Archive for August, 2010

Being Tired.

the drama of exhaustion

the drama of exhaustion----uncanny things happen when you're tired



Worn out.

But, ironically, able to survive.




It is a circumstance but also a choice ūüėČ

The Psychology of Provision

money makes the world go around, the world go around

money makes the world go around, the world go around

I remember when I learned what money meant.¬† It wasn’t only dollars and cents; it was divisions and definitions.¬† Who you are, what you can have, what you can’t have, how you can make a life for yourself–all these things manifested materially.

It was Barbie.  In the Walmart toy aisle.  With the red cowgirl outfit.

Mom explains that she was expensive.¬† Like a Christmas gift.¬† Suddenly, the $20 on her price tag took on value.¬† They represented the paper money in Mom’s wallet, the hours Dad was gone during the day working to earn that money, the weeks and months I would have to wait to have her, and the thrill of possession when she was finally mine.¬† Although the toys have changed, the psychology of provision doesn’t really.

My dad still worries that he can’t provide us enough.¬† Or he wonders if we are grateful for what we have.¬† He views life itself as a luxury; we try to problem-solve it.¬† There is a generational gap, and there is a generational discourse that happens in every penny, every exchange.

Toy Story 3 and its preceding films have picked up on this theme of materialization.¬† The filmmakers at Pixar understand that the abstract expression such as love, care, attention, protection, etc. are made real through objects.¬† We need food, shelter, and warmth to survive, of course, but those delicacies of philosophy that make Life happen must be brought to earth.¬† Plastic and metal and electricity and wood–these mediums often bear its weight.¬† Toy Story 3 was brave enough to take us to the brink of its destruction: what does the deterioration, the breaking down of our material world say about those immaterial things that it represents?¬† What does my brother’s decision to upgrade his cell phone and get his own plan say about his relationship with my dad?

Fear of Attack and Fear of Failure

the ideology of a map

read Barton&Barton "The Ideology of the Map"

My usual introduction to a new customer that approaches my cashier counter runs something like:

“Hi! Did you find everything you need? Have you shopped with us before? No?¬† Well then, I am going to create an account for you in our system, which will save all of your receipts for future reference.”

Today, a dad replied that he did not want an account at all—no name, no number, and most certainly no shipping address.¬† He didn’t want spam and mailings and courtesy calls and all the other infringing crap that corporate (and not-so-corporate) companies thrust down the innocent throats of the consuming public.¬† I don’t blame him.

But alongside another parent who gravitated toward our e-mail list sign up sheet and instantly provided name, phone, email, and school of attendance, this dad suddenly represented a totally difference approach to life.  There were two paradigms at my counter: fear of attack and fear of failure.

One parent didn’t want to fend off the aggression of civilization.¬† Another parent didn’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in any way with the ins and outs of said civilization.¬† One was afraid that he couldn’t protect himself.¬† One was afraid that he would be sheltered from something beneficial.¬† Two outlooks.¬† Two different ways of approach a world that demands out attention and can punish us either way–for hedging ourselves in too securely or volunteering our involvement too freely.

I fall into the second category–volunteering too freely.¬† Especially as a newly graduated liberal arts student, I forget that I should get paid to do what I do.¬† I forget that it is illegal for my boss to pay me less than the IRS cents/mile ratio when I travel.¬† I forget that not everyone I give my business card to should know my street address, where I sleep at night.

Navigating the world is tricky.¬† And there really are people that choose different tactics than me.¬† And I should make space for them–like I hope they would make space for me.

Routine = Life Itself

opening a door: routine = life

opening a door: routine =life

There are so many things that we are supposed to do on a daily basis that doing them all (as recommended by your doctor, friends, family, magazine, and pop culture icons) would take a millennium at least.¬† So, I have long avoided adding anything to my routine…which I have recently discovered is, in fact, my life.

Because of this avoidance, I do not write as much as I want.  Or read.  Or dance.  Or stretch. Or play with my parakeet.

So, I am adding writing to my nightly routine—and maybe it will be worth the longer “to-do” list.¬† Because, after all, what is a “to-do” list but your plan for making life happen?¬† It becomes a burden when we put other people’s lives on it.¬† Other people’s expectations of our activity that end up causing us to live their lives instead of ours.¬† I am putting writing on my list because I want to write.¬† I am not putting eating vegetables on my list because my doctor, not me, wants me to eat more vegetables.

I want to talk.  I want to write.  I want to say things and create meaning because therein is the significance and the delight (and the toil) of life.  Could I keep quiet and find reward in doing my hourly job well? Having clean laundry and a straight room and ice cream for dessert? And be happy? Yes.  Most certainly.

But I also kind of want something more.¬† Not because my life is insufficient, but because I realize that I am living life intentionally or not and I would rather choose what I am doing, put some desire into it, than simply fulfill expectations on behalf of other people.¬† So, tonight, I will be getting fifteen minutes less sleep because I wrote this rambling blog.¬† But eventually, those fifteen minutes each evening might accumulate into fifteen Original Thoughts that coalesce meaning and significance out of my daily routine–or perhaps simply lend expression to the significance already there but imperceptible apart from a fifteen minute staring contest.