About 3 months into quarantine, I was in desperate need of a creative outlet. Missing my friends and eager to document this surreal time in our lives, I had the idea to do a socially distanced portrait series. Knowing that there would forever be plenty of photos of ransacked grocery stores and desolate street scenes, I asked my friends to let me photograph them in a more whimsical way. Combining this vision with my need for human contact came the title of the series: Extrovisions.
Here I am, having blown out the candles on another new year, sharing another one of my birthday goal lists. I’m feeling guilty that I’ve posted so little to this blog as of late that last year’s list is still on the front page, but I can at least take some comfort looking down the list and noting all the other things that have kept me busy during 31.
If you’re new to my lineup of intentions, when I was 25 I started compiling a numbered list of annual goals in accordance with how old was turning. They range from micro (learn to do a cartwheel) to macro (sell a book), and tangible (renew my passport) to the more expansive (work on being comfortable being alone.)
I’m writing something bad to make way for something good.
This post is here to pop the cork, to detangle my brain. To alleviate both myself and the reader from any pretenses or expectations for what’s going to live here.
Well, it’s time for Mother’s Day, and as you might imagine I’m not in the best mood about it. I’ve been depressed for a minute and couldn’t figure out why until my therapist suggested maybe it was the imminent maternal celebration bumming me out. It immediately made all the crying in the shower this week make sense.
This is year two without her and I gotta tell you, it doesn’t really feel any better. The pain has numbed for sure, but there’s not a day of my life I don’t feel the deep, looming sadness. There’s not a week that goes by without crying. Not a beat of my life that doesn’t result in frustration that she’s not here.
Bad days are made worse because I can’t call her. Happy moments are immediately faded because I can’t tell her about them. It’s having a broken light meter on your mental camera and every shot of your life is just a little bit off, no matter how hard you work.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!
OK, so I’m aware that we’re 3 weeks into 2019 and that’s not standard greeting at this point, but as far as we – you and I, writer and reader, blogger and bloggee? – are concerned, this is our first meeting of the new year – so just roll with it, ok?
I hope this new year finds you well, because, not to blow my own horn, but I’m kind of killing it. In a time where everyone is doing celery juice cleanses and joining gyms and signing contracts in blood to Marie Kondo, I am at the front of the parade. I’m steering the float, conducting the band, and doing other metaphors for leadership that I don’t know because clearly I’ve never captained anything. I should basically just purchase a sandwich board with NEW YEAR NEW ME painted on it in letterpress calligraphy.
About five years ago, I started an annual tradition of making a list of goals to accomplish by my next birthday. I prefer this to resolutions (for New Years I pick a word I want the year to embody as opposed to a list of things), because I feel like there’s less universal pressure and I tailor it more to my age than the year itself.
Each year the number of goals correlates to how old I am – IE: 25 things to do by 26, 26 before 27, and so forth. If you’re interested, you can see 25, 26 & 27 HERE. (I realize I’m going to have to cap the number at some point, because anything more than 30 already seems excessive, so we’ll see…)
I love checking in throughout the year with a reminder of things I want to accomplish, then being able to look back and see what was important to me and how I’ve grown and changed. In the wake of my recent birthday, Im sharing this year’s list of goals with you, accompanied by how I did in terms of accomplishing them.
My birthday is in exactly five days and, right on cue, the annual feelings of melancholy, anxiety and introspection are sinking in. I’m not the kind of person who doesn’t like acknowledging my birthday – lets be honest, I’m a glutton for most any kind of attention – but the event always tends to bring out a bit of unease. And nothing brings this existential angst to the forefront more than the act of finding the perfect birthday outfit.
The outfit that sets the tone for the new year, the one you look back on and immediately remember who you were at that moment in time.
Earlier this week TBVS Inc. announced the official launch of the latest update in their line of Personality Operating Systems: Tarreyn 3.0.
A generally accessible and well-liked identity OS program, T3.0 is available to most users in Southern California who can offer it friendship and decent red wine. Below is a further look at what the system has to offer.
About: Tarreyn 3.0 is the third major OS release developed by CEO Tarreyn Van Slyke since the original TBVS founders lost exclusive control of the personality advancements in the early 1990s. The successor to Tarreyn 2.9, T3.0 was announced by Van Slyke to approximately 0-50 people anywhere in her vicinity during the spring of 2018. (Exact dates of the initial statement are unclear as Van Slyke is permanently talking.)
I dreamt of my mom two nights ago in a way I’ve never seen her. She was in a hospital bed, sick again – but she didn’t look it. Her hair was short, but not the white, post-treatment pixie. It was softer around her face and was the dark black it had been through my childhood. Lying awake and tear stained at 4am thinking back, I knew I’d seen her look that way, but had no memory of it. As a few minutes passed, I realized where I knew it from – her, in a hospital bed, with that style of hair – that’s how she looked when I was born. (This is supplanted in my brain from the included photograph, I obviously don’t have a genius infant memory.)
In the dream we were lying in her hospital bed together, the way we did at the beginning of my life and at the end of hers.
She was surrounded by thousands of yellow flowers, and there was a smudge of yellow paint across her left cheek. We were just lying there together talking about everything and nothing. About how much she was going to miss me, what would I wear for my birthday in a month, a poem she’d written recently.
The dream ended abruptly the way they usually do: by crying myself into consciousness, and as the soft haze of yellow and safety evaporated, there was a tangible loss of heat. The warmth of snuggling up next to her had physically slipped into the cold dark air.
There are several different kinds of grief dreams that I’ve encountered over the last year. Three distinct and separate types – all shrill and visceral in their own ways.
There are the reminders.
I am a specific breed of person who speaks in idioms.
If a friend is having a bad day, I’ll tell them without a pinch of irony ‘you can’t get to the rainbow without a little rain.’ When someone asks for my opinion (and often when they don’t) on negotiating in any area from the bedroom to the boardroom, I’ll most likely respond ‘If you don’t ask, the answer is no.’ A favorite in the current rotation that falls out of my mouth daily – as I hustle in the entertainment industry – is: ‘comparison is the thief of joy.’
My intense and abiding love for the self-improvement section is a larger topic for another time, deeply entrenched in my ongoing campaign to mitigate the Cathy comic stigma surrounding it. But, regardless of the habit’s origins or evolution, one phrase has stuck with me more than any other for the last decade: ‘Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.’
It has been, for me, the greatest motivator of anything else I’ve ever read or been told. It alleviates the stress while simultaneously leaving no room for not trying.