When someone says you are 'next level', it isn't a compliment. Nor is it a diss.
It is simply that they say between those words that you are next level TO them. They project their feeling of inadequacy. Their fear of not achieving, accomplishing, belonging. They look at the world as a ladder and to them you are at the step higher than where there are. But the world isn't as simply put together as a ladder. We go up and down and sideways and stay in place. Sometimes we are in two places at once, even more.
So when someone says 'next level', be kind. They have not yet seen the world for what it is.
I have rage for dinner.
I swallow my rage, but it keeps coming up.
Like a throw up that needs to let out.
It tastes like winter in New York: Long. Lonely. Dreadful.
It feels like summer in New York: Sticky. Fuming. Bothersome.
I have rage for dinner on a gold platter and my grandmother's silver spoon.
I sip it gently so it doesn't burn my tongue, but for no use:
I am eating fire. Unbearable. Harsh. Memorable.
I think about Anger and how milder it tastes compares to this.
I think on how evolved I had become - that I can swallow rage whole.
I finish my meal. Leave a leftover, to remember me by. A shred of my shriek, of my piercing eyes, my hoarse voice. Anything that says 'Rage was here.' To leave a mark. Sign my name. Be infinite.
Today's word is CONTROL.
But I won't look for its definition in the dictionary. I won't look because I won't be satisfied.
Because I am attached to MY definition of control. A definition that is negative, rigid, burdening.
A definition that is one-sided, missing something, doesn't the see the scope of it all.
Hard to love a rock that is so heavy.
But oh if I DO fall in love with the wheel, the torch, the engine... control will no longer be a dirty word. It would be just a word. A word that we choose to love. Hate. Or miles and miles and miles of feelings in between.
Here's for defining Control anew.
You spring on me like a hurricane.
Like the scary ghost in a scare-jumps packed horror films.
Like a twenty year old man on his first night with a woman.
You spring on me and I am left defenseless against you. Trying to catch my breath but your presence clogs my lungs. I understand why you're here. I understand you believe you are joining me because it is some sort of a protection spell. I bet you think if you join me - I will surely excel. But in truth, your presence is only a cycle of YOUR existence. You don't contribute to any change in me. You only contribute to... well: STRESS in me.
And Stress, oh dear Stress... you HURT me.
You hurt me with your carelessness. Your flakiness. Your lack of decision making.
You just show up in order to rile me up and get my mind spinning. And it spins. Boy does it spin....
A rollercoaster type of a spin. A spin that leaves me bleeding on the floor, reaching for a life line.
Oh, Stress, do you HAVE to show up like that!?
With your panic. Your intensity. Your negativity?
Do you have to remind me of all the things I HAVEN'T done yet and how that must mean I am a complete and total utter mess!??
Oh, Stress, you feed into my workaholic nature. You play right into it. And my workaholic self loves that - she actually thinks there is value in you. Same as there is value in money. In success. In power. She is sure that having Stress in her means that she is busy and therefore WORTHY TO BE ALIVE. I repeat, in some workaholic circles, having yours truly Stress as a regular chaperone is so delusional that it is actually making people feel ALIVE.
Well, if DEAD means I don't get to have stress most of the time... SO BE IT.
It's LIST TIME!!!
And on today's agenda - in the spirit of connecting to forgotten parts of myself, here are a few Things I Like About Myself That I used To Hate:
When I was a kid, and stared at my face in the mirror or in photos - ALL I could see were freckles. My features were nearly erased by the thousands of freckles on my face. But with time, my freckles disappeared, turning my face to a cohesive face WITH FEATURES.
I use to get offended for being considered 'intense.' Now, it is a mark of honor. If intensity means I am a nerd who deeply cares about something, then so be it. Give me the Intense hat and I'll wear it with pride.
I used to have a high pitch annoying-to-all kind of voice. Also, speaking with an accent was a huge crutch. But as the old saying goes 'from lemons make lemonade' I went into work and what was once a crutch is now a badge of honor.
Artistry demands everything from you: your time, your mind, your dreams.
Artistry isn't a job one can clock out of at the end of a ten hour shift.
It is in many ways a marriage: A marriage between the artist and her artistic process. Like a painter and the canvas, The musician and her notes, or the actor herself as she uses her whole being as her instrument when creating character.
Artistry takes away certain things in life: normalcy. A set schedule. Time with your loved ones. But artistry also gives plenty: Flow. Fulfillment. Focus. Feeling alive.
I'll give away time in the pursuit of meaning, any day.
You will be gone
And I will be left
With your hair on my pillow
And a streak of sentimental memories
Some dark, some darker
I will be left with a piece missing
A piece of me that you'll take
With your last breath.
*The intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, that determines its character.
It's hard to explain essence. Because essence, like love, resides in a language outside of words. Essence is felt in the guts, in the heart, in the dream state. Is LIFE the essence of all things?
It's a simple question. Very simple.
And yet - how often do we ask ourselves this very simple question?
How often do we ask each other this very simple question?
So now I ask. I ask myself and you. 'What makes you happy?'
For me it's as simple as the question:
Making my imagination a reality makes me happy.
Be it in creativity, in filmmaking, in writing, in flow, in acting, in puzzle building, in dreaming, in productivity...
I also feel happy when I'm having deep long winded conversations that challenge me, that make me think differently, that promote growth and that are just plain ole' fun! Travel makes me happy. Driving makes me happy. Reading makes me happy. Cats make me happy. Gratitude makes me happy. Food makes me happy. Games make me happy. Games nights with friends me happy. Friends. Friends make me happy. I make myself happy.
These days I dare to take risks. Step into the unknown. Face off rejection in the face.
Conquer the doubt, the insecurities, the fear. Rise up despite gravity. Smile despite the hurt. Go forward while battling all that is in the past. Challenge myself . Grow, bloom, blossom. Like a bud in spring. Like a butterfly stepping out of its cocoon for the first time. Like a boy in his bar mitzvah, entering manhood. These days I do all that. Well, minus the bar mitzvah boy. These days I dare.
But with all the glamour daring represents, with it comes pressure. Stress. Difficulty.
Daring is not easy. Not at the least. That's why we so rarely and greatly use the term 'How dare you!?'
It is simply unfathomable for us to DARE.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman