Monday, June 27, 2011

Doubt

Penelope Trunk said this on her blog: "People's ability to self assess is generally constant... If you can get a read on how someone estimates himself in one scenario, then you can apply it to other scenarios." It made me think about my skills and whether I'm as honest with myself as I think. It made me think about whether we are all as honest with ourselves as we think.

I wish I had her brain for 5 minutes, then I'd know what to do with the results of the Strength Finder test I took, in terms of narrowing down a career. 

My results were as follows: 


  • Achiever: I have an eternal fire burning inside me and a relentless drive to accomplish. Each day is not complete unless I feel I have achieved something, no matter how big or small.
  • Communication: I like to explain, describe, host, speak in public and last but not least write. I want my information to lock and capture attention and I have an affinity for dramatic words and powerful word combinations.
  • Significance: I want to be known and recognized by other people, but I want to stand out. I feel a need to be admired and want to associate with others like me; people who are credible, professional and successful.
  • Relator: For me a relationship only has value if it is genuine. Once an initial connection has been made with someone, I deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. I want to understand their feelings, goals, fears and dreams and want them to understand mine.
  • Input: I am inquisitive, and am a collector of things whether they be tangible or intangible [such as sources of information]. I read a great deal, not necessarily to refine my theories, but to add more information to my archives and keep my mind expanded and fresh.

You know what my problem is? I doubt myself too often. With certain things I immediately know what my decision will be, but when it comes to other things I get caught up in the "What ifs?" My goals are usually impeded because of that. For example, I'm delaying posting this here blog post because I feel like it can use another edit, but the reality is, it's fine enough as it is, three edits later. Additionally, I'm here questioning whether I'm as astute about myself as I think, when the truth is I didn't actually take the Strength Finder test, I just read every single strength description and picked the five that applied to me the most. So I'd say my self-assessment skills are rather good. Nearly perfect, if you will.

I need to work on banishing doubt. I know it's because I'm naturally a fair and just person and I feel like I always have to hear, understand and consider both sides and or outcomes before I come to a decision. I feel like I need to give it time and think through the "What ifs?" Although I know I'm brilliant, I hesitate because I sometimes wonder if there's something out there I haven't thought of, a possibility I haven't yet considered. And then I get all caught up in those thoughts and before I know it, time has passed.

I've heard lots of great nuggets of wisdom over the years and I've received some great advice, but the one piece that stuck with me the most was the few heartfelt words uttered from the mouth of a practical stranger.  He was a dancer [he danced with Lady Gaga and was on tour with Chayanne at the time] that I'd met the night before. It was summer, and we were sitting in a park the next afternoon, talking about anything and everything. There were kids playing in the playground near us, and I said something that I knew to be true about child rearing - just intending to make conversation. And right then, he turned to me and just blurted it out, as if he'd had this light bulb idea that I was resting on some brilliance.

"Don't ever doubt yourself..." he said, his voice trailing off. "You're on the right track."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Rebirth of Lady Gaga

One of my favorite photos of the Lady.

This was the first time I ever saw Lady Gaga, and I remember immediately assuming that she was some wacky overseas act that would fade into oblivion soon because people just wouldn't get her. And so, I changed the channel. But something about her intrigued me, so I switched back and upon further observation, noted a few things: her style was a little different and she was certainly no dancer, but her voice was strong and she seemed really passionate about performing.

She blew up soon after with "Just Dance" and as soon as I put two and two together and figured out it was the same girl, I found myself very pleasantly surprised. And as I got to know her, I grew to adore her; she shared my love of double entendres and blunt conversation [watch some of her earlier interviews]. Imagine my delight when I found that not only does she hail from right here [the place I also call home] but was young, smart and sexy. She had this coy but whip smart talent of luring the world in that other pop stars of this generation lacked.

Just a regular NY girl.
But Gaga has changed. In the few years since her debut she has morphed from this tough, New York, sexed up, intellectual kitten to some sort of spiritual enlightenment devotee and a "rejects of society" savior. I remember when she first came out, she reminded me of the Paris Hilton party girl type except with actual brains and space-age sartorial ensembles. She was the girl you could dance all night with and have intellectual conversations with the morning after.
Swag.

She's still as smart as ever; judging by her album sales, award winning streak and ever increasing popularity. But her steez has changed, morphed if you will, into something far different from who or what she started as.

She's become a martyr for human rights and a mouthpiece for the lost, disenfranchised generation. Although I think many of her fans can relate to that and wholeheartedly appreciate it, she is alienating her fans who cannot relate to such musings - she alienated them with her very first single, the lackluster and Express Yourself pt. II jingle "Born This Way". Born This Way was surely no Bad Romance, and the video didn't even help sell the package [which was totally the case for me with Bad Romance].

In the beginning I realized that Gaga had fans of all types: Marilyn Manson once professed his perverted thoughts of her, Snoop Dogg filmed a short video expressing interest in collaborating with her, and even at her concert I observed revelers of all types. She was pop royalty and appealed to so many of the masses.

Even her music has changed: songs like Starstruck, and So Happy I Could Die were true pop, with danceable beats and lollipop lyrics, all expertly hemmed together. Now she's singing about Judas and Jesus, and as an Agnostic, I have to say, she lost me. I mean I like Bloody Mary but do I feel weird as hell singing along? Hell yes. 

In my eyes, Bad Romance was Gaga's creative peak. She looked her best, she danced her very best, and although the song was not a personal favorite, the fact remains that it was a perfect blend of radio friendly pop and the dark gloom and boom of a Euro dance track that she was so intent on trying to merge. And with the glamorous video attached to the tune, her goal was achieved.

But after that it was downhill; Telephone was a weak song with a looney tunes tinged video, Alejandro never quite stuck with me and I found the video to be all out spooky... and it just got worse from there. In many ways it seems as if the Born This Way album is just a mish mash of scraps left over after the creation of Bad Romance, it has much of the dark gloom and boom but little of the fun pop. Unless you want to count 80s pop, her rendition of which I find lackluster and mostly cringe worthy*. It probably didn't help that she recorded most of it while on tour, it seems to me that a short break would have provided better material. Too many of her songs sound like other artists old ones, or even remixes of her own songs... ever notice how the "OoOoOoOo" that she sings in beginning of Judas sounds very similar to the "OoOoOoOo" she sings at the beginning of Bad Romance?

Not what's hot on the streets.
Yeah. Gaga, take a break doll. Your interviews are repetitive, your music is sucking and I'm afraid that you're actually losing your mind.

See you on the come up baby. We miss you.

*The only songs I really like from her latest album are: Government Hooker, Schiebe and Bloody Mary, which don't even hold a candle to some of my previous favorites. Sigh.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Glitter Therapy

You think I'm a tasteless, elitist bitch? Guess you haven't met the writer of Glitter Therapy yet:
Obviously women are not meant to lead a corporate lifestyle, the hours are bad, the outfits are worse, and the mundane tasks leave women so drained that they do not have the proper energy to matriculate the clubs to meet mid to top tier investment hedgefunders with alcoholic and violent tendencies in order to continue to re populate the generation of the highly overindulged and under emotionally nourished off spring. 
Ip so facto, I am starting a movement to remove women from all of Corporate America-Euro-Dubai, so they can focus on flat abs and appropriate cocktail party talk. Men run business Women run their money made.


HOWEVER, the exception to this rule is that you need to be  in Corporate America-Euro- Dubai in order to show society that you are not retarded even though a brilliant concoction of ritalin, bullshit papers, and asian tutor got you through princetongeorgetownmiddleburybrowntuftsvanderbiltdukecolumbunversity and need a pretend occupation for a short time.
So, my skinny pill popping bulimic hotel bar youth hopping gilt shopping co-workers, demand respect from the guys, look hot, do your job well by finding an asian to do it, smile a lot, double your dosage of adderall, wear a push up bra, and if a man tries to treat you like a maid, then slip him an ambien at lunch, blindfold him and take photos of him and top of him and post them on twitter and email them to his wife from an anonymous address.
Women may be positively retarded and getting the job done, but the fact is without our blow jobs, the stock market would not function due to the immense sexual tension that they suffer from.
She's shocking and hilarious. Welcome to the pocket of city life no one ever tells you about. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thought Catalog


Here I am on Thought Catalog. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep contributing - a good amount of the published articles are inane, the submission process struck me as a bit disorganized [edit: they've since fixed that] and the audience isn't exactly my type of crowd - but check me out nonetheless.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Know your Worth

I've spent a lot of time thinking about jobs and money and careers and what I really want out of life from that arena. And all that thinking on top of having worked many random jobs, has resulted in a bit of learning. So here is some of the stuff that I've learned [sans college, natch]:

Most of the time, your salary is based on perceived value. When I worked the phones for a hip [yet fledgling] restaurant in the meatpacking district, I had a lot to handle. I wouldn't say the work was strenuous or even difficult, but as the voice of the venue, I had to be on top of a lot of things and since I [sometimes] suffer from anxiety that task wasn't always easy. I was also being paid a pittance, so on payday my weeklong stress was amplified by disappointment. [The bartenders and waitresses there practically made my weekly salary in one night.] On the flipside, when I worked as a nanny, my workload was more physical and less mental, therefore easier... and I was consistently paid very well. Your value varies upon your position. The invisible voice at a pretentious restaurant was no match for the caretaker of a young innocent child.

There is a class system in place that determines perceived societal value and it has been ingrained in us since we were single digits young, where the only thing hammered into our brains other than ABC's and times tables was "Stay in school!" Why stay in school? So you could go to college and get a good job and not end up sweeping the floors at this very establishment. [Of course no one dared tell us the good money that sanitation workers actually make.] If you don't think you think in terms of class, observe the difference in your reaction when you hear someone say "I'm CEO of..." and when you hear someone say "I fold t-shirts part-time at..." Perceived value is why no one wants their kid to be the janitor or the sketch artist. Perceived value is why well-known actors and sports figures generally earn more money than doctors, firefighters or police officers. Through our actions [and purchases], we have made it obvious that these superficial characters mean more to us than those who provide our well-being.

Nature and nurture play a huge part in how we operate and deal with others. As discussed before, a lot of our behaviors and mentalities are derived from societal influence. We look to others to figure out what constitutes success instead of establishing that model for ourselves. We want to be told what we should do, act like and behave like. We worry about what others will think and what others will say, and as a result, ignore our true callings. We often worry about outlandish things like being alone forever or mad cow disease or terrorist attacks. First world countries are built around a certain curriculum that its inhabitants are expected to follow in order to ensure good, secure lives. And the truth is, many people struggle daily within this set up because humans were not intended to live this way. We were not intended to live under order, under rule - an order so rigid that it's damn near impossible to achieve anything outside the confines of it. I see a lot of people [including myself] breaking free from those chains and I can't tell you how happy it makes me. And it makes me hope that it sparks a movement among the rest of the human race. 

It is always a juggling act. It's hard to get everything done especially when you're living on a limited budget and your mind is being stretched in a zillion different directions. Every day my mind is swamped with things I have to do, things I want to do, things I need to remember, and many other random facts and thoughts and ideas. There's one other small detail that makes my mind especially crazy. I'm a woman. Every single week there's a million things to handle: deep conditioning my hair, shaving, giving myself a facial, flossing, making time for and catching up with friends and family, talking, texting, giving advice, listening, hanging out, grabbing a drink or a bite to eat, brainstorming, writing and editing blog posts; tweeting, doing laundry, washing dishes, cooking, remembering to eat balanced meals, paying bills, following up with whomever, planning for my future, endless research, writing writing and more writing etc. I've resigned myself to the fact that I will always forget something [always] and that as perfect as I want to be - I'm only human. [That was a forced wake up call because I shudder imagining what it'd be like to be a perfectionist with a family.] 

People are intrigued by what looks good. People somehow believe that those who look good have got their shit all together, and therefore seek to emulate them [see: The Kardashians - I refuse to believe anyone would have given that family a second glance if Kim - who essentially launched that whole empire with the emergence of her sex tape - wasn't so gosh darn gorgeous - pre face tightening]. This is also why fashion blogs do much better than most other types, this is why tabloids sell so well, this is why movie executives repeatedly rely on the same bonafide stars. The most common criticism I get about my blog is that there aren't enough pictures, especially pictures of me. And although I could easily exploit the fruits of my genetic lottery winnings [especially since it would make me that much more popular]; the idea just doesn't interest me all that much. I've never been one to vie for the superficial attention of others anyway, especially ones who don't pay my bills. [Also, let's be clear that this is a blog, a place where I'm supposed to, you know, write.] There may be more photos of me in the future, but for now I'm okay with sharing a few angled and [intentionally] blurry shots. [But let's also be honest here... Who cares what you want.]

Penelope Trunk is a big believer in this piece of advice: Fine tune your talents and then figure out which of them people are willing to pay you for, which I think is astute, especially for artists. But I'd like to give it a more modern spin if I can - instead of waiting for an opportunity to come along, seize the day and create your own! Long live the revolution! Don't wait for someone to give you a space in which to showcase your talents - find your own space! That's why writing for free under the guise of good exposure never appealed to me, I already had exposure on my own blog where I also had autonomy and total creative control.


Be careful what you wish for [cause you just might get it]. Oh, nothing prepares you for getting what you've always dreamed of. You don't know what your greatest desires will feel like until you acquire them, and that's because dreams are nothing like reality. You think you have it all figured out, all the tribulations, all the possible outcomes, but trust me, something you never anticipated will come out of left field and shake things up. This isn't always a bad thing. Just be quick on your feet and things will turn out well.

...Straight off the dome.

The Latest III

Even though I've been a little busy bee this past month, I feel as though I have nothing to write about. Either I don't care about anything enough to expound on it, or I find it too boring or too personal to mention. So I'm just going to write about all of it anyway because it might actually be interesting.

I was in the LES not too long ago, along with a friend who was nice enough to join me. We spotted Victor Rasuk and Kid Cudi filming How to make it in America [I knew because I saw a graffiti'd Rasta Monsta truck beside them] and I got excited because that means the show is coming back! We ate at Inoteca, and didn't totally barf when our healthy/experimental meals came out of the kitchen. [I had a mushroom and cheese panini and she had some couscous like vegetable thing. Yeah.] We headed to a networking event - which I was actually looking forward to because I wanted to get the word out about The Urban Art Wall. The thing about networking events is that even though they're brimming with potential opportunity and contacts, I generally find them awkward. [There's also the fact that the people you really need to be connecting with, don't usually attend networking events.] I'm used to approaching people with "Hey, you're hot" or "I like your shoes" not "So... what do you do and what can you do for me?" I inevitably end up gravitating to people I have things in common with [usually other young folk or people of color], and just leave it at that. Not exactly a recipe for success.

I saw two movies this past weekend: Bridesmaids and X-Men: First Class. Bridesmaids was flawless, the only thing that would have made it better is if they had played "Teach me how to Dougie" at the wedding [because the fiance's name was Dougie] so I could have a cheap laugh at watching white people awkwardly jig to a rap song. I was surprised at how laugh out loud funny it was, especially since most comedies barely make me crack a smile [which is why I usually avoid them entirely]. X-Men was really enjoyable. It wasn't as action-packed as previous installments but it moved at a steady pace and the story unfolded nicely. I had beef with Darwin's demise though. Couldn't Angel [Zoe Kravitz] have died? Her character was pointless. It didn't make sense that he died so easily when his superpower was adapting for survival. My only explanation was that perhaps he lacked proper training and didn't know how to efficiently use his superpower yet. Either way, The X-Men are my favorite superheroes of all time so they can really do no wrong. Batman is runner up, I guess, but only because of that whole dark and shady Gotham thing. What can I say? I'm a New York girl.

I turned 23 this month. I did a cute little dinner with a handful of friends at Yerba Buena [which was super yummy, everything from the drinks to the guacamole to the main course to the dessert], and then we strolled over to the stunning 230 Fifth. This is me prancing around the venue:

And much fun was had.
My friend took these on her Iphone. Amazing.

The month of May taught me all the about the intricacies of a relationship, and all of a sudden all of the oft mentioned quips I've heard throughout the years about love began to make total sense. I finally felt enlightened. Relationships are hard and take effort and compromise and tons of emotional maturity. But soon after my rocky month of dating someone gorgeous but cold and immature - I experienced the absolute flip side: I discovered how it felt to be completely comfortable with someone yet still giddily excited about them. I experienced being totally in sync with another mind and body without uttering one word to one another. I felt attracted and intrigued by not just the physical, but the mental, emotional and the spiritual. There is nothing like good energy and on fire chemistry, where the feelings and vibes are just right. I only spent a few hours with him [in the most public of places], and now I literally dream of being lit up from within like that again.
Things I'm loving right now:
  • Stevie Nicks [in general].
  • Kelly Cutrone's "Normal gets you nowhere" book, if only for the chapter about friendship/tribes and the tidbits about being careful who you do business with.
  • JoJo [in general, but recently for her too too real version of Marvin's room]
  • Penelope Trunk for saying what needed to be said: "People who treat animals like humans are people who cannot cope with complexities of human relationships. People who think their cat gives them what they need for companionship are probably right, because they are so underdeveloped emotionally."
What can I say, I have a thing for strong, talented, intelligent women okay?
  • This breezy, warmish weather. Summer is right around the corner and man! it's about time.
  • The city parks... in the past few weeks I've frequented Madison Square Park, Union Square Park, The Highline, Central Park, and even my neighborhood park this weekend [my brother and I gave the swing set a shot]. It felt real good to pump my legs on those swings, lemme tell ya. I'd recommend sitting outside or swinging on some swangs to anyone who is stressed out. It'll soothe you. 
  • Becca Stick Foundation, which is crizzy crizzy crack and doesn't melt off my skin or turn into an oil slick in the heat. It comes in 30+ shades, and mine is Toffee [which is often sold out due to lighter skinned women tanning and purchasing my color. Yeah.]
So I think that's it for things that I like. If you wanted to hear about things I don't like, there'd be 15 more paragraphs to sort through, so I'll spare you.