a beautiful girl can make you dizzy…

beautiful girls.


from the beautiful girls facebook page

one of my favorite films. it came out in 1996 when i was working at these independent, art house theaters in raleigh, north carolina. one of the perks of the job was being allowed to watch anything and everything whenever we wanted and luckily i was able to see this one a few times.

i’d always loved timothy hutton (i mean, how could you not?!), and this film made me love him even more. his interactions with natalie portman always break my heart a little, he’s the older, 29-year old man back visiting his hometown, and she, the 13-year old neighbor of timothy’s father. there’s an immediate connection, not a dirty, sexual inappropriate one (although i’m sure that’s how some people saw it), just one where you know this person is coming into your life for a particular reason kind of connection. to teach you something.

maybe i love it so because i always know instinctively the second someone in particular like this comes into my life that they’re there for something deeper than just chit chat. i get the same feeling every time it has happened and i’ve yet to be wrong and while it hasn’t always been without pain, they’ve always been a vital piece to my life puzzle. they’re the ones that make me dig deep emotionally and challenge me to go the distance because they, to me, are worth it, as I am to myself.

ah, and then there’s michael rapaport in one of my favorite scenes about beautiful girls:

“Supermodels are beautiful girls, Will. A beautiful girl can make you dizzy, like you’ve been drinking Jack and Coke all morning. She can make you feel high full of the single greatest commodity known to man – promise. Promise of a better day. Promise of a greater hope. Promise of a new tomorrow. This particular aura can be found in the gait of a beautiful girl. In her smile, in her soul, the way she makes every rotten little thing about life seem like it’s going to be okay. The supermodels, Willy? That’s all they are. Bottled promise. Scenes from a brand new day. Hope dancing in stiletto heels…A beautiful girl is all-powerful and that’s as good as love. That’s as good as love.”

here’s the scene:

and then here’s the ensemble singing ‘sweet caroline’ and i have to say it’s probably the only time hearing that song wasn’t annoying. i’m sure you can imagine that i’ve heard this song once or twice in my day…

watch it. i promise, you won’t regret it.

the lemonheads

ah…the lemonheads – my drug buddy. this song reminds me of my senior year in high school and first year in college. for various, never to be published reasons.

but for her it will be weightier…

found this poem in an old sketchbook of mine and thought i’d share.

witness

by martha collins

If she says something now he’ll say
it’s not true if he says it’s not true
they’ll think it’s not true if they think
it’s not true it will be nothing new
but for her it will be a weightier
thing it will fill up the space where
he isn’t allowed it will open the door
of the room where she’s put him
away he will fill up her mind he will fill
up her plate and her glass he will fill up
her shoes and her clothes she will never
forget him he says if she says
something now if she says something ever
he never will let her forget and it’s true
for a week for a month but the more
she says true and the more he says not
the smaller he seems he may fill up
his shoes he may fill up his clothes
the usual spaces he fills but something
is missing whatever they say whatever
they think he is not what he was
and the room in her mind is open she
walks in and out as she pleases she says
what she pleases she says what she means.

secrets

“you’re only as sick as your secrets.” — rick warren

you hear that quote a lot, whether it’s from aa or the dude above, and hearing it again recently really got me thinking. as i said in this post, i toy with the idea of revealing more.

but honestly, it scares the shit out of me.

so i ask you – is it better to keep your secrets, whether big or small, or lay it all out there for the world to judge?

i grew up a shy kid. i mean, painfully shy. always worrying what people thought and never speaking up about anything. that’s just what you did. you kept your thoughts and feelings to yourself. if someone asked you how you were doing, you always say “fine”. always.

the older i got, the more i wanted to say but never really had an outlet. i always kept things close to the vest, as they say. [ask any guys i've been involved with]

i guess a part of me was scared they wouldn’t like me if they saw the real me.

the me that didn’t always make the best decisions or the me that had opinions differing from theirs.

the more time that went on and the older i got, the more this became a habit.

but at some point you feel like you’re going to explode.

but how long can you hold onto your secrets before they, literally, make you sick?

i think the older i’ve gotten the more i just don’t care so much about pleasing people. i mean, i still want people to like me, who doesn’t? but i would say i’m not nearly as worried about it.

i do worry about the other people it might affect. i know at times it wouldn’t be hard to figure out who i might be referring to, even with names changed.

so where is the line as to how far you should go when speaking your truth?

there’s also the judgement and opinion of strangers. i’ve talked about it before. mean comments and emails can be gut wrenching so i can only imagine how it would feel to get one when you’re talking about something that’s so personal and so heartbreaking to you…

i admit, i hate feeling vulnerable. it weirds me out in ways i can’t even describe, that you or anyone could know something about me that’s painful and that you could possibly use it against me in some way.

when you’re open and exposed and raw like that and you don’t get the reaction that maybe you wanted or were looking for, it can be brutal. i’ve been there, even recently, and it’s extremely painful.

so, is it worth it?

sigh…

i’ve been feeling the need, more so lately, for an outlet.

everyday i compose things i want to write here but i worry about revealing too much… do i want to completely expose myself, my life, my faults?

i’m not sure… i do and i don’t.

honestly, i hate being judged. actually it’s more that i hate being judged for personal things, not work stuff.

i don’t mind an honest critique, thoughts or feelings, just not negative bullshit for the sake of being negative.

it’s a tangled web we weave, no?

the aftermath of steubenville

another day, another rape case. this time, two teenage boys raping a 16-year old girl.

today, they were found guilty.

they were tried as juveniles so even with the guilty verdict, they’ll be free in a few short years and will move on with their lives, almost like nothing ever happened.

the girl, well, the girl will be living with it for the rest of her life, i’m sure.

some of the media have even painted the picture of these poor, teenage boys – so much promise, and now their lives are ruined. their promising future’s in football are now over. all because of this trial.

wait. are we supposed to feel sorry for them?

i don’t think they were feeling sorry for the victim when they were raping her while she was drunk.

they did consciously make the choice to do what they did, and for that, there are consequences. they made the choice to change the course of their lives.

but she didn’t.

sadly it’s not just the ill-informed reporters that sport ignorance on the subject. it’s everywhere.

from the attackers, be it teenagers or the elderly and everyone in between, assaulters, harassers, and men and women in general, you name it. everyone needs to be educated on what is, and what isn’t okay. what they did wasn’t okay.

teach your sons and the men in your lives to be kind and respectful, and teach them what boundaries are. teach them that their decisions can affect other people. teach your daughters the same.

we could all use a lesson or two in boundaries, no?

and most definitely, give them a voice to speak up. no one should be disrespected and no one should be taken advantage of, drunk or not.

remember, these are your wives, sisters, mothers, and even your 16-year old daughters… but more importantly, we’re all human beings.

girls: adam’s relapse

[note: i wrote this post on sunday/monday, the night it aired.]

it’s the middle of the night and i’m still reeling from the most recent episode of girls.

did you see it? it’s episode 19: ‘on all fours’.

lena dunham has this innate ability to make me all kinds of uncomfortable in a single, 30-minute episode. that’s why i like her and the show. it’s not all uncomfortable all the time though. it delves into so much territory that something is bound to hit a nerve, happy or sad, with somebody.

i might not be in my 20s anymore but i relate to bits and pieces of all the characters at various times, mostly because it’s so well-written. lena masters the morally ambiguous character like so many try, but often just come up short.

i’m sure this episode will get a lot of attention. i mean, if it affected me like it did, i’m sure there are plenty of others that it struck as well.

the episode followed adam and revealed his addict past as he met a new girl.

they proceeded to have sex twice, but under vastly different circumstances. i’m sure some will argue that the second time was rape, but honestly, wasn’t it just bad sex? i saw it as a human being making a not great choice with someone who wasn’t being particularly clear. but that’s not really my point here…

whatever label you want to put on it, it was incredibly sad and painful to watch. seeing adam as he consciously took that step to have a drink and relapse was heartbreaking. if you’re an addict (of anything), know an addict, or have loved an addict, you know there’s nothing you can do to help or “save” them/us. no matter how bad you want to. it will always be the addict’s battle to fight.

the sucker in me that makes me want to help, save, or kiss and make it better in men (and people), like adam, makes it hard not to want to wrap him in my arms and fix it. much as i’ve wished someone could do for me at times, knowing full well i have to do it on my own.

As Anaïs Nin said, ”You cannot save people. You can only love them.”

hate vomit

i’m around the internet in plenty of places, personally and professionally. i read blogs, websites, and the like, on various topics – art, design, politics, feminism, pop culture, music, you name it. the topics may vary but one thing remains the same – the hate vomit spewed throughout the comment sections and sent as emails to writers.

hate vomit is what i call comments such as “you suck!”, “this sucks.”, “you’re pathetic!”, “get a new job!”, “i hate you!,” you get the drift. although these are mild compared to what i actually see and have received.

i’ve always hated it but i hate it worse now that i’ve been the recipient of it.

gradually, i’ve put myself out there more and more (damn, it’s hard…), and that’s when it stings the worst.

the more personal something is, the more gut wrenching it feels.

it’s not easy being vulnerable. try it sometime. then imagine someone trying to shame you for it.

i admit, i’m overly sensitive sometimes and i also get that putting something out there gives people a platform to judge. i don’t love it but I can take it.

i’m all for free speech and opinions and a dialogue with differing opinions, but faceless trashing is insensitive and cowardly. bring on the constructive criticism. anything that’s thought provoking and gives me insight into seeing something in a new way, i’m all for it.

i bet if you were standing in front of someone you wouldn’t say it straight to their face, would you? if so, i applaud you for the balls it took. but i guarantee 99% of what flows through the comment sections wouldn’t fly out of that individual’s mouth in real life. just because you’re behind a computer doesn’t make it okay.

now there are plenty of lovely commenters out there but they tend to get lost amongst the negative. if you’re one of them, keep it up. i’m sure it means a lot to people putting their blood, sweat, and many tears into what they’re doing. i know it does me.

words of advice: think before you speak and realize it’s a person just like you that laid it all out there.

that day my life changed forever… part 2

it’s true… life was never really the same after that.

my dad remained in the hospital for awhile while he recovered. i remember going to visit him. i walked in the room and the daylight was coming in through the windows and seeping through the flower arrangements and plants. i didn’t know where to look because i was scared of what i’d see. i focused on a plant that was in a ceramic duck base and thinking just how ugly it was.

i finally got a glimpse of my dad, or what was left of him. i had to concentrate really hard not to cry. i kept biting the inside of my cheek in hopes that would distract me from what i saw, the person that was no longer the father that i knew.

he had trouble forming words and couldn’t get out anything that he wanted to say. he got frustrated, understandably so.

all i could do was think about leaving.

he was finally released and sent home with a strict low-sodium diet and instructions not to continue his 2-1/2 pack a day habit. he was also put into speech, occupational, and physical therapies. he worked at them for awhile and then gave them up.

i’m sure the mounting frustrations of not being the person that you were and knowing you’d never be there again really got to him. they would me. he had to face that his brain and body were permanently damaged. his speech, to this day, is affected and he has trouble getting the words out. he gets angry easily because his mouth won’t express what his brain wants to. nor will his body. he’s mostly paralyzed in his right arm, his writing arm, making him have to re-learn how to write with his left.

the next few years were spent in and out of therapies and a new normal became the norm. my mom spent whatever time she had outside of work helping him as he slowly found some semblance of a life. it took a lot out of both of them. this wasn’t the life or marriage they signed up for.

as for me, i turned more inward. i was always extremely shy and i think it got worse, at least till high school.

i think we all struggled in our own way. i wavered between anger that he wasn’t the father i needed or thought i deserved at such a young age, while also feeling incredibly sorry for him. sorry that he didn’t ask for it. he didn’t sign up for this type of life but he got it. we all did.

that day my life changed forever… part 1

i remember moments of it so vividly, almost like it was yesterday.

it was winter of 1985 and i was 9 years old and in the 3rd grade.

sometime, after i’d gone to bed, i remember waking up, almost in a cold sweat. i was wide awake and shot straight up in bed. i immediately had this gut feeling that something was wrong.

i walked trepidatiously to my bedroom door and quietly opened it revealing just a crack of space. in the darkness of the hallway, i could see light pouring out from underneath my parent’s bedroom door.

i instantly felt sick to my stomach, the same feeling i get to this day when i instinctively know something bad has happened.

i made my way to their door and gently knocked but no one answered.

i finally had the guts to open the door and didn’t see anyone. i walked in the room and went to the bathroom that was also lit up.

i saw my mom standing over my dad who was sitting down.

she tried to explain to me something about him not feeling right but i didn’t really grasp it. at some point, they made their way to the door, out to the car, and to the hospital.

i was left home with my sister who had just barely turned 12.

we didn’t really know what to do with ourselves but i remember not wanting or feeling like sleeping. we stayed up watching a duran duran video. i seem to recall it was their documentary, sing blue silver, on vhs. also arena.

those are my only memories from that night… sitting super close to the console tv absorbing all that duran duran had to offer.

at some point the next day, my mom came home and i watched her as she went through every room in the house getting rid of my dad’s ashtrays. they were these weird metal contraptions that had a funnel looking thing on top. they were everywhere, even on the back of the toilet. each one went into a huge garbage bag.

my father had had a massive stroke.

i knew then that my life, ours, would never be the same again. and sadly, it wasn’t.

to be continued…