How do you live your life?

Last month I ordered hundreds of dollars worth of books on Amazon about the meaning of life. Gross right? I actually am thinking I might lay out the strange trajectory of the books that I just read. Some of the books seem like they would be absolutely ridiculous, ahem “The Dance of Connection,” but I can often find just what I am looking for and leave the rest. I am like a scavenger; seeking to find the tidbits that sustain me and leave behind the bits that aren’t as appealing. Here are the books that I have read:

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

Unknown

Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life

carry on

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

gift

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

hyperbole

Man’s Search for Meaning

man

The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You’re Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate

dance

One Person/Multiple Careers: The Original Guide to the Slash Career

slash

 

Social Media is destroying your Social Life

There are aspects of technology that stay on the fringes of society: apps that don’t take off, social media sites that fail, dating sites that are too specializes. Yet there are some sites that have penetrated our society and have become as essential to our social connection as a handshake and eye contact. If you are 18-24 years old you have grown up with smart phones, messengers, man’s best friend google and 98% of you are on social media. 

There is no denying the importance of Facebook and other social media sites. The curious thing to me about Facebook, is that the barrier between life on Facebook and life-is almost nonexistent. I have been hanging out with people and we make reference to something we saw on Facebook. Sometimes I have no idea what is happening in peoples lives but thanks to Facebook: I know they had a baby, went on vacation or had a birthday.

On a sensory level, we can’t decipher the facade of Facebook from the actuality. And what are we exposed to on Facebook?  People post the moments in life that they want to celebrate and share with others, they share the moments that others will ‘like,’ they share images of the person that they want others to see us as. The poster is on the edge of their seat, anxious for comments and attention, and the viewer is scanning photos and updates feeling isolation, loneliness, and envy. Now doesn’t this all sound FUN!??

According to a study on Facebook use: The most common cause of Facebook frustration came from users comparing themselves socially to their peers, while the second most common source of dissatisfaction was “lack of attention” from having fewer comments, likes and general feedback compared to friends.

With 39 million views, check out this film on the subject, look up. ‘Look Up’ is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone.

Though on social networks, our “friends” can be in the 100′s, research has found that most people only have a few close friends. Only about 5-8 people can actually fit into our worlds. What is the point of social media, if it makes us hate life and we don’t event have the capacity for all the friends we have anyways?? Lets be fair: social media isn’t all bad. This duo, Bars and Melody, met on social media and they are so freaking cute. In some cases social networks can connect people to a world that accepts them and they can find networks of people, friendships can develop, and music can be made.

 

 

Do you Mean what I Mean?

Do you ever wonder, what is the meaning of life?? Well you aren’t alone. Rates of depression are staggering in the US and especially problematic among women and teens, with 17 million total cases of depression annually. You can bet your prozac that these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg , of a under diagnosed and heavily stigmatized illness.

Brene Brown, has one of the best Tedtalks on the subject and offers a unique explanation for the rates of depression and related problems in the US. She has been blazing the path towards soulful discovery with her blog, books and features in countless media publications. 

I absolutely love what RSA shorts did to a piece of her talk on empathy. It is cute, easy to understand and who doesn’t like watching animals act like humans??

I just finishes a book on the subject, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl.  With almost 5 stars, on Amazon, I had high hopes for this book. After I realized that it was about the holocaust, I thought the book was being sardonic with the title, “Man’s Search for Meaning” and I was about to put myself through torture. I wasn’t wrong in thinking this book will break your heart, but it also has such incredible depth and will  changes your life. It doesn’t find meaning in detachment or apathy, like some of the translated Eastern Literature; it finds meaning in blood, sweat and tears.

According to Frankl, meaning comes from: purposeful work, courage in the face of difficulties and love. 

viktorfrankl1

I LOVE the way he talks about love

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.

 

Wild about Wilde

I am such a fool for Oscar Wilde. I think that he must of been quite a rogue. Unlike Sarah Palin, who saw being rogue as a gimmick, like a super sale at walmart. Wilde truly pushed boundries. He lived and breathed his work and the beautiful, complex, richness of life. Below is a documentary about Oscar’s life and the impact he had on modern society. He says such wild statements like, ‘one way or another I will be famous, if not famous-notorous.’

 

One of my favorite ideas from Wilde refers to the relationship between art and reality. To Wilde, creating beauty was more meaningful than living in the actuality of life. Art was a way to shock society with irony. It wasn’t moral, he created the idea of art was for art sake but yet it wasn’t superficial; he used art to poke at what society valued.

I wouldn’t be alone is saying Lady GaGa and Wilde had more in common than their love for men.

“When I look back on my life, it’s not that I don’t want to see things exactly as they happened; it’s just that I prefer to remember them in an artistic way. And truthfully, the lie of it all is much more honest, because I invented it.” -gaga

Oscar Wilde is one of my favorites. He would say that his job, as a writer, is to tell life in a way that is richer than reality. And he succeeds. His writing is engaging, lively and multi layered. Solidifying his triumph at developing a world in words -combined with my love for sitting at home, drinking tea, curled up with a dog-nothing makes me feel more alive than reading his works. For a man who wasn’t able to live his full expression of self, he lived in secrecy and said, “ones real life is the life one does not lead” writing was an opportunity for him to live a fuller version of life; Proust and Wilde had this in common.

Proust is a literary icon, though he exhausts me. He was sick for most of his childhood and his experiences and world is nothing I can connect to. He exaggerated the mundane aspects of life and relishes in simple, strange, pleasures. Including going on for too long about how he longs to kiss his mothers cheek! Oh he is too much! Though he and Wilde created worlds that drew from wells at emotion and sensation in their writing.

“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me.”

Proust is talking about the infamous madeline or was he?? Some would argue that he wasn’t actually eating a madeline and was a victim of recall bias. Either way, it doesn’t matter; it just further supports art as the supreme reality.

 “All of us are in the gutter and looking at the star”-Wilde

cookies

 

 

 

*read*

An update of a previous reading list: 

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchel
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

*word*

images

Remember the way that time cloaked you in glitter

and you spun through the night

recall the way that you soaked up the whiskey at the bar

high on heels

higher on reels

spinning

your watch clicks in time and your headphones hide

your eyes find

someone else, lost

fighting demons in the night

picking at hangnails in the soft light

you longed to move towards the richness of destruction and

the life of creation

we walked like we are going somewhere

wishing for a place to call home

I curled up into something that smelled like memories

without knowing where I would go

you drifted off

I see you sometimes on benches, smoking cigarettes, dressed in black

your hair falls over your eyes and you don’t see me.

I stare fixated, hoping you will remember,

all of the times that night held us

and all of the times that we were going to run,

you look at me

my face yours

yet you never saw me

everything has changed

*yeah, this is me posting cheesy poetry that very much is cheeseeeee but hey if we don’t make bad stuff we can never make good stuff*