Thursday, March 31, 2011

Loss: As Viewed by Gail Caldwell (And Me)

Shortly after Christmas, I read Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell. A few months earlier, I had come across the book in a small book store in the outer banks of North Carolina. It was too expensive for me to buy at the time, but I sat down and read about 30 pages, instantly falling in love. I'm drawn to anything that attempts to express grief and/or loss as I experienced, but couldn't articulate, it/them.

You can't imagine the incomparable pain, the hopelessness, the relentless longing for what's lost, unless you've personally had someone very close pass away. You want the world to stop, because your world has stopped. But it doesn't, it keeps going, and it expects you to keep moving forward too.
Gail Caldwell expresses this really well:

"Mostly I couldn't bear... the paltry notion that memory was all that eternal life really meant, and I spent too much time wondering where people got the fortitude or delusion to keep on moving past the static dead."

I could easily relate to the next two quotes:
"Hope in the beginning feels like such a violation of the loss, and yet without it we couldn't survive."
Gail Caldwell (Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship)

"The real hell of this," he told her, "is that you're going to get through it."
 Gail Caldwell (Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship)

Not only do you want your entire world to stop, but you don't want it to ever start up again. If you feel how I felt (and I'm assuming Caldwell felt), it seems almost like a betrayal to move on and continue your life. As long as you're feeling that excruciating pain, the loved one is still an active part of who you are, a part of your life. The pain serves as a constant, stinging reminder that you haven't forgotten about them, you haven't started moving forward. But, recovery manages to sneak in no matter how hard you fight it. Hope slips in and at first it feels like you're violating your lost loved one. Just the thought of moving forward while loved one can't is an amazingly difficult concept to fathom. Nonetheless, hope exists so your world continues forward, even if it seems like that's the last thing you want. You'd otherwise stay stagnant, overwhelmed, and overcome....(which is tempting but unrealistic).

"Maybe this is the point: to embrace the core sadness of life without toppling headlong into it, or assuming it will define your days."
Gail Caldwell (Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship)

So, while we can never stop or really even prevent death (because inevitably everyone will die), we can find some comfort in who our loved one was to us. We can share how that person helped us become who we are and how beautiful that person was. "Memory was all that eternal life really meant"... and that person lives on through our memories of them and our outward expression of said memories. In the end, that's all we really can hold on to.

"I know now that we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures."
Gail Caldwell (Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship)

"It's taken years for me to understand that dying doesn't end the story; it transforms it. Edits, rewrites, the blur, and epiphany of one-way dialogue. Most of us wander in and out of one another's lives until not death, but distance, does us part-- time and space and heart's weariness are the blander executioners of human connection."
Gail Caldwell (Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship)  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Green, Healthy, and Safe Product Reviews

I stumbledupon this website yesterday. It's awesome, and informative! This site rates numerous products in three different cateogries: healthy, green, and socially responsible.
This is a helpful guide if one wants to be mindful of the products she is purchasing.

Find healthy, green, ethical products according to scientific ratings:

Sunday, March 27, 2011


It's dreary today. It'll be dreary tomorrow. A lot of our activities are being canceled, rescheduled, or windchecked (a fancy name for a raincheck). The store has been mostly dead today, with random spurts of people/calls. I can't believe I'm working for a corporation that has little to do with the environment (environmental preservation). I like the company, and I like recreation. But, if you asked me three years ago where I'd be today, I never would have seen this. What a surprise.

Which makes me think.... if it comes between instant gratification or long-term satisfaction, I think someone will chose instant gratification nearly every time (the Buddhists realize this as being one of the Four Noble Truths). Especially if one is desperate. No one living paycheck to paycheck will turn down a promotion, even if it's doing something she hates. They'll take the promotion and stick it out "until things get better." Instant gratification is more tangible, but unfortunately leads to discontentment and continual yearning. Whereas true contentment might only come through long-term planning. I guess it boils down to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. No one can move up on the pyramid until their most immediate needs are fulfilled. 

Extending this idea further, I feel like we often times neglect environmental preservation because so many people are stuck in the lower levels of the "Hierarchy of Needs." If one can't afford to feed her family, she's not going to buy, or even care about, energy-saving light bulbs that are more than double the price of incandescent light bulbs (not to mention the "eco-friendly" products that are wayyyy more expensive than light bulbs). Most can't even consider leading an "eco-friendly" lifestyle because it's so expensive; it's a luxury... Almost a status marker. Environmental preservation, in this country, is an elitist system set up to fail. We've created a way of life that is unsustainable, and the sustainable options are just out of reach of the common person. But, how to we solve this? Make sustainable options more affordable? Subsidize "eco-friendly" products? Provide incentives and bonuses for companies who promote/make sustainable products?
I guess that's all just a start..... I just want to see that there's more progress and that "green living" isnt just a fad.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On Choosing a Man

"I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman."
Anaïs Nin

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pink. Perfection. Music. Truth.

"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." 
Salvador Dali

"All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection." 
William Faulkner

"Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing."
Harriet Beryl Braiker

Stephanie showed me Pink's new music video yesterday. I've always liked Pink as an artist. I havent liked all the music she's released (which is typical of any artist I like), but she says a lot of powerful things... Things a lot of people are intimidated to say. This song in particular brings to light how strongly society pushes us to be perfect, to fit the mold created for us. She expresses how the pressure sometimes feels unrelenting, and it comes from every angle (peers, parents, media). It also shows how detrimental striving for perfection is. I like the "happy" ending, but I understand that this is an idealistic way to finish the song/video. Not everyone gets to experience the happy ending. But maybe by being aware that we don't have to fit into those oppressive molds, we can begin to accept that being flawed is ok. We don't have to be someone we're not.

"Once you accept the fact that you're not perfect, then you develop some confidence."
Rosalynn Carter

Check this out:

Made a wrong turn
Once or twice
Dug my way out
Blood and fire
Bad decisions
That's alright
Welcome to my silly life
Mistreated, misplaced, missundaztood
Miss "no way it's all good"
It didn't slow me down
Always second guessing
Look, I'm still around...

Pretty, pretty please
Don't you ever, ever feel
Like your less than
Fuckin' perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like your nothing
You're fuckin' perfect to me

You're so mean
When you talk
About yourself
You are wrong
Change the voices
In your head
Make them like you
So complicated
Look how big you'll make it
Filled with so much hatred

Such a tired game
It's enough
I've done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons
See you same

Pretty, pretty please
Don't you ever, ever feel
Like your less than
Fuckin' perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like your nothing

You're fuckin' perfect to me
The world stares while I swallow the fear
The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer
So cool in lying and I tried tried
But we try too hard, it's a waste of my time
Done looking for the critics, cuz they're everywhere
They don't like my genes, they don't get my hair
String ourselves and we do it all the time
Why do we do that?
Why do I do that?
Why do I do that?

Ooh, pretty pretty pretty,
Pretty pretty please don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less then, fuckin' perfect
Pretty pretty please if you ever ever feel
Like you're nothing you're fuckin' perfect, to me
You're perfect
You're perfect
Pretty, pretty please don't you ever ever feel like you're less then, fucking perfect
Pretty, pretty please if you ever ever feel like you're nothing you're fucking perfect to me

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ohhhh, Life. It's waiting for you.

Our Lady Peace

How many times have you been pushed around?
Was anybody there?
Does anybody care?
How many time have your friends let you down?
Was anybody there?
Did anybody stare?

How many time have your friends let you down?
Just open up your heart
Just open up your mind
How many times has your faith slipped away?
Well, is anybody safe?
Does anybody pray?

Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we're alive
Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we'll survive

How many days have you just slept away?
Is everybody high?
Is everyone afraid?
How many times have you wished you were strong?
Have they ever seen your heart?
Have they ever seen your pain?

Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we're alive
Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we'll survive

She gets high
She gets lost
She gets drowned by the cost
Twice a day, every week, all her life

She gets high
She gets lost
She gets drowned by the cost
Twice a day, every week, all her life

Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we're alive
Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we'll survive
All messed up, but we'll survive

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How Much Praise Is Too Much Praise?

Can you ever provide too much positive praise?
Is it unacceptable to compliment people you dont know?

Everyone likes positive praise and positive feedback. We all need to hear when we do a good job. It just feels good. People like to be recognized for the good things they've done. Especially because the negative things tend to stick around in our brains longer. I dont think you can provide too much positive praise or feedback. If it's genuine, if it's deserved, then let people know they are doing a good job.

Why are people so uncomfortable with compliments?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Busy. Busy. Busy.

The internet connection at my house is a bit untrustworthy and annoying.
But, the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan was intense. It's hard to relate to the people suffering over there, because it's so far away. The media helps to desensitize the population, too. Constant exposure to tragedy can do that.
I'm angry with anyone who says that nuclear power is "safe" power. The half-lives of the radioactive materials used in nuclear power plants needs to be considered. The material is going to be toxic for thousands and thousands of years. How can we guarantee that the material will not affect the life in surrounding areas? We can't control human nature; we can't control disasters. We shouldn't manipulate harmful materials for short-sighted gain if we can't keep the materials from harming life on this planet. How many times do we have to be taught that lesson before we fully understand?

In closing, I feel bad for those people affected. Though, I am distant and detached from the situation. Natural disasters remind me why I am against nuclear power plants.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Main Store

I'm sitting in the main store at Kitty Hawk Kites in Nags Head, NC. I've been hired in as the Reservations Manager for KHK. It's been overwhelming thus far, but I'm learning every day. Anxious. Anxious.
I've moved around a lot recently; Michigan, North Carolina, and Louisiana. I'll be here for a while now and hopefully I can keep up with this blog.
There are so many things swirling around in my head, I just need some time to get my bearings back. More posts coming sooooooon!