These are my words…

I’m struggling to find a way to give structure to this blog. I have many facets of my life which I enjoy sharing with others through the written word. I have said to people that I can talk about any topic for 10 minutes. I do not express this to be a braggart, but to help people like myself that lack some self-esteem, or are shy. If you know a bit about many things the odds are in your favor that you will have something to talk about no matter your company.  I encourage them to experience as much of the world as possible through books, TV, going to museum, theater, sporting events, etc. You name it, “Just Do it!” as Nike said in the 90s. This is the way I was raised. As a kid born to parents of educators, this immersion in all things arts and sports was pretty normal. It continues today, and my cup runneth over into this blog.

I feel like the blog just doesn’t have a point. My main themes are self, mental health, reminiscences of my past, struggles with my spirituality, music, movies, and books. I’m just all over the place, but then again, all of it is uniquely me. Me…maybe that is the theme. I think it shows people that read this crazy part of the world wide web exactly who I am, and thus that is the theme. I can’t do a cooking blog, or a blog about cats. I can only write about what I know. I know myself to some degree. I hope my experiences good, bad, or indifferent may help others.

This is me, enjoy the ride!

I have not read any poetry in a long while. I heard this poem mentioned during Marc Maron’s podcast where he interviewed, comedian and raconteur, Duncan Trussell. Trussell had just been through a rough year. He was treated for testicular cancer and  suffered the loss of his mother. Maron asked how he managed to navigate through the last year. The ever spiritually connected and slightly wily Trussell said it is “like the Bukowski poem, it’s the broken shoelace that sends us to the madhouse.” In other words, we sweat the small stuff. The big crises of life are somewhat easier to absorb because mentally, physically, and emotionally we know what to do with them. Maron did not know the poem, so Trussell told him to google the it. Marc read the poem in pitch-perfect fashion. I could not agree with Bukowski or Trussell more.  Both Maron and I had our minds blown this week thanks to these two men

The Shoelace

a woman, a
tire that’s flat, a
disease, a
desire: fears in front of you,
fears that hold so still
you can study them
like pieces on a
chessboard…
it’s not the large things that
send a man to the
madhouse. death he’s ready for, or
murder, incest, robbery, fire, flood…
no, it’s the continuing series of small tragedies
that send a man to the
madhouse…
not the death of his love
but a shoelace that snaps
with no time left …
The dread of life
is that swarm of trivialities
that can kill quicker than cancer
and which are always there -
license plates or taxes
or expired driver’s license,
or hiring or firing,
doing it or having it done to you, or
roaches or flies or a
broken hook on a
screen, or out of gas
or too much gas,
the sink’s stopped-up, the landlord’s drunk,
the president doesn’t care and the governor’s
crazy.
light switch broken, mattress like a
porcupine;
$105 for a tune-up, carburetor and fuel pump at
sears roebuck;
and the phone bill’s up and the market’s
down
and the toilet chain is
broken,
and the light has burned out -
the hall light, the front light, the back light,
the inner light; it’s
darker than hell
and twice as
expensive.
then there’s always crabs and ingrown toenails
and people who insist they’re
your friends;
there’s always that and worse;
leaky faucet, christ and christmas;
blue salami, 9 day rains,
50 cent avocados
and purple
liverwurst.

or making it
as a waitress at norm’s on the split shift,
or as an emptier of
bedpans,
or as a carwash or a busboy
or a stealer of old lady’s purses
leaving them screaming on the sidewalks
with broken arms at the age of 80.

suddenly
2 red lights in your rear view mirror
and blood in your
underwear;
toothache, and $979 for a bridge
$300 for a gold
tooth,
and china and russia and america, and
long hair and short hair and no
hair, and beards and no
faces, and plenty of zigzag but no
pot, except maybe one to piss in
and the other one around your
gut.

with each broken shoelace
out of one hundred broken shoelaces,
one man, one woman, one
thing
enters a
madhouse.

so be careful
when you
bend over.

Charles Bukowski

I abandoned music for podcasts over a year ago. When I am sitting in traffic, it was, and still is, easier to listen to someone talk. I told myself I was learning something, and that I could not listen to music if I was sitting in traffic. If the car was not moving, it just wasn’t as exhilierating. No, these were not the reasons. Truly, I wanted to avoid my emotions. I was/am afraid to feel.

I am proud to have music back in my life. It has always played such a big part. I remember listening to music with my Mom. She was the one that always made it a priority in our household. We would spend Spring evenings in her bed together listening to the radio, while the cool North River air trickled through the window above my parents’ bed. She loved anything that came on the radio, and still does. More specifically she loves Nancy Wilson, “Unforgettable” by Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole, and all kinds of musicals, but especially Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita. Well, come to think of it, my father is big on music too. He likes all things Motown, Kenny Logins, Rolling Stones, Opera, Andrea Boccelli, Charles Asnavore, and so many more, including Pink. Yes, he is hip. My brother, my brother likes music, too. He breaks into song while perusing the refrigerator home on Thanksgiving or Christmas Break. Most likely he is singing, whatever is hot off his iPod or the radio.

Clearly, I have a family lineage to maintain.

So…slowly, after a hiatus, I am integrating music back into my life. As I said before, I feared the feelings it would bring up. Why can I listen once again? I am stronger because of some personal growth changes I have made. Going back to what I consider to be my roots is crucial to continue on this personal growth path, and music is all over it. Many times I say I want to be the girl I once was in 2005, or 2000, or 1998.  Really, this is not true. What I want is to be that girl renewed. Kara 2.0. or 4.0. The model number doesn’t much matter, that I am changing for the better does.

I have been listening to what is on my iPhone in a playlist that I cleverly called “IPod.” Sometimes I can completely lack creativity. I plug it into my car via the blue cable that goes into the “aux.” plugin. I couldn’t decide where to start, so I went with “Shuffle.” I heard it all. I heard my history. All the old songs that brought me through tough times. All the songs that I sang when I was joyous.  The songs I sang when I wanted to cry. The songs I listened to when I studied and went to concerts, an experience I never thought I would have. All these songs are my history. The represent the story of my feelings. Triumphant, sad, angry, confused, fearful, they are all there evoked by one person, an instrument, or a group of people.

 

I like everything and I have my parents to thank for my interests. I believe there is a music for each mood. Sometimes I want Bill Evans, because if I am anxious he can calm me as he tickles the ivories. If he was good enough for the Miles Davis quartet, then he is for me.  He truly is. I look forward to days on the beach, or lying in the sun listening to him. As far as anger goes, nothing is better than the screaming of metal’s chords and vocals. Metallica, Staind (though I know some would disagree this categorization. To them I say go listen to the early stuff and the last disc), Testament, and Pantera.

For sadness, self-loathing, some Nirvana, and Seether will do. Then, I pull myself from the melancholy marinade and tune into  some jaunty showtunes from classics and unknowns. Carousel’s “How I Loved Him,” “Glory” from Rent, and “Anyone Can Whistle” preferably sung by Bernadette Peters, and “Lovely Ladies” from Les Miserables. The latter was stuck in my head last week tipping me off to my good mood.

Shuffle is a bit like gambling. I don’t know where I am emotionally, nor what I want to listen to, so it is a place to start. Songs come on though, and they definitely are not the right tune for the time. Sometimes I have to advance to the next song. It’s okay it happens. It is nice to know I have other options, and the next song to come through the speakers may be the right one for the moment. It is also nice to know I have so many genres to pull from when shuffling.

Thanks to all the friends and family that influenced me along the way.

Thanks to technology I have all these genres at my fingertips, because without it this adventure of self exploration and self evaluation would not be possible.

Thank you.

 

 

 

chivette poem

 

Someone posted this on Twitter today. I love it! There are so many lies we tell ourselves that we cannot even keep them straight (“I’m fat.” “My nose is too big.” “My thighs are flabby.”) Moreover, and much worse, we begin to believe those lies and turn to negative influences to squash them.

Bear in mind…Identity is a fragile, fluid “thing.” You must keep an eye on your identity, or its purest essence will be extinguished. 

What a wonderful vacation. I am grateful for the simple things and the beautiful surroundings.

I met a great new friend who I named Frank the Tank with the help of a friend. (Photos appear below) There are many small lizards like Frank in this region, but he is different: built like a brick house. He is not fat, but muscular and sturdier than his counterparts. The other lizards probably gossip that he takes steroids.

The steroids have not gone to his head. He came out to visit me two days in a row. Today, I apologized for thinking he was a leaf yesterday. I was too far away to tell, and he hardly moved.

Frank is a great companion. He is quiet, a good listener, yet full of surprises. When I sat up tall to stretch my back, he too, did the same. I breathed deeply the salty air and sunshine, my body alive. He puffed up his chest, with head held high, surprising me with a bright, beautiful, orange neck-chin that he exposed upon exhalation and retracted upon inhalation.

Frank reminded me of the importance of the breathe and good posture. Opening up the body to the world, being fully present, and releasing the tension within, is vital to staying connected to the Earth, to reality, and the world.

I love animals because they seem to keep their lives simple when they probably are anything but. I can relate to that concept, human life is complicated and highly nuanced. Frank struggles with obtaining food for survival and running from large, predatory birds. While humans struggle with the thoughts between our ears, relationships, and sometimes things as mundane as the laundry. Animals like Frank, and the seagull I wrote about in a previous blog, come to me as representatives of God; I guess like prophets. They calm me, listen, keep me company, and crack me up. Most importantly, though, they remind me that everyone and every thing struggles with something; for if we are not wrestling with something we miss out on what it means to be alive and aware.

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Simplify Henry David Thoreau

At 34 years old, and at the dawn of yet another new year, I wish life were simpler. Simple like it was when I was a child. Yes, the unfettered access you have as an adult to just about everything is pretty great. Once in while, though, I wish I could go back to just being a kid. Life was pure, clean, simple, and happy.

I left work a few weeks ago and noticed an event in the local hockey arena. The event: Disney on Ice. Back in the day I went often with my parents. One, or both of them, would bring us to the Boston Garden to see the show. I saw the carts carrying Disney memorabilia on the street and inside the arena as I drove by, headed home after work. The glowing and bedazzled items on the cart reminded me of the Mickey Mouse flash light that spun, as you twisted and writhed your wrist. There were red and blue ones. During the show, the characters on skates would prompt the audience to turn on and spin their lights to help with the adventures taking place on the ice. It was exciting to be part of the show, and to have a part of it to take home with me after it was over. I remember so well sitting in the seats with my Mom and Dad, spinning the light, and just feeling happy, safe, and entertained.

Mickey Mouse

I miss small things like that as an adult. You get glimpses of it. I got a glimpse back into that world as I drove by a few weeks ago. I reminded myself how blessed and grateful I was to have parents that would take us to Disney on Ice, and even to Disney World itself. Not many kids have or had these opportunities. I get warm hearted just thinking about it. Disney on Ice is a small thing, one small positive memory that reminded me of two important things, 1) how blessed I am to have the childhood I did, and 2) to remember that the feeling of happiness and safety are not elusive; I can still experience these states of being through play, self love, and self-care.

In 2014 I want to live simply with fewer thoughts and anxieties flying through my mind. As a child, one has fewer worries and concerns. As an adult, it is a choice to make your life simple, or complicated. (At least I think it is?) For some reason I always seem to choose the complicated route. Lately, I have chosen to keep it simple in my relationships with others. Just do the right thing, say something positive, do not be a drama queen. The same needs to be true of how I talk to myself. It is hard to talk to others in a positive way, when your self talk is inherently negative. Perhaps, I have it backward, and as many people say, I need to take care with myself  before I can care for any one I meet.

I’m trying each and every day to make my life simple by choosing the kind way. So why is it difficult? Why does it come and go? I think the emotions get in the way and bleed into other situations. And I guess because I need more practice, and more play in my life. I must let go of those negative things that I hold on to. I did hold on to, and collect the negative while I was a child. I collected toys, craft and art supplies, and kept a journal, among other things. I was part of positive experiences, like Disney on Ice, thanks to my devoted parents. Cultivating positive experiences, taking part in a few each day to keep me positive in the moment, and scheduling some other larger events to look forward to, may lead to a better way of life in 2014. In other words, I must care for myself, so I can help and maintain positive interactions with others.

I know I can’t do this all alone, so if you happen to have one of those Mickey Mouse flashlights, dust it off put some batteries in it, light it up, and spin it to help me on my adventure as we move into 2014 with a renewed attitude. I promise to go find mine and do the very same for you.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

All photographs and writing Copyright Kara Jackman. All Rights Reserved

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