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Valentine Daze

14 Feb

Couples fight. Couples make up. Couples stay together. Couples break up. That’s what couples do.

For as bad as an argument can feel in the moment, it’s important to keep your wits; to remember that you are arguing with your partner – not the guy that elbowed his way onto the crowded train; you are arguing with the person you love.

I’ve often said that a couple can be judged not by their best moments but by their worst. How a couple fights and makes up – or, adversely, fights and breaks up – really shows the inner workings of their relationship. It’s in the “getting through it” – the communicating, apologizing, and forgiving – where a couple builds trust and confidence. I believe, it’s in that place where love is ultimately strengthened.

sunset from a plane

Image source: Shannon McGarvey

 

 

Real New Yorkers

7 Feb

Why are so many New Yorkers obsessed with being “real New Yorkers?”

This thought entered my mind while watching a promo for the NY1 “Real New Yorker” campaign yesterday. A narrator speaks over photos of different New York street scenes while asking the viewer certain questions: (I’m paraphrasing) “why do you look into oncoming traffic instead of the traffic light before stepping into the crosswalk?”; “how do you know the street vendor umbrellas are garbage?”; “how do you know which subway car will drop you off closest to the exit?” – “you’re a REAL NEW YORKER.”

I understand the angle. NY1 is at once attempting to illustrate it’s longevity while also giving viewers the “secret handshake.” New Yorkers wear this city like a badge and rightfully so. The longer I’ve lived here, however, the more I’ve come to see New York as I would any other city: just a city.

Before I moved to New York I got a lot of chatter about how expensive it is, how hard it is to “make it,” how everyone is rude, how New York is the loneliest city in the world, how it’s a dog-eat-dog world and New York City has the sharpest teeth – the list goes on. What I’ve found? Well, there’s truth in every trite adage but only a little.

As with any megalopolis, New York is going to have slightly stiffer competition than other cities, more expensive options, more people thus more of the ruder variety, and, yes, it can be very lonely. My point is, when I stopped glorifying New York City and saw it stripped naked standing in front of me, I realized that we’re not so different from everybody else – we’re just more concentrated.

Sure, New York is different in the details: I walk everywhere; I look like a pack mule coming home from the grocery store; I have a personal relationship with my cobbler. In many ways, I feel like New Yorkers are closer, more in touch, with their residence just because of simple interaction. There is an energy to this place but there is no magic.

So why are New Yorkers so obsessed with being “real?” Maybe it’s because we know how special this city is. We know how, perhaps, we once glorified the skyscrapers and bustle; how we felt when we first visited; how envious we were of our friends that had already made the leap. We also know the dirty, often stressful realities of living here.

Maybe that’s what they mean by “real.”

Shadow Self

24 Jan

It was 6am and the day was only a hint of itself.

I guess you could say that I was sleeping. I mean, my eyes were closed. I felt like I was sleeping. I suppose, in reality I was skating the thin line between a conscious and subconscious state; the place where waking dreams, night terrors and other menacing sleep phenomena occur. It was in this strange nether-region that I heard a woman’s voice.

“FUR?”

My eyes snapped open. Am I crazy (don’t you dare answer that) or did I just hear a woman’s voice say the word “fur?” Is someone in my room? I propped myself up, crawled to the foot of my bed and peeked over the edge – no one was there. Then I remembered.

In my sophomore or junior year of  high school, I was drifting off to sleep in my tiny teenager bed when I heard, plain as day, a man’s voice shout into my ear. I shot up in bed, inspected the floor of my room for anything amiss and, when I found no trace, lied in bed walleyed; terrified. Hearing voices isn’t exactly, um normal,  so I conveniently failed to mention it to anyone. Then a couple of months of regular sleep patterns passed and it happened again. First time was weird, second time was schizo. Was I losing my mind? What was happening to my brain? Still, I told no one and hoped that it would never happen again. And it didn’t… until last week.

The difference is, when it happened recently, instead of cowering I found myself curious. What special combination of brain chemicals, environmental factors and/or stress goes into making something like this happen? What, after more than ten years, is the subconscious common denominator? How does this event speak about my sleep patterns? What does it say about my Shadow Self?

Maybe it says nothing. Then again, maybe it says everything. Sleep experts please chime in.

Occupy A Dream

20 Jan

When is it time to give up? Well, if the steadfast presence of the occupiers down on Wall Street have anything to say about it, never.

There’s a reason that the Protester was the Time Magazine 2011 Person of the Year. There is something about the very spirit of protest that really embodies our time and, within it, a true – if not naive – belief in change. A belief that surprisingly perseveres through violence, ridicule, homelessness, joblessness and even weather. Faith, I guess you could call it.

What can the lay person take away from all of this? I believe that it all comes down to the simple seed of dreaming. No, not the kind where you’re naked sword-fighting Darth Vader in front of your peers. The other kind of dreaming; your goals. Would you endure brutality, destitution and the elements for your dreams? I think it is an important question to consider when considering what you are truly passionate about.

For Heaven’s sake, keep the dream alive.

Two guys were handing these out at Union Square this morning.

Follow Your Bliss

15 Jan

Some times, when you’re feeling really low, the last thing you wanna do is exactly what you need to do.

I’ve found that when I focus on the negative – things I don’t have, what I fear, worst case scenarios, etc. – it paralyzes me in the present. In other words, I stop moving forward. For a creative and driven person, this can feel like a death sentence. In moments like these, I often know exactly what I need and it’s probably the last thing that I really want. This means doing something (or a combination of things) that I really love. But why would I have to remind myself to do something that I  love?

Because bad feelings have a tendency to make us short-sighted. We can only focus on the negative present- what is wrong now, what is scaring us now, etc. – instead of thinking about what we want for the future (ie. what we need to do to get happy). For me, this means going for a run, eating well and creating something.

The hardest part of this process? Actually doing it.

Always follow your bliss.

image

A trip to Juiceland after a run.

imageLove is greater than fear.

Life Moves Pretty Fast

11 Jan

County Line

19 Dec

This time of the year is abuzz with lists.

Some are set to chronicle the recent past while others put a steady focus on future. As the holidays close in, it is easy to find ourselves engaging in a feverish tally of the previous 365 days. The culture of the New Year’s resolution asks us to ask ourselves questions – both important and seemingly unimportant – and urges an introspection while gently pressing for an answer.

What have I accomplished? What has inspired me? Where have I been? Where will I go? What mistakes have I made? Who has been good to me? Who has been toxic? What do I want? Am I content with my life?

These questions can yield some pretty heavy answers, if you’re not careful. The others simply leave you with a dozen or so top ten lists.

This song is on one of my lists somewhere.

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