Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Bite my lip and close my eyes, take me away to paradise – Green Day

I don’t want anybody else, when I think about you, I . . . (yadda yadda yada, you know the rest) - The Divinyls

I’m turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so – The Vapors

Oooooo, she bop, she bop, she bop – Cyndi Lauper

If you don’t stop, you will go blind – Adam Ant

So many lyrical references, and so little space. You know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout. That’s right. Self love. Treating yourself with the love and compassion you deserve. You know what you like. You know what you need. Make sure you give it to yourself or no one else will be enticed to give it to you, why should they? If you don’t see your own beauty, then you’re not sending out a message of your own beauty, and no one else will see it either. And thus, we get sprung to Laura Ellen’s pontification for the month of April . . .

If you want to be loved, love yourself. If you want others to think of well of you, think well of yourself. It’s that simple, you draw in whatever you’re putting out there, good or bad. If you’re in need, you’re going to draw in someone needy, what good are two people in need? If you’re sending out a “woe is me” vibe, you’re going to bring in an equally negative Eeyore. Sounds fun, eh? Sometimes you meet someone who is, as they say, “vibrating at a different level” but, if think your life is a shit sandwich and you draw in someone who is happy and content, that’s almost always not going to work out. You just won’t be happy enough for happy pants; happy pants is going to get sick of your bitching and you’ll get sick of his/her sunny attitude. If you keep pulling in people that just don’t seem to mesh in your life, ask yourself what kind of message you’re giving people about you. What are you doing to block happy and healthy people from your life? And why? Why on earth would you block goodness and love from your life? Because you don’t think you deserve it? You’re wrong, you do. Because you don’t think you can take care of it properly? Well you can, unless you tell yourself you can’t. You can. You can do anything because baby, you were born to be incredible. Proverbs 23:7, As a man thinketh, so he is. See? It’s in the bible peeps, and is a basic tenant of Hinduism and Buddhism and all major spiritual ‘ism paths. Try. Try hard. Fail, and try hard again, because you can, maybe not the first time out but, big damn deal. If you give it your best (whatever your “it” may be), you will fail at times and succeed at times, BUT, if you hold back and half ass whatever you’re doing, you will fail 100% of the time. You don’t go to Spanish class because you’re already fluent in Spanish, you go to learn, and fail, and do it again because you will get it.

You know what I recently did? I did a forearm stand in yoga. Oh hell yes I did. I didn’t really even want to, the thought of being upside down was terrifying to me and every time we had to go to the wall for inversions in class I only gave it a half assed effort just to get through it, but then, much to my amazement, I did it. One day I decided to really try and I’ll be goddamned (remember I have an agreement with God and I’m allowed to say this word, don’t get upset, we’ve discussed this), anyway, I’ll be goddamned if my foot didn’t touch the wall. I was so stunned I put myself right back down on the ground, where all is safe, and then I thought to myself, I thought “Self, you f-wording did it. Now do it again, for real”, and I did. I kicked my foot up there, touched the wall, and then put the other one up there, easy peasy lemon squeezy, and I was shocked to find, it wasn’t so scary after all. My world was not completely discombobulated like I thought it would be and, in fact, it felt kind of nice. I even mustered up the physical and mental strength to take my legs away from the wall and really stand there, upside down, on my wee little forearms with no wall to hold me. I did it. I didn’t think I could, I didn’t really even want to, I was scared, but I did it and now I love, love, love it. And now I believe in myself even more. Epictetus is right, “tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes, therefore give yourself fully to your endeavors”. And you know how you can help yourself give fully? That’s right, by seeing your value and loving yourself. Yeah baby, turn yourself Japanese with self love. Be your own dopamine. And remember, everyone likes a little novelty to spice up love here and there, surprise yourself with what you can do; if you fantasize about walking around the house dressed like Princess Leia, who’s to judge? Bring those fantasies of love to life. Sometimes I wear braids that look like breakfast rolls on my head too, whatevs.

You CAN do things that you think are beyond you. You CAN move past your fears into a place of serenity and love yourself. Love yourself. Love yourself. Love yourself. Because you are incredible, just the way you are, and you are capable of remarkable things for no other reason than you are here. You weren’t put here just to pretty up the planet and don’t insult your maker by dumbing down your greatness. Look at you, really. Go look in the mirror and see your beauty. Stop selling yourself short, it’s a lousy excuse and it gets tiring after a while. Nobody wants to hear it so knock it off. Seriously, people have all kinds of excuses why they can’t succeed in work, in relationships, in weight loss, in sports, gardening, whatever. If you have a built in excuse that you lean on for constant failure, then you make that your identity. For instance, “I’m the guy who sucks at relationships because 1) my parents are divorced 2) no woman ever likes my friends 3) I don’t have enough money”; the list goes on and on. The truth is you’re the guy that sucks at relationships because you’ve decided to suck at relationships. Grow the hell up, take charge of your life, and stop boring people with your lame ass excuses. (You can pretty much hear me saying it while you read it, can’t you?) But people are afraid of losing that identity, because it will mean change. “If I eat healthy, exercise, and begin to love how I look and feel, then who will I be? What will change? What if I love myself and others love me? That’s scary! I will bear some responsibility in my own life and not blame others, oh dear God no!” But listen to me, you can put your foot up on that wall and go upside down, and it is nowhere near as scary as it seems, it is empowering. And when you see your beauty, the world is your oyster.

Love yourself and allow others to love you as well, you deserve it. You’re beautiful. Your small paycheck and big butt and imperfect hair and rotten gardening skills and less than stellar sporting achievements are beautiful, because they’re you. None of us are perfect, enjoy it! Love yourself and expect nothing less from others, accept nothing less from others. I cannot emphasize this enough, accept nothing less than what you deserve from others. And believe me, you absolutely deserve the best. You’re not second place, you’re first, and you know who’s in second place? No one, there is no second place. F-word second place. Penultimate blows. There is nothing wrong with a healthy amount of a feeling of entitlement.

It’s challenging sometimes, I know. There are times in life when the way others feel (or don’t feel) about you will try to creep in and diminish your beauty. You think “I’m so loveable, how can that person not love me”? There are infinite possible answers to that question and likely none of them has to do with your worth. Believe in you, believe in your value, even when others pass you by. There’s nothing wrong with you, there’s nothing wrong with them, it’s just how life goes sometimes. In the past couple of weeks I have certainly had occasion to question my value and it can be tough sometimes to muster up self love. Sometimes the will and the drive to stroke your own ego just aren’t there. But the relationship with self is like any other, to an extent; make a commitment to you and no matter how down you get about yourself, no matter how bad your relationship with you seems, make a vow to stay. And stay you must, stay you will, because that’s what happens when you fall in love, with yourself and with others. You stay. You stay with you, you stay with others, and they do the same because you will not settle for less from you or anyone else.

Fall in love with yourself, nurture that relationship, and stay. You’re awesome, holy cow you are so awesome, so stop refusing to see it. Stop blocking all the good the world has for you by refusing and refuting your own worth. Stop hanging on to the luggage and toxicity from relationships of the past. Who cares if your mom said you’d never amount to anything, or your dad said you’re a little soft around the middle, or your high school art teacher said you couldn’t draw, or your “friend” is often quick to remark on your weaker points, it’s time to ignore that crap (and it is crap). Fly and be free. Why continue to let your heart be broken when you can let it break wide open and pour gooey love all over yourself and others?

Love yourself, a lot, you will not go blind.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Biscuits and T.V.

So if I'm inside your head, don't believe what you might have read, you'll see what I might have said,
to hear it. Come waste your time with me, come waste your time with me.

Not so long ago I was asked if I knew what I wanted in life. My answer was an absolute yes. I have since read a book that suggests people say they know what they want, but in fact, they do not really know what they want. People have a fantasy of what a great job or house or relationship may look like, but when they get it, seems that’s not really it; witness Heidi Klum and Seal, who saw that coming? People often think “if I just get that job then everything will fall into place” or “if I could just get that gold band on my left hand then my life will be better”. People so often look outwardly to fill the inner void, and it just doesn’t work. That leads to constant meandering around in life and not committing to anything, more on that later though. I pondered for quite some time, do I really know what I want?

Also, not so long ago in a galaxy close, close at hand, I had dinner at that same friends house. I was surprised to find that my friend was serving me Pillsbury biscuits, you know the kind from your childhood? They come in a tube? It kind of cracked me up a little, but you know what? They were good. They were, in fact, very good. I’m not proud, I’ll say it. They were pretty damn yummy. We watched t.v. while we ate dinner, something I have always deemed as verboten in my life. What next, t.v. trays? I think not. No t.v. while dining. If you had asked me prior to that night, and before reading that we don’t want what we think we want, I would have thought a night of watching t.v. and ingesting biscuits from a tube sounded like the kind of suburban shenanigans I did not want in my life. I have to say though, the book was right and I am wrong. You heard it folks, I said “I AM WRONG”. You may want to earmark this as I am not always willing to say such words. I was wrong. I watched t.v. while dining. I ate biscuits from a tube . . . happily.

The next day I wondered aloud to a different friend what life is really like in relationships. She is in a serious relationship, I am not in a relationship at all, and I wanted her take on biscuits and t.v. Turns out she loves biscuits in a tube. I’ve been unmarried for a good many years and when I was married my spouse worked late quite regularly, leaving me with a lot of alone time. While I have had relationships during these past years, some of which were serious and long term, it has been many years since I have completely shared my life and living space. I am not a “liver-together-er”, if you want to live with me then put a ring on it, otherwise you can wash your own damn socks. (A completely unrelated aside, when you do put a ring on it; ask the dad, and take the knee for the proposal. I have had terrible proposals, which just may be why I didn’t marry any of them). So, what really happens? In my “Yes, I know what I want” world, did I account for the everyday? What happens when it’s just a plain ol’ Tuesday and there are no crucial conversations to be had and life is just, ya know . . . life. It’s not always reading classic books by classic authors and discussing the finer points of said books, or eating decadent foods, or even looking nice. There are times when I pad about my house wearing a robe and a face mask of cinnamon and honey dripping down my chin, this is decidedly not pretty. This is what it takes to stay pretty, but not pretty in the moment. And how about those times you have the stomach flu? People, you know what I’m talking about, those times when your body is just disgusting . . . I won’t elaborate, you get the picture. You can’t just ask your spouse to leave for three days until your stomach lining stays in its place and your sphincter decides to stop tormenting you. Again I must ask, what do I really want? I want cellulite free thighs, emancipation from stomach flu, and several million dollars, but in the real world, I like the idea of biscuits and t.v. and a person who sticks around throughout everything, up to and including stomach flu.

And here’s why, because in a very twisted sense those moments are special. As gross as it is, you don’t share your stomach flu misery with just anybody, you share it with your special somebody. Lucky for that guy, eh? But really, it’s true. When you’re sick, when you’ve done something dumb, when you’ve done something you don’t want to share with the world, when you’re walking around in a robe and a homemade face mask, you share it with your special someone. Remember that movie “Babel”? Brad Pitt is married to Cate Blanchett, she is shot randomly on a bus. While they are waiting for help to arrive he’s holding her hand and she says “I have to pee”. He laughs and tells her to go ahead, who cares, she’s got a bullet in her for cryin’ out loud. Eventually she does, she just pisses herself because, why not, she’s got a bullet in her for cryin’ out loud. They both laugh through tears at the sheer ridiculousness of it and, unless you’ve seen the movie and/or been this close to someone in your life, I can’t really explain what a loving, shared moment it is. She pees herself, he loves her and he kisses her. These are two people who can share the more mundane moments of life, and still feel special, just by not doing these mundane things with anyone else. And thus, the mundane becomes special, sacred even. The everyday nothingness of life is bonding.

It’s relatively easy to have a great time during those initial days of wine and roses, it’s the frailties that build relationships. When you’re first getting to know someone you’re behind the wall of politeness, you dress your best, you don’t burp, you curb the cursing. These rituals are time honored and should continue to be honored. Eventually though, as you let people in on the real you, some less than stellar moments are going to arise. There will come a time when you lose your temper, when you have to pee out in the middle of nowhere, when you have to admit just how many pairs of shoes you really own, when you get a zit, or God forbid
. . . the stomach flu, and you let your special someone in a little closer. When they peer into your life more and more and say “Yeah, that’s ok, I’m not going anywhere”, ah bliss. Then you have someone with whom you can just be yourself, entirely; someone with whom you can lay around on the couch, watching mindless sitcoms and eating pre-packaged foods. There are boundaries of course and you need to know yours. For instance, no matter how sick I get, sweat pants with elastic around the ankles will never find their way into my wardrobe. Ick. Unless of course they become very trendy, then I’ll purchase several pairs of them. But no cellophane wrapped orange cheese slices . . . ever.

So getting that new job, or buying that house, or finding that special someone are all great things, and not at all bad to want them. You should want them, aim high and aspire to personal greatness, but also be mindful that while these things are awesome, if something inside is eating at you, attaining these outside things will not feed it. An inside void cannot be filled with extraneous matter. It’s my plan to write more about this next month, about loving yourself, but I can only solve one mystery at a time peeps. I hope these words are, in some way, relieving to you. Relieving to know that your life is probably pretty damn great right now, without the left hand gold band or the house or the new job and when you do get those things . . . super bonus on the gravy train!

So, do I know what I want? Yes. Yes I do. Oh hell yes I do.