Coping Skills

I wrote the “Rudolph” parody -inspired by a comment from a very good friend of mine- on Saturday afternoon, as our first major snow was falling. I needed to express my frustration, confusion, and sense of hypocrisy for feeling like Franken was chosen as the Dems sacrificial lamb (mixed religious metaphors much?), and “Give myself the gift of writing,” as another counselor friend had advised.  It was a cathartic exercise. Until…

Monday night, I was listening to a radio talk show discussing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, (which passed in the House of Representatives)

There was a caller who said that not allowing gun owners to carry across state lines was akin to racial discrimination, and then said that minorities get preference for carrying weapons. The feelings of deflation that people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and women feel when hearing this rhetoric overcame me, and I declared  out loud, “If this thing passes in the Senate, I don’t want to live in this world any longer. I will be a target for racists. I’ll take myself out before they do.” Then sobbed. Then prayed.  Then I grabbed my journal, and saw this note:

From Emotional Alchemy, How the Mind Can Heal the Heart by Tara Bennett-Goleman:

“You can convert anger from a destructive emotion to a constructive energy. As I once heard the Dalai Lama explain, when we transform anger constructively, we are left with a clarity about what needs to be done and an intense energy to achieve our goals.”

No matter how bleak things appear, I’ve got to wake up every morning, and keep on keeping on. Contact Congress. Write. Sing. Get it out before it eats me alive. The supremacists want me to self-deport from this Earth – and I won’t give them the satisfaction! Even through tears, I’ve got to keep #resisting. I hope you will do the same.

Be compassionate and careful this holiday season.




Pop Culture Life Story

If my life were comprised of movie or tv show plotlines, mine would be this:

Freaks and Geeks (TV) meets Everybody Hates Chris (TV) meets Welcome to the Dollhouse (Film) meets Saved (Film) a pinch of Glee (TV) meets Greenberg (Film) with a dash of Almost Famous (Film) and Cosby Show (TV). That’s eight.  Can you give me your pop culture life story in 10 references or less?

My band broke up and all I got was a lousy, bitter feeling in my soul

I used to rock (I didn’t listen to the haters I grew up with!). Rather, I used to be in a phenomenal band called RIB. We worked our asses off. We laughed our asses off. But we couldn’t agree on the business stuff, and we broke up.  A band really is like a family, and sometimes you just need to get away from your relatives.  Most of the crew is still out there gigging. Me?  I’ll get back to music eventually, but for now I am getting mentally and physically strong. I am incredibly psyched for ’12 and have other aspirations that may take me in a whole new direction.  

What I don’t miss:  The jealousies, ego trips, and insecurity that lead to our demise (guilty of all 3!). 

What I miss:

Engaging in the creative process with like-minded individuals

The inside jokes and cheesy pop song riffs for comic relief

Practicing our assess off

Playing 3 shows in 1 night

Playing to 3 people the night of a snowstorm

Our music – I’m extremely proud of the work we did.   I’ll post links/files at a later date.

So, to my RIB family – I think about you all of the time.  And who knows, perhaps the universe may throw us together again and we’ll be wiser, more secure, better musicians, and more successful.  Whether or not we reunite, I wish nothing but the best for each and every one of you.



Blah Buster

In the advertising world, TV shows are considered “those things that air between commercials”.  In that vein, I must keep reminding myself that work is what happens between life events.  It’s easy to get caught up in a daily routine, which can leave one feeling productive by American puritanical standards, but personally unfulfilled.  If you are unemployed or underemployed, then stress and frustration are added to the mix.  Wanna shake things up and rejuvenate?  Here are 5 (it’s the 21st century, everything moves faster) quick ideas to break your malaise:

  1. Turn off the tech and grab a writing utensil.  Doodle. Make random lists. Draw a cartoon of yourself.  Free associate in your journal.   Write a fan letter. Write a letter to the editor.  Use snail mail to deliver. Support your local postal worker!
  2. Move your body. Perfect your push up.  Walk around the block. Grab your significant other and Get It On!  The endorphins will kick in and boost your mood and alleviate aches and pains associated with depression.
  3. Read a BOOK – you know, that tangible object with pages and with words.
  4. Train your brain. Try writing with your non-dominant hand.  Practice mirror writing like Leonardo Da Vinci.
  5. Take a 20 minute “power nap” or if you don’t have 20 minutes, meditate or sit quietly in your room for 5 minutes.

The point is to engage in an activity where the focus is on “being in the moment”; a happy distraction, if you will.  You may emerge from your moment with an idea for your job search or a new way to approach a problem.

Try it, you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Rebels with a Cost?

         The counter culture movements of the previous four decades are now nicely packaged and sold to us as retro or vintage. Case in point: hippie, punk and rockstar fashions can be found in any brick-and-mortar or online store today, ad naseum.   (I’d rather go here and here for my punk handbook).

Another example: Mad Men. Don’t get me wrong, the show is magnificently produced by Matthew Weiner and John Hamm is so very yummy, but I hope that the young ‘uns aren’t using it as their only 60s history reference.

Example #3: the line in the film Crazy, Stupid, Love where Jacob Palmer (played by the also yummy Ryan Gosling) says “They lost the battle of the sexes the minute they took pole dancing classes” – sigh, sometimes it seems like we haven’t come a long way baby.

Steve Jobs (RIP) was a rebel in his day, and he built one of the most successful US companies. During the deficit debate this past summer, it was revealed that Apple had more cash on hand than the US Government!

Are there any true rebels out there today? Or do we PC-litely explain it away as an “alternative lifestyle choice”?

I’m intrigued by:

Occupy movement – need I say more?

Steampunk – a growing segment in comic book/graphic novel/RPG fandom.

YarnBombing or fabric graffiti, and Craftivism.

Hackers -Some may argue that groups like Anonymous and Wikileaks are rebels in that they are fighting against what society values/hoards as currency, and in today’s technology driven world the currency is information.

Singularity theory by inventor Ray Kurzweil

Black Conservatives (emphasis on intrigued, do not necessarily agree with them)

I’m going to try to enjoy these movements, warts and all, in their purest form – at least until that W store starts putting ’em on their shelves.

Living in Moderation

As the holiday season approaches and our desire to indulge increases, I’m putting on my Oprah hat and suggest an experiment for the upcoming months.
Using ‘Eat to Live, Don’t live to Eat’ as a base adage, I will attempt to act thusly this season and beyond:

    • Spend to Live, don’t live to spend
    • Exercise to Live, don’t live to exercise and injure yourself (thx Jillian Michaels!)
    • Drink to be lively and engaging, don’t live to drink
    • Live to blog (insert hobby/passion) and blog for a living if you can
    • Resolve to Live and Live to Resolve
    • Live to Give to Others and Give to Others to Live

How would you modify the adage? Please leave a comment.