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The Art of Asking: Part 4

amandapalmer

I’m either fearless or really stupid. I like to think I’m fearless and sometimes I feel like I really just need to bare my heart and soul and put it out to the world. I believe it has something to do with a desire to be seen. Really and truly seen and heard.

My latest zine is a good example of that, sharing my old LiveJournal entries, poems, ramblings of a 19 year old. I already have decided if I do a second issue of the zine, that I will share even more. Share more photos, share more poems, more stories, more present day reflections. I want to be seen, to be heard, and I want to connect. I think I most want to make other people feel something. Even if it is just nostaglia for their own diaries, journals or that teenage angst of bygone years.

Amanda Palmer makes the point in The Art of Asking that we all want to be seen. To be acknowledged. It is rare that we stop and take the time to *SEE* one another sometimes. To let down our guard enough to be seen and to trust someone enough to see us for who we really are.

nude_afp

This particular passage in the book resonated with me:

And there I was, thirty-two years old, at a yoga retreat, desperately trying to find myself, and realizing that everything I’d been doing in my life, artistically, could be summed up like this: 
PLEASE BELIEVE ME. I’M REAL. NO REALLY, IT HAPPENED. IT HURT.”

I think this also explains why one of my favorite songs appears on nearly every mix tape and mix CD I’ve made over the last 10 years: “Three Libras” by A Perfect Circle. It’s all about being seen, or rather, wanting so badly to be seen, and feeling invisible. That we are overlooked or unimportant.

We all need to make it a point to dig deeper than surface conversations, than likes and topical discussions about TV shows or the weather. We need to look one another in the eye, we need to call, we need to write, we need to connect. There needs to be more human interaction, more in person communication, more hugging and more listening. Really listening. Trusting, accepting. Loving. Something tangible. Physical. Real.

Let’s all take a moment and see one another. Connect. Trust. Give. Take. See.

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Advice, Book Review, Op Ed, Relationships

The Art of Asking: Part 3

neilamanda

Never did I quite imagine that Amanda Palmer would be helping me with my relationship, but on two occasions thus far I have flipped to a section of the book and handed it to my boyfriend Scott to read. [I did offer for him to read the book after me, but once he read the first line of the book and saw the word “tampon” he decided it wasn’t for him.]

Amanda Palmer shares a lot about her relationship with Neil Gaiman, how they met, when they started dating, the struggles of being in different places during good times and bad. She shares their intimacy issues, fights, growth, trust. It’s really great to get these little insights throughout the book.

The most recent bit that I shared was a passage where Amanda was yelling and being a bit overdramatic about a situation, then Neil quietly quips to ask if she’s expecting her period, which only proves to further anger Amanda. I chose to show this particular passage to Scott after an F-bomb filled outburst I had to which he looked over and did the “shhh” face and told me in a soothing voice to “calm down.” Of course, as Amanda would later discover in that passage, I’d just started my period.

Amanda also shares little games her and Neil play, a series of questions she would shoot at Neil and then he would in turn ask her. Scott and I are two opposite sides of the brain, so most of the time if I ask him a question, he tries to break it down logically, and ends up asking me at least four or five more questions before he is able to answer my original question. In short, asking games don’t work well for us. I tried anyway, asking him one of the questions Amanda posed to Neil in the book: “What are you most afriad of?” Scott’s answer was: *shrug* I handed him the book and had him read the passage.

I am not saying, by any means that our relationship should be modeled after Amanda and Neil’s, just that she points out the basic things most people in relationships face: distance, trust, money issues, emotional issues, communication, PMS outbursts–stuff most people have been through at some point in their lives. In the very least, even if you haven’t experienced these things, Amanda makes the sharing of these moments interesting enough that the reader gets a bit of a laugh or is touched in someway by reading them.

It’s also comforting to read about her relationships, the snippits of them, prior to Neil. Reading about her experiences makes me feel a little bit better about some of the guys I’d dated in the past, and makes me wish I’d dated more artists!

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