I am sitting at my desk listening to my friend J. Ralph's song, A Million Miles (off his very beautiful album, The Illusory Movements of Geraldine and Nazu. If you haven't heard it, go to the site and take a listen).
The first time I heard this song, I was 15 or 16 (yes, he wrote it that long ago, though he only recently released it).
That's 10 years ago.
It goes by in the blink of an eye.
I have been told, and evidence has shown, that I have historically been consumed by some degree of low self-esteem when it comes to men.
I was 16 when I first fell in love.
I was sitting uncomfortably alone at a ritzy cocktail party- where I knew no one- when a man in white linen came over and made me laugh.
It was enough to make me feel more special than I ever had, having felt largely invisible to men most of my life.
Though I was initially too naive to recognize it, I was later willing to overlook the fact that the man in white linen was also a notorious cokehead and alcoholic whose moods would shift with the frequency of rains in Indian monsoons, believing that one day it would be dry and I would laugh again.
I followed Boy 1 with one of the only Italian men I met while I lived in Italy. He was beautifully philanthropic, passionate in his quest to give a voice to those who didn't have one, but he sent aggressive, hurtful emails to me for four years when the voice I revealed didn't speak the words he wanted to hear (he has since calmed down and continued his humanitarian work, fulfilling his dream of becoming a leader in the Italian Workers Union).
I finally ended up engaged to a man, one of the only ones I knew during my time in LA, who made his living talking about politics and spirituality- specifically the need for love and understanding in both- who also made me throw away books, photographs, and email accounts affiliated with my past or my professional ambitions because he didn't love or understand why I'd keep these things now that he was in my life.
A friend, responding to an uncertain involvement I found myself in recently, almost jokingly pointed out that I didn't have to date every guy who simply came along and liked me.
I deflected his comment immediately, defensively stating that I didn't; on further reflection, though, I realize how spot on his casual observation was.
I look back on the period of my life since I was 15 the way I hope I'll look back on this one in 10 years time- with compassion for all my good intentions and sympathy for all of my mistakes.
Life is too short not to give yourself the benefit of the doubt; not to take care of, love, and honor yourself; not to regard yourself as something of value and worth; not to, paradoxically, wait for what is good and right rather than just take whatever is readily available.
My same friend also told me that I ought to take my low self-esteem behind the barn and shoot it in the head.
It's lunch hour now so I am off to find an AK47.
The barn part might have to be negotiated; this is NYC, after all.
Links I Like
- My Website
- My Other (Less Wordy) Blog
- 52 Projects
- Amy Stein's Photography Blog
- Arts & Letters Daily
- Bells and Cockleshells
- Brad Linder's Blog (Audio Related)
- Brooklyn Vegan
- Cineholla Collective: Cullen's Blog
- Conscientious- Fine-art Photography Blog
- Conversational Reading
- Current TV
- DIY Photography
- Errol Morris's Homepage
- Film is Not Dead
- Flak Photo
- Forgotten NY
- Free Sound Project
- Graphic Literature Library Guide
- Graphic Novel Resource from UNC
- John Stember Photography
- JPG Magazine
- Learning to Love You More
- Librarians' Internet Index
- New York Times
- On the Issues
- Peter Stember Photography
- Pitchfork TV
- Public Radio eXchange
- Resources for Documentarians
- Salon Magazine
- Salt Blog
- Slate Magazine
- Sound Portraits
- Story Corps
- Stranger Than Fiction IFC
- The Believer Magazine
- The Economist
- The Nation
- The New Breed of Documentary Photographers
- The Online Photographer
- Third Coast Festival
- This American Life
- White Whale Crossing
- Wired Magazine