Can your heart really be broken?
Apparently it can.
Broken Heart Syndrome is a thing.
Also known as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy (not to be confused with the Kobayashi Maru from Star Trek, totally different kind of heart-racing); this condition is most often stress-induced.
Wow, you really can die from a broken heart.
So, how can you mend a broken heart? I’m neither a doctor, nor a therapist, nor one of The BeeGees, but I wish I had the answer, because mine is Under Pressure.
David Bowie died.
As did Alan Rickman. And a bunch of other people.
We’ve all had family and friends who have died.
My point? Moments in time are just that. Big or small, once they’re gone, they’re gone. Life is for the living, even if you can now fulfill all your funeral needs (with drop dead prices) while buying vats of olive oil at Costco. They offer killer deals on multi-packs too. Check out their 6-foot deep discounts on dirt in the Home and Garden Section. Ok, I’m almost done. Prices to die for! Now I’m done. So instead of spending money on flowers, candles, and stuffed animals that rot in the streets, mourn and honour those we’ve lost by helping the living.
5 Ways I’m Not Under Pressure:
1. Bowie was a voice that told me to be me when I wondered if I should be someone else – I will forever adore and blame him for that, or at least blame him for being so persuasive. Goodnight, Mr. Bowie and thanks.
2. Alan Rickman made me Truly, Madly, Deeply – laugh (Galaxy Quest), cringe and cry (Harry Potter), shiver (Die Hard), and sigh (Sense and Sensibility). Goodbye.
3. I’ve lost many people in the last few years. I miss them. I wish I could see them again, but at least as time goes by my trips down memory lane, while frequent, are less bumpy, the ride is smoother around the edges.
4. When I was young, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, we used to train it to Toronto to see concerts – before train fares and concert tickets skyrocketed. I was a goth/punk girl who didn’t know anything, but I sure had fun learning. My friend (who passed away almost a year ago) and I would hang around places like The Eaton’s Centre, knitting, reading, listening to a giant silver boom box we’d lug around – no cellphones or MP3 players back then. We met loads of cool people, ie. The Ramones, David Bowie, etc. I’m sure the meetings weren’t memorable to them, but for us it was like those voices that made us happy, made us dance came to life. When Bowie walked by we broke into a spontaneous chorus of Rebel, Rebel. This earned us tickets to his show, even backstage (whispered instructions to one of his entourage, of course). If we’d worried about looking silly, we would’ve missed dancing and swaying to the sounds on the stage. We wouldn’t have met lots of fascinating people, famous and never-gonna-be-famous. We wouldn’t have started a music magazine, raised money for those in need, got tons of cool promo stuff…Again, life is not only for the living, it’s to be lived. Take a chance, be brave, be bold, be in the here and now. Memories are fun, but not fuel for life.
5. Speaking of living – The X-Files reboot is only days away. The Truth Is Out There once again, just a,er, tad older…like me. I watched the spooky premiere on September 10, 1993 and never looked back. The only time I remember missing it was the night my son was born (totally, totally worth it). I thought of calling him Fox, but also a major Buffy fan, so…Xander it is.
Ashes to ashes, dust to stardust, we know people we loved and lost are still with us…No Pressure.
Have you ever had one of those days, dear readers, when you’re so frustrated with yourself you don’t know whether to: cry; give yourself a time out; scream; give yourself a hug and say you’ll do better next time; or maybe all the above and not necessarily in that order?
Too many things I try lately are thwarted, either by circumstances, or by me responding to circumstances. I keep giving myself pep talks, but I have a suspicion I’m not listening very well.
Happiness is a choice. Apparently, this isn’t just a platitude or a wall plaque, according to researchers, happiness is really a choice (as well as a booming business). So instead of beating myself up for my utter failure today, I decided to go to a happy place and figure out how to reduce my stress. I’m not one for magical thinking, I like to believe in goodness, happiness, etc., but the realist in me knows that any broomstick I’m handed will come with a dustpan, not a flight into the moonlight.
Maybe today was a good day to read MeQuilibrium: 14 days to Cooler, Calmer, and Happier (Harmony Books) – wait, what, 14 days?!? That’s a long time, 2 weeks, a fortnight, half a month, I need help right now! Deep breaths, remain focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.
Ok, Jan Bruce, Andrew Shatte, Ph.D. and Adam Perlman, M.D., dazzle me with your wisdom. I hope the rest of the book is better than the title, sorry, it doesn’t really thrill me, but Blogging for Books wanted an honest review in exchange for the digital copy of this book, so ready or not, here it comes.
Day 1, sure, let’s pretend that’s today. This book has a lot of logical points, including changing the way you think about a problem or situation, although most I’ve heard in the labyrinth (ok, I just spelled that correctly for the first time in my life, things are looking up) of self-help I’ve traversed in my journey to now.
As I read about our Emotion Radar and how we scan and see situations and things, I had to squint as the light bulb over my head turned on. I went into this morning’s debacle looking through an ‘anxiety radar’, therefore, I saw things to be anxious about, then became more and more and more anxious, trapping a bunch of poor little monarchs in my stomach as my heart tried to smash through my ribcage.
This book, while well-written and easy-to-follow is basically a giant ad for their ‘wellness’ program, but that doesn’t rule out any a-ha moments (Excuse me, I need a moment to dance to a-ha’s Take on Me, don’t be shy, join me! As I watch this video again, there’s clearly a lesson to be learned – no matter how drawn toward someone you are, it’s probably a bad idea to go into a comic book just because the cute guy winks at you and extends his penciled hand).
Society has become busier and busier as we rush from one thing to the next to the next. We barely have time to breathe, let alone think. The answer might be to unlock our problem-solving room, go in and get calm, figure things out, before we fall into the stress traps.
As I reboot and relax listening to Duran Duran’s Save A Prayer then Billy Idol’s White Wedding (I moved on, but couldn’t quite leave that decade apparently) I realize, if I should stumble, I can catch my own fall. Perhaps I didn’t do as badly as I thought, in retrospect, I actually learned a lot from the experience.
It’s a nice day to start again.
In the dusty sanctuaries of erudition (cooler word than knowledge, which is sooo five centuries ago)… black and white, truth and lies live comfortably, side by side, lined up…we, elbow to elbow, heads bent, allow worlds to cascade around us. ‘Take us home,’ they whisper seductively, promising to reveal all their secrets.
Within the walls of a bookstore or library it’s clear what’s fiction and what’s non-fiction.
In the real world, not so much.
Some of you, dear readers might be aware it’s Autism Awareness Month. You may have Autism; know those who live with it; love those who live with it who you can’t live without; or know those you don’t even know are on the Autism Spectrum. Still with me? Good. Reading Me Being Me Is Exactly As Insane As You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy (Simon Pulse) – we’ll get to the title in a minute – had me thinking of Autism’s infinite variety, as well as the still surprising amount of intolerance in the world.
12 things I thought about while reading this novel:
2. The title is too long…oops, I’m one to talk.
3. The main character, a teen named Darren seems to be on the Autism Spectrum.
4. Part way through the book, I realized I had read other works by this author and felt a ‘doh’ moment. It passed.
5. The writing was accessible, appealing, and made me want to read more, yet around page 400 I found it was dragging and even I was growing tired of lists (is that even possible?).
6. Made me remember high school…Actually, I might be thinking of Glee, I don’t remember my high school having that much singing (luckily, this book doesn’t either).
7. Parents should care about themselves by caring for their children.
8. I wanted to buy Darren some ice cream and tell him, ‘O-o-h child things are gonna get easier. O-o-h child things’ll get brighter.’ I have this Five Stairsteps song in my head, I blame Guardians of the Galaxy.
10. Different can be bad or good, so much depends on intention and perception.
11. It might be comforting to tell someone things will get easier, brighter, or better, but it’s not always true. One of the best things to say is, ‘things are ok right now’. If that’s not true either, then, yes, by all means, say things are going to get easier, brighter, or better.12. I love books. I love free books in a different way. Refer to #10 and in this case, different is good.
I’m not going to wax poetic about Leonard Cohen, he can do that himself, through his music.
These are the 5 of his songs I love:
1. Everybody Knows (made famous in Pump Up the Volume). To me, an echoing voice of many generations, still calling vainly through the haze of lies and corruption.
2. First We Take Manhattan. This song got in my head and has never left; such unprocessed intensity it thrashes around still begging for answers.
3. Hallelujah. First heard in my teen angst years and can sometimes evoke a tear or two as the truth struggles through. Hundreds of versions later, my favs remain by: Jeff Buckley, John Cale, and Mr. Cohen, sorry Bono, yours sucked. Long before Shrek, this was classic.
4. Who By Fire. A prayer by another other name. I might just be reading into this, but I always felt it was about atonement, an expiational yearning, of sorts.
5. Avalanche. Evocative articulation about depression.
I don’t dislike the rest of Cohen’s work, it just doesn’t affect me the way the aforementioned songs do. I’ve seen him in concert several times, I even sat with him once many years ago, in a group. I felt questions bubbling up, but rarely spoke; being a writer and pedantic poet I found myself enjoying just listening to one so exquisitely arcane.
I’m always interested to see what others read into this abstruse artist. There are so many interpretations of his work. I dove into the book, Leonard Cohen and Philosophy: Various Positions, edited by Jason Holt (Open Court), from the Popular Culture and Philosophy series with a keenness that was repaid in full by cool and thought-provoking scrutiny of Cohen’s creations. I revisited some of his songs, to hear what these philosophers had heard. I still didn’t always hear it, but I thank them for their considered analysis. After many decades of listening to Mr. Cohen I realize that reconciling what people say and what they do may remain an eternal mystery…doesn’t mean I have to quit trying.
I don’t live in America.
I have visited America many, many times.
I’m Canadian, so we’re kind of neighbours. Hey neighbour (yes, here in Canada we have ‘u’ in weird places…don’t ask unless you really want to know).
Here are just a few random things I love about America:
The Walking Dead,
Captain America, X-Files, Heroes, Family Guy, Star Wars…
Deadwood, Community, Revolution, 3rd Rock From The Sun, escalators, The Addams Family, Mad Men, The Munsters,
Spiderman, Batman, part of Superman (get your minds out of the gutter), X-Men, Star Trek, Six Million Dollar Man, Alice Cooper, Supernatural, Soap, Green Day, The Ramones, Hell On Wheels, The Misfits, The Carol Burnett Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Elvis, ER, Get Smart, Firefly, The Avengers (not the British one), Sonic Youth, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Violent Femmes, Animaniacs, The Brady Bunch, Nirvana, American Gothic, Smallville, Angel, cash registers, KISS, Battlestar Galactica, Boston Legal…
Breaking Bad, Maude, Columbo, Scooby-Doo, Quincy, House, sunglasses, Murder She Wrote, R.E.M, V, potato chips, Under The Dome, Metallica, Pushing Daisies, 8-track tapes, Guns’n’Roses, Love Boat, The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, Family Ties, Six Feet Under, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, MacGyver, Aerosmith, The Beverly Hillbillies, Twin Peaks, Parks & Recreation, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Law & Order (you may have gotten carried away there, let it go), Jimi Hendrix, the transistor, Bruce Springsteen, clothes hangers, ARPANET, Jeopardy!, crayons (most of the colours, some are getting freaky)….
Magnum P.I., SNL, Heart, the Cyclotron Atom-Smasher, Hogan’s Heroes, 30 Rock, cotton candy, airplanes, airbags, The Simpsons, Sons of Anarchy, GPS, New York Dolls, Night Court, Faith No More, Wonder Woman, Farscape, Jeff Goldblum, The Waltons, The Big Bang Theory, Hawaii Five-O, John Malkovich,The Lone Ranger, Bill Murray….
Monk, Rockford Files, Yogi Bear, Devo, Johnny Depp, The Doors, Late Night With John Oliver, Seinfeld, Vikings, Pinky and the Brain, Cosmos, The Partridge Family, Police Squad!, All in the Family, Psych, The Twilight Zone, Happy Days, electric guitar, Gang Green, The Colbert Report…
The Muppets, Steve Martin, Sesame Street, John Cusack, Frasier, Terra Nova, The Daily Show, 21 Jump Street, Roswell, Cheers, Spongebob Squarepants, flashlights, skyscrapers, Mork & Mindy, George Clooney,
Falling Skies, Dexter, Garfield, I Dream of Jeannie, Bonanza, George Carlin, Homeland, M*A*S*H, Mystery Science Theater 3000, I Love Lucy, The Flintsones, Patti Smith, Land of the Lost, Veep, The Wizard of Oz, Mallethead, Charlie Brown, American Dad!, South Park, Peanuts, Game of Thrones, Beastie Boys, nylon, Lie To Me, Talking Heads…and way way too many great movies, writers, artists, entertainers, athletes, scientists, and others making things better or at least interesting to name…
Ok, you had some international help with some of these, including Canada, but you’re doin’ stuff and I think that’s great…
I could go on and on, but you get the point. Feel free to tell me if I forgot anything, I got tired.
Parts of America are also stunningly beautiful…and many of the people are amazing.
You’ve also done some very, very naughty things, America, which we won’t dwell on today because you’re celebrating Independence Day, and perhaps watching Independence Day between BBQing, fireworks, being patriotic, watching Dead White and Blue the latest AMC The Walking Dead marathon, spending time with family and friends, and drinking (and hopefully not driving).
Like any neighbour there are things we like and don’t like about each other, but mostly we get along quite well.
Happy Independence Day,
Truth is, everyone needs to be more tolerant. Everyone.
Aren’t most of the world’s problems because of intolerance?
Would we have to fight for rights and freedoms if everyone was more tolerant?
Why does it bother anyone who you love?
The colour of your skin?
The shape of your body?
Whom you choose to worship?
That someone has special needs?
What you choose to listen to or watch?
Why does choice intimidate some many people?
Just their need to control?
When I first heard the name Pussy Riot I thought they were a punk band.
So I read Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot by Masha Gessen (Riverhead Books/Penguin) in the hope of understanding the situation. Well-written and painstakingly detailed, it made for fascinating read.
I don’t always get performance art, I’m way too plebeian for that. However, I understand the need for artistic expression.
The women from Pussy Riot are part of one of the Russian art collectives who call themselves Voina. They stage performance art, often as a form of protest.
Their performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow went viral. Was it tasteless and a slap in the face of religion? Absolutely. Although I rather think that was their purpose.
Russia gives them ample material to protest.
LGBT rights regressing rapidly.
A wealth gap like the space between planets.
Barely existent women’s rights.
Maybe Georgia and Ukraine could give us some insight into how the Russian government feels about, you know, rights.
Whether or not you agree with civil disobedience or the way this group or others protest, it gets attention. I disagree they should be jailed, separated from their family and friends, brutalized, beaten, persecuted, and maligned just because they don’t agree with the people in power. Also, it really just, well, proves their point.
Every country has its problems. Democracy seems to be creeping into twilight around the world, soon to join the dinosaurs as fossil fuel. When we don’t stand up for something, we really do seem to fall for anything.
Sadly Russia is not unique in intolerance, grinding of rights and freedoms, and overenthusiastic authoritarianism. Putin is just really, really open about it.
It’s easy to pick on Russia, they have those cool accents that make everything sound sinister and we’re kind of programmed by James Bond flicks.
Tolerance would do us all well.
As long as you’re not hurting anyone…then who are you hurting?