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too old for teenage angst

“Having been struck by a 150-ton meteorite, Henry has to adapt to living precisely ninety-one centimeters from himself.”

Once in a while, you come across something that so resonates with you to the point of altering your reality. Or your perception of reality. It’s like, all of a sudden, you can see yourself more clearly. You understand what is going on inside your head. You see what the root of your problem is. Yet to explain that something, or how or why, is completely beyond your command with words. Haunting. That is all you can think of.

Tautology: using something incomprehensible to explain something incomprehensible.

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Exactly 91 cm away from himself...

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I came across something yesterday.  The Bloggess mentioned it as “Painfully poignant: you should watch this”.  So I did. And I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Have not been able to stop crying actually.

If you have ever questioned who you are, where you are, what you are, why you are. If you live with the haunting that you may not be yourself. Or that if you are, then who is this other person. If you ever feel/fear that if you lie still long enough, you will for sure float outside of your body and look down back on yourself lying in bed, and you are scared that you may not recognize yourself. If you could almost precisely predict when you will have an existential breakdown.

If you wonder what it is like to have such chaotic thoughts inside your being. Watch this.

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It is 2:03 am. I am all of a sudden wide awake.

Note to self: Listening to PRI Selected Shorts podcasts while cleaning the house is a sure way that your mind will become overactive and that you will have trouble falling asleep.

I will pay for this indulgence: lying down on my Therapy Couch and talking to you all, my imaginary friends, (I am going to start calling you Soren Lorensen I think…) soon since I have a 6:30 am flight to catch and I have not packed yet. Coming here has clearly become a serious addiction. I carry this urge at my throat to write something down all day long. I am afraid to open my mouth lest a scream may come out.

I often panic when I am made aware of this since it feels so similar to Narcissism…

Someone very wise, probably wiser than Confucius since she is female (and Confucius was obviously not) and women rock because of our uterus, that I have had the privilege of meeting through this little patch of heaven I call my Therapy Couch (or hell on some bad days I won’t lie to you) told me that she could tell that “blogging is both a creative outlet and just outlet” for me.

She was right. When I first started doing this, I really did not expect anybody to come by and get into a conversation with me. I saw this as a different medium of talking to myself since I have been doing that inside my head for a long time. Why not? I simply jotted down whatever came to my mind. No self-censorship. And no editing either, to be very honest with you.

It felt like liberation from Facebook. From the potential for censure by family, friends, colleagues. It felt like liberation from Twitter. From the bondage of 140 characters. And it felt like the earth after rain. It felt good.

When I began to have supportive friends who stop by on a regular basis, to check me out and make sure that I am still operating in a socially acceptable manner, I was flattered yet incredulous. “Surely they have mistaken me for someone else, or something else.” With that self-congratulatory realization of “OMG I have fans” came the burden to please. Or at least, since I have no mental filter once my mouth starts running, the fear for offense. The desire to please everybody, nay, the compulsive need to please everybody is one of those soul-killers that I am trying to escape. I am afraid I may have lost my way.

At the risk of sounding like I am trying to recast myself as the cliche in I’ve Never Been to Me… I am getting back on my journey to understand myself better. The peeling of the onion. What is more important though, is that once I find myself, I really need to just be myself. Perhaps the being and the finding happen at the same time.

So…

Dear Soren Lorensen,

I hope you will stay. But if you outgrow me or the other way around, I wish you the very best.

As always, a pretentious rambling such as this will not be complete without a quotation from a famous, yet just a tad out there, writer. Preferably by e. e. cummings. Here it is.

To be yourself

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The white flag goes up…

November 12, 2009

in random

Remember the tagline of my blog? These posts are supposed to be my therapy sessions. Ranting about the demise of Thanksgiving and gloating about making shotgun Christmas ornament is not very healing. The following is one of my therapy sessions. I am getting on the coach now. You have been forewarned…

I am not quite sure about the whole Twitter and the blogging thing any more. First I have the follower counts to obsess about. Then I agonize over how few of the @’s I have been getting. Now there are the LISTS that scream “Popularity Contest” more than ever. The same with this blogging thing. I installed the WordPress Blog Stats plug-in. Now I get to watch the pot boil.

Don’t worry. I am not going to whine. Honest. Cross my heart and hope to die. There is actually a funny story I want to share with you. I want to explain why I am scared to death of popularity contest. Literally. Anxiety attack type of reactions. Chest closing down on me. Disorientation. Hard to breath kind of thing.

As soon as I sense that something is in essence a popularity contest, I never bother trying. I just give up. I am scared to death of popularity contest. I am also scared to death when I have friends. When people take a liking to me.

In short, I am afraid to disappoint.

I am not a shrink, but my guess is that you would be scared of popularity contest if you went through fourth grade through sixth grade with NOBODY in your class speaking to you. The entire three years… Silence. As if you were not even there.

No violin in the background. I will save you the drama and just list the facts:

  1. I was one of the popular kids in my class from first grade to third grade. I remember that because I remember being one of the first ones to be chosen whenever a game demanded such cruel device of pitching innocent children against each other.
  2. One day, out of the blue, during fourth grade, I noticed that nobody in my class would talk to me. They willfully ignored me. I was suddenly invisible to them.
  3. Since all the kids stayed in the same class throughout the remaining grades, this silent treatment lasted till I graduated from grade school.
  4. I thought about running away from home because my mother would not believe me. I was unable to convince my parents to transfer me to a different class or school.
  5. I started thinking about suicide early on because I had no idea how to end THAT. Please don’t be alarmed: When you believe in reincarnation, the thoughts of suicide do not carry the heavy concept of sin and ending.
  6. This childhood experience affects what I do, think, say from that point on.
  7. I still have nightmares about THAT.

This is actually a funny story. Well, what happened AFTER the grade school is. As the years went by, I would see some of my tormentors classmates in the senior high school we went to. Apparently there was going to be a class reunion the year we entered college.  “You are like the ugly duckling turning into a swan now.” Code for: you cleaned up good. Mind you: we all went to same-sex senior high schools so the person that said this to me was female. Would you like to go?

Of course, as needing therapy as I am, I went. I was curious. I wanted answers. I of course also wanted to show that I turned out ok. Despite everything. Somehow I also managed to charm.

On the long bus ride home, the man-child sitting next to me was very obviously smitten. I have been wondering for six years why they all treated me like shit, actually, worse than that, like NOTHING, back then, but I was also lucid enough to have guessed that probably nobody else remembered THAT but me. I took my one chance and gingerly brought THAT up.

“Do you remember when in grade school, none of you talked to me for three years?”

“Huh. Oh. Yeah. You still remember THAT?”

I proceeded to describe in simple terms how it felt to be me in those years. I was looking out the window when I spoke. The last thing I wanted to see was the expression that proved my suspicion that none of my sufferings were real to anybody else, that I might as well have imagined them. Soon I heard sobbing. I turned and saw tears streaming down his cheeks. Then came the Confession of the Century that I was not expecting:

“It was ME!”

“Huh?”

“It was me that told everybody to stop talking to you.”

Then I remembered that we were best buddies in the third grade. I recalled watching him hogging the Pacman machine until the store owner came out to give him his coin back. I even recalled going to his house and playing with him and his younger brother, and his mother saying, “Come back again soon!”

“… why?”

“Hmm. I guess because I liked you.” More sobbing. “I am so sorry. I didn’t know it was so difficult for you.”

“There. There. It’s ok. I am ok now.” I ended up having to console him.

The truth of course was: I was not ok.

Later, through college years, he wrote me several love letters. I did open them but could never bring myself to read them.

Hi. My name is L. I am forty years old and I still have nightmares about my friends not talking to me. In my nightmares we are all still 10 years old.

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If you keep a “life” blog and therefore experience existential crisis on a regular basis…

November 7, 2009 random

Tweet You have got to read this: Blogging for Dummies by Aunt Becky (she’s actually young and hot) over at Mommy Wants Vodka.  As someone who has experimented with making my own bacon-flavored vodka, she had me at the name of her blog… When I stumbled upon her genuine, honest, tell-it-like-it-is advice about blogging and […]

17 comments

“Mid American” by Ed Paschke in 1969. Strangely resonating…

October 25, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet This painting was by Ed Paschke in 1969. 40 years ago. It is on exhibit at the new modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. For some unknown reason, I found it sad and strangely resonating when I saw it for the first time. And till this day, I am haunted by it. […]

5 comments

“I want to be different. Deal with it!”

September 14, 2009 no manual for parenting

Tweet This came from my 6 year-old boy last night when I was putting him to bed. “I want you to know that you are very special, and I love you very much.” “Even if you hate me sometimes?” Alarmed. Pause. Deep breath. “Why do you think mommy hates you?” “When you are mad at […]

2 comments

Do you know who started the famous Bobbed haircut?

August 30, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet Louise Brooks, aka Frank Wedekind’s “Lulu”, 1929. Nobody, I mean, nobody, does it better… I have had the same postcard on my bookshelf since college.  I included it as one of the images for a self-portrait collage that I put together…  Now come to think of it, I started having identity crisis since that […]

Nothing cures narcissistic self-pity better than a rabid case of road rage OR how I found reality

June 13, 2009 random

Tweet After Starbucks, which seemed to be closing since even the cops outside were leaving, I continued to wander in the night. Blasting Sarah Betten’s Scream, I mindless drove first on 53 N, which turned out to be a stupid move since it goes nowhere and ended even before the end of the album. I […]

My mommy cooks. My mommy cleans. My mommy loves me.

June 8, 2009 no manual for parenting

Tweet It is almost a month since Mother’s Day and therefore I figure it is safe to ruminate out loud what I thought when I saw these loving and lovable pictures drawn by my 6 year old, with lots of love, without the risk of being accused as mean-spirited, bitter, spoiled, jaded, or worse, unfit-to-be-a-mother… […]

My Mother’s Day Phobia

May 13, 2009 no manual for parenting

Tweet It is the Wednesday after Mother’s Day and therefore I figure it is safe to reflect upon the impact of Mother’s Day on me personally, without the risk of being accused as mean-spirited, bitter, spoiled, jaded, or worse, unfit-to-be-a-mother… Although I have always been moved by the origin of Mother’s Day, an internationally recognized […]