January 17, 2010

Get The Balance Right...

One of the things I'm working on this year is taking better care of myself. This doesn't mean that I've resolved to lose 20 pounds or to lower my cholesterol. It's more general, and thus I think it's more achievable. It just means that I'm taking steps to feel better, both physically and mentally. Because I don't have a specific goal in mind (like be a size 6 by June), I feel like I have a better chance at success. So far, my plan is working: I'm eating better, getting a little exercise, socializing a bit and expressing my creative side more. It's this last part that is about balance -- and I really think it contributes to a better sense of mental health. Creativity means different things to different people and honestly, it isn't something I feel gifted with. I envy creative and artistic people. They just seem to have a special quality and perspective. I've read that creativity is something that is cultivated -- it's like a muscle you exercise regularly or it atrophies. I'm starting to believe that's true. I think you've got to expose yourself to a variety of experiences and stimuli in order to start building that creative spark. And I really do think there's a link between a suppressed creative mind and depression, and that there's a reason that art therapy is such a helpful tool in treating and diagnosing mental disorders. I feel like if I'm able to bring balance to my life -- to fulfill both my everyday practical obligations and satisfy my creative desires -- that I'm a happier person, a more whole person. The problem is that everyday life isn't always conducive to developing creative tendencies. How do artists and writers do it? How do they separate their lives -- their commitments and obligations -- from the time they need to nurture and grow the other side of their selves, their expressive side? How do other people get the balance right?

January 10, 2010


I was raised by wild dogs. Well, not really but wild dogs would've probably done a better job at parenting than my own mother and father. My parents were pretty messed up. Lots of drama, drugs and booze. After a while, the rest of the family (the sane side) distanced themselves. Now that both my parents are dead, I'm re-connecting with my uncle, aunts and cousins. But here's the thing: there's a 30 year gap or so since I last saw them. I like them -- they all seem pretty nice (and normal). But I just don't feel connected, like we're family. I know that comes with spending time with them and getting to know each other. But I think maybe it's just me that feels this way -- I have the impression they feel like we're there already, we're Family (with a capital F). I want to explain how I feel but I don't want to hurt their feelings in the process. And I wonder if I'm weird because I can't feel connected to them yet. Relationships are hard. I know family is what you make of it -- your family doesn't even have to be related to you if that's how you define it and what you want. But for me it seems especially hard to figure out what it means. Do other people have this problem? Why is Family so complicated?

January 1, 2010

The Javier Bardem Effect

I broke one of my long-standing rules and watched a Woody Allen film: Vicky Christina Barcelona. I blame it on Javier Bardem. In any case, it has now stirred in me an overwhelming desire to visit Barcelona. I'm under no delusion that I will actually meet Javier there but regardless, I have fallen completely in love with the idea of traveling to Spain this year.

The movie was pretty good, too!