Tag Archives: haters

“And Now: The End Is Near.”

Blog post number 351:  Bam!

Every day, after I hesitantly press the coded “PUBLISH” button on my WordPress’ dashboard, I wait for the website’s quirky exclamations to appear on my screen:

Right on!  Bonanza! 

Bingo!  Superb!  Fab!

At least half a year ago, I stopped noting each post’s number; and as of recently, I’ve also lost my addiction to the stats columns.  It’s not that I’m indifferent toward my readership, in any way:  No sir!  I just don’t have any time in the day to check my numbers as religiously as the newbie-blogger me used to do, a mere year ago.   So:  I just collect the praises.

Besides, even if I have checked the stats, wake me up in the morn’ — and I won’t remember a thing about them.  Instead, I could tell you plenty about the remote neighborhoods of LA-LA for whose visit I’ve had to borrow Superman’s cape, so that I would beat the traffic and be on time, along with all the other pros.  For a while, in the hours of the next day, I can recall the hustle of the previous one:  the projects that I’ve pursued, the people who have delighted me; the coffee shops at which I published in between my commitments; the anxieties, the victories; the tiny defeats and inspirations.  But by the end of the week, the memory gives way to the nearest ones — of mostly yesterday.

Awesome!

Truth be told, I don’t even recall what I’ve written just two days ago.  Therein must lie the cathartic charm of art:  For once the written word leaves my laptop and leaps into the mysterious vortex of the internet, I have already lived it out completely.  I’ve let it go, you see, with more grace than I’ve ever practiced in any of my relationships.

And in the entire 351-day history of my blogging, I’ve returned to stories — to rewrite their endings or to keep telling them — in all of five times.  I just don’t do that, I guess:  Once I hit “PUBLISH”, the story gains a life of its own; and I allow for its destiny to determine where in the world it flies and whom in the world it reaches:

Magical!

Looking back on the year of daily blogging, I myself must admit that I had absolutely no idea as to what this writing adventure would turn out to be.  First, there would be the technical challenges of course:  Learning the sites, studying the patterns and manners of other bloggers, upgrading my own computer, and eventually narrowing down my art’s topic — while in the process of doing it.

But those, I immediately saw as the perfect excuses to learn:  To step out of the fearful pattern of my mind and to submit myself — to change.  In the end, as even back then I already knew, it would be rewarding.  And I was right:  It has been.  And it deserves praise.

The personal challenges that came with my now spoken — better yet, written — desire to have a public persona, I could NOT have foreseen.  When at first, the opinions of readers and friends began flooding in, I was thrilled.  But it wouldn’t be too long before I began hearing criticisms and watching how my friendships started redefining themselves.  At first, I geared-up with my anti-hating campaigns and googled other artists opinions on the matter.  But then, eventually, the angst ran out.

And it hasn’t been a surprising discovery that I have never complained about having to publish on any given day.  What I’ve been practicing — is a privilege to live in art; and the discipline of its pursuit has never gotten in my way.

And speaking of discipline:  This year, I have discovered it to be THE grace of all other working artists.  Those who succeed the most, work the most (and, therefore, fail the most, too).

And actually, no matter the hustles of each day, discipline indeed turns out to be my saving grace:  It gives me a reason to be, despite the failures.

Marvelous!

So, it’s been one challenging year, because its every day I’ve spent creating.  And after all that shedding — the mourning, the flailing, the pleading, the lashing out; the learning, the changing; the growth; the acceptance — I am proud to find myself in a place of surrender.  Because no matter all other circumstances, I do this — because I must.  Because to do anything else — would be dishonest.

And so I allow for the world to happen, while I continue to happen — to it.

And also, I allow for its praise:

Magnificent!

“Inhale, Exhale… Hold Up, Wait a Minute!”

“All you have to do to be a miracle — is breathe.”  

Who said that?

Here is the thing with me this morning, my comrades; here is the thing:

Defeatists make me lose my hard-on, for life!

Because no matter my own chaotic, insane; perpetually hysterical or complicated; difficult or impossible to decipher mindset, I tend to march around this kinky town while daring to have a stubborn enthusiasm for some good livin’. 

“What?!” you might snap.  “You call yourself a Russian?!”

Well, here is the thing, here is the thing:  Yes, there is an inherited quality to my former nation’s character to be dark (and perhaps, to be simultaneously or accidentally poignant, thank goodness).  And yes, Motha Russia is a continent full of old souls nostalgic for their lost innocence.  And finally, yes:  No other nationality seems to beat us at our love for death.  Because in death, we no longer suffer, da?

But the other national quality of my former motha’land — is an ingrained desire for some stubborn livin’ (not necessarily good livin’ — but livin’ nonetheless).  Be it an incredible vastness or beauty of my Motha Russia; but the variety of its scenery makes our old souls want to howl at the moon, with desire.  Or is it love?  Or wanting to take in one more breath — because in it, there still may be some hope?  (One of my favorite thinkers o’er there once identified this quality as “godliness”.)  Da:  Motha Russia — is one gorgeous motha’fucker; and she makes you want to live.

“You are an artist:  You CANNOT be a defeatist!” 

Who said that?

On this 175th day of my rant blogging, my thoughts on the meaning of art appear to be better formulated.  (They better be, da?)  This year, I’ve had a slew of mouth-foaming arguments on the definition of art and who exactly identifies it as such; and what makes it last; and whether or not art makes any difference at all.

And here is the thing, there is the thing:  I believe that art — is in the eye of the beholder.  And yes, it does indeed have the power to change a mind, a mood, and maybe even, to change a heart.  But making a difference — cannot be an artists’ objective.  Or at least, it cannot be this artist’s objective.  Because I live — in the very doing of it.  It is the process of creation that turns me on.  Kinda like breathing.

Because in it, there still may be some hope, da?

Which must be why the mandatory discipline of it comes to me with such ease.  As for its sacrifices — they merely add inches to my writerly dick.  ‘Cause here is the thing, here is the thing:  I could take an easier route; perhaps, get myself one of those nine-to-five gigs, excel at it and settle for a more mundane survival.  Maybe, I could play it up a bit on weekends or live vicariously through my affairs with men.  And eventually, I could start raping other dreamers with my skepticism, hating them for reminding me of my own unhappening ambitions.  And I could wait for my death.  Because in death, we no longer suffer, da?

“And that is exactly where defeatism must dwell:  Wherever the soul surrenders its dreams.”

Who said that?

“Man, I hate this fucking town!” a comrade I hadn’t heard from for months was venting to me last night.

I got his spiel.  Really, I did.  I was’t even judging.  Because I too have faced some challenges in this city and allowed my inability or fear to expand beyond the difficulty of the moment; then, blame the entire city for it.  Because here is the thing, here is the thing:  LA-LA is one of the most common scapegoats for personal failures.  Here, the defeated equal the dreamers.  (But oh, how I have always wished for the defeated to move on; to return home or to leave for better suitable cities!  But for whatever geographical reasons, they stay, making this — the capital of defeat.  So:  Thank goodness for its dreamers. Because in them, there still may be some hope, da?)

Last night, I tried to work with the brother, trying to convince him out of his hatred:

“Yeah, but look at all these things you have accomplished!”  I strained my memories of our rare encounters for any recollections of his pursuits.  Sadly, there were none.  None that I could remember.  Yet, still, somehow, in this man’s occasional sweetness and simplicity — in his mere breathing — I saw some hope.

But he was on the roll by then:  “I mean:  There are no jobs here!  And the women are shit, and…”  He wasn’t even listening.

I studied his face and wondered what had brought him here in the first place, to this city shared by dreamers and the defeated alike.  Surely, there had to be a plan, a vision; or perhaps, a former love.  And what made him stay here, long enough to immerse into the pool of such bitterness and self-pity?

“So?  What are you up to?” he had exhausted himself with his monologue and politely remembered that I was still there.  He wasn’t a complete goner, I suppose.  Not yet.

But no way!  No way was I going to tell him of my dreams, still in the making; of my art — still in the happening.

Because here is the thing, here is the thing:  I believe that art — is a celebration of life.  It’s a celebration of livin’, not necessarily good livin’ but still:  Livin’!  Stubborn livin’ in pursuit of love, in pursuit of hope — all of which must live in the very next breath; in the very doing of it.  And it is this very pursuit that makes my livin’ — a good one.  And good livin’ — is a celebration of the miracle that is self.

Who said that?

Hands On! Balls — Out!

No way!  No way I could’ve foreseen what this year would bring!

Almost a year ago, I was merely picking up the pieces.  For I have lost myself in a love, as I have done so many times before; and it would take my falling hard — so hard! — to never do that again.

Of course, as before, I’ve gotten up, gotten myself a job and an apartment, fixed myself up, fell back into another love.  Didn’t like the job, got a better job; made lists of desires and dreams, went for them.  Started a project — balls out! — got an odd gig to support myself through it; the gig went under, but I already had something else lined-up.  Watched a love depart — fell down again.  Got up, continued the project, left the better job, became self-employed.  Made more lists, with new desires and clearer dreams.

True to my feline nature, I tend to land on my feet.  Never out of a job or a dream, I am not the one with a failing ability to survive.  But oh so much time has been wasted on the anticipation of the fall!  Fears have turned my memories of time into rubber.  Days, pages of journals, other people’s attention has been wasted on my doubts.  And every single time, in the past, I noticed the faces of my comrades get skewed by a slight disappointment:

“A Woulda Coulda Shoulda — just doesn’t become you, V!”

No way!  No way I could’ve foreseen that doubt would suddenly become a new allergy of mine, making my entire body short circuit with impatience and annoyance:  I know better than that.  I AM — better than that.  These days, I shake it off, like a midnight shiver or an atrocious sight I’d like to forget.  And forward I launch.  Balls out!

 

“You know who would’ve have been eighty years ago?”  a beautiful boy-child was asking me last night.

“I dunno,” I was chuckling, tickled to the outer edges of adoration by this creature’s innocence and kindness.  “A suffragette?”

“Amelia Earhart!” he said with such a surplus of conviction, I had to stop chuckling.  “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.  The fears are paper tigers.”

Damn, I thought, he just did that!  That beautiful boy-child simply launched into a quote by the very epitome of courage, on courage — balls out! — and with his uncensored act of curiosity and goodness, he then resurrected me.  Because that’s what they would much rather do — my comrades! — remind me that a Woulda Coulda Shoulda just doesn’t become me.

Let me do that one again:

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.  The fears are paper tigers.”

When I started my rant blog — 157 days and nearly 30,000 hits ago — no way (NO WAY!) I could’ve foreseen the obstacles and the lessons.  There would be, of course, lessons in my own craft and discipline.  I had hoped for those!  But even then, I couldn’t have imagined the amount of skill that a curiosity equipped with courage could deliver.  The unforeseen has also brought on quite a bit of unexpected pain.  I could NOT have predicted the insecurities of others that my acts of personal courage would activate.  Neither was I prepared for being misunderstood, dismissed, or hated upon.  I had no idea so many humans anticipated another comrade’s fall, in this world!

And so, recently, when yet another human had given me grief — hitting below the belt this time, via his intimate knowledge of me — wrathfully, I thought:

“Don’t you dare doubt yourself!”  (Well, actually, I first thought:  “What the fuck?!”; then gathered my graces and thought the other thing.)

Because I could waste more time on making new lists of how I want my art to be perceived.  I could worry about my image and the memories I would leave behind.  I could undermine my courage or my character by writing retractions to suit every single person I could’ve possibly offended along the way.  I could do all that; but a Woulda Coulda Shoulda just doesn’t fucking become me!

Every visionary I have ever admired, every artist ahead of his or her time, every leader that had stepped up during times of historical changes — they all had to have had these growing pains.  I may not have the audacity to aspire to be in the same category with Susan Sontag or Zadie Smith, Vladimir Nabokov or Junot Diaz.  Roth, Bukowski, or Lahiri.  I am no Frida Kahlo or Yoko Ono; and I am a fucking galaxy away from Lady Gaga.

But I do have the audacity to aspire to their courage:  The courage that is takes to make up a mind — and to act.  The courage that demands to finally put away all those lists of desires and dreams.  To stop venting to your comrades about the challenges and the fears, the betrayals and the growing pains.  To stop apologizing for your vision, for your ability to dream.  To undermine your talent, skills, education, history — with doubt.  To retract for the sake of those whose most treasured outlet in life is to tear down those who scare them — those who fucking dare to dare!  But to make a decision — balls out! — and to do.  To act.  To be:  To be precisely the YOU that your talent, skills, education and history has created.  To live up to the potential of the magnificent, the authentic being that every one of us — already IS.

And so I say:

To every dreamer that may have stumbled upon this page by accident or every comrade that continues to return to it by devotion:  A Woulda Coulda Shoulda just doesn’t become you.  Make a decision and go for it:  Balls out!  

Don’t you dare doubt yourself!  If your vision is true, don’t retract it.  Get to the edge and jump.  

Your people — truly your people — will stand by you, I promise:  Because in their eyes, you are already already equipped with wings.  They’ve just been waiting for you to start soaring.

There will be many challenges.  But there will also be new heights, new sights, new comrades.  And as Amelia Earhart once dared to say:

“You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”

Let me do that one again:

“[T]he procedure, the process is its own reward.”

Balls out, comrades!  See you in mid-flight.

“Where Dem Girls Talkin’ Trash?”

Mornin’, Haters!  Rough night?

I’ve been watching you, you inconveniences of the human race!  You interferences en route to the happiness of my own!  I’ve caught you sticking foreign objects into the spokes of my fellow dreamers’ rides, for reason you don’t even know yourself.  Around this town, you slither, dropping banana peels out of your back pockets as if they were horse shit.  I’ve heard you hiss and gloat at others’ defeat, chiming in your hateful sounds into the collective white noise that hangs above LA-LA like a toxic rainbow.

What?  You think life’s unfair?!  You think you deserve better?!  Perhaps.  Most likely, yes, actually; for life could always be a lil’ bit better, or easier, or more just.  But you’ll be getting bupkis, if you continue to reach for a piece of someone else’s happiness.  You gotta make your own, you see.  Play your own game.  Place your own bets.  Cast your risky ballots.  So, let me do you this favor and tell you what you look like; because no matter how pretty the wrapping, a hater — is always a nature’s disgrace.  Now, you don’t wanna be that, do ya?!

As for you, my magnificent dreamers:  Take notes!

—  A single hater — is easy to pick out; for whatever smoothness they may possess in a social setting, they are always accompanied by a slight stench of discomfort. It may be disguised behind a narrowing of their eyes or a hideous, strained smile.  Beauty always sets off a certain discomfort in their skin.  So, they start shooting the comparing looks and tagging on their own clothes.  That’s the moment in which their self-hatred becomes so unbearable — they better start looking to blame someone else for it.

—  When they speak — insincerity is their spiel. Some of them think they are so suave, with their forced compliments and eager nodding!  All you gotta do — is do The Fake Walkaway. Besides sex, it’s my favorite sport, my gorgeous comrades, and it goes like this:  You wrap up the chat, excuse yourself and swing your proud head in the direction of your fake destination.  Then, count to three and quickly look back.  The spiteful stare that you’ll witness will make your skin crawl, so brace yourself, my dreamers, and start groping for your own forgiveness and esteem.


—  A ballsier hater will address you with a pet name. See the following list:  “honey” or “hun”; “missy” or “Miss Thang”; “look atcha” or that annoying “aah” sound, as if they were looking at babies.

—  Female haters — a special category. To me, it’s the most fascinating and heartbreaking one.  They glare at beautiful girls from behind the rims of their martini glasses.  If confronting beauty face to face, they linger before smiling (if at all!); and even then, that smile is so painful, their faces appear pumped-up with Botox or novocaine.  It is beyond their ability to pay a compliment that’s not back-handed.  Here are some samples:

“Pretty dress,” — (sometimes, they start pecking with their hands at the mentioned frock) — “Whereja get it?  Forever 21?”

“I love your eyebrows!”  They squint and lean in.  “But they’re a bit crooked though.”  And then:  THEY TOUCH YOU!  Some haters are big on touching:  It’s their way of testing just much they can violate your boundary.

“Nice hair!”  “Nice” is a female hater’s favorite adjective; and they say it as if whining a bit.  Sometimes, a “nice” is accompanied by a raising of eyebrows, or a rolling of the eyeballs, or a chuckle.  Other times, they may even pat your shoulder blade.  But on the receiving end of it, these gestures always make you feel like a leper.

—  Some haters hang in packs, kinda like hungry hyenas, waiting for the scraps of a lion’s dinner.  You can always observe them congregate:  hissing at the same round table at Starbucks, or hugging the walls of a dance floor, or giving tiny blow jobs to their cigarettes while being quarantined from the healthier mortals.  In packs, they’re slightly braver and maybe even sadistic.  So, beware when passing them:  Hold your own and be prepared to retaliate!

—  Speaking of a comeback:  The only way to handle a single hater — or a pack of ‘em — is to call ‘em out. Here, the good news is you needn’t be mean or vindictive.  What freaks out a hater the most — is honesty.  So, you see, my glorious creatures, it’s not about defending yourself.  It’s about confronting atrocious human behavior with self-possession and truth. All you do — is call it like it is:

“You sound condescending,” or “Is that a back-handed compliment?” usually gets a hater to panic, for they’re weasely fuckers.

“Is there a problem?” or “Do you have something to say to me?” just might give ‘em a heart attack.

But I must confess here:  It’s a little bit fun to watch them scramble for excuses and less than eloquent explanations of their original meanings.  It’s the only pleasure I get out of handling a hater, bare-handedly.

Besides that, my beautiful boys ‘n’ girls — you dreamers that make this fucking planet worth treading! — I treat dem haters like a herpes-infected piece of chewed-up and discarded gum:  Avoid touching ’em with my hands, scrape ‘em off the bottom of my fancy shoe and leave ’em on the side of the road!


“You Mad? I Thought that You’d Be Happy I Made It!”

Clearly, my “little rant blog,” as tagged by a former lover a few hours ago, has been invoking reactions.  There has been an occasional validation from complete strangers—young women, older wives, heartbroken lovers, married couples, and gay men—my adored readers continents and time zones away that make my artist’s ego revel in the illusionary and ever-so-fleeting thought of:  “At least, my art matters!”  It’s like honey to the inflamed larynx of a screaming revolutionary!  But then:  I get up again, at some ungodly hour of the morning, put the compliments in my back pocket, clock-in and begin at ground zero:  Regardless the moody cunt of Inspiration, I publish prior to one of my four survival jobs.

The reaction of some friends and most exes, however, has been less than enamored:

“You’ve reality lost your humanity!” I found on my voicemail today.  Try swallowing that pill with your morning coffee!

My art gone public has tested my comrades—people that have a certain degree of an in with me.  Most have known me for years because, despite my wanderlust, I don’t lose track of human hearts.  Sometimes, to my own fault (and to the expressed puzzlement of my beloveds), I’ve kept in touch with my exes, if only for the mere benefit of recollecting a mutual story down the road; because, despite being a storyteller, genetics have granted me with the most pathetic short-term memory.  So, my people—are my memory keepers.  As for the woman in me, the scorned lover gives room to forgiveness quite quickly.  I accept the humanity of those who acted less than kindly in my past and eventually hear the long-awaited apology from them.  But by then, the forgiveness has already been granted pro bono, and I’ve moved on—to other loves and newer pages.

For years, I have written in silence.  Years! It was a closeted activity—like a mute’s challenge to the world every morning.  During those forming years in New York City and LA-LA Land, my people would chime in:

“What are you doing with your life?”

“What are you doing with all these jobs?!”

And my favorite:  “You know what you should do?,” followed by an array of unrequested advice.

Well, here I am, comrades, I thought on the first of this year:  Finally, doing it, just like y’all recommended!  I am not half-ass-ing it either!  I am not working on the next Good Will Hunting as every other regular at my local Starbucks, praying to be discovered by an accidental agent ordering his or her morning latte.  I am not venting to some similar wannabe at a late night dingy dive, both of us getting lost in a forest of empty beer bottles.  Neither am I drowning in depression while listening to my friends’ rants on the topics of casting scams and shady agents.  I don’t pity them—or myself—during the self-loathing routines about being insignificant.  Instead of wasting my breath on “What I’m gonna do”—I fucking do!  And I tell my colleagues to do the same.

“So, here I am,” I thought, on day one of 2011…

Oh, but what’s this?  Silence and spite?!  Didn’t expect that!

Forty days and forty-some blogs later, some of my people are falling by the wayside:  Shocker!  All those well-wishers with written proposals on my predestined career paths—have suddenly gotten quiet.  Where the fuck did they all go?!  As for my formerly beloveds, suddenly my friendship they’ve been “so grateful for” is not something they can handle:

“You just sound so angry and hurt,” they attempt to hide behind another set of fake intentions.

No fucking shit, Sherlock, I’m angry!  But please do me a favor and keep the pity card in your own stack.  If you’re suffering the stings of your guilty conscience or fear of being exposed—despite the anonymity of my blog’s characters—don’t project your shit onto me.  I’ve moved on, remember?  I am NOT interested in your apology—just your kindness.  Or your friendship.  But if you must run away, I must thank you for exposing that your love for me was never unconditional; that my success was not one of your interests; that to this day, you haven’t learned the lesson and remained equally self-involved as you were back in your selfish twenties.  Do move on, my darlings—and although disappointed, I mean it in the best of ways:  God bless—and get the fuck out! Another forty days and forty-some blogs later, I hope to find myself surrounded by the selected and the stubborn few who’ve made the wellness of my heart and the success of my work their daily prayer.  Those who behold for me, never calculating in the “what-if” of my failure—just because it’s not a fucking option!—those are welcome to come along.

As for my “little rant blog” to myself, it goes like this:

You’re an artist, bitch!  It’s hard!  The competition is brutal.  The jobs are few and far between.  You work your ass off at some part-time gig where you’re painfully overqualified and underpaid; but when the morning comes—you better start your saleswoman routine again, doing enough legwork to earn permanent calluses on your feet and bruises on your knuckles from knocking on doors.  This ain’t your little home village in the Motha Fuckin’ Russia, where you were the prettiest and the smartest girl!  There are thousands like you here!  And another thousand on the next day’s Greyhound!  Some hotter and smarter and better equipped, with mamas and papas to support their dreams.  So, the only way to make it past the depression and the competition and the rejection and the loneliness—is to keep going!  Failure—is not an option here, as your actual friends will remind you.

As for the white noise of the well-wishers and the manipulations by other cowardly hearts:  “What’ya say?  I can’t hear you!”