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24

Aug

muscle memory

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I don’t have many poignant memories that stay with me—really stay—after the fact. Everything inspirational fades, everything traumatic heals. So it always surprises me, when I’m finishing up a yoga class, and the inevitable final succession of poses to wind down the class occurs. Without fail, the last 5 minutes of class includes a pose called Supta Matsyendrasana, or Supine Twist, and the memory associated with it is raw and unexpectedly powerful. For those unfamiliar with this pose, it is a restorative twist where the yoga practitioner lays on their back, sends one bent knee across their torso to rest on the floor on the opposite side of their body, and then lays each arm out wide, resting their head looking out in the opposite direction of the knee. Sort of twisting your body and looking backwards. But first I should back up.

I used to be in love. Really, really head over heels with my best friend. And then one day, it ended. Spectacularly. It really crashed and burned. But as those things go, the fallout over the coming few weeks was messy and fraught with hope that there would be light through the darkness. There wasn’t. And so, five weeks later, when I found myself in the same yoga class as him, halfway across the room but with no one between to break the flow of human angsty energy, I was immensely tortured and again, hopeful. But as the class went on, I had to wrap my head around the idea that he and I would never do yoga together again. 

You see, doing a yoga class with him when things were still great was a revelation for me. Never had I dated someone who would do something with me that I loved. Who would take a journey that I wanted to take. And then, when we were so clearly a couple in that sea of lithe, sweaty, pheromonous females, I was adrift on an iceberg of elation. When, during our mid-relationship spinal twist we reached out to hold hands while we transitioned into our final restorative savasana, I felt with certainty and permanence…”this is my partner.” And all was good in my world. In those moments where you’re blocking out the physical and setting your thoughts adrift, to have an energetic connection with someone is a powerful thing. What can I say? He was my person. 

So when our friendship and loveship came crashing down in a way that can only be described tectonically as “The Big One,” finding myself in a studio that once meant “togetherness,” and now meant nothingness, I felt deeply lost. When we were guided into that final spinal twist at the end of class, looking back over my shoulder was like looking out into the abyss. I remember the way my spine felt as I got that deep rinse, while my face looked back towards everything that I was powerless against losing. I looked out at him 20 feet away, and it may well have been 20 miles. 

So now, every time I finish a yoga class—which I love—I’m surprised to feel that memory wash over me with such demeanor-changing force. I look back over my shoulder, hoping that he’ll be there, but knowing that he won’t. Wondering what I’m supposed to take from the experience, or leave behind. Not quite relishing the recurrence of that image in my mind, but always surprised at its strength. 

a little sage

Some things are easy, but they are fleeting.

Some are hard, but they are worth it.

Transformation is supposed to be uncomfortable. 

Nothing will show you what you want like a really hard proverbial kick in the gut.

Don’t let your days slip by. Plan 29 out of 30 of them in advance and take charge of your life. But don’t forget that 1 where you’re supposed to be wild. 

In life as in standardized testing, your first reaction should always be trusted. Don’t get sidetracked by extraneous phenomena.

You can do it man. 

Conundrum

I can’t decide what I hate more; wine snobs, OR the practice of using empty alcohol bottles as decoration.

Decisions, decisions

They say…

They say you should keep a well-maintained blog.

It’ll be great for social media and writing jobs, they say.

Post everything, tag everything, upload pictures of your festival tickets.

Live the fabulous life you’ve imagined, carefully curated and announced to the world.

But what if you’re not sure what to say, a little confused at how to find your voice. What if some days you want to talk about your failed, overstimulated love life, but some days you want to talk about comedy and make light of politics, but then once in a while you want to share with people how to bake a delicious banana cake? Do you have to have separate blogs for all of those? After all, you don’t want to dilute the brand.

What if the only common thread is that you want your words to be harmonious any uplift the eyes that read them? 

Because right now I could recommend a really great hip hop album, show you a picture of my homemade zucchini and creme fraiche soup, share a story about my yoga practice, or tell you how I have too many romantic irons on the fire. And I’m just naive enough to think someone out there would care about them all. 

Instead, I’m just going to upload a selfie. 

12

Aug

On Robin: A semi-insider’s point of view

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There’s not much that can be said at this point that hasn’t been shared in anecdotes and stories, and clips from memorable movies, and even personal narratives about struggling with depression. 

63 is not a bad run. For a manic comedian who came up through the Comedy Store and its surrounding scene in the 70s and 80s, who’d been through episodes of heavy drug and alcohol use, who’d stayed clean for twenty years, who’d enjoyed three marriages and three children, sixty-three is a good run.

No one could argue that Robin Williams, as a performer, had peaked. As an artist known the world over for creating laughs, his temperament had settled. His best tricks, not unlike Sandler’s, Cosby’s, Carrey’s, Murphy’s, et al. were in the rear view mirror. Is this what lead to such a heinous death? Or was it simply, timing. A weak link in a twenty year history of sobriety armor. Did he, like so many artists in his place, struggle with the ideological divide between the health of sobriety, and the genius born of addiction? Consider the roles that showcased his brilliance: Aladdin, Toys, Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam, Mork & Mindy, Jumanji, as well as numerous stand up specials…all filmed during his time as a practicing addict. And then, a miracle happened, he cleaned himself up, got help, started moving forward. More touching, serious, provocative roles followed— one which even netted him an Oscar: Jack, Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams, One Hour Photo. Then a string of small supporting roles over the last decade, finishing off with a small handful of as-yet unreleased films, and a network television show that was canceled in May of this year, two months before the actor’s 63rd birthday. Is it any wonder that a descent like that would cause someone to question the very core of their being? When you are universally known as a funny man, and then you can’t seem to find your step, and you look back over your life, and the work you’ve made as a user, and the work you’ve made clean, anyone in Robin Williams’ shoes (I believe) would feel at a loss. When your entire adult experience is shaped by the high of the laughs and adoration from an audience, sixty three must feel quiet and somewhat disappointing. Darkness has a way of sucking the gratitude and the light out of us, and for some— those geniuses who have been able to tap into the crazy, heroic, manic corners of their mind and the human experience—that darkness can often take root. 

Drugs and alcohol finally killed Robin Williams. He once more succumbed to the dependency that made him a rare bright unavoidable indelible star. He maybe died in sadness or he maybe died having felt that dark brilliance one more time. He left behind many things; a family, a legacy, inspiration to millions among them. But Robin Williams lived. He cut short his life, and maybe that was sad and selfish and grotesque, but maybe he felt that he had already laid bare all that he had to give to the world. Maybe the world sucked him dry, and it was time for the next chapter. 

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PHOTO CREDIT NICOLE AIMEE SCHREIBER

07

Jul

Cheddar is way better on tuna sandwiches than provolone. 

06

Nov

Qualified Candidate seeks Social Media Anonymity

I wanted to temporarily disable this account, on account of the fact that I’m job hunting. But they don’t allow that. So I’m left with three options: keep it up in all its glory, sift through and appropriately filter out any potentially incendiary or unprofessional content, or totally delete all of my content and lose any record of my humanity for the past three years.

I guess employers don’t want humanity. They want carefully calculated droneism. Which makes sense. If I was a wacky entrepreneur, I wouldn’t want a bunch of loose cannons out there writing psychedelic hullabaloo and then linking to their facebook profiles that say, Exectuive Assistant to the President at Hayly Amelia Productions. That would suck. And then I’d be remorseful that I was signing their check, and that by signing their check I was actually paying them my money. I think all family and employers should be banned from my social media life. Because sometimes I eat mushrooms and wander around museums, and that’s just me being me.

05

Nov

no more emotional gorging

This morning it struck me that feeling sad and terrified and lonely, and reminiscing about the loss of someone that you can never get back—for whatever reason— is the emotional equivalent of gluttony. Letting sadness wash over you as you think about what you miss about someone is like eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s by yourself. It feels good—but it is terrible for you. It makes you fixate, it keeps you in the past, and it distracts from now. So when you feel that way, walk away. When the idea of indulging in a hundred tears seems like the only thing that will make it all okay, just say no.

Pick up a book, or a project, or a skateboard. Get free, and get down to investing in you instead of indulging a loss.

16

Sep

You should make this brunchy salad

No gluten, no dairy, not much sugar. There’s about half an hour of prep to this, but you can make a nice big 4-portion batch to last you the week, all at once. Enjoy.

Salad:

-Quinoa cooked (1-to-2 quinoa to water ratio, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover with lid until water is visibly gone)
-Sweet Potato, cut in dime-sized wedges, sauteed in Red Palm Oil
-Andouille Chicken Sausage (cut into coins, thrown into cook at the end of the sweet potato sauteing process)
-Green Beans; fresh, blanched 1-inch long pieces
      (blanching means throwing them in boiling water for 45 seconds, until
      bright green, then taking from heat, draining, and plunging into ice 
      water until cool. They’ll have a nice crunch this way.)
-Halved Walnuts
-Chunked green apple (wedges the size of a button)
-Arugula (thrown in when everything is warm to wilt it a bit)

Dressing:

Juice of a lemon
1 T Maple Syrup
1 T Olive Oil
Cracked Pepper to taste (put in an old jam jar and shake it up with the lid screwed on, oh so tightly)

Toss dressing over desired constitution of aforementioned dry ingredients. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes and dressing is a nice contrast to the peppery sausage and arugula, and the walnuts, green beans, and Granny Smith apple give it crunch and bite.

**I think it’s nice with a little glass of cold, cold Sancerre, and a cantaloupe salad for dessert.

10

Sep

I’m a huge fan of this song….

obviously.

And with the addition of the little known, recently discovered fact—that this song was originally written for @badgalriri--and the juicy implications of that little factoid, I can’t help but listen to it in a 4th dimension; that dimension where Rihanna owns this: the arguable “Song of Summer.”

The slightly disconcerting effect of listening to this song as is—is that it actually sounds in many parts like it could be Rihanna, but with an equally intangible but ever pervasive Miley attitude. AND I CAN’T DECIDE WHOSE ATTITUDE WILL WIN IN THE SEXY POP DIVA FIGHT TO THE DEATH. 

(Source: Spotify)