Sh*tty Time Machine (Thoughts on Feeling Strong)

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It is important that I choose this blog as a platform for my voice.

One of which, doesn’t say much on any given day.

The thank you and hellos of going to the store. The banter of the cashier talking about their art show. The usual. I like it.
And then there’s work banter. Which goes downhill pretty quickly. Two or more cooks in the kitchen, and the conversation gets dirty, fast. I’m not sure why. Maybe it helps ease the tension and makes doing dishes a little more tolerable. But I know now I will never make sausage in front of them.

These days when I talk to people more than 10 minutes, I feel like I’m talking their ear off. Usually I apologize, for the sake of saying the things that are at the forefront of my mind. Sometimes I feel weird, because not everyone wants to hear about my idea of madeira jelly with chicken liver pate or that I really do, love dinosaurs.

Especially now, as my intimate community has shrunk (and at the same time, expanded) to a house of full of people, who are deep down, sweethearts – but don’t have too much history to work with. And that’s okay.

Louis C.K. has a joke about divorce being a sh*tty time machine.

That in a marriage, you become somewhat cut off from the world of single people. Time goes by, but at its regular pace, until you decide, or are forced to step out of that relationship, and land in another world. Like Brooks Hatlen in Shawshank Redemption saying, “The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry...”

By now you know I’m being a little dramatic.

With that being said, I am glad I feel safe enough to speak about things on my mind.

I’m glad I can do that here, and to another human being, face to face. Because I do have a lot to say. We all do. Some of us just say it with fewer words.

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Lately, I’ve thought about having a core group of maybe four people who will call me out if it looks like I’m starting to go a little crazy. If I start collecting things that have no business being collected, or decide I want to build my own rocket ship, they will grab me by the shoulders and give me a shake as if to say, “Get with it, man!”

But right now, I think I’m okay.

I surround myself with the comforts of old and new. My lovely cookbooks and warm lights. Good speakers and a painting from my Great Grandma of two mockingbirds perched on a Magnolia branch. (Both the state tree, flower, and bird of my Beloved home.)

I guess today feels strong. I feel like I have a lot to say, and tomorrow could be different.

I do, however, feel it all on my chest. And each day I decide how heavy I want it to be. If it needs to be built stronger, or if it needs to crumble. I’m learning to be okay, and to listen to both.

The truth about sadness, is that eventually, it is met by something good and powerful. To say happiness, is kind of farce at times, because I don’t really know if that’s a real thing. I suppose that’s why our country embraces the pursuit, but tends to live somewhere in between. Seems a little more realistic.

But alas, I will save you from the other side of my jumbled conscience. It will not show its head at this hour, at least.

I will leave you with a quote given to me by a dear friend this past week, from Khalil Gibran’s, The Prophet,

“And shall it be said that my eve was in truth my dawn?”

Playing Different Instruments

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If I want to be honest with myself, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.

Sometimes, I get to cook for big groups of people. I get really excited for about 20 minutes, and then I get scared.

Because I think deep down that I have no idea what I’m doing. That I can’t cook and that I’m fooling everyone around me.

This too, is fleeting.

Seldom is anything scary, not worth it. Making big moves is hard. But you grow and shed your shell time and time again. Like a crab during its seasons, realizing it needs a bigger place to dwell.
In some part of my brain, I rationalize my fear with fact and experience. “You’re really not that great.”

And while it’s humbling, it’s not helpful.

I don’t like being around people who constantly think they’re terrible human beings. It’s funny. We generally end up laughing at it, but it’s just not true. Most people I know are good, though we all think about terrible things from time to time. It’s just what we do.

So when I find myself getting beat up by yours truly, I have to leave the situation. I sleep on it and wake up. Much like restarting a machine that’s running shitty, only to realize you were the one who needed to flip the switch. (And sometimes, we need someone on the outside to see it, too.)

When you come out of it, you feel like you can do anything.

And you can.

I mean, there are the rules and laws and guidelines written by people, but they don’t define you. No one can define you. If they do, don’t listen because they are filled with their own battles. You have enough on your own.

I say “easier said than done” here, because I don’t really know what else to say. I go back and forth with this stuff.

I’ve been listening to this podcast with Marc Maron and Louis C.K. It’s long winded, but they battle a lot with the human condition and their own need to self-depricate. In a weird way, it’s comforting to hear people doubt themselves so much because you don’t feel alone. You feel like someone is finally sitting next to you on the bus. (Not that that’s something people necessarily want in public transportation these days.)

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They were talking about being jealous of each others jokes. And Louis C.K. talking to Maron said, “Well, yeah, you play a different instrument…”

It hit me like a sandbag had landed on my chest. I felt the weight because I knew this all along. I think we all know, to some extent, what we need to know about ourselves. But we do need the tools to get them out. Sometimes that tool is listening and letting something soak in.

Hannah often tells me, “I have no idea how you do what you do. There’s no way I could remember those orders.”

As I respond, “There’s no way I could be in grad school. All those papers. Gross.”

Same with a mom or dad who stays home to take care of their babies. I have no idea how they do it. But they do. And they’re so good at it.

We all have these different instruments, ya see? Some of these things fit us as though we were built from its cloth.

Other things, we learn to accept its defeat. We’ve all been there. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Remember, entire civilizations have failed and fallen — just because I completely screwed up that gnocchi will not make me kick cooking to the curb.

But whatever it is.

Use your instrument.

Keep it close.

Take care of it.

Because regardless of being your own worst enemy,

you’re damn good at it.

And above all,

…listen to yourself.