Archive for the ‘Friendship’ category

5 Effective and (mostly) Safe Ways to VENT

June 20, 2008

Here are my favorite ways to safely vent when something really pisses me off or when Im just having an all around shitty day:

1- Curse.  Thats the beauty of curses — they are words that have a strong meaning, but theyre still just words.  Observe: “Hey dude, FUCK YOU!”  See?  I expressed my rage, but I dont really wanna fuck the dude in question. And I put so much effort into the expressive FUCK YOU pose that I actually let off some steam there.  Just dont curse out someone bigger than you…then it would cease being safe.

2- WORK OUT.  When I started working for a big financial firm my brother advised me:  “When you get stressed out, dont start using heroine, like most of your coworkers.  Just go to the gym and take all the stress and channel it into your workout.”  Seriously, Ive reached new limits at the gym by going when Im really pissed, and Im on the road to dieselness as a result.  Thanks for making me work last Saturday, douche bag boss.  Im gonna turn that into washboard abs, get really sexy, and screw your wife.

 “Yea, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and work this weekend, mmkaay? That’d be greAaat.”  This dude will have you cleaning out your ab lines with a Q-tip in no time.

3- Call your best friend and ramble in a really loud voice about everything thats stressing you out.  A good best friend will let you do 95% of the talking, interjecting only occasionally to express understanding or empathetic rage (e.g. “What, she really did that?? Youre right, she is a fucking whore!”).  Keep going until youre exhausted and youll find yourself able to conclude the call by saying, yea this fuckin sucks but, whatever dude, I guess shit happens.  And isnt that the goal of venting?  I think it is.

4- WRITE.  I was gonna include this as a variation of #3 because writing can be a form of rambling, but writing is different in a way because it takes longer and, most importantly, it’s tangible.  You can see what youve written, read it over, and edit it.  Editing it is really important because it can be a slow process, and reviewing your rambled writing really forces you to think conscientiously about what youre feeling.  Taking care to memorialize your thoughts can be incredibly therapeutic.  The final draft often coincides with a feeling of closure, and you can move on after that.   Blogs are a great option. Some prefer writing with their own blood on the doors of people that broke their hearts.  Either works fine.  (Crap I forgot that these are supposed to be safe ways…that’s really limiting.  Ok…use fake blood…or ketchup. But trust me, it’s not as effective.)

5- CHOKE A PUPPY.  Preferably a small one.  A poodle perhaps.  YES!…Im just imagining myself walking in the ritzy Upper East Side and jumping one of those filthy rich snooty ladies, pulling the pure bred groomed poodle out of her $2000 leather bag and choking it until its tail stops wagging.  Wow thats already cheering me up, and Im not even stressed out! This method IS safe (for you, not the puppy) as long as the poodle doesnt have sharp teeth and the lady doesnt have pepper-spray.

Ok FINE #5 is not a good way to vent, but I forgot what #5 was supposed to be and I cant remember for the life of me. 

Im open to suggestions.

I’m an American, and I want a Visa, NOW! [please?]

June 16, 2008

Ive been saying for a while now that I want to live abroad, for a short while at least, and experience life in a completely different environment.  Ive begun to travel a lot recently, but that has only motivated me even more to get off my ass in pursuit of adventure.  I have a great job here in NY, some stability, friends…but there are other great places besides NY, my friends will still be here and I can make new ones anywhere, and stability at 23 is kind of overrated.  It sounds romantic, but living abroad for a while is becoming an itch that I have scratch.

Actually, it’s more like an infected, open wound.  Why?  Because getting a Visa in the EU (my preferred destination) is so damn hard.  What happened to the good old days when an American could just go and settle anywhere he wanted just because he was an American? OK I don’t know if those days ever existed, but I think it was easier before because Americans never fell into the group of skill-less mass migrants who threatened to rely on public assistance; American workers generally had more money and skills and were usually a boon to foreign economies.  But the way things have been going, the EU has its own surplus of skilled and educated workers, and work visas are much more easily obtained by laborers from third world economies than skilled foreign competition.

Being an American sure has lost its luster. What the hell, Europe! Dont you want me to bring democracy to your people!  Freakin commies…

My company won’t relocate me to a European office because, frankly, Im not nearly important enough here to warrant visa sponsorship.  I don’t feel like studying abroad just so that I can get a work visa, which is what I really want — that would be way too expensive. Basically, unless I marry me a Frenchie, I’m on the outside lookin in.

Chicago is looking like the more likely destination if I plan on getting my ass out of NY anytime this decade.

Worthless Words? My Text Message Poem

June 15, 2008

I texted this message to my friend on my way back from dinner, where I discovered that someone I care about is huge liar and hypocrite. It was a depressing discovery because I had a lot of respect for him before… my friend wanted to know how the dinner went, and here is the message I sent, in it’s original texted format:

Not too bad. But bad. I need to start doing drugs. Numbness is good. Short term at least. Words have limits. Theyre pretty worthless. But powerful. Weird. Limited, worthless…but so powerful. Mayb the impact is a result of the realization that theyre worthless…when you didnt believe them to be b4. Thats powerful.

Relax, Im oK i swear.

I dunno how I feel about this now, as I read what I wrote…I guess words arent totally worthless, cuz if they are, why am i even writing this? But maybe words are just the conduit through which we share our thoughts and feelings…ourselves…making words shallow in and of themselves, yet precious in effect.  Hypocrisy, more than anything I think, illustrates that words are nothing in and of themselves, and that they derive meaning from their source.  I’m gonna start paying as lot more attention to the source going forward.

Whatever. Words are overrated sometimes. I’m gonna bike to the park and lay on the grass for a while.

When Family Ties Become a Noose

April 8, 2008

Last night I went to bed at 2AM, much later than usual, and even then I couldn’t sleep. My mind was too busy formulating arguments, acting out imagined confrontations, and wondering how their consequences would shape my future. I was thinking about remote places I could move to so that I could avoid similar confrontations, then chided myself for entertaining the idea that even an ocean would provide a carpet vast enough for me to sweep my demons under. Sure, Fiji is pretty far away, but the demons that inhabit my head would still be within a whisper’s reach…unless I could somehow unscrew my head and punt it into orbit. Yet even then, would I finally find solace, or would what once were whispers turn into ear-splitting screams, increasing in pitch after every attempt to drown them out?

Probably the latter. But I didn’t go quite this far last night in bed. I was just pissed. I had just finished a two and half hour long “conversation” with my older brother. We barely speak unless we have to, and these days, I strongly prefer that arrangement. He does not. He wants me to call him more often, and he wants me to want to call him more often. He wants to be close, the way were raised to be, the way brothers are supposed to be. To many this may sound logical and wouldn’t be the subject of much debate. But when dealing with personal relationships, especially familial ones, how can there be a blueprint for the way they are “supposed to be”? Don’t all siblings have different relationships with each other? Relationships are based on mental and emotional connections between people. If every person is different, would not a relationship reflect that distinctiveness? Shouldn’t it?

The problem lies partially in the fact that my brother has an idea of the kind of relationships brothers should have, and he wants ours to conform to it. But I don’t feel that way. Not that brothers should not be close, but rather the relationship should be built on that mental and emotional connection, rather than the inherent physical one that family members are born into. I do believe that there is something innately unique about the familial bond, the idea of a shared origin and history. But I also feel that my brother, and many other people, get too lost in the melodrama of “the same blood coursing through our veins” bullshit and forget the bottom line – I’m and adult, you’re an adult, I’m this way, you’re that way, I believe this, you believe that…and in this case, I believe that you’re way of being and adult makes you an asshole.

There, it’s out in the open, sitting on the table both of us were envisioning in our minds as we spoke on the phone. A little box that my brother’s astral form walked over to and opened, pulling out the sweater that my astral form knitted for him. It was a thick, heavy sweater with an unattractive horizontal stitch that made him look fatter than he was. And in the middle of the sweater, it read, “ASSHOLE.”

He refused to wear the sweater, of course. I tried to explain to him in a sincere and sympathetically blunted fashion why it was a perfect fit for him, but when I held it up to his chest and he stole a glance in the mirror, he didn’t like what he saw, and threw it back in the box. But I explained to him that I didn’t knit that sweater alone; he had been knitting it with me, guiding every pierce and pull and knot of thread. Whether or not it looked the way he wanted it to look is irrelevant. We both made the fucking sweater. Wear it, Goddamit. I’m sick of hearing that the sweater should read “BROTHER” instead. If you want, you can make it read “ASSHOLE BROTHER”…but he never relented because he didn’t believe that the two words could form a meaningful phrase.

But you know they can. You have a sibling. You share a deep bond that will probably last your entire lives. You say you probably love him or her in a way…but really you know you do and just don’t like talking about it. You haven’t had such a fucked up lifetime movie-esque past that would cause you to completely deny those feelings, or to outright abandon them. But you can love someone and still dislike them. How you interact and socialize with someone on a regular basis – not when compelled to by circumstance, but rather on the basis of trust and comfort – will be governed by whether or not you like that person, rather than by virtue of a shared genetic code that too often unravels and takes the shape of a noose that tightens with every struggle.

Unlike my brother, I am OK with not being that close; our relationship is 23 years in the making, and I accept it for what it is. I cannot will myself to change how I feel about him, nor will I attempt to in an effort to recreate p. 17 of the Happy Family Handbook. I am not against change, but if it happens it will happen naturally, just like it always has. I am lucky enough to have people in my life who I genuinely like and trust and can count on for support, mainly close friends. And while my brother spent a lot of time last night on the phone trying to impress upon me the fact that friends can never be family, and warning me that they cannot be counted on the way a brother can, my past and recent experiences, as well as my observations of the experiences of others, have proved to me that anyone who believes this has not been blessed enough to experience true friendship. Your brother or sister may also be your friend, but then again, they may not be one at all. My brother was quick to regurgitate what he felt were time-tested nuggets of traditional wisdom, but given that he has proven himself to be unworthy of my trust, they were interpreted to me as nothing more than clichés – hollow and meaningless, and certainly inapplicable. I can’t help but imagine someone sitting in small lonely boat out on a lake, hookless, baitless fishing lines deeply submerged, floating stationary and lifeless as the fish swim by, attentive but not persuaded.

What I’m trying to say is that while family ties are special, they should not be taken for granted so as to simply assume that they can forge and maintain a healthy relationship amongst those between whom they exist. It is not that easy. Meaningful relationships rarely are, and they shouldn’t be. Trust may lie in the heart, but it is not necessarily bound by blood. And while the grounds for closeness might be more fertile in the family plot, it also requires a hell of a lot more water. If it’s important to you, you would be wise to tend to it often, because even if the flowers never completely dry up, it is actually quite easy for them to grow apart.