Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hush Now

I love moments when the world’s monotonous ticking is interrupted. There is time to go inside my own soul and investigate what is there and why. The snow started falling and my dream to get snowed in for few days is here. It is the snow of my childhood, when the streets became fluffy and crispy and that was the only event that mattered.

I sat in the coffee shop before getting snowed in, so that I could write. I was about to tune out with my headphones, but Billie Holiday came on. She wailed for all of us. This woman struggled from birth, being born to out of wedlock, left by her father with no support. She worked in a brothel as a young girl with her mother and went to prison for it. Her life story is a tragedy of drugs, misfortunes and abusive relationships, probably caused by all of that pain. Billie, whose voice we canonized after her death, had a life of mostly suffering.

But in the coffee shop, her unique sound breathed life into me, years after her death, she still speaks, her voice the wire that connects us with our own human pain. The greats continue to cry the lessons that they have learned, so that we know that we are not alone. They had the courage to articulate their story, to be the ones who didn’t hide away, even in their pain.

Their voices cry, “Please, do something good in the world. Do something you are proud of!”

Some days I drown in the conventional thinking and I am suffocated and oppressed by my own thoughts.

Over the weekend, I saw an exhibit about the Feminist movement. I was reminded that women used to be warriors, queens, and they were equals to men and then one day someone decided to say let’s keep them at home and not educate them and make them weak. Let’s make them housewives. And now, after centuries of fighting for women’s right, to say that you are a housewife in Park Slope means that somehow you made it. Instead of getting our rights and doing something, we have convinced ourselves again to think that it’s good to do nothing, while our hearts starve to make a difference, to affect the world. But to do it and to get into that world, you at least have to act like a man. Intuition is witches talk. Emotions must be frozen while you work. Tears are for the closet and for the weak.

In my meandering digs information or for distraction online, I found a Ted Talk about this woman who became schizophrenic. It came on suddenly for her, she was normal except for well hidden depression and anxiety. She described the voice that she started hearing that sounded real to her. A voice that would become violent and aggressive when there was stress in her life.

I thought about my own voice. The people who talk to themselves on the street and us are the same, we just have it on mute. So then the voice that I hear in my head, and that schizophrenics hear is similar in that way. We also have a voice that is guiding us through the decision tree of each moment and that is just as real. On the days that life feels good and I know what my purpose is, I look around at the world with awe of beauty, but on the days that feel hard, the voice is meaner. It starts to say that I am not good enough and that I can’t really achieve my dreams. “Don’t even try, because you are not as good as others,” it says and I make decisions based on that. Is that my own voice, or is it years and years of being programmed that our views don’t matter?

“I don’t suffer anymore,” said a girl to me after she started medication.
“Really?” I asked in disbelief.

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Childhood Dream

I was running to my bed to sleep each night last week, ripping myself from my devices and the checking of the facts of today, that blow away when the moon ends its rotation. I want to actually live. In between cooking and cleaning, and making sure that things on the list get done. In between the worries about the imperfection of my life, with comparisons to endless illusions.

Isaiah and I were playing that we were bats in our living room today. The big owl and the ten snakes were after us, but we were hanging upside down, eating chocolate covered mosquitos in our Ikea igloo covered with a quilt. I got him out of the house, because I promised him that I would take him to a hollow tree where bats live. We hiked on my newly discovered trail.

“This tree is so cool,” he said ten times, upon inspection. At five years of age, his innocence is still there, even though, he says “Mom Dude!” making me worry about the growing angst that wakes us up from our pleasant childhood dream. I tried to live in his dream today.

On our walk home, I told him that he was half bat, which explained why he loved Batman, and that he was born in that hollow tree, but he didn’t believe me.

Teach Your Children Well
by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good bye

Teach your children well
Their father’s hell did slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick’s, the one you’ll know by
Don’t you ever ask them why
If they told you, you would cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you

And you of tender years
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by
And so please help them with your youth
They seek the truth before they can die

Teach your parents well
Their children’s hell will slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick’s, the one you’ll know by
Don’t you ever ask them why
If they told you, you would cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you

Mazed and Confused

There is a lot to be confused about life in this world. We are experiencing a new world and we are not sure what will happen. It feels like it’s about to split in two and this tension comes in waves. The feelings, like the NEWS, have an explosive nature. Each one of us is a mine. Even in the happy moments, I remember that there is pain going on right now. Focusing on reality and reading reality is difficult, because what’s real and our own ideas of real is questionable. If we are just products of nature and nurture, why don’t we wake up and ask:

Who am I? And what in the Hell is going on in THIS World?

I don’t know why, but writing feels good to me and gives me momentary meaning. It helps with all those errands and feedings of this human body. I miss myself. Like a lost city soul, I go through my life with a pompous look in my face, pretending that I know it. I spew my opinions and judgements from small things to big, but the maze continues and there is no end in sight.

Sunny Afternoon by the Kinks

The tax man’s taken all my dough
And left me in this stately home
Lazing on a sunny afternoon
And I can’t sail my yacht
He’s taken everything I got
All I’ve got’s this sunny afternoon

Save me, save me, save me from this squeeze
I gotta big fat mama trying to break me
And I love to live so pleasantly
Live this life of luxury
Lazing on a sunny afternoon
In a summertime
In a summertime
In a summertime

My girlfriend’s run off with my car
And gone back to her ma and pa
Telling tails of drunkenness and cruelty
Now I’m sitting here
Sipping at my ice cold beer
Lazing on a sunny afternoon

Help me, help me, help me sail away
Well give me two good reasons why I oughta stay
‘Cause I love to live so pleasantly
Live this life of luxury
Lazing on a sunny afternoon
In a summertime
In a summertime
In a summertime

Ah, save me, save me, save me from this squeeze
I gotta big fat mama trying to break me
And I love to live so pleasantly
Live this life of luxury
Lazing on a sunny afternoon
In a summertime
In a summertime
In a summertime

Mr. Bright

Mr Bright lived next door to us on 2nd st. in Park Slope. At first, I thought his name was Mr. Right, but when I realized my mistake, it made more sense. He was more much more Bright than Right. The years have been kind to Mr. Bright, and although he had a walker and a curved withered spine, his eyes shone with a joie de vivre that is hard to find in a teenager. It was not that Mr. Bright was above us humans, with our dirty little secrets, flaws and misfortunes, it was just that he existed.

“A person, a stranger, who you will never see again, can affect you in unimaginable ways,” my sister said in a phone conversation, in one of our many meandering life discussions. Before she even finished the sentences and the explanations of her theories, the speedy light technician in my brain spotlighted Mr. Bright and the memory of the first time I met him.

He was coming back to his building and I was checking my texts on the stoop. I knew he was my new neighbor, but he didn’t realize it yet. I saw him pushing his walker along the cold fall sidewalk, he had two bags of groceries and they seemed to get tangled on his walker with each step. There was not much in them. How cruel was the aging process, I thought, that this poor man could not even get two almost empty plastic bags home without having to endure aggravation of his physical limitations.

“Let me take these bags for you,” I said, feeling uncomfortable for sounding like a cliche. He happily handed them over and continued to hobble slowly behind me towards his home.

“I always have angels who comes when I need them,” he said in a matter-of-fact voice, “thank you.” His simple phrase filled me with quiet warmth. His voice was high and beautiful.

Why this little memory, out of the other, more significant moments that overflow the limited RAM-space of my mind? Something about that moment continues to give me hope for humanity, hope that we are angels, angels who help each other, and one day when I am stumbling along, I will feel this way. And maybe I am being helped now, even if, I am not as aware of it as Mr. Bright.

Lyrics:

“Heart Of Gold”

I want to live,
I want to give
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.
It’s these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching for a heart of gold.

And I’m getting old.
Keep me searching for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.

I’ve been to Hollywood
I’ve been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold.
I’ve been in my mind,
It’s such a fine line
That keeps me searching for a heart of gold.

And I’m getting old.
Keeps me searching for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.

Keep me searching for a heart of gold.
You keep me searching and I’m growing old.
Keep me searching for a heart of gold
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.

Looking Out

“You should commit publicly to finishing your book by May,” my friend said to me today.  “That would force you to get it done.”

As he talked, I was scrolling down the forgotten chapters of my Russian memoir.  I looked at the date when I started writing it.  2011 is a frightening number.  Almost three years have gone by.  I don’t know when I gave up on it, but sometime, in the midst of the mess that my life has become, it became irrelevant.  Often, I remembered it and sometimes mentioned it, feeling the pain of failure in my gut.

Just the idea of having to finish a book by May, only having written seven, and not well edited chapters, was impossible.  I would have to be insane to commit to something like that.  But rumor has it that Shelley wrote the first draft of Frankenstein in under a week.  I wish, and at the same time, fear that I could suspend myself into a writing bubble for a whole week and do nothing and think of nothing except my life.  Because writing this would just be a long meditation on that.

I don’t know why I want so much to write this story.  My friend, Saul, recently said it best and luckily New York Times thought so too.  “Writing was not a matter of taking a prefabricated thought and setting it down on paper, but using the act of setting words down on paper to determine just what that thought might be.”

There is a duality in all of us.  We live only with ourselves but in many ways, we know ourselves least.  I have become fascinated with myself in the mirror.  I often catch myself during a busy workday.  There I am.  I look different to myself than I thought I looked.  Everyone in the office could see me, except for me.

In conversations with people, I can see their strengths and their weaknesses clearly, but I know that they don’t see what I see.  In the same way, I don’t see my own.  We are strange creatures, physically forced to look out with our eyes instead of in, even though, looking in, solves so many of our problems.

I wish to write this book, so that I have a long chance to look inside, to dissect my innards and to release the stench that rotting memories could cause.