Tag Archives: success

What Is the Click Hole of Darkness?

imageEveryone has dreams. Everyone has a pancake they wish they could turn perfectly, or a pushup they wish they could do while clapping.

It’s human, the ability to project onto a future self and say, “That person will be able to do something that I cannot.” Or the ability to project onto the current self and say, “Me, I am capable of doing this thing that feels really freaking impossible, but I can do it.”

But that’s on a good day, when the sun is shining, when an old friend called, when you went out for a run and pushed yourself harder than usual and it felt good to sweat goddammit. That’s the good day.

But there’s something else everyone has. It’s the darkness, the voice that says, “You cannot,” the voice that says you will never be great.

It says that you are not good enough, that the very idea of striving is ridiculous, that mediocrity and unhappiness is your destiny, and that yes, everyone else is succeeding except for you. This voice is always there, but sometimes it’s overpowered by the beams of positivity radiating from your brain chemicals.

But on the rainy days, the days when no one gets back to you, when you feel alone, tired and sick, when your goals loom ahead of you like a cliff and the idea of getting out of bed to wash a dish feels as impossible as parting the San Francisco Bay, this is the moment of your personal darkness.

The most insidious thing about this darkness is the way it works in the silence and the corners of your mind, never voiced out loud but slowly eating away at your will.

This is why I created clickholeofdarkness.tumblr.com. It is the place my negative thoughts go. Instead of pushing them out of mind, I push them to the forefront and magnify them by orders of 10, 20 and 30 just to see how ridiculous they are and how self-defeating it is to listen to them.

Clickholeofdarkness.tumblr.com is where they go to be made fun of in the full light of God and the internet and the God of the internet, and beneath that spotlight, the thoughts die for the day. Sure, they may resurge on another day in a different form, but I will not fight them lying down. I will fight them sitting up and with a keyboard, for this is my sword, this is my battle, and this is my war to win.

Back to your hole, darkness.

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Why I Need to Be More Like My Plant Deb

imageI’ve been back in San Francisco for just shy of a week now – 6 days to be exact – and things are different. It’s not just because of the drought and the fact the trees look darker and slightly depressed, and it’s not just because Burning Man is this week so everyone with enough money for a ticket, pyschedelics in their pocket and carpentry skills is out of town. I also don’t think it had anything to do with the earthquake this morning, though I might be wrong about that. Speaking of which – not only am I completely fine, but I didn’t even wake up for it AND this gigantic stack of magazines in my room didn’t fall down. How is that even possible?

Yes, San Francisco feels different. It’s not as beautiful or perfect as I remembered it to be. It’s foggier than I remember, and smaller, more neighborhood-like. I have two new roommates who are pretty much strangers. They replaced two of my best friends and now they’re in my house, so that’s a big change. There’s a new bookstore in my neighborhood, and I’ve already cooked three different meals to eat. That’s unrelated to the bookstore but just thought I should mention it.

Yes, this is a different San Francisco. I don’t wake up at 6 in the morning to commute to a job where people are overpaid to do things that don’t matter that much. I don’t have to pretend to care about jargon or posturing. I see daytime people, the people who have flexible schedules and are not extensions of a brand. I go running, which is really insane. I mean honestly, me, running? Can you imagine it? Shouldn’t I be doing improv? But yes, there’s improv too and it’s delicious and challenging.

Perhaps you’re familiar with botany or gardening, and you’ve at some time or another pruned a plant. That is, you cut off the branches of the plant so that its energy could be devoted to writing, or maybe ceramics.

imageI’m see this time in my life as the post-prune-period, or Phase 3. I’ve cut away some things from my life. Some things in my life have been cut away from me. And now it’s time to grow towards the sun. What could be simpler or more terrifying?

If I were as noble as a plant, as steadfast and forthright as my plant Deb for instance, there would be no question as to what to do next. There would be no baggage, none of this stupid and useless fear of failure that dogs human lives- that dogs my life.

No, if I were a plant like Deb, with my dead leaves gone, I would throw everything I was into growing new leaves to replace them and getting into a sketch troupe that created really compelling material.

At this time when old routines are broken and new ones are being formed, I hope that I can be like Deb and throw myself into the work that I need to be doing, into the work that no one else can do. That’s her lesson for me, and for us all.

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Growing Up is For People Who Have No Imagination

Can't wait to be on conference calls one day!

Can’t wait to be on conference calls one day!

I turned twenty five today. There was no surprise birthday party, few gifts and less Facebook notifications than there have been in years past. This birthday just lazed in, almost unnoticed, like bread that looks normal but when you open it up it’s got mold all over it.

Growing up, twenty five seemed like the pinnacle of adulthood. By the time I turned twenty five, I thought I’d be married, have a career as a world-renowned neurosurgeon or something equally remarkable, wear makeup and shave my legs, and pretty much have figured it all out. The world, formerly known as my oyster, would now be a pearl that I’d wear around my neck as I laughed gracefully over a meal at a fancy restaurant with my best girlfriends. I would be wearing heels.

This has not happened. Life as I’ve lived it has had more surprises and twists and turns in it than I could have imagined, and it’s not at all simple. In fact, it’s only gotten more complicated. Where I once imagined that everything had a correct answer, I now believe that decision making is mostly a crapshoot. Also, laughing gracefully is for people who have no imagination.

Adulthood used to seem so well-defined. One day you would wake up and find your family in a house that you’ve purchased with a mortgage and have potted plants outside, and you would take certain things more seriously and not act silly with your friends. And that’s how you knew you were an Adult and that you’d done growed up. You were a Grown-Up.

Now I don’t believe in any of that. I know that adulthood is something else entirely from what you own and your relational status, and that I would rather never eat ice cream again than stop being silly. And I pretty much live for ice cream, so that’s saying a lot.

Now I know there is no handbook on any of this stuff, that there is no right answer, that there is no well defined path, and if there is one, I probably want to steer clear of it.

I used to think twenty five was the end of growing up, but now it’s clear that it’s just the beginning of a journey that will probably never end. And that’s fine with me. Here’s to one hundred more years of confusion and slow realizations!

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My Biggest Accomplishment So Far This Summer: A Tiny Tanline

behold the tiny tan line

behold the tiny tan line

Six weeks ago, I left my job in marketing to follow my dreams of being something entirely different. I flew out from San Francisco three days later to Chicago and then passed through the cities of Nashville, Atlanta, Asheville, Charlotte, Washington D.C., Boston, New York, and now Edmond, OK.

I’ve walked what feels like hundreds of miles, consumed at least thirty protein bars and twelve hundred almonds, ridden the public transit system in four cities and gotten lost in all of them, and spent a cumulative thirty hours on buses. My feet are tired. One of my two shirts is pit-stained beyond repair, and my backpack has a thin layer of peanut butter in the front pocket where some single serving peanut butter packages burst open and I failed to remove them until many days later. That’s also the pocket where I keep my electronic cords.

I left SF because I am a coward and knew I would need physical distance to keep me from reverting to the familiar and pleading to have my paid shackles back. The trip has been challenging and I’ve learned much, perhaps too much. I’ve questioned everything I want and believe in, then reaccepted it, and then questioned it again. I almost moved to Asheville.

But here I am in Edmond, OK, the place of my middle and high school education, first crushes, and AP classes, and I’m proud to say this: that despite everything, the uncertainty of the future, the haziness of the past, and my tendency to make decisions based on how hungry I am, in spite of future failure or success, I am proud to say this, that I have a tiny tan line on my wrist. It might seem unimportant or nonexistent to you, but I know my wrist, and that is a tan line and it is most important.

It comes from being outside in full view of the sun, away from any corporate overlord or indentured servitude. It comes from singing in the open air while walking through public gardens, from waiting for the bus during the middle of the day like a free woman, from sitting and doing nothing at all in the park with my face in the shade under an elm tree in Washington D.C., doing nothing though I have believed that more work will make me happy, doing nothing though I have measured my entire life in terms of productive output, doing nothing though I had swallowed the falsehood that doing something is better than doing nothing. Why should it be like that? Why indeed?

I’ve learned to question everything, to know that nothing exists “as it is supposed to be,” that everything is created, constructed and interpreted according to something that humans made up. We just made it up.

I don’t know what the next step is, and in a few months or less I may be dreaming of a return to the office and eating all of these words, but until then I will nourish this tiny tan line with pride. In a society where one is judged by the threadcount of one’s sheets and the size of one’s paycheck, I will brandish my tiny tan line as a symbol of my search for real freedom.

Also, because you asked, I’d have to say my second biggest accomplishment is learning to love the selfie.

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Classic Odysseus, Returning Home to the Bed of My Youth

imageAfter a flight from La Guardia with two screaming babies, a connecting flight from Dallas Fort Worth to Oklahoma City, a short drive from the airport to my sister’s house, another short drive to a restaurant for a heavy meal, yet another short drive to my other sister’s house for a slice of pie, and then one last short drive to my parent’s house, I’m finally home. Kind of.

I’m in the house I grew up in for six years while going to middle school and high school just down the road in Edmond, OK.

My sisters live in Oklahoma City now and as we were driving through I saw all manner of exciting things: Great Gravy Diner, a Pho place, three thrift shops, a drive-thru Thai place, a Moroccan restaurant, and a strange building with a gold dome. Most of the buildings look a little run down and they’re spread out and each have their own parking lot, but there’s a definite “vibe” here. There’s definitely stuff going on.

When I was growing up in Edmond (suburb of OKC), I was a dumb teenager. I didn’t think OKC was “cool,” or that there could possibly be anything interesting to do. Granted, I had little money and couldn’t drink alcohol so many of the best parts of the city were closed off to me.

Now, however, this place is teeming with excitement. Even the 24-hour vape place seems fascinating. I don’t know if OKC has gotten cooler, or if I’ve gotten more curious, but now it seems impossible to me that I didn’t think growing up here was the best cultural gift anyone’s ever been given. It’s like I don’t even know my hometown because I thought it was so lame growing up that I didn’t bother to explore it.

It’s also interesting being in this house again, sleeping in what used to be my brother’s room which was stricktly off limits to sisters lest his brooding be interrupted. It’s just me and my parents now and it’s like,,,well… looks like the kids are growing up, stumbling and staggering off in different directions and hoping we’re not making decisions that will haunt us. Only time will tell.

Until then, I still have a home here, until it’s no longer my home and my parents move or I live somewhere else for a million years and come back and realize I’ve forgotten where all the light switches are. Funny how in school they teach you a lot of stuff but don’t really prepare you for anything that difficult. Except for the tests, which they create. It’s effed up, man.

But anyways, here’s to making a hometown new again. *clink*

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