Terrorized, I was suffocating in the world of uncertainty and I was losing my balance. Small, I hung on a branch with my strength, the water was flowing over me and into my mouth.
“Ahhhhhhh”, I wanted to scream, but instead I asked you about your life. Because we were supposed to be in the moment. But which moment? How do we stand together with those who were terrorized? Their lives went missing and the loved ones left, eternally crying. What about Sandy Hook? I had no time to heal and the NEWS were blaring in my years again with the unspeakable. Only, it was not here, not now.
How do we stay in happiness or have hope when seeing what we see?
No, here, I was trying to enjoy my life.
We found that there is a trail through the woods that we could take to the gymnasium. We walked through the park. I was feeling worries about the future and the inevitability of my hopeless state becoming even more hopeless, but the bare trees and the pines had another story. The winter’s cold darkness messed with my mind, but a cold afternoon walk through the woods was sobering.
I don’t have to tell you how distracting technology is in our lives. I know it’s a topic of many complaints. When I complain about it, it is hard for me to admit just how damaging it has become to me. I laugh at those who are constantly checking their phone during dinner. At least I am not that bad, I think to myself.
I came to work today with every intention to start working. I had a full day of accounting to finish for the year. Ok, it’s a job that I like to put off. So, first email. The email box was jammed with unanswered emails going back seven days, personal and work mixed perfectly so that it feels that I am working. I started going down the list, getting lost in my thoughts. Then my phone went off with three texts. One was a reminder that I had to purchase tickets for a show for this Saturday so I started browsing online for tickets, getting lost in shows and movies that I wish I could see. I went back to finish email, only to realize that I can never finish email because it just keeps on coming.
Finally, I stopped. Everything. The phone, the email, the Facebook. But it was too late. It was 1pm and it was going to be so hard to squeeze my project into this day.
I know, I am complaining, but what is there to do. Do I not answer all those emails that distract me? Do I ignore texts and calls?
Psychologically, it is exciting to get emails, and texts, and likes, and all these new forms of validation. But it’s all crap. All of it. Maybe because of all this time spent online, I have no time to see or call real friends. And even now as I write, I have a strong desire to click on my email tab and see if any new emails have come in.
What the hell am I waiting for? A letter from Girls, inviting me to be a part of their show? What could possibly be so exciting in my email? A friend request from someone I met for five minutes last weekend?
When I first got my email account, I remember using it to write long letters to friends and they wrote me long letters back. There was time spent constructing jokes and rereading them to make sure they were funny. There were flirty emails with cute boys i liked and my heart raced when I saw their name in my inbox. Maybe that is how I became programmed to think that getting an email is exciting and I should be checking it incessantly, even while my 3.5 year-old-son is telling me a brilliant fantastical story about a good dinosaur that eats bad dinosaurs.
You haven’t heard from me in so long and I am back with a rant. We can just add this to the list of another online distraction.
I was going to write than dance but I will dance first. I need inspiration and perspiration.
Thomas Edison said “Genius is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration”.
I thought Paul Simon said that, but I just found out he was quoting Edison. Yura bought Thomas Edison bulbs and earlier in the day he asked me to transport them from the office to our house. More synchronicity. Everyday I find one or two. Some are small like this one, some are more impressive. I keep my eyes open and enjoy the smallest ones.
I danced and cleaned. This song came up on my iTunes. Take it Easy. As I danced, my mind raced through time. Last night I made a list of most of the Gasies (people who work at GAS) for the last five years. I was mourning my leaving friend but today I feel light and happy. No tears, no doubts. The coincidences are feeding me with strength and I wore my red lipstick today.
I worked at GAS today. I love the feeling I have when I enter the space. It is filled with good vibes. Every time I walk in I also remember that it would not be there if it was not for me. That makes me feel even better. I love walking in when people are already busy at work. The cleaning lady came on Wednesday so it was organized. It was not what I painted it in my mind yesterday.
My mind went back while I danced. Back to the beginning, five years ago. I did not know what it was to run a space. I did not know if anyone would want to join me at GAS and pay me rent for a space. I did not know if I would have to close my crazy venture in few months. I knew that I could not find a space that I could call my home, so I needed to create one. When saw it the first time, the walls were shiny black and red, the bathrooms were terrible, we found little bags of white powder behind the walls, the roof access was closed off, the floors were black and red linoleum. I wish I had a before picture.
With a three thousand dollar budget that went over(which was a lot of money for me to risk), a friend of a friend renovated it with his construction friends, on weekends and after work. It took over a month, three weeks over the allotted time. As they were finishing, I started working there on a single table in the middle of the room, facing the window. My splurge was a custom-made L shaped desk that looks like a giant wave, I wanted no sharp edges. Slathered with Polyurethane five times to get it perfect amount of shiny.
At the time, I lived on the same block as GAS. Even when I was alone, I was so happy on my daily half a block commute to work. I knew that having this space would get me to my next level of jewelry designer. And it did. Only a month into it, I stood in line at Henri Bendel’s Open See and was picked. It was not as simple as that last sentence. I can write a while about what Henri Bendel did not give me but I say what it did. It gave me confidence in my work. Every weekend, I stood there showing my work and like clockwork people came to buy it. Every sale was a small miracle for me. In that fancy shmancy store, they were choosing my work over all the other stuff there. There was a lot of stuff there. Three floors of stuff. And they were buying it at 3.3 times the cost. I was embarrassed every time someone asked me how much a piece was.
I remember dreadfully posting online the ad for GAS. I think I still have it somewhere. I advertised the environment that I wanted to have, support, collaboration, creativity, later I added someone to eat lunch with. I kept saying in my head, “If you build it, they will come.” The doubts came too. What if they don’t like the space. What if they do not like me. What if they are real artists and I am not and they see that. They came. One by one. One beautiful face after another. All creative entrepreneurs who were successful enough to afford to pay rent. That is successful for the art world. I learned to trust my intuition. After a few minutes of conversation, I would have to choose whether I should hand over the keys to my space for them to become a part of it. I did not have to choose, the ones who wanted the space, were the right ones.
I knew I was creating that environment, I knew it was hard to dislike each other when I was around. I wanted GAS to be a warm place. I wanted them to feel accepted. I did my best to smooth out the conflicts by facing them head on and it worked most times.
I think of all the Gasies who came and stayed and those who went and I can think a while. I do not know what impact I had on them, but I can say what impact they had on me. To meet a person off the street and love them within a few days of working together is a great feeling. I learned how to feel comfortable around people. At first I felt a pain in my stomach each time I took in a GASie. It felt that every time I became comfortable with the ones I had, a new one would come and throw off my equilibrium. But that was a lie to unlearn. Every new Gasie brought with them their world. I learned that my equilibrium is not my comfort zone.
My friend was the last shred of that comfort zone. Take your time, take it easy, no need to hurry.
Tonight I will be busy so I have to write fast. I am on the G train going from Park Slope to Williamsburg, a 30 minute ride. Why stare idly at people when I can do my work.
I was on the train over a month ago and I saw a friend of a friend. I will call him Adam Greenberg. Adam Greenberg is an Artist and a teacher. At one point after our initial meeting, he called me to ask me out on a date to dinner, in a mature and civilized way I was not completely used to. I was in a self-destructive period of my life, so I said no. He didn’t understand why so he politely asked why. To this day I am not sure if he understood my long-winded explanation of not being ready to date. I think a part of it was that I couldn’t see us together, I was in the dark.
When I saw him on the train, I wasn’t sure if I should say hi. Things might still be weird. I have seen him several times at our mutual friend’s house but usually husbands and wives are around. They create a buffer for the weird. Celestine Prophecy says, if you recognize someone, you have to stop to talk to them. One of you has a message for another. (I said this in another entry, but the train reminded me again).
We started chatting. No only were we on the same train but we were going to a party on the same street and the destination was far away from each of our respective houses. This was a flag for me, brace yourself for the message. He told me that he has a long commute to teach so he has to do his art on the train. He had a notebook and it was filled with interesting artwork. He flipped through, this was quality train work. I walked away after our pleasant ride and walk and chat forgetting about any message. I didn’t know it was my lesson at the time but as I stepped on the train this morning, the message was loud in my head “Work on the train, this is your only time” and then the face of Adam Greenberg.
It might be obvious for most people, use the time you have. But if I didn’t get that message, I would get on the train and let my mind wander into oblivion. Its simple things in life that are harder to understand than complicated. A PhD mathematician is miserable while the janitor is happy. All that complicated knowledge is unused if the simple lessons of “live and love” are unlearned.
So maybe Adam Greenberg didn’t teach me anything I didn’t know but he reminded me at the right place and the right time. I am trying to keep my ears and eyes open these days. Yesterday, I broke my rule. I saw a girl I knew at the Food Coop. She was a friend of a friend who I met at a party. I instantly had a soft spot for this girl. She told me she was not photogenic when we were taking pictures, so I took some photos of her to try to help her with her problem. I even remembered to email her the photos with a nice note. I got no reply. Maye she didn’t like the photos. I bumped into her again and again and it was uncomfortable for some reason.
Last night I saw that she saw me and instantly looked away, pretending to look the beans. Maybe she doesn’t like me. Maybe she was not in a stop and chat mood. Either way, I didn’t want to make the first move, thus breaking my own rule. I said to myself, she must not have a message for me, I will shop in peace. The funny thing was, everywhere in the Coop that I went, she was there. She saw me out of the corner of her eyes by the organic chicken, the bulk goods and then in the main aisle. I pretended to look the other way too. The message was lost.
BH (before husband), there was another young gent. I went on a few dates with him. He was a spiritual guy but our short relationship was not. I never told him how I felt and he never told me how he felt. These are spiritual basics and both of us did not follow the rules. It ended fast and without any seeming remorse. Then, I started bumping into him. Everywhere. On the street, dancing on a couch in some random bar that I’ve never been to before or since, the train, middle of the city. He got married and I even bumped into his wife while being half-naked in the African dance changing room– pretty, pretty weird. There were constant reminders. I have ended much longer relationships before, only never to see the person again.
Finally during yet another bump in, I told him my rule. It was forced but I didn’t know what else to do and being “spiritual” I thought he would understand. I said, “You know we bump into each other a lot, do you think there is a reason for that?” He got uncomfortable, I got more uncomfortable. He said he didn’t know. This interaction made me doubt my rule. Maybe it doesn’t work. Only now writing, I realize, he did not have a message for me, I had a message for him. My message was simple, I was sorry. I was sorry that I gave him no explanation even if I imagined that he did not need one. I did not do my part. I told Adam why but I didn’t tell this guy. I didn’t say anything. I just disappeared. He got married and I felt no need to say anything, but there was a need, the bump ins were proving it. Human interaction is to be respected. Feelings are to be considered. I can not save people from their feelings but I can do my part by being conscious and using my voice.
When a talking baby starts screaming for something, the parents are advised to say “Use your voice!” This is something to help the child find the words for their emotion and to ask for what they need effectively. Maybe adults should do the same. Too often we act on our emotions without using our words. If I used my voice at the coop and followed the rules that I laid out, maybe the girl and I would break our uncomfortable spell and learn something in the process. As for the sorry, it’s never too late to say I am sorry.
I wrote my post in my diary and now just have to rewrite. Yura was using the laptop so I had to wait. My mind is exploding with things I want to write about. I want to tell so many stories. Stories of today, the past and the future. I am not sure what happened today, it seemed so normal. Beach, Lola came over with Max, swam in the pool, lunch, swam in the cold ocean (cold swimming better than no swimming), beach at sunset with Isaiah and Yura, danced on the empty beach for them, compliment from the guy taking away the beach chairs, “You are the best dancer on the beach”, Thank you, dinner, bedtime, cleaning, laundry, journal, discovery.
I was going to write about poor vs. rich. I was going to write about synchronicity continued, telling stories about the synchronous events of my life. I was going to write about college and how Marina, Lisa and I always wanted to write a show together. I was going to write about swimming in the North Sea (naked I think) with my sister in Sweden. I was going to write about the importance of travel and how it is always spiritual. I was going to write about my own ongoing journey from cynic to spirit (to answer the question that Corinne was asking). I was going to write about the meaning of friendship and how confusing it is (best friend, can you have more than one. Can you call two or three people your best friends). My mind was just going through stories today. Anything I did, my mind was writing. It was fun but too much, I needed it out of my head. I wanted to focus on my day because it was not a day to escape. It was another perfect Miami day. I love Miami!
Then I started writing, and this is what came out.
Olia College of the Finest Arts
Spring Semester Curriculum
School starts at 9 am.
9 -10 am Write down or audio record your dream from the night before and put it online (inspired by Mommy Theorist). Post to blog by 10 am. Everyone needs rules. Olia College has deadlines. If I miss the 10 am deadline, my grace period ends at 10:15. If I miss more than 3 grace periods, I will have to publicly revise my Curriculum to fit it my current needs.
Classes are 2 full days a week. I will do Mondays and Thursdays. Classes run 9 am – 5 pm with a 2 hour lunch and recess.
10-11 am Dance alternating with Drawing. Monday Dance. Thursday Drawing. TBA which days.
Dance is open. Make sure to prepare your iPod selections. Dance can be Solo or an actual class in the neighborhood. Once a month I will have a performance piece and upload the video to the blog. Dance pieces are due February 28th, March 30th and May 1st is the final. The final project is to write about that experience. Final video will be submitted with my final writing.
Drawing. Drawing is the same as dance. Drawing uploads are due February 18th, March 18th and the final project is Due May 8th.
11-12 pm Creative writing. Write the first draft of my piece for that day.
12-2 pm Break and Recess (all emailing or facebooking is to be done at this time or prior to class. Never during class hours)
2-3 pm Finance and Math. Required reading for this class is Money Maturity. This hour will be spent doing the exercises in the book. Its due at 3 pm. Posting the exercise to my blog.
3-4 pm Fix the writing draft and upload it by 4 pm. The writing has 4 hours a week, plus the required 30 minutes a day. During the 4 hours of class time, I will be working on my script. This time will also be used for the production of the script. The final project is Due May 3rd. It will be a 13 minute Pilot of the show. (Ohh scary commitment, I know nothing about pilots).
4-5 pm Time to work on any unfinished creative projects of the day and answering Olia College related emails.
I want to go to school. My friend Jamie is going to Kansas. She just got married in July and lives in Milwaukee. She is about to go to school for 2 years for Drama Therapy. Hi Jamie. She will, most likely, be having a long distance marriage with her husband. This is courage. I talked about envy before, as my friend Blue said it best, a clue to “I want that”. I don’t envy Jamie, it is her own adventure. I don’t want to leave my husband and Isaiah and I cannot. But, I do envy the school for two years part. All the dots are starting to connect. All the seedlings are sprouting. All the fruits are ripening. The eggs are starting to hatch.
I wanted to take a Sabbatical year to write. Yury’s friend, Brooke is on a Sabbatical. She is a tenured professor. She has a baby almost a year older than Isaiah. What I am trying to say is, she is young. I kept bumping into her. It feels like everywhere I went in the neighborhood, there was Brooke, catching me off guard. In Celestine Prophecy it says that if you bump into a person on your path, you should ask them if they have a message for you. She had a message. I don’t know her very well, but enough to have a small chat. I think 6 months ago, during our bump in, she started telling me about her Sabbatical year coming up. A year that she gets to work on whatever she wants to work on with whom ever she wants. I said, “Wow, that’s great!” I asked some questions but inside, I was thinking “Wow, that’s great!” Really great. You can only do it if you are a tenured professor? That’s not great. I want to do it.
Since then, I’ve been rolling the idea over and over in my head. What is a Sabbatical for me? What would I do? Would I just become a stay at home mom? That’s no Sabbatical, I hear. I love the Sabbath. I want a Sabbatical. Olia Designs has officially been in business Since April 3, 2003 (the day I left Salomon Smith Barney; April 3rd is also the first day that the main character in 1984 starts to go against the “Big Brother”, it’s probably a lot of other things, but I only connect those two). I know my business can run without me. Corinne and Satomi ran it for 6 months when I was in Miami. They ran it when Isaiah was born. Nobody noticed. I can still design my collections, it will just have to be less. Less is more, I learn that everyday. Right now I have hundreds of great designs that need only slight updating to get them just right or 2011. Plus, I am almost done with my Spring/Summer 11 collection, which is half the year already. I will be expanding on my new piece the Orchid. I released it early for feedback. I got it. Its an instant hit, everywhere I brought it, it sold. Spring/Summer 2011, done. The Fall/Winter 2011 I can do during my summer break.
I will set up my College because I need structure. Structure is important. Without structure, nothing can be built. I have two more pages to copy but I am about to run out of my grace period.
Spring Semester starts January 23rd. Thanks to the mall across the street, I already did my back to school clothes shopping 🙂 I will be going to Olia College in style and with red lipstick on. (Thanks Christine for that tip).