Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Age of Innocence

As many of you know, one of my favorite online sites to peruse is the hilarious, poetic, real-talky, sentimental, heart-wrenching Thought Catalog. Well, today in my Twitter feed, there surfaced a “Losing Your Metaphorical Virginity” essay and I thought it sounded funny so I clicked on it.

Not so funny. But mostly insightful and beautiful…and TRUE.

“Although it’s likely you’ll lose your innocence to heartbreak, you can find it again. You find it in the eyes of someone new or in the pit of your stomach, thumping wildly like you’ve swallowed your heart whole. You regain your “virginity” every time you overcome the darkness betrayal can breed, every time you find yourself vulnerable in spite of your past, every time you walk around with a stupid grin on your face for no reason and every reason. You take ownership of your innocence when you learn that your first time doesn’t have to be your last time. When someone shows up armed and ready to fight your predilection for distrust, and you, in turn, let your guard down because you desperately want that person to wage war with your common sense, there’s nothing more innocent than that.”

The whole piece is really just marvelous. Bravo, Steph G.


Proust Questionnaire

(As stolen from Vogue/Marcel Proust)

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Something to do with lots of sunshine, fresh air, blue skies, and confetti raining down as we dance in the street peacefully with people from all walks of life.  Ha (but I’m serious).

What is your greatest fear?
 As someone who just climbed out of an arduous job search process, I’m going to say that my greatest fear is ending up in a job/career that doesn’t fulfill me or make me feel like I am contributing to the pursuit of good in the world.  It will terrify me to be that low in my life that I have to “settle” for something that will take up so much of my awake time each week.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
IDENTIFY with?  Eek.  Maybe Anne Frank.  I mean, on the “I love to write about optimistic things” front only.  I obviously don’t relate very much to the struggles that made her famous.

Which living person do you most admire?
I have a sick obsession with all things HRC, and I also love Natalie Portman on all fronts.

What is your greatest extravagance?
The number of unread emails in my inbox despite the amount of time I spend on the internet/the ridiculous volume of people I refer to as “my best friend” (something I constantly catch flack for).

What is your current state of mind?
Joyful chaos?  I’m pretty happy but in recent weeks my mind has been like a colorful spinning top that’s moving really quickly to stay functional but is kind of jiggling ever-so-slightly off-kilter.  Hopefully I’ll fix the balance– and slow down– ASAP, and in the mean time I’m just trying to be grateful for all the lovely things in my life. 🙂

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My poor ability to impose self-discipline for the benefit of something long-term.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Lack of concern for others’ stories and voices being shared.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Chivalry, in the traditional sense only. (Pita.)

What is your favorite occupation?
Letter-writing.  Though my penpals would probably beg to differ in the last year…

What is your most marked characteristic?
Asking highly-invasive and pointed-yet-friendly questions to people, particularly upon first meeting ’em.

What do you most value in your friends?
Intensity, in most every sense of the word, but here I’ll illustrate by saying that surface-level conversation has little invitation from the people with whom I try to surround myself.  (See previous answer)

When and where were you happiest?
Oh gosh.  I feel like I’m frequently “happiest”– my happy levels are typically through the roof on an average day.  A time when I felt the most loved in my life was my first visit back to LUC post-graduation; with the help of dear Matt Forrest I surprised Loyolacappella at their rehearsal right before their Halloween concert and have never been enveloped in that much blissful nostalgia at once.  I was so, so happy to be where I was at that moment.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
Right now?  The length of my hair (it’s time to say goodbye).  In general?  Probably my feet.  And this has something to do with how much I dislike feet in general.

Which living person do you most despise?
I really have no good answer for this.  I’m lucky not to have come across someone that comes to mind for this question thus far in my life.

On what occasion do you lie?
When I’m too embarrassed to say what is real…but then I feel horrible about it and usually try to find a way to tell the truth in the end.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
EVERYTHING.  Louisa May Alcott said “love is a beautifier,” and judging by the rose-colored lens through which I see the world, I think it’s safe to say that so, so many things are equally loved by me.  IF YOU ARE MAKING ME PICK (rude!), I’ll say I am in love with the idea of possibility, of potential in any form.

Which talent would you most like to have?
A natural aptitude for language-learning.  Also, I would love to be a professionally-skilled ballet dancer.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My complete apathy toward punctuality and all things time-related.  But I guess I “could” change this, if I really and ACTUALLY wanted to.

If you could change one thing about your family,what would it be?
How passive we are about talking through things (good or bad).  It’s like every time I have news to share, my years of training in communication evaporate…and that reminds me of how hard it is to unsocialize oneself in certain contexts.

What is your most treasured possession?
My book collection.  (See how I turned it into a “collection” so I could have lots and lots of possessions included?)

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
True loneliness.

Who are your favorite writers?
Ugh, so many.  Ryan O’Connell on Thought Catalog is great.  Dave Eggers blows my mind. Malcolm Gladwell is one of the only people who can charm me with nonfiction, I haven’t read much of David Foster Wallace’s work but I adore what I’ve seen, and Christopher Moore/Carl Hiassen would have once been on this list but I’ve lost tolerance for their shallow humor in my old age.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Gadsby, just because I am head over heels for him…and Stargirl (young adult fiction ftw).

Who are your heroes in real life?
Jim Henson, Alice Paul, and the man who stood in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square (王維林), among many, many others who inspire me.

What are your favorite names?
Emma, Grace, Ella, Molly (I actually mean that– “God bless Mollys everywhere”), Riley, Corrigan, Noah, Zander, Gavin, Jonah.  See all the ammo I have for when all my friends getting hitched start cranking out little ones?!

What is it that you most dislike?
The “alley” smell that pervades city life, particularly after dark.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Building such a huge and loving community of people around me is probably my favorite achievement to date.  I’ll perhaps get back to you in a few decades with a different answer, if I’m lucky…

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
Maybe another person?  I’m still in search of Nirvana, but I don’t think I’ve done anything that would demote me from existing as a human (yet.)…

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
Definitely an octopus.  That would be a really cool lifestyle.  In fact, maybe animals are higher up on the reincarnation scale than people, so I should really revisit my last answer.

Where would you like to live?
So many places.  In new cities, in the mountains, in the present, in people’s hearts, in Nordic countries, in East Africa, near a lake…

How would you like to die?
Feeling a deep sense of fulfillment & connectedness and hopefully going out in some sort of blaze of glory. (“Though I may be going down, I’ll take in flame over burning out.”)

What is your greatest regret?
How long it takes me to learn lessons regarding matters of the heart (mine & others’).  Also, maybe not soaking in as much knowledge as I could have during my undergrad years.  If I could go back and retake all my classes now for free, just to learn all the things I skimmed over/was too ignorant to comprehend, I’d totally give it another go.

What is your motto?
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be,” and “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

Take These Chances

Listening: “Baby” by Biebsy (always), Adele’s ridic voice in every context (still),  Doe’s purrtastic bliss, my dancin’ instincts, the pulse of the city, NPR’s correspondents, hits from last season’s “Sing-Off”

Reading: Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, John S. Whitty’s delicious tumblr, health benefit details, my calendar

Watching: the months fly by, this video, HIMYM season 7 (!!!!), people, the Chicago Marathon, body language

Wearing: black crackle toenail polish, sandals for the last few weeks, wigs (practice?), a toothy grin, stilettos on the daily after a looooong office-free hiatus

Wanting: to chop off muh hairz, to try grad school on for funsies, income, QT with myself, to finally feel settled, the USPS to know how very important it is to my level of fulfillment in life, bloody mary saturday joke seshs with MXF & Nashville