Creating Coco

Right now I’m creating Coco.

 

Coco is a flirt

Coco is bold

Coco is dangerous

Coco is tempting

Coco has no boundaries.

Coco is desired.

Coco is on fire.

Coco inspires.

Coco loves everything.

Coco keeps secrets.

Coco never lies.

Coco only trusts those who can be trusted.

Coco fights.

Coco knows your deepest darkest things.

Coco is a dark thing. The dark thing that haunts you.

 

Who is Coco?  

She is my alter ego.

She is the identity that is associated with my new stage name Coco Cherie.

She won’t officially be unleashed until the end of August, but I can’t wait to meet her.

She is not necessarily everything I’m not, but she is certainly everything I want to be.

What will Coco wear? What will Coco sing? I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.

Legs Wide Open: Climbing to the top of the Corporate Ladder the easy way

               Do you want to increase the chances of getting that next promotion?

               Have you been stuck in a rut in your work and home life and you need to figure out a way to move in a new direction?

               Do you feel like you lack the confidence to navigate social and work circles?

               Well look no further you’ve come to the right place!

A few days ago, Mashable put out a list of their Top 15 Ted Talks that will change your life.Original-Wonder-Woman-Lynda-Carter1

I consistently forget about these nice little talks crammed with generally life relatable information tied up into neat 15-30 minute packages. So thank you to mashable for the reminder. I clicked on the link and scrolled through to see what might be the most life changing for me at the moment.

Then I saw it…

As a person obsessed with body language, I’m surprised I didn’t happen upon Amy Cuddy’s, Your body language shapes who you are, sooner.  The thing is that I’d heard some of the information second hand just a few weeks before discovering the actual talk, but didn’t realize they were one in the same.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, is a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School. A social psychologist is someone who conducts research on human behavior for a living. She gets to analyze “people’s interactions with others and their social environment” on a daily basis – frankly I’m extremely jealous because I pretty much do this on a smaller substandard scale every day with fairly inadequate results.

I’m sure all the ladies out there are wondering right about now how opening their legs is going to lead them to better careers, more confidence, and possibly better social standing. Well first, I think you should listen to the Ted Talk, but if you don’t have 21 minutes of leisure time to get through it, let me summarize.

Most people recognize that body language, also known as non-verbal communication is a language in itself, but do you know how much it’s really effecting your conversation?  The actual words you use during a conversation relate only 7% of your conversation, voice tonality 38% and body language 55%. 55% is huge! If you are having a conversation and your body is saying something other than what you want it to say then what do you think that does in terms how well you are going to do when you are trying to make first impressions, find a new partner, convince a room full of people your idea on a project is worth pursuing, and more?

In order to use non-verbal communication to your advantage you first need to become aware of your own body language!

  • How do you sit? Do you cross your legs or keep them open?
  • How do you stand when talking to new people, friends, business partners, supervisors? What kind of hand gestures do you use? Do you fold your arms, keep them at your sides, make gestures?
  • How much eye contact do you make? Do you make constant eye contact, look away sometimes, look down?

Beyond these, there are other aspects of body language that we are all aware of subconsciously that are the building blocks of how people judge us and decide who moves forward, who stays put, and who moves back.

I don’t actually have time to go through how to change all aspects of your body language since we are here to talk about gaining confidence, but please see: Body language – Great tips to improve our conversation for 18 handy tips on improving and understanding body language.

Open your Legs: Becoming confident in 2 minutes

According to Professor Cuddy, it only takes 2 minutes to boost confidence levels enough through doing a simple pose that you can do almost anywhere to help land you that job! It’s called power posing.

Power Posing is simple. It requires that you open your body up and stretch out your arms and legs.

Here are some classic power pose examples.

body-language-power-pose-2 High-Power-Poses1

Facts about power posing

  • Testosterone increases up to 20% while cortisol (our stress hormone) drops about 10%, giving you both a confidence booth and the ability to deal with a stressful situation. This works for both genders.
  • Power poses come across as more competent and likeable in interviews and presentations.
  • Your brain chemistry could be permanently changed. Professor Cuddy believes and shows that implementing power poses into your daily routine can turn, “Fake it till you make it” into “Fake it till you become it.” You become that person you want to project to your audience.

Why women need this

Women are already socialized to reign in their words and keep opinions to themselves and so if you watch female body language, you’ll often see women’s bodies closed and crossed. Just the act of crossing your legs is enough to close the body off and make the body smaller, while power posing makes the body bigger. Women are often afraid to take up space, which mean women are showing to the world they lack confidence, which I know is not true!

Closing the body off actually does the opposite of power posing in terms of how it affects your brain chemistry:

  • Testosterone decreases by up to 25%, while cortisol increases by 15% making it harder to perform presentations and increases anxiety levels.

It’s not necessary that you spread your legs out wide, but making sure not to cross them all the time is key in helping you actually boost your confidence in any situation.

Can this really help you climb the ladder? It’s all up to how you pursue the ladder. Many women lack the confidence to ask for raises, lead presentations, and are constantly leaning back instead of advancing in their careers. In fact, watch this other Ted Talk by, Sheryl Sandberg, Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders about that.

This two minute exercise might be just the boost you need to get you to that next step in your career.

If you were reading this because you thought perhaps it might help in another arena. A plus side to this is that the slight increase in testosterone may increase libido as well. In any case, it’s worth a shot, so why not start power posing today and start your journey to the top of that ladder!

Bodies at beaches: learning how to be okay with not being perfect

I know beaches. I know the sand and the way the crystal’s burn the pads of feet when it’s too hot to be walking without shoes, but they’re always left off because the sand inevitably filters its way into every orifice a shoe has available until you feel that your feet are wading through the sand anyhow. So you decide to deal with the scorching of the sand beneath your feet because it won’t be long until the cool splash of water remedies the slight tingling and pain building between your toes.

Sometimes on hot days like there is no better use of the day than to spend it sunning and bathing, then sunning and bathing in the waves some more until you’ve cooled down and turned over so many times you look like overcooked chicken.

It’s been hot in Seattle lately. Not too hot, but hot enough that beaches are the remedy. What someone not living in the Pacific Northwest doesn’t understand about the way PacNor’s complain about the heat when it gets above 80 is that there’s something that most of the country has the most places here don’t  – air conditioning.photo

Yeah, it might be in the 90’s and 100’s down south or east of us, but the one thing that most people can reliably count on is that their house, neighborhood restaurants, stores will have the remedy to their heat. That is not something that’s true of the PacNor because with temperatures that don’t reach much above 80 any day of the year except for the occasional heat wave and our environmentally friendly sensibilities, we’ve left most air conditioning out of the equation.

I am lucky. I have a room on the first floor with one window to the south and one to the west. At night I open them wide even though I live in a neighborhood that some Seattleites are a little wary of (I’d say unfairly so). I have a fan and a light blanket (because I have irrational fears of monsters grabbing my feet if I don’t sleep with something over me). I couldn’t ask for much more, but even with how fortunate I am, I was sopping in a pool of sweat most of the night wishing for just a short respite from the heat during the quiet hours.

This morning when I awoke, I hoped for a soft cool morning breeze to filter into my room and wake me like the dawn wakes some heroin in a terrible romantic comedy (oh wait… I love all those terrible romcom’s), but alas there was no breeze. I actually awoke later than usual because my alarm was muted on my phone somehow and the hour difference between 6 and 7am made all the difference; the sun was already over the hills and pouring into the ginormous East facing window in our living room.

I want you to know that this is not me complaining. I waited for this heat every day for the approximate nine months of overcast grey skies. Every part of me feels better in the heat. In the heat I feel like my skin is softer and shinier, my senses more keen, my general nature (along with the rest of Seattle) friendlier, so… I’m not angry at the sun or the heat, I’m actually happy to long for cool air. It reminds me that there is a reason that there is fall and winter and that I should be happy for them too in the times that they come. It’s often hard to be happy here when they come because most summers aren’t like this here.

Summers in PacNor near the water are reminiscent of SF and East Bay life, because it generally doesn’t get above 70 or 75 and sometimes I’m still wearing a sweater in mid-July. This summer’s different though, I haven’t been wearing my usual summer cardigans and I’ve given up on wearing leggings to cover up any inconsistencies in my leg shape. The fact is I don’t give a damn because it’s too hot to give a damn on most days now.

I’ve been walking and sometimes jogging to work and home every day – 3.75miles each way. I have a love/hate relationship with these miles in the heat. The morning is usually fine with cooler air that wipes my sweat away for me; it’s also more downhill on the way. The way home is rife with hill after hill and coupled with the heat I am a sticky sopping wet mess by the time I get home, but the truth is that I love it. I fucking love it! I love sweating and feeling in my body, which is something I don’t feel as much of during the winter months. I think it’s easy to confuse multiple layers of clothes with my body.

I bet you’re wondering why the hell I started off talking about a beach anyway by this point. Well there is a point, I swear, it’s just all in the tying in of things.

Okay, let’s talk about the beach, about what that means for millions of people on hot sticky summer days from here to yore. It’s a wonderful place with water, sun, some bbq’s, Frisbee, beach volleyball and also an array of people with body image issues. How do I look in this? Are people staring at this extra hair on my legs? Others are comparing themselves to that dude or woman 10 beach towels down. Summertime  can get messy with constant body hate.

I saw a facebook post yesterday where a girl ordered a meal for $9.00 and what came back to her was literally one small crab cake with a few side dips. The comments that ensued were #summerdiet #nowonderyoulooksogreat #summerexia. “  The restaurant gave you the ‘re-evaluate life’ special.” I realize these were in jest, but were they? We all know that instinctually we tend to eat less during the summer but the problem is that all summer I’ve been hearing from ladies, including myself, “ugh… I want to go to the beach, but… I don’t look good in my bathing suit.” Does this mean we should be starving ourselves? I hope not. I don’t want the term summerexia to become a fashionable term.

Okay… well does how you think you look in your bathing suit mean that you have to miss out on all of the amazing things the beach has to offer? It shouldn’t, but we all know it kind of does.

Well… I ended up going to the beach the other day with some close friends. By beach I mean grass on a lake with rocks on the bottom, but you know… it was nice cool water. When I first got there I made sure to keep my baby blue bathing suit under a nice summer dress. I did this until a group of friends came by of all body shapes and sizes and took off their outer wear for bikini’s and shorts that certainly let anything I would cover up show. Then I thought to myself, they don’t fucking give a shit AND they shouldn’t. Perhaps they didn’t have the perfect bodies, but I didn’t care and neither did anyone else on the beach, so what the ish was my problem? Everyone’s body is perfect for living in, going to the beach in and dipping into cold water in.

People were running around, getting on swings in the water, laughing about life all while having their very own bodies exposed to the world. What?

I had to decide for myself that I didn’t give a shit about what anyone on that beach thought of me and finally there came a point when I was just too damn hot to care. Toooooo damn hot! I took off my sun dress and exposed my imperfect legs and tummy, got into the cool water and went for the first and best swim I’ve ever been on in a Washington body of water since I’ve lived here.

The beach was perfect. I laid out in my swimsuit eating cherries and turning to sun my back. I didn’t care anymore by the end of the day, something I hadn’t felt in a long time. It feels good even if only momentarily to forget about insecurities and have fun on a beach in the sun with your friends and yourself.

I missed the sand in my toes, but not in my hair and not in every inch of my swimsuit and orifice of my body, so… that’s an upside to rocks. The upside to going out and having a good time without giving a shit about how you look = priceless.

Hot guys make the world go round

black dude with tats

photo courtesy of Dam He Fine

It’s no secret that we live in a body conscious society. As a woman consistently hanging out with other women worried about appearance, body shape, double chins, and cankles I am well aware that this is a problem that’s not going away. The beauty industry which includes but is not limited to cosmetics, fashion, skin care, hair care, cosmetic surgery have most women believing that they aren’t  good enough, sexy enough, and that there is always something better around the corner to strive for.

We are muses for artists (men), sirens, goddesses that hold sway over men with our beauty (power) but not because of any other aspect of ourselves. Along with the constant reminders that women should fit a particular mold, there is the simultaneously socialized belief that because women should and do “maintain” this precious beauty that we are in fact the supple, sexier of the sexes.

Hmm… what?

Okay, I’m not going to lie. I appreciate female beauty in every way. I happen to be bisexual and have dated people from both sides of the aisle and am not opposed to dating transgender people either, but what’s going on? Why aren’t men just as sexy and why isn’t it okay for more women to say that they long to see the chizzled lines of well-formed abs gracing more than a few magazine covers?

In my younger days I took a course in understanding the Male Gaze through media. A quick synopsis of it is that men and women both look at women through the male perspective, generally a term used when studying media. This gaze is why I generally believe that woman actually have a hard time “seeing” men because they are socialized to see women instead.

“More than just being an object of a gaze, the women in advertisements  become what’s being bought and sold: ‘The message though was always the same: buy the product, get the girl; or buy the product to get to be like the girl so you can get your man’ in other words, ‘Buy’ the image, ‘get’ the woman” (Wykes, p. 4)’”  If you want more info on the male gaze, check out this article. but hey I’m not here to create some discourse on this topic.

What am I here to do? I’m here to talk about the beauty, majesty, and grace of the male form aka Men’s Hot Bodies. Also a little about changing the perspective and really creating an independent female gaze. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go that deep, but I did do some informal interviews with a few friends that have varying opinions on how they feel about the male body.

The other day I had the opportunity to feel present in something that doesn’t often happen in a large gathering of females;  we fully objectified male bodies in a way that I generally only hear men do with women. We were  taking a gander at a zine owned by one of my friends called P33nZine.

P33nzine or PeenZine is a local Seattle male porn zine run by Sue Ellen Crandall, specifically catering to straight females. I insert straight here because most male porn mags are geared toward gay men. The six ladies at the table that night scrolled through and array of photos, while one lady yelled out, “More Dicks! Show me more dicks!”

dude

photo courtesy of Dam He Fine

We actually gave ourselves permission to judge the beauty of these men, every tuft of hair, every tattoo, every chizzled muscle. I can hear some of you groaning and saying, “but why would you want to judge? Why would we want to males to deal with similar objectification to females? Isn’t this just going to cause increased self-loathing amongst men?”

I definitely understand your questions and concerns, but… the real point is that women as a whole are often made to feel bad about even talking about and enjoying what the male body has to offer. We are not brought up to appreciate the male body as much in media as we are the female body.   Often, I think it makes it hard for women to know how to appreciate it because it’s not supposed to be thought about.

When I say judge though, I should also say that many women outwardly judge men differently than they would judge women. While going for the jugular with women, “look at her rolls! Look at those thighs! What’s up with her eyes?” The way men are judged is markedly different. If someone couldn’t appreciate something about one of the men, most would just avoid saying it and find something they found attractive about him instead of tearing down what was wrong with him. Though… it could just be that I have awesome friends and they probably wouldn’t go after women anyway because they’re not dicks and actually appreciate beauty in all women.

Were we actually looking at peen’s you wonder? Yes, actually we were because that is kind of the point of a zine called PeenZine. However, that’s not all we were looking at; there are usually bodies attached to them. I think it’s important to speak about the penis, dick, cock, prick, whatever it is you want to call it. It’s this thing that helps women procreate, have great orgasms, be jealous of because men get to stand and pee anywhere at a whim, yet so many women I know are disgusted by them when it comes down to gazing at them. What is this about?

I went to a Passion Party once that a friend of a friend was throwing and I was greatly disheartened when I heard ladies talking about closing their eyes and slathering up peen’s with a variety of flavored lubes so they could pretend when they were sleeping with their partner’s that it was a strawberry lollipop or something. Way to be sex positive people. Instead of instilling in women that dick’s and ball’ are gross, let’s talk about why they’re not and understand why they are a work of art.

Miss Sue Ellen of P33nZine stated that, “It hurts me when women who identify as heterosexual say that the male sex is ugly. How would they like it if men said their sex- their body was ugly or comical? It would deeply hurt and offend them. A friend of mine once said “penises should be felt and not seen”. What if a man said that about her vagina? We have to start looking at bodies in a different light.”

Michelangelo-David Okay, how should we look at men’s bodies? We should look at it as a piece of art the same way we look at women. Have you seen the David? Check out this statue to the right. You can google for full body shots, but I want to keep this blog PG-13 at the very least.

Men’s bodies are gorgeous in the way they are made from their more defined jaws, smaller hips, muscular upper bodies, and yes their penises.  Obviously every male body is made differently and that is also something to appreciate, many of my female friends have told me they prefer guys with a gut to other ones, because all ladies prefer different things, there is not one type just like there isn’t one type for guys.

I just don’t want to sit around pretending that I don’t look and I don’t want to feel bad for enjoying my gaze as a female. I don’t think there is any one male body that is the ultimate ideal, many different bodies are beautiful for so many different reasons. Yeah, I’m still a lady and personality trumps everything. We’ve all known that guy who was a 10 on the “hotness” scale and then opened his mouth and dropped down to a 1. That shit is scary, but true.

Men’s bodies aren’t some unknown and frightening territory and shouldn’t remain undiscovered. Please, let’s appreciate and not worry so much about what people think about us taking our power and ability to gaze as women and not as men.

The other day this list of the 50 hottest Jewish men in Hollywood came out. Check it out! Ladies like and appreciate all kinds of men.

Here are a few responses to my question from both men and women about the male body from their perspective and how they feel most females perceive the male body?  (I have kept the real names of my participants secre).

“I guess I feel bad when I think of how I perceive a male’s body. With all the “ideal” body issues women have to deal with in the world today and struggling with them myself…I’m the one who prefers that “ideal” male body. I’ve not gone on that date with the perfect guy because he was overweight. Does that make me the bad guy? Or in this case the shallow one? I feel like I’ll never know the answer.”  – Sara

“Hey, I am not sure how the female mind works in many ways, but in general I think women can overlook things like a little belly if the man is sexy in other ways or has security or capability and sex appeal not based on pure appearance. Women are physical too, but I think maybe less though than men. It depends on the person. I do know with the women I’ve talked to, even if straight they typically say the female form is more beautiful to them, while still appreciating male form in some way.” – Leslie (male)

“I love every inch of it… But I do believe in men landscaping (manscaping) anything they expect my mouth to be on.” – Valerie

“I feel that women as a whole have varying taste in how they feel about the male body. Some are into super buff dudes while other are drawn to frail skinny guys. There’s no rhyme or reason it’s just a matter taste and what tickles your fancy I guess.” – Mark;)

I don’t think about the male body. I like them all, and have pretty much dated every shape and sized man. I wish men were more willing to do this. Women obsess over their bodies all the time. When it appears to me that most straight men don’t ever have to think about it. But i guess if someone asked my ideal, it would be moderately hair, 5′ 10′ or taller, lanky or a little bit pudgy. As for the junk, at least 6″ and tight balls. I hate it when a guys balls can still be in the living room, when the party has moved to the bedroom.” – Hope

“I do not like my body or the male form. I feel like God phoned that one in. I feel gross and lumpy and poorly shaped and often sticky. I don’t know what a good alternative would be though. I think I assume the worst about how women perceive my body or the male form in general. I think I project all the nonsense I just said on to them (which isn’t true or fair).I assume women think I’m lumpy, smelly, etc, or that all guys are, etc. I also assume women primarily like lean, tall, guys with dark hair.” – Jesse

“When I think about a man’s body, I instinctively relate it to strength. But not in an Adonis/Hercules sort of way.

I think about how society has given man the burden of being physically and emotionally strong, and how that must be such a weighty load to carry. To not be able to cry, or waver—that’s got to create a lot of conflict. So, when I am able to observe a man who has learned to be comfortable with his masculinity despite those expectations, no matter what he looks like, or in spite of the conflict he may feel, that creates a respect for both the emotional and physical make-up of a man.” – Zeena C.

What are your thoughts?

Textiquette: What is it? Do you need it? How do you get it?

Textiquette [text-i-kit, -ket]: system of rules and conventions that regulate social and professional texting behavior.funny-text-whale Texting is either for you or it isn’t for you, but everyone I know has an idea of what is appropriate texting behavior, whether it be an immediate response from a friend, partner, coworker, acquaintance, fully spelled out words, little emoji emoticon extras, or anything in between. There are different rules for different people on the phone list.  We all know that. You wouldn’t text your boss the way you would text your friend with benefits, but where’s the line and how do we draw it? Depending on your relationship with varying arrays of people, I’ve developed a flow chart to help make the decision a little simpler for you. Click to Enlarge Or Click Here for a PDF version flow chart As most of us know by now, texting at its best helps us eliminate extended conversations with people when we are busy trying to get other stuff done. We can easily connect with others: plan meet-ups, cancel plans, gossip, send stupid pics, have full conversations under the table when we should be working, paying attention, etc.  The problem with texting is that sometimes it creates more conflict and confusion than intended. Have you ever had that moment where you sent out a text you thought was funny, but your receiver got angry because it didn’t sound like a joke? Well… it didn’t sound like a joke because it didn’t sound like anything. Words in a text don’t have the tones and inflections only your voice can send across. I personally believe there should be a whole different font in texting that signifies sarcasm because I’m known to throw in a snide remark or two with friends, which I of course always end with a good LOL to make sure the reader of the texts gets that it’s supposed to be funny. IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY! Have you ever ended up completely misunderstood by the end of a text conversation because #1. You thought you said something during the text that you didn’t and or you accidentally texted a key piece of information to a friend that you were simultaneously texting? #2. You texted something to them that was actually meant for your other friend. #3. Autocorrect messed with your shit but you didn’t notice until it was a little too late. Though most people are shying away from calling these days because texting just seems to make sense, sometimes for those “real” conversations you need to just dial that phone with the numbers and put your ear on the head piece.  This will help you avoid unnecessary confusion as well as reconnect you with some loved ones you haven’t heard the voice of in a while.  I will be making a tutorial for those of you who have forgotten how to dial. Texting Courtesy:

  1. If you get a question via text that even slightly resembles a high importance level – answer it within an hour. Even if you can’t answer the real question, let the sender know you received it and you will get back to them later. If you had time to check it, you have time to text back something like “busy, will respond later.”
  2. Don’t fight via text message. These fights never end well. Your fingers furiously fly across your screen texting back and forth about what’s wrong with that person and not with you, but it’s really difficult to get things resolved this way because it’s so impersonal. Just make a phone call or wait to do it in person.
  3. Set boundaries with people. If you have someone that is blowing up your text inbox, it’s okay to let them know that you would prefer a little less communication. Or let them know that you really can’t respond to all of their messages because you’ve got a busy life going too. People that “blow” up text message boxes are usually the same people who need immediate responses back in order to not feel jilted. Just let them know that you’re not the kind of person that reciprocates texts the same way; knowing this will usually keep them a little calmer and make them back off on texting you so much.
  4. You know your friends and family best. There are some people that you need to be more attentive with and some you don’t. If you know you have a friend that hates shortened spelling like, “u r gr8” then don’t text them that way.

You can’t control other people’s texting, but you can control your own. Go forth and be merry with your texty self! Forthcoming: Sextiquette: why everyone needs to understand it.

What’s keeping you from going after what you want?

I read a lot of Thought Catalog. If you’re unfamiliar with this site, I recommend that you get familiar – well kind of. It’s a digital magazine where hundreds of thoughtful , creative, brooding, wandering souls unleash their sometimes interesting, sometimes ridiculous meanderings onto the interwebs to help create an archival space for what’s relevant to 20 and 30 something’s that are still trying to figure out life.

Among some of their articles are titles like: 7 Social Anxieties Invented by the Internet, 5 Universal “Truths” about Dating I Don’t Understand, 12 Fairly Simple Ways to Stop Wasting Money (And maybe even save some), The Best Parts about Being a Relationship

What you’ll notice among them is that most of them contain some idea of a list being created. Like… these 5, 7, 12 things are the KEY to changing, figuring out, overcoming what grief you have in life. I honestly am all for lists but I fear that these lists give many readers the wrong idea, that if something is not listed than perhaps it’s not a worthwhile idea or they are doing something wrong versus what it’s actually intended to be – extra tools for that invisible tool belt you’ve got on.

The other thing you’ll notice is that most people are obsessed with dating, relationships, love, being stomped on, kicked out, unloved, single, obsessed. Reading some of these would make you think that there’s nothing else to think about in the world besides finding the perfect mate (though I suppose this doesn’t differ from any other magazine, movie, book out there, so I can’t fault it for this). I mean it seems like most singles I know are frackin’ freaked out about their singleness in one way or another anyway, this just reveals the ultra-crazy emotional side that most people aren’t willing to reveal.

Anyhoo, I’m not really one to be complaining about these damn lists or the fact that everything is so relationally based since yeah… like I said, I still read them all of the time, and I’m about to create a short list.

Recently they reposted one that I missed from last December.

You Need To Go After The Things You Want actually go read it first, it’s a fairly short read, then come back.

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Okay… good, now that you’re back, let’s talk about it a little.

I’m going to be upfront here and say that I loved this article. Yeah… okay, Mr. Ryan O’Connell may have gone a little extreme in some parts of the article, but what I’m loving here is all the emotion and all the “fuck, just do it!” attitude.

I wasn’t actually clicking on the article because I thought it had anything to do with relationships really, it just seemed apropos to my current situation of deciding to leave Seattle and get on with trying to actually find and get the things that I want instead of remaining stagnant.

Of course,  I should have realized I was about to click on a Thought Catalog article, which of course meant that it was surely going to be some diatribe on getting love. However, what it said is this in a nutshell, “stop being a fucking whiny hole of sorrow and despair because you’re not getting any of the shit you want and GO get it! At the very least try to get it because it’s not going to fall into your lap no matter how many secret spells you try to conjure or wishes you make on shooting stars. Trying is half the battle, if you don’t try then you’ve already lost.”

With that said, there are limitations to some of the stuff you should do, but as an adult you should also be aware of what is or isn’t going too far, if you don’t know, then you might need to grow up a little bit more first.

Things you may or may not want and need to go after

  1. A fucking awesome job: You’re stuck in your dead end job or job you hate. Should you quit? Should you stay? Well… you’ll know when enough is enough. If you’re at enough already and have been there for a while, it may be time to rethink what you’re doing and why you’ve reached enough and haven’t done shit about it. Perhaps find a new job, make a life change, just fucking do it! What’s stopping you? Oh… the economy? I’ve heard a lot of excuses, but I have some friends that even during the downturn in the economy were like “this sucks, I’m gonna change it” and did. (If you are reading this right now, you are likely fairly well educated, so don’t give me some sob story BS about how you, “privileged you” cannot do some shit with your life.
  2. A vacation, a house, a car, or any random material thing: Ask yourself, do I really need it? If you really need it, try to implement the ways in which you  need to get it. If you don’t know how, ask people who have achieved, done, figured this shit out before you. Isn’t that what friends and mentors are for?
  3. A life partner: In all honesty, it’s not really as hard as people imagine to find someone to “love,” but as picky fucking human beings we actually make it really hard for ourselves. I know that if I had wanted to be married by now I could probably have been, but how many people have I said no to, turned down, looked away from because I have my idea of an ideal mate? I’m not saying settle, I’m saying give more people chances and those people that you have crushes on (that are single) at least tell them how you feel because guess what? They are not mind readers. Maybe they like you, but they are just as paralyzed by the fear of rejection, losing a friendship, blah blah blah as you.
  4. A whole new life, travel the world?: Well this is easier said than done, but it’s especially doable if you are still let’s say single and 30230_511136117764_1950611_nunattached to your current life. It’s still doable if your current life partner has similar aspirations. Want to move to Bora Bora? Italy? The other side of the continent? Okay… what’s stopping you? No really, what did you just say to yourself? If it’s just money and there’s nothing else pressing, visit the bevy of blogs, books, zines dedicated to doing something they thought was impossible on little to no money. They exist.

Okay… well I’m done ranting. The point here people is to love yourself and the people you love by going after things, telling it like it is, and not hiding behind fear of everything. Don’t worry, I’m trying to listen to my own advice even though I haven’t always followed it.

Also, please re-read this Harvey Milk quote from that article one more time just to solidify all the things I just said.

Go after her. Fuck, don’t sit there and wait for her to call, go after her because that’s what you should do if you love someone, don’t wait for them to give you a sign cause it might never come, don’t let people happen to you, don’t let me happen to you, or her, she’s not a fucking television show or tornado. There are people I might have loved had they gotten on the airplane or run down the street after me or called me up drunk at four in the morning because they need to tell me right now and because they cannot regret this and I always thought I’d be the only one doing crazy things for people who would never give enough of a fuck to do it back or to act like idiots or be entirely vulnerable and honest and making someone fall in love with you is easy and flying 3000 miles on four days notice because you can’t just sit there and do nothing and breathe into telephones is not everyone’s idea of love but it is the way I can recognize it because that is what I do. Go scream it and be with her in meaningful ways because that is beautiful and that is generous and that is what loving someone is, that is raw and that is unguarded, and that is all that is worth anything, really.

 

Seattle: The Pros, The Cons, and the coffee

286_503831825624_2944_nIt seems that whenever someone decides to take a break from something or someone that the best thing to ultimately do is to create a pros and cons list. Am I right?

I actually kind of hate these kinds of lists. I feel like they logically take into account a lot of very great reasons for why one should chose a person, place, or thing but sometimes the emotional element that is present is lost.

With that said, I’m still going to try to create one and in the process try not to offend anyone that lives in this city that has grown fairly near and dear to my heart.

What you need to know.

As of August 5th, 2013 I’ll have lived in Seattle metro for 8 years. I moved here with my partner in 2005 because she ultimatumed my ass into moving here. The “you move with me or I leave you” scenario. Though I wasn’t crazy about her, I still made the move because I knew part of me was still crushing on Washington’s landscape. Every time I passed a bush, tree, or any greenery whatsoever in California, I thought “oh… Washington, you have so many more of these.”  (I suppose I could almost list this as a pro, my past crush on this state, though… we know crushes don’t always go the way we want them to once they turn into a real relationship)

Pros

The landscape – holy fuck Seattle is gawd damn beautiful when it’s sunny. Even when it’s not sunny, this place can make a grown woman cry just because of its majesty. Have you seen the snow-capped tip of Mt. Rainier on a gorgeous day peeking out from the South? What is that shit? Amazing! Have you crossed over any bridge here and looked out at the neighboring islands, other bridges, ferries, circling birds, waterfront? It’s hard not to get all high on life when you see it because it kind of stops your heart then starts it all over again. If you’re a Seattle lifer this is probably one of the main reasons you’re staying here.

The music scene – Granted, I haven’t tried the music scene in many cities, but I can tell you that I grew up as a musician here at the ripe age of 28. Yeah, I’ve only technically been a musician for 5 years now, but it’s been the best five years I possibly could have imagined. I think some people might think the scene is too cliquey and loose, but for a person going from playing nothing to at least being able to pluck out real songs on multiple instruments, maintain a fairly popular Seattle band, and write her own music, this is one of the best places I can imagine for support. Other cities (obviously I’m not in them) just seem a little more hostile and less likely to let someone with the least talent step up and become something. I’m so lucky to have begun my journey as a musician here.

The Ethiopian food – I happen to live right off of Martin Luther King and Cherry in the Central District in an area often referred to as the Ethiopian district. Can I tell you how good this shit is? I hadn’t actually discovered Ethiopian food until I went on a really mediocre date about 4 years ago, but since then, me and Ethio have been pretty inseparable. There’s a place across the street from me called Ras Dashen (one of the 6 on my block) that just the other day actually made me fresh authentic injera because I didn’t want the shitty gluten kind. You don’t know what delight is until you get fresh injera and a huge veggie combo to sop up with it.

My friends – my friends are fucking awesome. If you think your friends are awesome, I’m super happy for you, but I will always believe mine are better. They have brought me through some rough times with soft and tough love. I lurv them so much that I think they might actually be what’s hardest about leaving this damn place. Granted, it took me a while to build up a strong, wonderful group of friends (which I’ll complain about in cons) but once I got them they are definitely my rocks when I’m in hard places and good places. In general I’m in a good place.

The coffee – This is the birthplace of coffee. It’s hard for me to believe it could get any better anywhere else except for maybe some places in Europe (wink wink Italy). In all honesty it probably can’t. Stumptown, Vita, Victrola, Vivace, and yeah… I drink Starbucks and it’s because I worked there for something like 7-8 years (it grew on me).  When I went to New York a few years ago I walked into a Dunkin Donuts and was given the evil eye for not wanting cream and sugar. I will miss the good coffee.

Cons

The weather – it’s killin’ me smalls. I am currently in a haze of passionate love with the sun right now because this summer doesn’t even feel like living in Seattle, but… I still know what’s in store right around the corner, some dreary dreary fucking clouds! Not rain y’all, but clouds! I actually like rain, but I swear for how much people complain about it here, it’s less rain and more just overcast skies that feel like they’re weighting down my soul sometimes.  I want more sun! Okay… yeah that’s gonna change the quality of the music I write (I wrote a really sappy happy pop song the other day) but I think I should just get in touch with that side for a while.

The “freeze” – I know people hate when “outsiders” complain about this, but it’s for real. It’s haaaaard to make friends here unless you are the most outgoing person on the planet. You have to be pushy here to get more than one hangout with potential new friends but the problem is that people here hate pushy people because it offends their sensibilities. To this day I have maybe 4 friends in my pocket that are actually from Washington because it’s just a totally different way of being. I mostly attribute this to the gray skies keeping people indoors and letting them brood a little too much. I have had the opportunity to meet all kinds of great people while the sun is out on the streets of Sea town and it’s been great, but what I know is that once that sun is gone, so goes the town back to staying indoors and shutting out new friendships.

The dating scene – Holy heezbees, this scene is just… more difficult that it should be or has to be. Everyone here, guys and girls, are always complaining about how terrible it is, yet no one does anything about it. A crush on someone takes like 4 months to
play out into the first date. People don’t say what they mean, are terrified about getting hurt, and are just not willing to go out of their comfort zone.

People often ask me if it’s actually better in other places? Umm… yes, yes it is actually. In other places people actually talk to one another and ask each other out even if they might get “rejected.” How many of your friends do you know have said the same thing about the scene here? I bet you can think of more than a few.

The lack of diversity – another thing that brings me down. Just in case you haven’t noticed, let me tell you… I’m African-American. Well… technically I’m only 33% black 66% mix of all kinds of whiteness according to my DNA test, but I can’t get around the fact that I will always be identified as black. I miss living in a community of Latinos, African-Americans, Asians, Europeans, etc. I like to have kind of a balance. I do have more of a balance living in the CD, but as soon as I venture out into other northern neighborhoods I quickly realize I’m the token black girl. Embarrassing on those days I forget I’m black and then get reminded when someone randomly decides to compare skin color.

Seattle, if you don’t know what our population looks like, take a look at this from the census as of 2010:

White – 69.5%      Amer. Indian & Alaska Native – 0.8%     Asian – 13.8%

Native Hawaiian & Other Pac. Islander – 0.4%      Two or more races – 5.1%

Hispanic or Latino (of any race) – 6.6%     Black – 8%

Most of these People of Color reside south of Capitol Hill.

Sometimes I think this lack of diversity is also responsible for my dating misfortunes. Though interracial dating is getting evermore popular, it’s still not as big a thing in Seattle as in some other places. I can attest to the fact that I’ve been told multiple times by people, “I’ll sleep with you, but I couldn’t date you.” In reference to the fact that these people don’t want to take home a black lady to their momma.

Well that’s it for right now. I’m sure there are more things on the list, but I’ve got a variety of reasons for loving and disliking Seatown. I’ve gotta go try out some other cities, write some lists and see how those compare. Also, I need to give my heart a chance to miss this place a little and see if it’s still longing for it like it once used to.

Coco Cherie

Out with the Old

throwing-away

I’m not officially leaving for a few months, but I’m moving out of my current residence at the end of the July and couchsurfing for a few months before I go. This means that I have to purge my current life, the materials I’ve kept with me for a long while and some that I’ve acquired more recently. What I’ve realized is that Boyz II Men song, It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday, definitely applies to the situation at hand.

Getting rid of almost all of what my life contains is partially freeing and also slightly traumatic. I have memories in my “things.” Of course, the key to purging is remembering that all of these are exactly that, “things” and “stuff.” I can have memories without having the stuff to go with them.

I have given myself permission to keep one box of books of the 13 that I have (as of last time I moved). That means going through every book on my enormous bright red Ikea bookcase, touching the covers and remembering where I got each book, when I read it, what it meant. The ones that made the cut were the ones with the most memories attached.

Siddhartha – I’ve read this one at least 15 times in my life and now would be another one of those times to do this. Siddhartha takes a journey of self-discovery and leaves his life behind, which is a lot like what I’m going to do right now.

All of my Toni Morrison novels – these grew me up into a writer.  The Bluest Eye was the first novel by a black writer I ever had the privilege of reading and I believed I could be just like her when I grew up. Though I have days of doubt as a writer, I still believe I’ll write that one novel that changes some other little girls life one day and makes her want to be a writer too.

Shel Silverstein – When I was 14 I was admitted into a summer program at UC Berkeley for burgeoning poets. Admittedly I didn’t know much about poetry, but I knew Shel Silverstein had a poem called Twistable Turnable Man that had changed my life at the age of 7 most likely because it’s like rhyming on crack. It was like candy for my mouth just in words and made me high repeating it for days. He’s going with me to the end.

One Hundred Years of Solitude , Bel Canto, Middlesex – Just read them and you will understand why we can’t part. If I could write like any of these authors…

I have to part from a lot of other “things” too, but most of them don’t hurt as much as anything that came from my mom.

When my mom first died and I had to decide what to take and what to leave behind it was heartbreaking because I thought I could feel my mom in each object. I smothered myself in her smoky clothing covered in Downey scent for days just to inhale little reminders of her. I put her scent in boxes and jars and would open them on days I needed to smell reminders of her and bring her back to life.

I took as many pieces of her as I could because they were hers and I thought if they became mine that we would forever be connected.

She’s been gone for four years now and I realize now that most of the little pieces I took of her things aren’t at all what really connect me to her. There are some things I will keep forever like her favorite popcorn earrings that I thought were so tacky every time she wore them to the movies. I will take her scarves, because I still laugh at remember how she would cover her oil soaked curls with them and still have stains on her pillows on the morning. I will take a few of her broaches that she wore everyday on her suits to work.

I won’t take most of the Christmas stuff she left behind and I won’t take all the pots and pans. I won’t take the nail polish I’ve been holding onto and have never used. I won’t take the sewing machine I’ve never fixed and have never used. I can’t take everything, I just have to take the important things and I know she would still love me even though I’m not going to take it all.

I will always take her voice with me, the last birthday message she ever left for me before she passed. I have that and it brings her to me like a train smacks a car in its tracks.

Things will be left behind, but new things will come. Adventure, love, creativity, growth.  I have a lot of ideas for what I can get done on the road and they might not all happen, but I’m excited to try.

For now I’m resolved to try to be okay with that split feeling; the urge to hold onto more pieces than I can take, but knowing I need to let go. I did tear up for a few moments yesterday as I said goodbye to things and also realizing I’m taking a break from Seattle, which could be just for the short term or could end up being a breakup (I just don’t know yet).

I hope I’ll find my answers in the journey, but I also have to be okay with knowing I might not find answers at all.

Riri – I’m not getting rid of my knuckles, don’t worry.

Coco Cherie