Monday, 22 September 2008

The space in between

As I straightened the mass of curls that live on top of my head this evening, my thoughts drifted down a strange direction. I began wondering about all the milestones that have occurred in my life and in the lives of those I care about. There have been births, deaths, baptisms, communions, confirmations, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, vacations and so forth... Each of these moments have, at some point or another, been highly anticipated in each of our lives.

We anticipate the birth of a baby, for about nine months. We start thinking about birthdays at least a month to a few weeks ahead of the actual date. There's a countdown clock to almost any event we look at as a milestone.

My thoughts today headed down this direction: I recognized that people looked forward to milestones - setting them apart as corners in our otherwise routine-filled lives. In some capacity or another, we all have them. For some, these milestones may occur more frequently than for others... but the idea is still the same. When one comes by, it causes a shift in our lives - even if only momentarily.

So this evening, as I straightened curl after curl after curl, I started thinking about the moments in between these milestones.

"What about them?" you may ask.

Well, I wondered if people paid attention to the hundreds of unrecognized moments that make up our lives from the minute we wake up, to the time our eyes shut at night. I wondered if we spent our lives so caught up in anticipating future milestones, that we failed to recognize present... presents.

For instance, I thought about something that happened to me this weekend. I spent my Saturday at a conference filled with journalists at one of the local universities downtown. It was an amazing weekend because it got me excited about the future. Since most of the people attending this conference were already in the field, it allowed me to anticipate a day when I too would be "one of them." I came home feeling excited about the future and about all the possibilities.

But it wasn't until I consciously thought about it this evening, that I remembered the older gentleman (an editor, from what happened to be a "small-town paper") who smiled at me in one of the seminars. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but I realize now that he acknowledged my presence at a conference where I did not feel I deserved to be, as a student. He talked to me and asked about my plans and aspirations. In a room where everyone was trying (not so subtly) to out-word one another, he gave me a few minutes of his time. he recognized that I was at the very beginning stages of what looked to be a very "exciting career," according to him.

Soon after this brief encounter, we turned to the front of the room, listened to the lecturer talk for an hour and a half, smiled at each other as we exited the room and headed down separate hallways... I forgot about this encounter very quickly as I became enraged at the lady who made me feel very inadequate, about half an hour after this experience. Somehow, a woman looking down her nose at me for not being an alumnus of her own university trumped the encounter with the older man.

Anyway, I guess I wondered why I didn't give the moment that made me feel good about myself more thought. Shouldn't we hold on to moments like those to get us through the times when we become our own worst critics? I know I should. My conversation with that man was no more than friendly banter between two strangers who ended up sitting beside each other in a lecture hall built for 30.

However, it was a moment... a small token... something that I will treasure as I move forward. It will be something I shall look back upon and smile. There will be no photos to mark the occasion, nor will I be celebrating the anniversary of that conversation a month or a year from now. But it will be one of the hundreds of 'unforgettable moments' that will make me smile during the dark days.

And I think those moments deserve more attention than they get. Those moments are continuous. They don't occur at a specific time or in a specific place. Those moments are the ones that sneak up on us when we least expect them to. The least we could do is pay attention when they happen.


Saturday, 20 September 2008

What I was I doing at 11?

I just found an 11-year-old I know...

... on Facebook.

Question: Um... why?


Friday, 19 September 2008

Affirming some things

I'm on another lyrical kick. This tends to happen from time to time. Again, I credit this post to YouTube and its ability to constantly distract me while I'm at work. The other day I managed to visit my 14-year-old self... and I reconnected with these lyrics by Savage Garden. My goal through this is to be inspired to develop my own affirmation code. I want to know what I believe in... Look for an update in a future post.

Oh, one more thing- to my dear readers who are laughing right now... just remember, I know who you are :o)

Luv ya!



I believe
-the sun should never set upon an argument
-we place our happiness in other people's hands
-that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you
-your parents did the best job they knew how to do
-that beauty magazines promote low self esteem
-I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone

I believe
-in Karma what you give is what you get returned
-you can't appreciate real love 'til you've been burned
-the grass is no more greener on the other side
-you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe
-you can't control or choose your sexuality
-that trust is more important than monogamy
-your most attractive features are your heart and soul
-that family is worth more than money or gold
-the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
-the only ones who disagree are millionaires

I believe
-forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness
-that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
-that God does not endorse tv evangelists
-in love surviving death into eternity

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Rush of blood during rush-hour

I was furious. I couldn't believe that these grown men in suits and slacks were actually behaving like cavemen. I mean, isn't that supposed to be some sort of cliche? Men, acting like cavemen?

But here they were, at 2 seperate subway stops -- showcasing the manners of apes.

I was heading downtown for work today, which meant that I had to battle the daily rush-hour in the morning. I didn't mind this and didn't give it another thought, after having experienced the routine daily over the past summer. However, as I boarded the train, I was ambushed from the side by this fedora-wearing-forty-something who felt the need to elbow me in the ribs in his rush to get on, even though the train was clearly not going anywhere.

I chalked this up to my imagination, even though the sting in my side clearly assured me that that had actually happened.

Then, as I stood in my spot, coffee mug in one hand while the other balanced the files I needed to take back to the office, Mr. Fedora decided that he wanted to occupy the seat that became vacant right in front of me.

Literally, as the lady vacated her seat, Mr. Fedora came running in from about five feet away, and squeezed himself between my foot and the seat. "Really?" I thought to myself. "This guy cannot be serious."

It became apparent to me very fast that he knew what he was doing and in some respect, he knew how shady it was of him as well. He couldn't look at me for the rest of the ride.

I let this go as well and continued on, while trying my best to not shoot daggers through his fedora with my dirty looks.

About three stops later, another man boarded the train. This one was clearly a student, as he toted a backpack and a venti-denti-moccha-skinny-beluga-latte. Classic. Apparently originality is dead as well. After standing for a stop, a seat a few people away from him became vacant. Three people stood around him. Another suit and tie shmuck, a pregnant lady and myself.... you can clearly see where this is going. Did Backpack Joe step aside and offer the seat to the pregnant lady? Did he offer it to me? After making eye-contact with me, he swaggered over to the seat and continued to look at the floor. He proceeded to stare at the floor all the way to Yonge&Bloor.

Honestly, this was something right out of a Seinfeld episode. I remember that the pregnant lady looked at me and we shared a knowing "" smirk.

Ok, maybe I should back track. Lets just say that in the 21st century, there's no room for cavemen and there's certainly even less room for gallant knights, (come on, ladies... you really don't want a man in steel armour reciting sonnets to you on a daily basis, do you?) But, is common kindness and consideration lost in our society as well?

A couple of stops after BackPack Joe took his seat, an elderly LADY who had witnessed the entire thing, got up and asked the pregnant lady to sit down -- and she graciously accepted. It was an obvious struggle to stand.

I got off at my stop clearly fumed. I was furious. What's wrong with our society when these bursts of common sense no longer even fly through one's mind?

It's times like these when I am thankful for StraightFromTheCurls. I find happiness in knowing that there is, even perhaps in the smallest sense, a chance that I am drawing negative attention to these individuals in Cyberspace. Maybe, just maybe, they might come across StraightFromTheCurls and realize how royally they've pissed me off. Maybe they'll do right next time.



Wednesday, 17 September 2008

I'm cleaning out my...

... Network.

It was cool back when I was in high school. Even during those few years in university. I enjoyed seeing my list of friends grow and span across my various classes. I loved seeing my social circles crisscross. I loved seeing how many mutual friends I had with each person. I'll admit that sometimes I even secretly enjoyed that the random guy who sat quietly at the back of the class took the initiative to look me up on the Internet, and add me as one of his very own friends.

But now, it's gotten out of hand.

I can't stand that there's so many people who know my business! Before (and I'm still talking about my generation, not my mothers), there were times when people actually had to e-mail or pick up the phone to find out what was going on. It took effort and it took initiative. It meant that you actually gave a damn about the person you were taking the time to talk to.

Now, if you go on an adding spree and add every person you've know from grade school and high school and university and college and work and the street and even from that shady club you don't want to admit ever having been to.... if all these people become your "friends" in social-networking-land... they're all going to know everything that you're up to... without you even so much as batting an eyelash in their direction.

Kind of creepy, isn't it? I think so.

So I continued on my cleaning frenzy. It took me over two hours to do it and as a result I probably have carpal tunnel syndrome... but I managed to delete every public message written to me on my "wall," since 2006. There were over 2,500 in total. I can't believe I let it add up to so much. What was I thinking? Anyway, it's all gone.

Then, as soon as I could bring myself back to my computer, I worked on the "friends list."

Now, I've been shortlisting this one since the summer. But I go back to it every few weeks and continue to shorten it. I just don't see how people I haven't even talked to in 4-5 years should have any right to know what's happening in my life. Unless of course, either they or I make the decision to get in touch. I don't want my life to be one for voyeurs. Not that it's anything fabulous or anything. I don't have a crazy glamourous life or one that's filled with cricket sounds either. My point is that I use this network to keep in touch with the ones I want to stay in touch with -- friendships, networking people, work people and others. I have my reasons for the ones I want to keep in touch with and I am sure that those who stay in touch with me (past silently creeping in on my albums and "wall") have their reasons as well.

Other than that, I think everyone else has had their chance at peeking in on my life without knocking on the door to say hello! To you people, I say "time's up!" Before you know it, you're going to be cut as well... not because I don't like you or because I think the worst of you... but simply because of the fact that if we haven't talked to each other in 4-5 years, chances are we won't talk for another 4-5 years. And in that time, things might change in my life.... or they may not. But I don't want to think about that, knowing you're being a creep, keeping tabs on me, and not saying one word. It's not cool.

My reasons for it are also simple: When I come online, I am innundated with numerous updates - photos, status updates, postings and so forth. I don't need reasons to stay online longer than I already do. I spend enough time in the computer anyway, because of school and work. The last thing I need is to spend time going through Susy Q's latest baby album, when I didn't even know she was on baby number three. Ya? Waste of my time. And usually, I only realize it when it's too late and 1/2 an hour has passed with me getting updated on Susy Q's life -- when I didn't care to begin with. Her damn update made me care.


Anyway, if you're reading this, don't worry, I won't cut you out. Yet! ;)

I kid. Luv ya!


Sunday, 7 September 2008

This Magic Moment

A recent chat with a friend helped oil the squeaky wheel that doesn't cease to stop turning in my head.

We were talking about living life in moments... rather than by the events and milestones that we anticipate. By this, I'm referring to the obvious.... births, birthdays, graduations, firsts (kiss, dance, job, child, etc..), and so forth.

Instead, we discussed the joy and beauty that stems from the simple moments that remain understated. They can slide into our lives spontaneously -- a walk through a park or a drive through the countryside. Or perhaps the moment can be captured even when we're doing nothing at all -- the peace that comes from sitting on your front porch with a book, or while having a chat with someone you really enjoy.

I remember thinking that if we lived our lives from one happy moment to the next (not thinking in terms of grandiose things... those are just the anchors to this cake that we call "life"), then everyone would perhaps be more content.

I mean, don't get me wrong... I know that all moments aren't happy... there's deaths, illnesses, accidents, poverty, world hunger and a thousand and one people just waiting to see you fall down and crush your own dreams...

... but really though... we learn from those experiences and we take away from them. They drive us and (should) make us into better human beings.

So, in honour of that conversation, I took some measures.

Last week I went through my closet and cleaned it out (throwing away clothes isn't something i do easily). I emptied out about a third of it. It felt symbolic. In my mind I figured that if I couldn't get rid of things I was holding on to because they meant something at a certain point and time, then there was no way I'd be able to move on and live from one moment to the next.

Now my goal is to try and live by moments.

Whether a smile creeps up to my mouth when I sit outside and smell the last of the summer rains... or whether my mind captures a moment where I'm sitting down for dinner (for probably the 100th time) with the same friends I've had for years...

I want to bask in those moments and enjoy them for what they are: the points in my life that will eventually link together and define who I am. And as I look back, I probably won't remember with clarity about how mundane the activity or moment may have been... but I will remember how I felt while I lived it. That will be the best and most important part.


Dear Readers

I've really been struggling with my writing for the past few weeks. I've already spoken about wanting to feel inspired... but that's not the issue this time around.

I guess I've been wondering (on my own accord) about whether or not StraightFromTheCurls is self-indulgent. I wonder if perhaps writing about my life and the thoughts that stem from it is almost... perhaps, narcissistic? I don't want it to be. My goal with this blog was simple: to have a corner of the WWW where I'd be able to just vent. I don't usually vent a lot to the people in my life... so this would be a way for me to get things off my chest, without the pressures of picking someone to confide in.

Anyway, over the course of the past year or so, StraighFromTheCurls turned into a weekly/monthly musings blog. Events and happenings in my life would lead to random rants and thoughts that you, my readers actually paid attention to... and some would even leave comments. I loved how that happened. And I guess I want it to continue. But by no means do I want it to be a selfish thing. If you're reading StraightFromTheCurls, I hope you're reading it because you want to and because you're interested in my thoughts (whether for amusement or insight... I'll leave that up to you).

With that said, I'll continue on.

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