument or am I neglecting it?

Day 96 {after a brief pause}: On pushing and pulling…

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Nyad’s swim is an amazing feat although I have to say her post interview is just as remarkable. As she speaks, her mouth and tongue swollen with severe redness, she explains to the reporter her motto, “there is only one thing–FIND A WAY.”

Life is full of so many challenges, some we undertake willingly like Nyad’s swim, others are forced upon us. In the end though, there is only one thing we can do to overcome them. Nyad goes on to explain how she found a way, “I decided with each stroke I would push back Florida and I’d pull toward Cuba.” For 55 hours, Nyad told herself over and over, “push back Florida, pull toward Cuba, push back Florida, pull toward Cuba…” Then she goes on,

“You’re 64, your mom just dies and then all of sudden you realize you had this childhood dream that you never made happen. You just do it no matter how many attempts it takes.”

Although Nyad’s motto consists of only three small words, they are powerful words. Push back the past ms. whit and pull toward the future because you must find a way.

HOLSTEE AUGUST: Remember to Love Because It’s What Makes You Real

In Books, Esteem, Friendship, Happiness, Holstee Manifesto, Humanity, Laughter, life, Love, Teaching, Thoughts, Writing on August 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Love is such an interesting emotion, it’s one of the things that makes me feel vulnerable, but being loved is truly what makes us real–just like the Skin Horse says. It doesn’t happen to people who break easily because love takes toughness, endurance, and perseverance. Love is not like the romance film, it’s much more real than that, and I oftentimes wonder if the people in this world, the ones who truly know how to love, are only those who have endured an entire lifetime giving it to someone. I think it just might take those loose joints, lost hair, and shabbiness to truly understand what it means to love. Perhaps that’s why we’re given an entire lifetime to pursue it, perfect it, and understand it.

In looking through the Holstee Manifesto and it’s proclamations, which we have now made it through in entirety, the only words that appear more than once throughout are: life and love. This provokes something in me, it reminds me of the importance of living a life of sought love. That’s what the manifesto begs. It’s not easy, it will hurt at times, but it’s like this quote states:


A Lesson on Happiness: How Words Transform (Day Eleven)

In English Major, Happiness, Humanity, Laughter, life, Love, Men, Men, wit on July 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm

A wonderful philosopher once said, “As is his language so was his life.”

The past two weeks have been wonderful for me as I’ve reflected on so many things, the present and the past.  The words written here have transformed, somewhat, and they’ve changed my perspective on things.  So ten days in review, a lesson on how to be happy (plus some added extras).    See you don’t need Prozac after all.

  1. listen to those around you, see what they’re saying, you may find truth. (thank you Mr. Be Happy)
  2. Do something you haven’t dared before
  3. Embrace life, whatever it brings (Hello Earl)
  4. Create your own reality
  5. Live your dreams or in them (that’s fun too)
  6. Let thoughts of happiness infiltrate your ideas
  7. Remember to live (don’t check out empty handed)
  8. Recognize that some days are just going to be shitty
  9. Talk to yourself
  10. If you have holes in your soul–fill em’ up

I realize my realities can be whatever I make them; I can write my own world.  We can all live in our dreams and hopefully those dreams make up our bliss.  You don’t have to pretend to be happy (I used to do that) you just have to give yourself permission to let the good in.  One last thing, let the words of others pervade—sometimes you gotta get out of your own head.

Inception: Can we ever truly decipher reality?: Day Neuf

In life, wit on July 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Whose to say that reality is when we wake up perhaps the opposite is true, maybe, reality is when we close our eyes and just dream.

I met him sitting on a couch in a swanky club.  His hair was long and his blue eyes piercing, I called him Fabio. His name, “Ethan.”

He says he’s a dentist with a little girl, Hayley.  Hayley’s Mom died of blood cancer—they were married for ten years.  I sense his sadness or perhaps he was just really drunk, but I don’t think so.  We sat there for a long time and I asked most of the questions. Finally, while showing him a picture of my little E that’s when he inquired about our “arrangment” (this term always references custody in the divorce world).  The only time he inquired, and when he did so, it’s as if his sadness reflected directly onto me.

It’s funny how people come into our lives and for a moment change how we think.  Sometimes those thoughts are lasting and pieces of them never dissipate.  It’s like we can’t forget,  our mind won’t let us, ideas of them consume us although at different depths—some small, some big.  Not just people, it can be about anything really—love, happiness, sadness, hysterity.  Once we let them in we’re subject to all their idiosyncracies.   Thoughts are never isolated, that’s not how our mind works, they come in, and then they infiltrate every part of our being.  They alter what we thought before and our truth transforms into something new– something that incorporates this new thing.  It’s mental evolution.

Last night I could not fall asleep.  I’ve been doing really well with this happiness thing.  I can already see my empty hole (the one within my soul) beginning to fill.  The idea, that you must insist upon happiness, you must want it, and work for it—that is now a part of me.  It’s a good thing.   But last night, I missed E.  When he’s with his Dad it’s always hard.  I sat there for a long time, on my bed, waiting to break down, but it didn’t happen.  My mind wouldn’t let me. I could only focus on the fact that he would be back in just a weeks time and then a funny thing happened, I began to recall all of the things in my life that are truly good, true goodness.  I thought of health, and my family, Ini, my job.  I thought of the beautiful plant on my kitchen table.  Suddenly all of that became my reality and I no longer felt sadness but rather happiness.  I thought briefly of Ethan and our meeting.

The mind is a place where life is captured, stored, and processed.  Ultimately, our state of mind equates to our state of life.

The night ended and Fabio, or Ethan, or whoever, went home.  I don’t know if he really was a dentist, a dad, or a widow.  I don’t even  know if I met him in the sense I thought I did, but these details don’t matter anyway.  I do know, he came into my life somehow, and now he’s my idea.

His eyes were defeated—or were they mine?  Was I looking into my own eyes, seeing myself from another perspective?  Perhaps, it was all just a dream, one that woke me up to see the greater me—the happy me.  Maybe that’s why on the bed last night while fighting off defeat I thought of him– just briefly.  Then the idea of happiness resumed.

Eat, Love, Pray: A Tribute

In life, wit on July 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm

We didn’t have a cupcake yesterday, so I am obligated to provide you with something really rich today.  Slight problem, I’m feeling–half eaten.  Probably because I finished this book.  Read it, so great.  Time for a trip to the bookstore nearest me.  I’ll miss you latest great memoir.

Divorce, Who Needs Furniture Anyway?: Day Huit

In life, wit on July 23, 2010 at 8:11 pm

It always feels the worst when you see a happy couple or a pregnant woman.  One of my coworkers, a newlywed, proclaims yesterday, “Being married is fabulous, fabulous.  I don’t have to worry about anything anymore.  We’re getting our new couches on Saturday!”  Yep, she’s a newlywed.  They never quite understand that matching furniture and blenders do not solve marital woes, and there will be woes.

 I didn’t want to be a divorced couple.  In fact, I never thought I would be one of those people.  This narrative  is supposed to be about my world but somehow my ex is woven into the strands of my life, still.  He’s like a vampire trying to suck all the life out of me, he’s been trying to do that since the day I told him his lies would no longer suffice.  Marriage happens when two earthly souls collide, its magical.  Divorce occurs when those same souls run as far away from one another as they can–they’re running two marathons in the opposite direction.  Although most of the time, they don’t even realize it, until they get to the finish line, and there is no one there cheering them on or to share in the victory.  Marathons are difficult and challenging, as is life, getting to the end only to be alone isn’t what anyone wants, but it happens, fifty percent of the time to be exact.  

Although, marriage and divorce aren’t as different as you think.  They both teach you how to deal with another individual–only one scenrio you love that person and the other you hate them.  They also both require you to be someone else at least in some capacity, divorce especially:

No one calls you by your name anymore–you’re either petitioner or respondent.  This tactic works well, strip them of their identity and they’ll suddenly act like whoever you want them to be—allowing an attorney to play with their souls like puppets.  The family law court is full of these puppets.  They sit at awkward distances, with protecting bodyguards, all while exchanging looks of disgust.  

I’ve come to dread the courthouse  because it represents everything I cannot change and it’s the first place (actual place) where my happiness was tested, truly.  I remember vividly the first time I saw a judge and my ex husband, excuse me, petitioner.  It was like a big nightmare but I couldn’t wake up, no escaping this one Ms. whit. ing. addict and the gavel drops.  I’ve now come to know San Diego Superior Court as my “home away from home.” 

A month ago I was there sitting in Department 15 for my kindof final custody hearing.  No attorney, fancy clothing, or notes, just me.  As I was waiting for our case to be called I made a slight detour into another room.  I sat there for an hour.  Case after case was heard and each time the mother explained her drug usage, recent disappearance,  abusive behavior, basically every indiscriminate reason why she shouldn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t see her child(ren).   I realized this was the DV (domestic violence) room about twenty minutes in, but what really struck me wasn’t these mothers, it was the fathers.  Each one sat there, full custody of the children, head bowed and in silence.  They all looked exhausted but even more than that, saddened.   I recognized, that my divorce, as bad as it is, could never be worse than this.  This wasn’t even dissolution, it was—disinigration.  Their families had not only broken apart they were now disappearing, soon there would be nothing left.  One Mom said she just “needs time” and that she’d petition to see her children someday when she feels ready for it; this father looked particularly heartbroken.  He faced the irrevocable truth—his children had no mother. 

The bailiff came in and gestured for my hearing.  At that point, I couldn’t be sad.  I’d been through courtroom after courtroom, countless pleadings, subpoenas, and declarations.  My happiness was stirred and tested and lost at times, but never once did my hope dissolve or did my love for E diminish.  It grew naturally, the way a mother’s love should, as it continues to do.  I was happy for that.  In court, Petitioner’s attorney lied about things like income and school and travel—but I stood resolute in the fact that things were not so bad.  At the close the Judge looked to both of us, “I’ve seen situations much worse than two people living in separate counties—one of you could be in New York.”  I wanted to stop her, but withheld due to courtroom etiquette, “Excuse me your honor, I’ve seen situations much worse, one door down, right here in this department.  Situations where parents don’t want their children at all.”  I wanted to smile but I didn’t.  Then I went outside and cried and vowed that courthouse would not take away one more ounce of my bliss.  Two weeks later my ex called and said he’d be moving to Los Angeles, turns out I’ll never have to set foot in that courthouse again, period.  One word. God.

a whit. ing. addict who found happiness in an unlikely place.

Happy People Are Beautiful: Day Sept

In life, wit on July 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm

So, now that I’ve told you all the beginnings of my divorce and my innermost thoughts, let’s move on.

I’m standing in my bathroom scrubbing the toilet (you’ll notice most of my thinking happens in the bathroom and kitchen) and wondering what the hell am I going to put in this gaping hole.  I wish the answer was something simple like, a rosebush, but when the hole is part of your soul, you have to get a bit more creative.

Then like a rush, God spoke to me.  I’ll intercept here (excerpt from my heart):

I believe in God but like I told a friend the other day, “God is whoever you think he is.  For some little old Japanese man on fishing boat in Okinawa, he’s may be Buddha.  The Muslim, Allah.  The Jew, Yeswah.  For me, my Father.  There is only one thing that God is absolutely not and that is, limited.”  So, I’ll continue.

He didn’t speak to me in a powerful voice or even my own voice for that matter (which he sometimes does).  He spoke to me through the words of others, which actually doesn’t come as a surprise given my obsession with words.  The most interesting part of this entire scenerio is the context under which it occurred.  So, I’ll back up.  Two nights ago I am on the phone with this guy.  I would call him my friend but that isn’t really his rightful title seeing as I have only known him a few weeks, and half of that he spent hiking through the hills of Canada.  So, I’ve known this guy, really, for about a week.  I’ll decline to mention where I met him, but assure you it was not on some freaky website or in a therapy group.  The main premise in our talking revolved around something like dating, something like that.  We’re phone conversing, and really I’m annoyed with him from the get-go, he’s way too nonchalant for me, reminds me of my ex-husband.  Then suddenly he stops—“Ms. whit. ing. addict I sense you’re not happy.  I went through a rough time during my twenties too.  Take some time and find out who you are, find out what makes you happy.”  I was pissed.  First, I don’t like being told what I am and what I am not.  Second, this guy has no clue what I’m going through.  His “rough” twenties probably involved five bongs and a pound of cannabis.  Plus, he’s thirty six, no kids, no marriage, balding, what does he know?  So, I hung up the phone and went to bed with a huge grudge, one that was still lingering the next morning.

To top it all off, this guy works directly across the street from me.  So, I spend my morning walk trying to dodge a chance meeting with Mr. Be Happy.  Then I get to work and start working, all day.  At lunch I pull up one of my favorite inspirational blogs and I read this, “Happy people are Beautiful.”  There were God’s words, in the writings of my fellow blogger/burn victim (83 percent of her body was burned in a plane crash).  I thought maybe there’s some power to that and I kept working.  Mr. Be Happy must think I’m a troll according to this philosophy. 

On my walk home I’m finishing up my book and I read these words, “Ms. whit. ing. addict, you tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, you strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never be lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment. It’s east enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.”

Through the manifestations of God I realize I’ve been doing it all wrong.  I’ve been like a little kid waiting for a boost, “Come on, lift me up to my happy life.  I wanna see it.  If you give me sucker or an icecream cone, then I’ll be happy.”  There he is in heaven, or wherever he lives, “Child, child—you’ve got to lift yourself up.  You’re big enough now that with a little effort you can get there on your own.  Don’t worry though, I’ll be right behind you, making sure you don’t fall on your ass.  You’ve got to learn to be happy with what you have.  Sometimes icecream isn’t what you need.  Sometimes you need to get your ass to the gym.”

We’re here to bless others, to help others, and that requires personal happiness.  So, as part of my efforts towards self-revelation I have made the decision to dispel any and all negative thoughts I’ve felt for Mr. Be Happy.  Instead, I think I’ll join him in his bliss. No more putting on makeup and pretending to be happy.  It only covers the blemishes and then each night, when you wash it off your face, you’re back to where  you began.  What you really need is a solid beauty cream, one that penetrates, working from the inside out. 

Hopefully, at the end of this journey, I’ll still be striving for self-content, “insisting upon it.” I’m looking down into that huge hole I’ve dug.  I know what I’m going to fill it up with, happiness.  Although, that doesn’t happen without continuing to work through the painful, difficult things, that’s part of insisting upon it, striving for it, and knowing what it truly is.  You can never know the good without first knowing the bad.

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