Tell one’s stories

April 30, 2017

in random

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

This has been the question on my mind since I watched The Founder last night.

Starring Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman (aka Ron on Parks and Recreation, one of the best characters in TV history) and John Carroll Lynch, the movie is based on the true story of how the McDonald’s business empire came to be. Ray Kroc an embattled salesman with a series of failed ventures under his belt maneuvered himself into the McDonald brothers’ burger business and took their speedy food concept to build a massive global enterprise. In developing the origin story for McDonald’s, for Kroc understood the essential connection between myth building and empire building, he erased the (his)stories of the McDonald brothers.

It’s as if he’d built a time machines and changed the past. Kroc alone was the founder.

This erasure and how easy it seemed was disconcerting if not downright terrifying. What does this mean to the ordinary people like us who’ve led ordinary lives? This is why we tell each other’s stories. Storytelling is remembering is history making is bearing witness to lives lived. 



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I miss my mom. I miss my dad too. Both of them gone in less than one year. I learned in this past year, and more acutely, in the past month, that to grieve is to isolate yourself. We are each alone in our grief.

It’s a cliche but I did not realize that your heart can actually hurt from missing someone so much. Wishing so much.

It’s the wishing that hurts. Wishing so hard that your entire being start to contract, to collapse upon itself. A hole forms. The wishing does not stop and you are turned inside out. 

You have no control over when the fact hits you: when you’re waiting for the red light to turn; when you are standing on the checkout line at the store; when you’re walking to the subway station. When the waves of profound sadness hits you, you need to pause to take a breath. It’s a different kind of sadness, different from the kind that makes you cry. It’s deep like the ocean.

No, let me try again.

It’s like when you get hit by a giant wave and you go under the water. For a split second, it feels like you’re enveloped in a vacuum. Your descent soundless. The absolute quietness around you almost calming. For that split second, your eyes are wide open and you can see clearly. And you think to yourself, “I’m ok.” Then, you gasp for air.




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One of my most popular posts was dated from 2012, “With all due respect, I am fucking scared of getting old“. It has struck a nerve and attracted comments from folks who feel helpless against the relentless forward march of time and, I suspect, the world’s time-honored obsession with and worship of youth.

Almost five years later, I can’t say the same any more since the time has arrived, I’d say by whatever objective, social standards, people of my age would be labeled as “old”. It’s more like “I am fucking scared of being found out how old I am” and all the judgements that I could expect. My long, purple hair for one.

A couple of years ago a small boy yelled out as he threw a ball to a smaller boy standing near me, “Hey, dummy, tell that old lady to watch out.”

What? What lady? Old? I’m not vain or unrealistic. For the last twenty years my mirror seems to have reflected — correctly — a woman getting older, not a woman old.  Grace Paley, Just As I Thought (1999)

Right on.

The other night though it dawned on me that when I am 80, or maybe even as early as 70, I will no longer have to worry about what others think of me. I can say whatever the heck I want. For starters, I will be able to tell people in real life about this blog and my Twitter account, if I feel like it. I can do whatever I want (to the extent that my joints will allow me). I can finally be free… to be me. 

This revelation is liberating. I am now looking forward to getting old. 

When I am 80, I will be “cute” and “adorable” instead of “trying too hard”. I can proclaim with confidence, like Betty White, “I am a teenager trapped in an old body.” I am giddy at the prospect of giving people a piece of my mind. Or two. I am giddy at the prospect of living for myself, for once for fuck’s sake. 

Of course my dastardly fast-working mind is already chastising me for having to wait until then. Why can’t you be you now? What’s wrong with you?

STFU mind. If it were that easy I would have done so a long time ago. This is called hope. HOPE.

Until then.


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Bucket list. Checked.

January 4, 2017 through the looking glass

It’s only January 4 and I’ve already checked an item off of my bucket list. Take that, 2017!   Hamilton did not disappoint despite all the hype. It’s everything it’s said to be and more. The book, lyrics and music by Lin-Manuel Miranda is a masterpiece and will withstand time to be one of the classics […]

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New Year’s Resolution part deux

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