Yesterday, I had dinner with a friend in Brooklyn. I’ll call him Ivan, quintessentially Russian. He’s been living in Odessa for the past 8 months and has been having the time of his life. He’s originally an immigrant from the former Soviet Union and a Russian speaker, like me. After some long-winded misery and isolation during the height of COVID in California, he pulled the trigger and flew out to the place with the least COVID restrictions for foreigners: Ukraine. Here is a snippet of our conversation from last night, Moldova questioning Ukraine.
“How’s Odessa life?” I asked him. “Must…
How over focusing on boundaries can get in the way of building healthy relationships.
Boundaries and lack thereof. It’s a hot topic for our generation: the millennial generation.
Boundaries, or lack thereof, are a hot topic in new-age psychology. They are as hot as the catch-phrases of toxic masculinity, mansplaining, gaslighting, microaggressions, cancel culture, and a slew of other terms that both plague and express the woes of our generation, the millennial generation. I fall into it, so I hope this gives me some credo for writing this piece.
Millennials, I dare say, are a very selfish generation. Never before…
“Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.” — James Baldwin
Anyone else find themselves in this predicament of trying to release a love that feels like an affliction, and yet holding on to it, like a crutch? The crutch has a lot of power, doesn’t it?! For a few months now, I’ve been trying to shed a love that is no longer mine, and one that never belonged to me in the first place, even. Yet I held on, through the promise of pleasure…
Vulnerable (adj.): capable of being physically or emotionally wounded; open to attack or damage. (Merriam-Webster.com)
Who would sign up for this? It doesn’t seem like a particularly pleasant or powerful or attractive state of being, opening oneself up to wounding. Who would want to admit damage or defeat, rather than invincibility? Who, besides a rotten tomato, would want to open to damage or attack and allow wounding? Well, maybe I would. Maybe you would, even.
A few suggestions.
Who else deals with these demons: F and U? Fear and Uncertainty? When faced with a change or a challenge, do we rise to the occasion or do we falter in the face of these foes? Are they even foes?
I’m here to say that as the proud owner of these demons (I know I’m not alone, here), I’m learning to work with them, befriend them, finagle them into becoming my allies. This requires a radical change in perception. How can these obstacles, these variables in our path, these faux-intruders, actually be made into our friends?
A How to Manual.
Sometimes I feel like picking at my own scabs.
Why? To relieve the urge. It feels good.
Because self-worth is obsolete sometimes.
Because picking the scab reminds me of that.
In that moment, I’m worth nothing more than my impulses.
A sad and desperate plunge.
We’ve all been there in that murky land, where it feels better to pluck the thing than to wait. Who can relate?
Ahhhh! But the impulse! And where’s the mighty patience?
I don’t know. It eludes me. I’ve had this restless agita always, for one thing or another.
Or all the…
Do you know of a romantic relationship where the power differential is exactly equal? I don’t either. There is a natural imbalance of power that arises when 2 parties assume the stage of a relationship, and that is not a bad thing. There is sometimes a giver and a taker, a provider and a receiver, a dominant and a submissive. Sometimes these roles are not 50/50 and shapeshift themselves as a relationship takes foot and develops. Maybe it is the Darwinian nature of things for one partner to be stronger than the other, and be a more of a go-getter…
Most recently, on a blustery winter night in NYC, I took a fun and interactive cooking class through Groupon called “The French Connection.” It was a French-inspired 3-course meal (ironically taught by an Italian chef) consisting of vichyssoise, coq-au-vin, and creme brulee for dessert. A small group of us, mostly couples, convened at a kitchen apartment in the West Village for this gourmet DIY cooking experience. Everything was made from scratch as we sipped wine, chopped vegetables, trimmed thyme, and threw things into pots and pans watching them catch flavor and fire. Rampant aromas heightened our senses and lured us…