We, Adults, Have A Lot To Learn

Anyone else about to deactivate all their social media platforms because of the amount of vitriol, ignorance, sanctimonious crap that people keep projecting?

I am 42 and I have never seen America more divisive and nasty.

Here’s the thing, we can research and make informed opinions, but unless you’re an expert in the field you are discussing, should you really be speaking from a place of 100% knowledge? And then, to build on that, why pick on those who disagree with you? Do you really think THAT is the way to bring change?

I think what’s happening here, if I may, is there is an abundance of misdirected anger, wrath, unhappiness within oneself, and it has found its outlet.

THE CORONAVIRUS.

Yes, this virus is very real. But why is the pandemic bringing us apart rather than bringing us together?

If I may pose a theory,  expanding on what I wrote above, is that people are unhappy but rather than seek comfort in humanity, they shun it. They pick the worst and highlight that. They seek the ones who disagree to pick fights, so they can feel “better”, and rather than learn and grow, regression is at an all time high.

It’s not cause I’m saying so… just look around you.

Clearly, it’s much more difficult to understand people who are different than us than it is to seek comfort in those who agree with you, so the latter is the favorite. But no population will ever think the same and while that is a great thing, it also causes chaos.

Welcome to humanity.

Look, I don’t have the answer to give to end this all, but I will offer this true story as a beginning to finding the answer:

I was reading a book at a hotel pool. There were two children playing in the water – maybe ages 10 (girl) and 7 (boy) – along with their grandmother. When a family entered the pool area, the girl saw there were two boys coming in – one in their age group, one a bit younger. And so, she turned to her brother and said, “Look, we can make friends!”

 

The Sensitivity of Children

Life has been a whirlwind for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one, so maybe you can commiserate? I mean, damn, if things aren’t getting a little crazy up in the world. Most of it, for good reason… (the brilliance of the protests (yes!) but that is for another post…)

After a first-in-your-lifetime shutdown, are you coming out a bit different?

I know I am, that’s for sure.

I’m about to return to work as a server, but in a way that I haven’t done before now that COVID caused new rules, so I am struggling with if I can still do it. I have long wanted to stay in the restaurant business as I make my films and write my stories both for my love of food and wine and also for the tangible aspect of seeing people enjoying themselves and knowing I am part of the reason why.

For those who don’t know, in the past, I’ve worked entertainment jobs, such as assistant to Scott Rudin on the Paramount lot and assistant editor on season four of American Idol, both of which I chose to leave, because when I was working those jobs and similar ones, I felt empty. Like I was a cog in the entertainment machine, but not really making any difference, though it’s definitely worth noting Scott Rudin is a genius in producing original storytellers and I wish I could have learned more from him when I was his LA assistant, but, that’s for another story and sadly, I can’t go there. I signed an NDA.

Anywho, back to now. I’ve been going through a lot and I’m starting to feel empty again in my employment. Returning to a restaurant job where the industry has done a 180*, while also ending homeschooling my nephew two days a week, (BTW teachers everywhere, YOU ARE AMAZING AND SHOULD BE PAID WAY MORE,) coping with the death of my husband’s sister, polishing my first novel for agent submission, enjoying the visit of my sister and niece, all the while trying to make sense of the insanity we’ve allowed our government to become, has left me spent.

Yet somehow, today, when I hung out with my three year old niece, life felt special. It felt good. 

And that was all her.

It was like she picked up on my feeling down a bit and for the first time, came to me without me having to ask. She comforted me and all around enjoyed my company, when before she was a bit hesitant. And when I put her to sleep, having a three year old, caress your hand while she falls peacefully asleep in your arms, I felt true serenity.

And I thought:

Children know way more than most give them credit for. And they truly are the future. 

 

 

 

 

Thankful

With the craziness of a pandemic and justice for #georgefloyd protests, life has been turned in all directions. And with good reason. Police are being called out for the horribleness that their force has become, and slowly we are seeing a desire for true serving and protecting citizens (despite the color of one’s skin) in a way that has never happened before.

For that, I am grateful.

Those in the police force are being held accountable for their actions. And no, you are not God, despite what you think.

For that, I am grateful.

Religion – which is a choice, despite those who believe their way is the only way – is slowly being understood as a personal choice rather than a forced way of living.

For that, I am grateful.

It is no small measure to have mass amounts of people supporting black individuals for justice. It is long overdue. And we are changing for the better.

For that, I am grateful.

A revolution has been brewing and is coming to change the destructive ways the US has grown. Lobbyists be gone. Wall Street preference be gone. It’s starting… (sadly, I think the FED is delaying consequences as long as possible.)

But… for the former, I am grateful.

Differences between gender, race, sexual preference – that is the beauty of life – and should be celebrated, not admonished. And finally, we are figuring that out.

For that, I am grateful.

#blacklivesmatter #metoo #schittscreek

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” – Buddha

 

 

Music as Memory

Sunday funday… wait, what day is it? Oh yeah, it’s Sunday… phew

Here in Los Angeles, we’re on this permanent lockdown of sorts, so pardon me…

But yes, let’s return to Sunday Funday even though days of the week don’t matter that much to me right now…

Anywho, my husband and I are preparing to BBQ so randomly, I decided to listen to some music I used to listen to ALL THE TIME, and when I say all the time, I mean it. My iPod was permanently attached to my ears from ages 25-28, which would explain my hearing loss but I digress.

Music was everything to me then. I was single, living alone and working my ass off in post production and filmmaking. I had little time for anything else but music was my constant. And listening now to some of those songs that comforted me then, ones I listened to on repeat like Death Cab For Cutie’s “Transatlanticism” or “Fool on the Hill” by the Beatles or “Goodbye to Romance” by Ozzy or any LCD Soundsystem album, is like a blast to the past.

Music is a time capsule unlike any other.

I flashed to the walks I would take to the bank and having an answering/fax machine or printing directions when I was going far… it all came crashing back and it was a wave of love… love of another time, another way of living, a younger me who I think would be proud of the 42 year-old-me, though if I told her about this pandemic and Donald Trump was president, she would have laughed like I was crazy…

And speaking of crazy, music is a God send, no? Pardon me as I go listen to Flaming Lips “Do you realize??” and remember Silver Lake days of indie rock music, Barefoot wine and MNRC – Monday Night Record Club.

 

Saying Goodbye When It’s Time

I said goodbye to a friend this week. And no, before you think the worst, no one died. Only the realization that two people should not put each other through trouble anymore. When expectations of what being a friend means differs tremendously between two people, it’s time to end the pain.

And that’s okay.

Full disclosure, a regular question to me over years would go like this –  “She’s doesn’t seem that happy with you. Why are you friends exactly?”

While differences can be part of the fun, if those differences cause someone pain, well, time to cut the cord, no? It’s okay not to be friends with everyone.

I mean, come on… different strokes for different folks.

It’s quality. Not quantity.

Friends compliment life. And when necessary, they challenge you. But if they try to make you something you are not, to fulfill their needs, then… is that friendship? What’s worse is if they try to make you feel bad, over and over again, for being yourself, then it’s clear they’re not happy with you as a friend and again, why are we friends exactly?

Not easy, though. Especially when dealing with human emotions.

But I’ve learned over the years that friendship is whatever a pair defines it to be. I have been blessed with dear friends I’ve retained since my teens. And while we may go a year without talking, we know we care about each other as life moves swiftly and we go in different directions.

Friendship is what you make of it. If both people really want to be in it.

“Real friends were the kind where you pick up where you’d left off, whether it be a week since you’d seen each other or two years.”

 Jojo Moyes, One Plus One: A Novel

 

 

 

 

 

The Good Part #coronavirus

Damn. These days, going on social media, reading the news, checking reddit… it’s easy to see the world is on fire right on and I don’t just mean from the Covid spread. I mean the amount of information being disseminated in favor of one’s POV and agenda and the vitriol that comes along with it.

People are speaking as though they are God. Individuals are battling each other over moral beliefs – where there is never a winner – and I’m reading comments like “If you like Trump, you can go drown in a sea of shark infested waters” and “If you don’t wear a mask, I hope you get the coronavirus and die a horrible death” – what the hell is happening to people???

Well, I’ve decided to focus on some good things to come from this world pandemic and I’d like to share them with you, if like myself, you’re over the moralistic agendas of ill-informed individuals trying desperately to get you to agree they are right. I’d like the facts and nothing but, thank you. So here are some facts:

In my apartment building of twelve units, a three year-old girl was celebrating her birthday without her friends and family. Her mother let us know and one by one, all us neighbors began to put cards, gifts, notes, well-wishes on her door and windows, and we came to find out the sweet child had one of her best days ever!

As I bike along the part of the road that is allowed for doing so by the Pacific Ocean (I live three blocks from it) I see signs in the windows of homes that promote positive messages to their community: “Stay Strong” “We’re In This Together” “Love” “Honk And We’ll Drink” :) One window had a teddy bear in it, near a child’s drawing of a rainbow and heart. 

John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” – did you see the cast of the Office dance?? There’s a little something for everyone here and it’s all positive.

On a walk, I see multiple sidewalk murals created from chalk, offering complimentary art to all who walk by. 

More to come…

But in the meantime, I’d love to know what positive things you’ve seen come from the strange times we now find ourselves in?

 

A Yes In a Sea of No’s

Any writer can tell you part of the process of being a writer is seeing and hearing the words “thanks but no thanks” over and over and over again.

And damn, it can be painful. Over time, I’ve become rather numb to it, instead focusing on and believing in the work that I do, though also assessing feedback – compliments and constructive critique – and acting accordingly. Notes from generous editors have at times made my work all the better. The hard part is figuring out which notes to take… but I digress.

While splashing around in this sea of no’s, when a YES comes your way and a piece of your writing – in this case, my flash fiction – gets published, it can be one of the most meaningful experiences, especially when the publisher gets what you’re trying to do.

My YES came from a fellow WordPress site – 100wordsofsolitude.

100 Words of Solitude is a project started by writers and professors in an effort to capture individual perspectives on what the world is currently experiencing. They’re selecting 100 pieces of 100 words each from writers all over the world and they have generously accepted one of mine and published it yesterday.

It’s a micro piece of fiction where I attempt to explore the disconnect in the age of Coronavirus. I would love to hear your thoughts!

And a big thank you to the curators at 100 Words of Solitude for finding meaning in my work and sharing it with others.

My Little Buddy In The Age Of The Coronavirus

Having been laid off from my job while the world pauses, I’ve found some extra time on my hands. And in an effort to help my family, I’ve begun to aid in the homeschooling of my eight-year-old nephew.

Now, my nephew and I were already close. I’ve been watching him since practically the day he was born and over the years, we’ve developed a special bond. When I enter my brother’s home, my nephew is the first to great me with a huge smile and a loud, “Hi Aunt Tina! Come play!” or “Hi Aunt Tina! Come look at this!”

And while I am 42 years old, there is a young 10-year-old girl in me who loves to play and have fun. Seriously. I’m a champ at Nerf gun battles, hide ‘n find (a take off from the original hide ‘n seek, which my nephews and I made up,) coloring, board games (especially Battleship!) and soon, if my nephews have it their way, video games.

But back to the beginning. I’ve been helping homeschool. And I must say, TEACHERS, YOU ARE GODS. Thank you soooooooooooooooo much for what you do. You help the future way more than any Congressman/woman and should be paid accordingly. And they patience you must have! I am in awe.

So, yeah. I’ve been helping with homeschool and also babysitting more than normal and because of this, an 8 year old has become my new little buddy.

When I told him he could call me whenever he wanted, I began to wake up to text and phone messages asking if I wanted to play Roblox remotely – me on my phone, him at his home while we chat over FaceTime. He made sure to install it on my phone on a visit  and then proceeded to give me a tutorial. When I struggled, he said, “Aunt Tina, do you know what patience is?” I smiled and said, “Yes, I do” to which he replied, “Well, then you just have to have it.”

Words of wisdom right there.

When we finish our school lessons, he asks how much time I can stay to hang out. We are currently watching the first season of Clone Wars, which is very well done btw, and also love to go outside and plant flowers in the backyard and fill our bird house with birdseed and more. His smile brightens my day.

And the last time I was with him, I was doing laundry and he opted to stop playing and join me, just to chat. He told me about his best friend at school and how they get in trouble and the big spider he saw the other day in the backyard, that had hair!

I will miss these days when all goes back to “normal” but I’m happy to know enough to cherish them as they are happening.

To see a big smile on an eight year old’s face is to witness real happiness.

To receive a hug from a child without asking for one is to know real affection.

To make a child happy and comfortable by embracing who they are is to teach real confidence.

To have a child call upon you because they consider you important is to understand the essential.

And to wake up to a phone message from your nephew asking where you are and if you want to come over and you alter your day to do so is to experience real love.

Thank you Fair Bear (my nickname for him,) for all you are and all you teach.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Wonders… 5 Ways We Are Changing For The Better From The Coronavirus…

My past few posts have been a bit depressing so I thought for this one I’d write about the ways I am seeing the world change for the better, due to the pandemic at hand.

Sure, we could argue till we’re blue in the face about how this all started, how governments are responding, how people are acting, but seriously, what good would arguing do?

“Love is saying ‘I feel differently’ instead of ‘You’re wrong.’” – Unknown

And as someone who loves difference of opinions because it’s the best way to learn, I am going to ignore that noise and focus instead on some good things I’ve noticed come out of the #coronavirus and well, that’s something to shine a spotlight on, isn’t it?

5 Ways we are changing for the better

We’re so damn clean.
Anyone else notice how sanitized people and things are getting? I mean, how can that be a bad thing? Hand washing and covering your mouth when you sneeze and not breathing on top of people… all wonderful traits that are getting instilled in people as they become routine.

The pause leads to thought.
In a weird way, the world is pausing. The wheels have largely stopped and because of that, what was once the norm is now anything but. We’ve been forced to find a new norm with stay-at-home orders and loss of employment among other things. But with these new limitations, we are led right to an important aspect of our life. Our HOME. If it’s your temple, you’ll take comfort in your design. But if on the flip side, you don’t like what you find, well… isn’t that in itself a gift because now, you see it as it is and can do something about it? When one is busy, it’s way too easy to ignore important things.

We’re learning what’s essential.
By definition, essential means what is absolutely necessary. And we are learning what that is! In a world filled of an abundance of distraction, eye candy and material goods, this lesson is not one to be taken for granted. It’s a gift to be able to stop, see what one really needs, and then progress from there to form a healthier state of being. And isn’t it interesting to find out what you do really need, when all bling and glitz and distraction is removed?

Gaining awareness of what teacher’s do and how grossly underpaid they are.
Full disclosure, I have no children by choice. But I am seeing those who do have children, are getting a big taste of what teachers actually do and how incredibly challenging it is to teach children. Perhaps now people will think about where state money should go (not with words, but with actual action and legislation) as the importance of this position has been elevated and revealed for all to witness. Education does not have pharmaceutical lobbyists but imagine if it did….

Letting nature breathe.
Sadly, it had to be forced upon us by a global virus, but a ray of light through this storm is the fact nature has been allowed to do as she would without our massive intervention. The environment is not infinite, despite what the 1980s/90s thought. And allowing it a chance to reset, enjoy itself without our intrusion and just breathe a sigh of relief to be allowed to do so, is perhaps the very best gift this pandemic has given us. Has given the world. And well, that’s pretty damn good.

What positive observations have you observed? #coronavirus

 

Sunday Meditations… We have an opportunity here… #coronavirus

First off, thank you to those who are working their assess off so the rest of us can remain healthy and safe. YOU – those in healthcare, emergency services, grocery and delivery – ARE the REAL HEROES in this scenario – not the government. THANK YOU SO MUCH

That said, I’ve been thinking about the opportunity that we as individuals, citizens of all nations, have been given because of this virus.

Yes, the virus is killing people but….

it’s allowed the world to breath.

THE WORLD.

Do you understand what that means? Because I can barely grasp the significance myself at first thought…

Animals are returning to their natural habit… smog is clearing and here in Los Angeles, it’s downright gorgeous (that’s where I live.. tell me about where you live please!) Dolphins are abundant here, before yes, but now so are whales, right by our pacific coastline.

And then priorities… how have they shifted? Family and loved ones are the top while careers are put on pause. It makes you think about how you spent your time before…

What will happen when the virus is vaccinated and people try to live on? The world will be different from here on out, no matter who or what you believe, but what’s important is how different YOU are when this is over… at least, that’s what I’m thinking for myself.

Because I’ve changed.

Already.

Have you?

And despite the understandable financial struggle, I’ve watched nature live without much interference by man and that has paid me plentiful.

And now, I wonder…

Can we can rise from this, better than ever before, knowing now what’s truly important….

Things or People?

Truth or Money?

#coronavirus #thechoiceisours