Saturday, December 16, 2017

On Smartphones

It’s a quiet Tuesday afternoon and I sit at my computer thinking of the cell phone that I have purposely left in the kitchen and my internal dialogue goes something like this:  “Was it a good idea to leave it on the table?  Maybe I should go get it, what if I need to look up something?”  Never mind that I’m sitting at a computer where the world practically lives at my fingertips anyway…no, somehow the phone seems important, necessary even.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I was having a slight case of separation anxiety.  

The situation sounds absurd, but it is actually not far removed from the reality that millions of folks (present company included) currently experience; an unnatural connection to their smart phones, those wily, ubiquitous devices that have succeeded in winning us over one text at a time.  You may laugh, but it’s true.  One has only to look around to notice the aforesaid glued in our hands while our heads bend down to take in byte after byte of entertainment or distraction, such as the case may be. 

Take the gym for example.  I remember when people went to work out unhampered by the technology that now eats up all our attention.  They were there, well, to work out.  Nowadays when I scan the horizon, as far as my eye can see, I notice smart phones populating book holders on treadmills, stationary bikes and the like, while their respective owners exercise glued to the screens, taking in content with rapt attention and appearing more interested in virtual reality than in breaking a sweat.  It’s sad to see people pause their routines just to take in something on their phones.  I want to shake them and shout, “You’re here to work out, so work out!”

Or how about Bart (the Bay Area rapid transit system, for those of you unfamiliar), that grand repository of the human soup?  Nowhere else can one gage so accurately the trends and zeitgeist currently inhabiting society than in those telling cars.  In riding, I’ve witnessed the disturbing sight of practically every person poring over their phones in one way or another.  Passengers stand up in the thick of commute time with practically no room to breath, heads down staring at the device in their hands, eerily silent and disturbingly still like so many penitent churchgoers.  In all fairness, tuning out is allowed after a long day at work or life, but we’ve gotten way too comfortable at downright ignoring the action and potential danger around us in order to check a Facebook status, or scroll through our pictures.         

We are in love with our phones.  They have become our friends, our councilors and even our lovers (yes, there are even, ahem, attachments for them)  We tote them with us everywhere we go.  They live stuffed in our pockets, our bras, our hands and we seldom, if ever, leave home without them and this, usually, because we forget.  In fact, how often do we find ourselves panicking because we’ve misplaced or God forbid, left them at the house?  We are so taken and enraptured with these insidious, palm-sized devices, we’ve even let them cut into our conversations and sense of community.  More times than I care to admit, I’ve offered my family and friends grunts and the occasional “Mm hmm” just to keep the chat up while I tended to something fantastically important on Insta or googled the weather and I know I’m not alone.  And we don’t even question this phenomenon, it has simply become…a way of life. 

Without getting too far into it, I believe the fascination with our phones points to something more sinister, something on more of a grand scale, that it’s not as innocent and harmless as what it appears to be.  On the consumers part, there exists the honest to goodness fascination with and dependence upon our devices, the sincere desire to shop, view, pass the time, meet up (online dating) and whatever other use may pull our chain.  One the other, it sure seems as though there is some twisted plot to get and keep us hooked to these little pieces of technology.  Think about it.  We have become so addicted that most of us don’t even question or challenge their preponderant spot in our lives anymore (we should set a place for them at the table!).  I wonder, if there was a meltdown and we couldn’t use the web, what would we do?  Panic comes to mind—precisely the reaction that who or whatever is gaging this grand experiment would prey upon.       


I sincerely hope that as people, we would know when enough is enough of this invasive technological whatnot but given the current state of affairs, it looks like that’s not the case, officer.  I don’t know what the future holds as far as the next big reveal but I do know who holds the future and thank God for that.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Photo Album

Strolling through the pages, unsuspecting as could be, I visited the glances staring back at me.

They were of a girl so desperate in the hood, that forsook all her beauty to see if becoming a dealer she could.

The little girl she was, pretty as a daisy, with mischief in her dancing eyes later got certified as crazy.  

All throughout the pictures, there was a story I could tell, my eyes held the key to my madness and my hell.

Walking through the years, I kept noticing my smile at first my teeth were showing, then fell out of style.

Hidden behind lips, that were drawn across my face, the saddest of smiles, revealed a harshness that was foreign and out of place.  

At first I was happy baring all my soul; looking at the camera, beautiful and whole.  

Then came the storm that shook me to the core and left me ripped to pieces strewn and on the floor. 

In one shot after the battle ceased, I was heavier, more peaceful yet still fragile as a leaf. 

New Year's

So it's upon us, the New Year.  I wonder what this one will bring.  Last year hosted a flurry of health challenges, medical tests, relationship meltdowns (well, one -- but it was a BIG one) and family worries.  There was a lot of stress and some disappointments.

But there were also some major joys.  I got to move into and decorate the FIRST house/cottage I've ever lived in by myself.  I got a cat, who has become my joy, then I got another cat who I've already fallen in love with.  I'm taking charge of my health by starting to exercise regularly again and feel terrific, I've also discovered for the fist time ever, cooking and I adore it and am pleased to say that many of the things I make turn out delicious to the delight of my friends, who enthusiastically let me know!

I've been able to set my own rhythms and with more clarity have been realizing that I alone am responsible for my own choices, decisions and feelings whereas before, I was lost in a sea of codependency as a roommate, always juxtaposed with other's thoughts, feelings and actions...  This has been the most freeing thing for me, I believe.  I've had room, a lot of room, to grow up.  I care less what people think, and stand up for myself with more decision, and less apology.  There's room for growth, always, but I love what I see in myself and who I'm becoming.







Seeing myself as a whole person has been exciting liberating and challenging all at once.  



    

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Her

She's my little curmudgeon all cute, fat and furry,

and if she's startled she'll leave in a hurry.

She likes to sit and stare at me from the bedroom floor,

it's her spot of choice, the patch right near the door.

She'll hunker down also on the bed,

and when I sleep can be found at times right near my head.

She has this funny habit of drinking with her paw,

and tips the water over after studying it with awe.

I could watch her endlessly as she moves her chub around,

because she's always different with new habits that abound...

Currently, she's nesting in my nook of purses,

so I expect a ton of fur when I use 'em and rhyme these verses.

She surprises me quite often as she comes into her own,

much bolder and courageous her personality has grown.

She'll walk along the rooftops and peer over the edge,

not long ago she'd barely jump on any type of ledge.

Once upon a time she slept far away from me,

but now that she feels safe, I'm spooned and filled with glee.

She has eyes like spotlights - big and wild and yellow,

that when I come in the house greet me with a hello.

This darling little fluff ball who took a while to tame,

has now settled quite nicely in my kitten's book of fame.








Monday, February 6, 2017

Family

Most of us who hear the word family typically think of blood relatives far and near.  I think of friends.  Of course my mother, brother and close kin are included in the mix, that goes without saying, but I have acquired such a tight knit band of chums, both old and new that I can honestly call them family.

I've always made friends easily, but after I came to California and sewed my wild oats subsequently falling apart, making friends took on a whole new meaning as I chose not to return home.  As I crumbled post rebellion, it became harder and harder to move forward in life without true human connection.  All the pals that I had made were just that - pals.  People to hang out with at a party, folks my own age that were too absorbed in the drama of their own lives to be able to make much of a difference in mine.

Enter John, my acquired uncle.  We met at Walgreens whilst standing in line one afternoon; I was in a tough place in my life, he had a soft heart and a friendship was born that continues to this day.  Then came a few other amigos that have stood the test of time, with whom I have walked through some pretty rough and tricky places.

I am always making new acquaintances.  The flux at turns widens and thins, but has always been a steady stream from whence I can choose who I'll confide in and who I won't.  Thankfully, I've never wanted for security within those acquaintances because my sacred inner circle has always been there - the meat and potatoes of my existence, so to speak.  This constant has given me the confidence to stick out my neck and meet new people, knowing that a web of love and support will always be there to carry me.

I am grateful to have a plethora of folks in my life that qualify as kin, people that despite my flaws and shortcomings love me for who I am.  So the next time you're feeling  lonely, remember that family comes in all shapes and sizes so pick up the phone and cultivate yours today :)




Thursday, February 2, 2017

Here Comes the Bride... Some thoughts on marriage

I've dreamed of getting married for as long as I can remember.  A hopeless romantic, I idealized love throughout middle and high school (who didn't?) and when I found it at 16 during a trip to Italy, I was floored.  I had found the man of my dreams, in the country of my dreams and wasn't I lucky?  After finishing high school, I moved to the boot to be with him and complete my schooling.  Things didn't go as planned, and I ended up leaving 5 years into the relationship.

For the next 15+ years, I met and dated many men (not all of whom I'm proud of) in different situations and for various reasons, that all shared one common denominator:  in my mind, each was potentially "The One".  Blinded as I was by my own longing to be with a man, yet so naive and immature at the same time, I didn't realize that true love is not a fruit one just casually picks off a tree and eats.  Fueled by fantasy, the Hollywood ideal and familial dysfunction, I was on a quest to marry and isn't it ironic I never did?

I know of no one who wanted to tie the proverbial knot more than I - it's what I was consumed with day and night - yet it has eluded me my entire life thus far.  To be fair, I've had a lot of ups and downs, many twists and some hideous turns that have hurled my journey and my headspace in an entirely unusual direction, that haven't exactly made it easy for me in the betrothing department - but that hasn't stopped me from trying...  We don't always do what's best for us.

So where am I now?  Having just recently broken off an engagement, I find myself, strangely, in a good place.  Despite the pain and nausea of heartache, I've realized what love really is and what it's not.  I can't say it any better than 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  "Love is patient and kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

May you love.