Saturday, March 07, 2009
Keep your job and seethe.
Keep it and stop seething.
-- Anneli Rufus, Stuck
I'm throwing out underwear dating from high school. All the undies are a size too big, and though I've been slowly replacing my wardrobe since last April -- when I finally bit the bullet and spent money on new clothes, discovering what I had lost -- I could not give up my many pairs of low-rise bikinis from Victoria's Secret until now. They've become ratty and filled with holes, and I'm sick of looking at their sorry state. I'm going to miss a pair in particular, army green labeling the wearer "Flirt" in sparkly pink cursive. I have often wondered why a company that caters to making women feel sexy chose a paradoxical design: masculine army green versus pink, flirty, and feminine.
I probably like that design because I suffer from endless cognitive dissonance. Thoughts of I am fat fight with thoughts of I am attractive, What am I doing with my life? against Look at how well you're doing, He loves me when I get an e-mail and I'm a burden when I don't get a reply, yet the most irksome thought is I am alone because it doesn't have a comeback. Why does that belief disturb someone who read, enjoyed, and identified with Anneli Rufus's Party for One: The Loners' Manifesto?
I recently discovered she's written other books -- loners don't publicize their efforts, however brilliant -- and placed Stuck: Why We Can't (or Won't) Move On on my library queue. Though I've been in a bit of a self-helf binge -- I bought a teach-yourself-happiness book after a week of seeing it advertised in Shelf Awareness, began going to acupuncture, and am considering learning meditation -- Stuck is not a self-help book. It's more of a get-over-it, face-reality book.
Just what I need.
I haven't been great, or more precisely haven't felt great. Ask me how I am/how I feel; I'll politely say I'm good, but I don't feel well. (See tip number two if you're confused with the distinction.) I still have my health and my job, but happiness eludes me. I feel trapped, stuck.
Absurdly, I am stuck because nothing is sticking. If the positive thoughts stuck then I'd be happy; if the negative ideas stuck then label me depressed. I'm stuck in this neutral/gray/purgatory-like zone where I can't tell up from down nor good from bad. Why can't thoughts be like underwear? Keep 'em if they're working; toss 'em if they're ratty.
Socrates posited that the unexamined life is not worth living, and that's where I'm stuck, endlessly examining and analyzing.
Rufus writes about a heroin addict who got clean after his socks that he had just removed were picked up and smelled by his girlfriend, and she immediately vomited. Rufus asks: "What will be your stink-socks moment?" What will be my ratty-underwear moment?
I'm grasping at straws and fighting mine off, attempting to stop the seething.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
When I mention "poker buddies," it's more often than not a reference to domestic couple extraordinaire Ben and Gina. Since I've known them, they've mused about opening a wine bar in their new neighborhood (Bushwick) that would cater more to the natives than to the new locals, and their pipe dream is close to a reality. I wrote this message to Ben this morning and hope he doesn't mind me sharing it because so rarely do the words flow as they did when writing this note."A car needs an engine and a transmission," Nemko says. "Your intelligence is your engine, and your gumption is your transmission. You need both. If the engine isn't good an/or the transmission isn't good, you can tune that car up all day and it isn't going to run."
I finished Anneli Rufus's Stuck today, which is where the quote is from. The book ends on being "stuck" in a job -- she also covers being "stuck" in the past, with bad habits, and with people -- and I thought of you because Current mentioned your wine-bar, *ahem* La Boca, jitters.
Rufus would tell you point blank: It is happening. Get over your what-if fears and just do it! Thus, I spread her word.
I think you're at the right point of your life to start a business and to succeed with it. You strike me as an independent spirit, paving your own way. I remember a conversation we had over the summer when you said you had only three jobs: rock star, travel agent, and Roundabout. I really admire that: you haven't and don't live a typical lifestyle, you don't let people make you fit in to the standard, and the reason why these things are true is because you have talent and spirit -- an engine and a transmission. You truly can do anything because you've already done it!
I find it odd when Gina mentions your anxiety. Your knack at performing certainly helps because I've never considered you as nervous. Changing is difficult, but look at how good you have it: You're settled down to some extent with your business partner, Gina (who's got a brilliant mind of her own), in Bushwick. You can walk to work at the wine bar. You can -- and will -- make a difference in your community. You've got Ylon, a long-term friend, as your backer. The pieces are falling into place! Yes, there's going to be some initial sacrifice, but what have you got to lose? A job that you're not really "stuck" to/enthusiastic about anyway? And won't you still have time for your music? You're so ready to be an entrepreneur.
And even if this venture fails, what have you lost? Some money, sure, and if La Boca doesn't work out, it'll be timed well with the beginning of a better economy so you'll be able to make that back with a new job. You won't lose your friends -- we're all rooting for you -- nor your dignity. And you'll still have Bully!
If you find this note sycophantic, it is, but that description comes with it some deception; you should know me well enough that I don't bullshit. (That's why it was so hard to go to that couples' dinner on Valentine's Day; I was smiling and chatting through gritting teeth. This situation to some extent sadly continues, and I'll become un-stuck my own way.) I'm a Ben Warren/Gina Leone/La Boca -- and Matthew Glasson, regardless of parenthetical asides -- believer through and through.
Follow your gut on this one, even if you've got butterflies in your stomach. 2009 IS THE YEAR OF LA BOCA! Make it happen!