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Archive for February, 2017

What I Learned from Splash

These past couple of weeks have been a doozy of a time, folks.  You know what I’m talking about…those times where a few things happen that all individually might have kicked your ass but instead of spreading themselves out, they happen all at once and leave you shaking your fist at the sky screaming “Universe, what, pray tell, have I done to you??”.  And then I got the stomach flu.  Sweet.  Eh, I guess I needed a little cleanse.

But alas, all such circumstances led me to my parents’ couch last night, in PJs at 8pm and looking through TV channels for something to watch.  And I landed upon Splash.  It was about that time that my former roommate/forever lifemate texted me to check in.  I told him I was watching Splash.  He asked what channel it was on and I told him it was called Logo, which I had never heard of.  He told me it was a gay/lesbian channel.  I asked him if mermaid/human romance was gay.  He responded that the movie was campy and mermaids were gay.  I told him that I was inspired to crimp my hair like Daryl Hannah.  He thinks I should try it.  But I digress.

For those of you unfamiliar with this cinematic gem of the 80’s, Tom Hanks plays a human named Allen who falls in love with a mermaid named Madison.  Everything is perfect between them except that he has legs and she will only have legs for the next six days before she must return to the ocean during the full moon.  It’s always timing that ruins chances at great relationships, amiright?  And yes, the movie is pretty campy and it made the 1980’s seem like such a long time ago which is a bit depressing but I learned a few things from this movie.

  1. People aren’t always going to understand you when you speak your truth.  Allen begs Madison to tell him her name in her native language and when she does, emitting a high pitched squeal, all the TVs in Bloomingdales explode.  But she tried.  In doing so, she risked being exposed and vulnerable (not to mention an astronomical bill from the electronics department).  But she tried, he listened, and though Allen couldn’t quite understand, he still loved her and didn’t judge her for it.
  2. Wonder and beauty exists in the smallest of things.  Our eyes are just a bit used to tuning them out.  Madison has lived her whole life in the ocean.  So when she steps onto the streets of New York City, everything is absolutely amazing, even the flashing ‘don’t walk’ signs.  When Allen gives her a gift from Tiffany’s, she is absolutely grateful for and in awe of the turquoise box, not even knowing or caring that the true gift lies inside the box.  I started to wonder what my life would look like if I lived my life for a while pretending that I was Madison, seeing all the things of beauty in this world with a fresh set of eyes, scenes that I have taken for granted, moments that I glaze over in my rush to the next.
  3. When you make a mistake, do your best to correct it.  Enter the hapless scientist played by Eugene Levy who succeeds in exposing Madison so that he can become famous and then regrets his decision because he feels like a giant butthead so he helps her escape back to the ocean.  We all make mistakes.  We don’t mean to.  But sometimes we have the wrong goal in mind, or perhaps misguided priorities.  It’s cool.  We weren’t put here to do everything perfect the first time.  Or sometimes even the second, third, etc.    But admitting this little mishaps and adjusting the course of our sails is what makes us grow.  It’s what makes us grow into ‘better’.  But if we never admit that we failed, we never get the chance to rise and our little boat will just sputter without going anywhere.
  4. Choosing love always gets you the key to the kingdom.  Enter the biggest spoiler alert of this blog and perhaps the cheesiest lesson.  The movie ends with Allen having to choose between life on land with his loser brother and boring job or taking a chance with this woman who, let’s admit it, is out of his league.  By choosing Madison, he chooses a completely unknown future, a relinquishing of security, possible heartbreak.  But he trusts his heart.  He dives into the water.  And what awaits him is this underwater kingdom that he never could have imagined.  Totally worth it, right?  I mean we all look at his decision and we’re like “Duh, why wouldn’t he do that?”  But how many times have we all let a little fear of the unknown keep us from taking a chance at what could bring us great joy?
  5. Mermaids do exist.  And this is where growing up with movies from the 80’s could have totally set up for failure.  But alas, I’ll keep searching.

 

 

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Junk in the Trunk

I have been neglecting my writing lately for good reason.  Last week, after nearly five years in my old apartment, I moved to a new apartment.  Though the move was just three blocks away, I still felt the need to purge.  So I spent the entire month of January doing so.  It felt very well timed…new year, new me and all that jazz.  Bags of clothes went to the Salvation Army, an old camera went to a friend, things went into the trash that needed to be there.  And on a cold day, I tackled the antique trunk that sat in my living room. In this trunk, I hold my memories—boxes of old pictures, yearbooks, cards and letters from loved ones past and present.  The goal was to make the trunk light enough to move so that I wouldn’t have to actually box up any of the contents.  Because I’m lazy like that.  But this trunk also contained all my old journals from high school; so this little purge turned into a whole list of revelations.

It’s probably far from shocking to hear that I have always kept extensive journals.  If you follow this blog, you know that I search to understand myself by taking pen to the page.  While some of these pages were embarrassing to read, others amusing, and some of them heartbreaking; for the most part they were pretty enlightening.  It was like teenage me was reaching through the years to be like “hey lady, do you FINALLY get it?”.  Well, maybe.  But here is what teenage me had to teach present me.

  1. Listen to people when they tell you who they are.  The stories that you weave for them in your head are filled with romantic notions.  One day you will see that they are exactly who they told you they were in the very beginning.
  2. Change takes place on the inside.  There was one year in high school where I spent an entire spring break trying to execute this grand makeover.  I highlighted my hair, spent my days in the sun in efforts to get a tan and went on a crash diet.  When I went back to school a week later, no one noticed and I was devastated.  Laugh if you want to.  I’m cracking up right now.  But how often do we all still do this? True change comes from the inside, as does true beauty.
  3. This too shall pass.  As I read about the great stresses of my life—pressures at school, worries about the future, heartbreaks—-well, they all had a way of working themselves out.  Sure, these stresses all deserved their fair share of thinking about but I’m pretty certain that teenage me who didn’t handle stress very well, gave them way too much time on stage.  This stems from the fact that I hadn’t yet learned to trust myself and I hadn’t allowed myself the beauty of learning from mistakes.  Also, it was pretty amusing to read about these crushing heartbreaks and read the name and be like “who???”  So, therefore, what about these things that I fret about now?  While they are important and I want to work through them in a good manner, well, some day they will be my past, faded words on a page.  It’s all about perspective…what truly deserves my energy  ? Because it’s a limited supply and I want to use it wisely.
  4. Leonardo Dicaprio is still #1 on my top 10 list of hot guys.  Yes, I had a list.  But I’m pretty sure the other 9 have changed.  After all, Ryan Gosling wasn’t on the scene yet.  Duh..
  5. Pay attention to what fuels you.  Teenage me absolutely came alive when she was dancing, moving with the rhythm of music when no one was watching.  And she felt better when she put everything down on the page.  These loves that we discover when we are young sometimes go dormant for a while.   But they are still there, waiting for us to return when we are ready to access that little place of joy.
  6. Life is precious.  And sometimes entirely too short.  Unfortunately, teenage me learned very early on about the fragility of life.  I lost my friend Brad shortly after he turned 16.  As I read through those pages I wrote during that time, I mourned all over again.  It seems like a long time ago but just like yesterday all at the same time.  Years later, on his birthday, I would get a tattoo on my back with the Chinese symbols for ‘seize the day’.  Every year on his birthday, I take some time to reflect on the life I have been fortunate enough to live, knowing that it is no small thing…ever.  And these days that we are lucky enough to live are a responsibility in themselves to live well.
  7. The universe will keep offering you the same lesson in different disguises until you truly, truly learn what’s meant to be taught.  It was so frustrating to read about some of my ‘ism’s’ from over 20 years ago and be like “wtf! why am I still doing that?”.  Our patterns can be difficult to break from, especially if we’ve been holding them close for decades.  But there’s always the chance to do things different.  The opportunity to do so comes about nearly every day.  I just have to make the brave decision to start a new groove in the record that plays in my life….in an effort to create a melody that better suits me.

After I revisited these journals, I ripped the pages out and tore them to pieces.  The empty spines and loads of torn paper went into the trash.  Because as it turns out, I discovered what I needed to know with this little journey into the past.  But it’s time to move on.  In this new apartment, I feel the surges of new beginnings and I’m ready to wrap up these lessons like pretty little packages—-packages that I don’t have to keep moving with me every place I go.img_3738

 

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