Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Never Stop Fighting

I am beginning to feel overwhelmed by the fact that Barrett turned two last month, but I don't think I've ever loved him more. There's this battle between his lack of communication and his ability to know exactly what he wants when he wants it, even how he wants it, and we're barely able to help him because his independence outweighs the need for support. But he needs us, and he knows he needs us. Even if it's just to look at him while he watches Frozen. The good exceeds the bad, as with any human relationship that we are willing to fight for, and this kid's never leaving our sides. 
I learned last night that he can count to 15, and that just blew my mind. Something so simple, yet something that leads to the basis of his entire future. His ability to focus is something we all need to learn from. One thing, one, can hold his attention for minutes at a time, and that is something I'm noticing the adult population does not have anymore. We're all scared for the future generations, but I'm sitting here terrified for our current surroundings that the "future generations" are just floating through with the help of our wishy-washy guidance. History shows that this fear will never subside as long as the human race exists, but I think we are becoming aware of our ability to actually do something about it. We're here to protect them, but we can also help them understand, obtain knowledge (rather than information), and actually think about where they come from. I think that's what we need to throw toward these "future minds." If we sit here in fear for the future, nothing is going to change in the present, and I think that's just silly. 
Bear, I'm rooting for you and I hope you never lose that focus. You're going to need it, buddy. Thank you for helping me notice things about my own weirdo culture, and I hope to continue to do the same for you. 

"To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best to make you somebody else is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting." -E.E. Cummings

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

There's a lot to say about the last month, but the main details revolve around the fact that December went at rapid speed. Christmas week we were rather separated, but New Year's Eve we drank champagne out of the bottle while looking over San Diego's stubby skyline. I'm finding myself drawn to traditions and creating new ones. I hope our little group continues to have Christmas eve eve eve gift exchanges and seances until we're batty. 
Our March trip is coming up, plans are made, and memories of Big Sur's shenanigans are at the front of my mind. It's hard to listen to Beach House's Bloom without thinking about the pit stops off Highway 1 on our way up the coast, and I have a feeling Lord Huron will be this year's choice for our travels toward the high desert. 
Maybe it's time to talk about the little guy for a second. Though it's obvious with the coming of age, he's changing. A lot. Happy, funny, and pouty faces are different, tantrums are arriving and disappearing a little too quick for us to get a handle on, and language is becoming a good way to have fun. I think it's funny that I attempted to document words he was beginning to say a few months ago, especially since now I can tell him to say a word, any word, and he will attempt to spit it back out. The list would include three-word sentences, so we'll just say that he's a parrot.  That's thrilling to know his brain is developing with our help. Again, it seems obvious that his surroundings impact everything being fired in his brain, but it's right in our faces, and I love that we're all a part of it. I also love that we were all a part of his first potty on his throne smack dab in the living room. We screamed with joy, he smiled, and we checked that moment off the milestone list. Still a while for the potty training to actually begin, but he knows he did something great and that's all that matters. 
I've been thinking about documentation and how obsessed our society is with really ridiculous things, and then I think about the fact that I'm right here in its trap. I am confused about the days of Myspace, and even more surprised by how quickly it ended and how quickly we moved on to other forums, but I am so grateful that I got to be a part of that strange, strange beginning to the days of telling people the bologna we think we need to tell people. So here's a mundane, "Facebook status" detail:  pie has taken over my life. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Look At the Sky

We had our second annual Friendsgiving a couple weekends ago, and we did good. It was quite the trio of celebratory events: giving thanks, Octavio's 22nd birthday, and Miley Cyrus's 21st. And I guess we can celebrate the fact that we finally have a decent picture of the four of us smiling. We're lucky to have Carlos around with his actual camera so this page isn't filled with grainy iPhone pictures.  Barrett was asleep and missed out on the stair-sitting fun, but he made sure to let us know he was thinking of us later when he graced us with his groggy presence during a grand game of Cards Against Humanity. 
I have big plans for more pie making and cookie cutting, along with walking the streets in a peacoat and scarves. Hoping those activities can make it actually feel like the holidays are here, despite the fact that we're all making huge dents in our Christmas shopping. Supposed to be branching into the 50s this week, so here's hoping I can see my breath one of these days! I think I might be the only one hoping for some chills, but we live in southern California, so we'll be getting warm temperatures in just a couple months. Let us appreciate the crispiness in the air and flaky dry skin, at least for a couple weeks. 
I read The Giver yesterday for the first time since I was 11. Their world is without color and love, and obviously reading that is supposed to make me stop and think, "Wow, I take those things for granted." And that's what I did. That's what we do. And then a few days ago I watched a TED talk about a man working on a project called "Happiness Revealed." It holds themes similar to the ones I was thinking about in The Giver, the idea that we walk around wrapped up in our own little place, not truly looking at anybody or anything. The elderly man in the project states, "Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open. That incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment. Look at the sky. We so rarely look at the sky. We so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment with clouds coming and going. We just think of the weather...we just think of good weather and bad weather. But this day, right now, has unique weather. Maybe a kind that will never exactly come in that form again. The formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same that it is right now. Open your eyes, look at that. Look at the faces of people whom you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face...Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. There is electric light, you turn a faucet and there is warm water and cold water and drinkable water. It's a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience...Open your heart to all these gifts. Let them flow through you. Then everyone who you will meet on this day will be blessed by you. Just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch. Just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then it will really be a good day." We all know I'm not one for the phrase "blessings," but thinking about this made me define blessings just as the good stuff. I think this excerpt holds true to the feelings we have during this weird and beautiful season, even if we're only conscious of feeling this thankfulness when carving a turkey or unwrapping a bowed gift. Or maybe some of us aren't really conscious of these feelings until later when we're in bed. At least we're sometimes thinking them, and hopefully we can begin to battle it out within ourselves to start feeling that gratefulness every single day. 

Had enough of my inspirational sappiness? 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Mind is Beautiful

The mind is beautiful because of the paradox. It uses itself to understand itself." -Adam Elenbass
I've been speaking to multiple people (almost everyone I know, actually) about the idea of figuring it out and how we're pressured to know what's going on in different, "important" aspects of our lives, and we're supposed to know these answers by a certain age. But as days keep passing and years keep strolling, it is clear that no one has figured it out. By the time Barrett is old enough to understand what I've been writing and is old enough to question these things within his own life, it will still be clear that I haven't figured it out. And I am beginning to feel okay about that, and also beginning to feel okay with the fact that I kind of like knowing that I will never know what I will be doing when I am 40 until I am 40, and I will never know what will happen at the end until it's the end. We don’t even know what’s going to be happening next week. It's funny that this all seems like common sense, and yeah, everyone does (or should) question life at moments, especially the not so good moments, and we're left wondering what else is out there, even when what's right here is just enough.
The five of us are flying through the mundane webs of this one life, and they say life is short, but it's only short when you're stuck in the shit of the now. We need to realize that life is actually insanely long when we think about how much we have left. Of course, there are those statistics that tell us that one of us might die in the next twenty minutes in some freak accident, but those are just numbers. And ones I just made up for matters of perspective. In reality, we're just average twenty-somethings that will most likely live for the next sixty years. Sixty. Years. And our parents will most likely live for the next thirty years. And Barrett, he's got triple that. We tell little ones, "you've got your whole life ahead of you," and I believe that. But after a certain age, we begin to tell ourselves that, and I call bullshit on that phrase after the age of 18. Or maybe 22, when life actually starts to feel like life. That phrase becomes an excuse, and a terrible one. We get caught up in telling ourselves that and we push the dreams to the side, even it's just a dream about moving, traveling, etc. And I know I just said that life is long, but it's not long enough to simply sit down and reflect on what happened, think about trying to be in the present, and keep telling ourselves that there is always tomorrow. There is tomorrow, but tomorrow is just going to be another today. And if we spend our time thinking about dreaming but not acting, then we're just defined by the nine-to-fives, the social security numbers, and the facades of our Instagram feeds. 
 Maybe I am simply addressing myself and what has been going through the mouths of those around me, but I think it's relevant to document feelings of uncertainty. I think uncertainty is beautiful and almost always frowned upon. I even feel privileged to be overwhelmed by my many options in how I want to spend my days, even if I don't always choose the most fulfilling. I just want to tell myself and those around me that it's okay to not know. That it's okay to fail.

Sorry for the absence (Brit, I'm talking to you) and sorry for the long rant. 
Got some catching up to do on the documentation front.
Halloween! Barrett went as baby Frankenstein and got a handful of chocolate and a face full of blue artificial coloring. He had fun and checked trick or treating off his list of things to learn. 

Here are a few more life moments: 

I spoke to Daniel on the phone the other night for over an hour, speaking of topics similar to the ones above. At the end of it all, I ended up at this video, which kind of gives a beautiful face to the concepts I've been teasing out. You can measure your life out in jelly beans, coffee spoons, or not at all, but whatever you do, don't forget to remember that it's all going to keep moving no matter what, so we've got to do the same. And Julian will always be there with its sunshine-y fields, apple cider & pie, and a house of books to remind us that that is really all that matters in this life.