Friday, September 30, 2011

Thick Skin

It is no secret that this world is filled with idiots and assholes just waiting to dig their claws deeper and deeper into your flesh.  Layer after layer they tear violently and ruthlessly at whatever is left of your tattered soul, until that is, you have no choice but to run to the nearest bathroom and let out the remainder of your emotions onto the grimy floor.

They say one must have a "thick skin" in order to deal with such monsters.  But does a thick skin really truly exist?  Or is it just another way of describing a person who can hold back the blubbering until quitting time?  I've of course met both kinds of people, those who always seem to get up no matter how hard they're pushed towards the pavement, and others who just lay there dead, helplessly waiting for Mr. pity himself to circle around the block once more to pick them up.  But whichever kind you are, the very second that first tear comes tumbling down your cheek for all to see, it's game over.  Because in that vulnerable moment,  whatever minuscule respect those bullies might have had for you in the past, is immediately thrown into the incinerator of life; its billowing smoke forming a cloud of toxic fumes that will forever move your way.  

So please stand tall and smile bright because believe it or not, your personal happiness is like a needle of poison into their icy veins. Your laughter will deafen them and that twinkle in your eye will blind them.   And each day you rise above and remain the bigger person, that venom you've injected will slowly flow through them inch by inch, until their insecurities and self entitlement explode into a beautiful mess of sweet revenge.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Living Selfishly?

Where exactly do you draw the line between selfish and selfless?  And what percentage of each should we fill our daily lives with?  The world is crowded with people from each spectrum.  People who choose to live every day for others, and some who do quite the opposite.  But who's to say either is right or wrong?  And how does one strike a balance between the two?

I've of course done many selfish things in my life, things I'd take back in a second.   But that's just a part of growing up and finding one's way through this war zone of life.  A war zone I assumed I was forging through quite evenly.  That is, until one day I had a rasping realization that I was in fact living life a little too selflessly, and to be honest, I was getting pretty damn tired of it.

Several years ago, I chose to do one of the most selfish things one can do in life; move away from everybody who cares about you.  These actions affected a wide range of people, causing anger and sadness among the ones I loved the most and the least.  But nonetheless,  it was just one of those things I had to do in life, so I took a deep breath, wiggled my toes, and made a giant leap for those unknown pacific waters.

But from the moment that plane screeched onto the golden brick roads of LaLa land, I knew I was suddenly changing as a person.  I was beginning to live life much more selflessly then I had before, and had no freaking idea why.  I had initially thought that maybe it was just a side effect of getting (sigh) older or the result of surrounding myself with a much higher quality of people(those who hated Sarah Palin as much as I did).  But alas, it was really something much deeper than that, it being a feeling of regret spawning from the guilt that I had felt from leaving everything and everybody behind.

At first though,  living this way didn't seem all that bad.  In fact, I was beginning to adore the person I was now becoming; instantly satisfied with how nicely I'd started treating everybody around me.  Had I really grown into the person I'd always wanted to be?  Well, that all changed one particular morning when the epiphanic pliers of life suddenly yanked my eyes wide open, making it all too clear that there was going to be a big price to pay for living at such a far end of the compass. 

I had begun to stretch myself so thin that I had become virtually invisible.  A human stomping ground for those who saw my kindness with only ignorant eyes. It was like I was in a nonstop game of eggshell walking with a constant leap to level ground.  I was Dorothy's straw man, a bleating scapegoat, and was saying yes, much more than no.   But alas, I couldn't blame anybody but myself.  I mean, when one throws themself out there to the wolves, they can't be naive in thinking they won't get a few bite marks here and there.  Possibly even the occasional stint of rabies.  So that's when I knew things had to change.  It was time to stop worrying about one selfish act, and start living more for myself.

So as of today, I've started to sprinkle a little "me" on my morning eggs.  Taking each fight; each altercation; each disagreement I have with those I "disappoint", with a humongous grain of sodium chloride.  And the lesson I've learned through all of this:  Always proceed with the utmost caution before you decide to bend over backwards for somebody.  Because you just might be unconsciously helping yet another wailing baby who's feverishly pretending they cannot walk.    

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Unforeseen Sibling...

It was one of those moments that shocks you for weeks or even months after it happens.  A newly discovered dimension of life that's thrown at you right out of the blue, causing every cell of your brain to leap out of its skin.  I was sixteen, my younger brother fourteen, when they broke the amazing news to us.  News that our adolescent minds couldn't have ever envisioned in a million years: my mother was pregnant and we'd be welcoming a third sibling to our family.  

My brother and I had grown up undisturbed for more than a decade.  Fourteen years of playing and fighting spent in tandem.  But no matter how many moments one may share with their own brother or sister throughout their childhood, it is almost impossible for either to truly observe the other's journey into maturity.  Each is simply too naive, too wrapped up in their own growing up to observe anybody else's.  But now, being sixteen, my trek to adulthood had nearly come to an end.  And with the coming of this new addition to our family,  I soon realized that I had been given a simple gift.   It was a gift that I could chose to ignore or decide to embrace with open arms.  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to nurture and hopefully impact this unforeseen person as he embarked on his own childhood journey, but this time, I was armed with a clear set of eyes and a much fuller head of wisdom. 

And that journey began just a few months later as I first held my baby brother in my arms, suddenly wondering how I could have lived sixteen whole years without this amazing person in my life.  It was like he had drenched every fiber of my soul with a saccharine of bliss, stretching the chambers of my heart to fit one more.  And as the years came and went; as my little brother grew and thrived right before my eyes, I found myself changing right along with him.  Finally realizing the true power one can hold by simply hopping to a higher branch, and allowing themselves to peer at life from an unfamiliar angle. 

Today my baby brother is almost all grown up, the years between his birth and now have somehow  breezed past me like the wind.  But no matter how much time does pass,  I'll forever cherish the chance life gave me to see things differently.  And I'll always look at my baby brother as that one missing puzzle piece, a puzzle piece to a riddle that we all assumed had already been solved.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Rainbow

One of the best perks of living in this great state of California, is the fact that it almost never rains in the summer.  We go for weeks and months, day in and day out, with cloudless blue skies and beautiful sunny days.   But once in awhile, a glistening drop of precipitation is felt on one's forehead during the summer stretch, normally mistaken for a lawn sprinkler or some passing car's windshield fluid.  It's almost like we forget how rain feels, how it smells, or how it looks.  Our minds immediately searching for what artificial copycat could have possibly thrown its drizzle our way.  

Last Sunday was one of those days.  My husband had picked me up for our usual trip to Trader Joes.  But as I got into his car, he excitedly began to tell me how his windshield had been spotted with moisture while he'd been inside at work.   I of course, still in the trance of summer, didn't quite believe him until, I myself, looked up at the sky above, suddenly seeing a spectacular rainbow forming for all to see.

And of course I've seen rainbows before, everybody has right?  But I've never actually taken the time to selflessly tear myself away from its vivid glory.  To in turn, actually observe how its magnificence was affecting everybody else around me. So as we continued to drive down the street, I suddenly began noticing the spell this rainbow had seemed to cast upon the rest of the world.  One by one, I watched people of all ages, young and old, turn and look up into the sky.  Each one stopping their busy lives for just a second to look, adorning their faces with huge smiles and wide eyes.  I found it absolutely amazing how such a simple phenomenon, a phenomenon most people had seen dozens of times before, could bring even the most distant strangers together for these precious few moments in time.  It was one of the most special things I had ever witnessed in my entire life.

Later that night, in looking back at what the predicted forecast had been for the day, I soon realized that it was never supposed to rain at all; not one weatherperson in all the land had foreseen anything less than perfect weather.  Personally though, I think rain had been in the plan all along.  And no matter what you believe in, in this life or the next, I know that somebody up there had been watching, knowing that the world, if for only a few priceless moments, was in desperate need of a sincere moment of happiness.