Writing or Speaking? How Do You Communicate Best?

NaBloPoMo Prompt: How do you communicate best? Speaking or writing?

It doesn’t really matter whether I’m speaking or writing, I have trouble communicating either way. I am always trying to express myself but I have never feel like I have explained things well. I never walk away feeling like I have communicated exactly what I wanted to.

When I am talking I over explain. I talk too much and by the end of it the person listening doesn’t have any idea what I am trying to say. I get so frustrated and I often have to start my explanations all over again and try my best to keep it simple. When I keep it simple I feel like the other person hasn’t really seen things from my perspective. I want so much to be understood by other people. I think that’s why I over explain the way I do. I have to everyone everything about me and about how I feel and about why I feel the way I feel. It hurts that no one really wants to hear all that all the time. I think that’s why I write now. At least this way I can get it all out and I’m not hurt when people don’t read it. It feels good just to get it out.

When I write I communicate better but I am not a very good writer, not yet anyway. I write draft after draft and edit, edit, edit. My thoughts wander and by the end of any piece I am talking about something completely different from what I meant to talk about. I get more of my feelings out though and that feels good. I go back and rewrite it but I leave the free writing intact. The free writing is how I express myself, this blog and the edited posts are how I make myself understood to other people, bit by bit.

So I guess I need both. I need to talk to those closest to me, my girlfriend, my mother, my sisters, my few friends. They are the ones who will get me and give me the reassurance and comfort I often need. I need to write too so that I can see myself in comparison to the rest of the world. Blogging makes me feel like I’m not alone, like there are people out in the world who more than sympathize with me, they empathize. There are people who understand me in one way or another. I need that too.

So how about you? Writing or speaking, how do you communicate best?

NaBloPoMo September 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters That Would be Sitting at My Lunch Table

Another Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday! This week is back to school themed, which characters would we want sitting at our lunch table?

Charles Wallace Murry, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

“Thinking I’m a moron gives people something to feel smug about,” Charles Wallace said. “Why should I disillusion them?”

― Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

A five-year-old boy, whom everyone thinks is stupid but is actually a genius. He can read people like books, their thoughts and feelings. He is brave and caring and he got to travel through space and time!

Clarisse McClellan, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

“You’re not like the others. I’ve seen a few; I know. When I talk, you look at me. When I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon, last night. The others would never do that.”

― Clarisse McClellan

Clarisse is a girl who who likes to take walks at night and observe the world. She is a thinker and a reader in a time when thinking and reading are against the law. She is different from everyone else. She is a free spirt. I would love to meet her.

Tyler Durden, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.”

― Tyler Durden

I don’t even know where to start. Tyler Durden’s ideas on consumerism, death, and our place in the grand scheme of the universe are very interesting to me. I would also like to know how he feels about women joining Project Mayhem.

Jonas, The Giver by Lois Lowery

“Things could change, Gabe,” Jonas went on. “Things could be different. I don’t know how, but there must be some way for things to be different. There could be colors. And grandparents,” he added, staring through the dimness toward the ceiling of his sleepingroom. “And everybody would have the memories.”

“You know the memories,” he whispered, turning toward the crib.

“Gabe?”

“There could be love,” Jonas whispered.”

― Lois Lowry, The Giver

Jonas to me seemed like such a little sweetheart. He was only 11 years old but he caring and thoughtful. He wanted his friends and family to be happy. He cared for his whole community even though there were rules he didn’t agree with. When he learned more about the past and about feelings from the Giver before him he realized that there had been a price they all had paid for being so organized. He though maybe things could be different. Maybe they could have love too.

Winston Smith, 1984 by George Orwell

“Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”

― Winston Smith, 1984

It’s been awhile since I’ve read 1984 but it as always been one of my favorites. Like most of the other characters I would sit down to lunch with Winston lives in a world where thinking is bad, where being different is bad, and where love does not exist. he wants things to be different though and sets out to find out why things are the way the are. It might sound weird but I would love to sit down with Winston the way he was at the end of the book. I would love to talk to him and comfort him. My heart breaks for him.

Simon, Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Simon, walking in front of Ralph, felt a flicker of incredulity—a beast with claws that scratched, that sat on a mountain-top, that left no tracks and yet was not fast enough to catch Samneric. However Simon thought of the beast, there rose before his inward sight the picture of a human, at once heroic and sick.

― William Golding, Lord of the Flies

Simon was the only really good one on that island! He is the one who sees that the beast is really just all the bad part of ourselves. This book makes me so angry sometimes but it’s only because Simon is right. We are the evil in the world and it is because of that that things can never just be good and peaceful.

Piscine Patel, Life of Pi by Yann Martel

“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways.”

― Yan Martel

A character with the nickname Pi! A character who want to explore all religions, even Atheism, a lack of religion! He grew up in a zoo, as the son of the zoo keeper, and survives being lost at sea, with a tiger! Of course I want to have lunch with him!

Mr. Wednesday, American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I told you I would tell you my names. This is what they call me. I’m called Glad-of-War, Grim, Raider, and Third. I am One-Eyed. I am called Highest, and True-Guesser. I am Grimnir, and I am the Hooded One. I am All-Father, and I am Gondlir Wand-Bearer. I have as many names as there are winds, as many titles as there are ways to die. My ravens are Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory; my wolves are Freki and Geri; my horse is the gallows.
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This book was amazing but it left me with so many questions. Questions i think Mr. Wednesday has all the answers too. I would love to sit with him and talk about the history of the world and of the gods. Maybe I would ask him to bring along Mr. Nancy, the trickster and storyteller, to make lunch a bit more interesting.

Roland Deschain, The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

“There was a boy…
There was no boy.”

— Roland

The last gunslinger, how awesome is that! Roland is a very serious man but I would have loved to meet him when he was young. When he was innocent and still training to become a gunslinger. Before his world came crashing down Roland seemed to care about his family, friends, and community. He just wanted to be a hero.

Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

After inviting all those serious characters to the table, I think I should invite along Calvin and his adorable stuffed tiger Hobbes to lighten the mood. I would love to hear them playing and wrestling. Calvin would be complaining about the food and the school work for sure. I would ask them for about their philosophies on the world and current events. They are very preceptive you know, for a five year old and a stuffed toy tiger.

So those are my invites. There were many more and it was difficult to narrow it down just to ten. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go re-read every one of these books. :)

Patience Is the Goal

NaBloPoMo Day 1: Do you find it more helpful to talk things out or to let things quietly rest?

I immediately thought of me and Chardonnay. The way we argue, they way we try to work through our issues is completely different. I like to talk about things but I also like to talk too much. I get emotional quickly and cry and all I want is for what is wrong to be fixed. I think talking it out and trying to understand each other is the best way to work anything out. Chardonnay is the type to let it go and work out her feeling within herself. The more she is made to talk the more frustrated she gets. It’s not that she never wants to talk about anything it’s just that she needs to do it in her own time. Sometimes all she wants is to say she was upset about something and have it NOT turn into a conversation.

It’s hard for us to communicate effectively sometimes. I think it is remarkable that we are able to work anything out at all considering we deal with problems completely differently. We work hard to get past our differences and find some kind of common ground. She has to try to talk and I have to listen when she says she needs a break. If she doesn’t talk then she puts up a wall between us and that affects our relationship negatively. If I don’t give her a break then I don’t make her feel comfortable to talk to me and she won’t try harder to do so.

Most of our arguments seems to be about petty things. I often wonder if most of our fights have to do with much bigger issues than what we think we are arguing about. I read a post on Zen Habits awhile back titled “How To Make a Marriage Work“. In the post Leo talks about how “most disputes and other conversations are about two things: do you care about me, and can I trust you.”. I think this is true for me and Chardonnay. Everything is about those two things. Having accepted that I have tried harder to let her know that whatever it is she is upset about, she can trust me and I do care. I try my best to let her know that that is what I need too.

I used to think that my way was the right way. I used to think that talking everything out right away was what everyone should be doing. I admit I judged Chardonnay harshly for not being able to communicate the way I did. One day I realized I had been wrong. Everyone deals with things in their own way and Chardonnay needs to time to process her feelings. When she is ready to talk she can tell me exactly how she feels and what she needs from me. I may talk about my feelings right away but often times I am so mixed up and emotional I may not know exactly how I feel or what I need.

So I guess both ways are right. We are both right, we are just different. We still have arguments, every couple does, but things are getting better. We just have to be patience with each other. That is the goal now, patience.

NaBloPoMo September 2014

100 Followers! Thank You!

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Today I hit my first goal of 100 followers! I know it isn’t much but it’s more than I thought I would get so I am proud, and happy, and also very grateful. I appreciate everyone of you coming to my blog and taking the time to read and comment. I haven’t been able to return the favor for each of you but I will take the time this week to check out all of your blogs as well.

Reaching 100 followers has also made me think more about what I plan to do with this blog. I went ahead and purchased the domain zenandpi.com and I plan to do my best to post everyday. I still don’t have much of a focus except to learn to write better. I want to write about everything and as time goes on I might find I like to write about some things more than others and the focus will narrow. Everything I have read has told me to choose a niche but I can’t choose one when I don’t know much about writing at all. So I guess I will be pretty random for awhile, I hope that’s ok.

Thank you all again for choosing to follow me, I hope I don’t disappoint. As always I welcome your comments and critiques. I love hearing from you all, even if it’s just to say hi.

If We Were Having Coffee #2

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that today, I feel good. Me and Chardonnay have had a great weekend. Friday we started watching last season of True Blood, we also had margaritas. Saturday we went to brunch with Chardonnay’s parents. We tried out a new place we’ve been wanting to go to called Punch Bowl Social. We were actually thinking about having our wedding reception there and this was a good excuse to go look at the place. We liked it a lot. The food was good and the place looked nice. It’s got the industrial look we love and with the arcade games and bowling lanes would make it perfect. After brunch we went shopping. We were already off of Broadway which means I had to go to my favorite store, Ironwood. We checked out a couple of other stores and bought us each new shirts.

Then we went home and got lazy. We watched more True Blood and I took a nap. I got up and around 7 started getting ready. We went to new a new movie theater that I had heard so many great things about, the Alamo Drafthouse. We watched an old vampire movie called Near Death and we liked it. They gave us free fangs and gooey blood candy and we ordered cocktails and loaded fries and hot wings. It really was a lot of fun. So much so that I think we will make brunch and shopping and movies at the Alamo Drafthouse a monthly thing.

If we were having coffee I would also tell you that I haven’t seen my father for his birthday yet and I feel bad about it. His birthday was on the 15th of August and I told him we would get together but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I have done other things but seeing him I have to admit is not yet a priority for me. I want it to be but doing the work is more than I guess I am willing to do. I feel bad about that but I am just being honest.

I would also tell you that I am enjoying blogging but I have found I have less time for it than I thought I did. I am trying my best to make the time. I even signed up for NaBloPoMo AKA National Blog Posting Month for the month of September. I hope to do it again in November too! This month’s theme is healing and I think I need that. I have a feeling this blog is going to turn out to be a lot more personal than I originally thought and I think healing is a good place to start.

I am taking social media a lot more seriously too now. Twitter is now the first place I go to find out whats going on in the world. The events going on in Ferguson have affected me deeply and Twitter is the only place to get up to the minute news on what is happening there. I wish I could have been there to protest with those brave people. I hope the nation doesn’t forget.

The events in Ferguson have also brought up a lot of complicated feeling I have about race and racism. I am biracial and in my family everything has to do with the fact that I am mixed. I am always too white or too black. I don’t fit in anywhere, accept for with my siblings, all of whom are mixed too. Both on the internet and in the real world though I feel excluded from talks about race. I am told that because I am light-skinned I have privilege and I don’t understand what it is like to be black. I admit in a way they are right, but they are also wrong. Maybe I will write about it some other time, about how my whole life has revolved around being biracial.

If we were having coffee I would also tell you that I am still feeling a little bit down. I would tell you not to worry about me though. I would tell you that I am going to be ok, I just get down sometimes. Depression is just a part of who I am and I fear it always will be but I have learned to cope with it. I know that I have so much to be grateful for and I am luckier than most. I know that I have people who care about me and love me and that is something to keep fighting for. I won’t give up or give in. I will keep pushing toward living a happier and healthier life, and I hope that you are doing the same.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet

I had never heard of the The Broke and the Bookish before but this morning I read a post over on Part Time Monster titled “TOP TEN TUESDAY: 10 Books I Want to Read but Don’t Yet Own”. I thought it was a neat idea and wanted to come up with a list of my own.

Apparently The Broke and the Bookish do a weekly feature called Top Ten Tuesday. They post a new top 10 list and everyone is invited to join and create their own. All the top 10 lists are centered around books and since I LOVE BOOKS I think I might even try to make this a weekly thing.

It is very hard for me to just choose 10 books I want to read but don’t own! Over on Goodreads I have a “to-read” list of over 200 books! I will try my best to narrow it down though. So here are my top 10 books I want to read but don’t yet own (because I’m poor):

1. Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

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Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side. In the follow-up to Steal Like An Artist, Show Your Work, he shows how to take that critical next step on a creative journey—getting known.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about these to books from artists in the blogging world. I used to draw a lot and even tried, and failed miserably, at doing a little drawing everyday. I think these books would help me become a better artist and getting my work out there.

2. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
by Robert M. Pirsig

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A powerful, moving, and penetrating examination of how we live . . . and a breathtaking meditation on how to live better.

I’m new to the world of Zen and philosophy and in any search I do on books I should read this one pops up. I have heard that the story presents some complicated ideas but in such a way that any reader can understand. It’s also supposed to be very well written. I would love to read it for myself.

3. Why Is The Penis Shaped Like That? And Other Reflections on Being Human by Jesse Bering

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Why do testicles hang the way they do? Is there an adaptive function to the female orgasm? What does it feel like to want to kill yourself? Does “free will” really exist? And why is the penis shaped like that anyway?

Funny, yet thought-provoking, science book about weird questions and sex stuff. Why wouldn’t I want to read this???

4. Facts Are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade Without a Name by Timothy Garton Ash

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This collection of Ash’s essays from the last decade reveals his knack for ferreting out exceptional insights into a troubled world, often on the basis of firsthand experience. Includes essays on Islam and freedom, Orwell as an informer, the Lives of Others and Gunter Grass in the Waffen-SS.

I’ve heard every good things about this book!

5. Factotum by Charles Bukowski

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Deferred from military service, Chinaski travels from city to city, moving listlessly from one odd job to another, always needing money but never badly enough to keep a job. His day-to-day existence spirals into an endless litany of pathetic whores, sordid rooms, dreary embraces, and drunken brawls, as he makes his bitter, brilliant way from one drink to the next.

I saw the movie awhile back and I found it weird but in a good way. Going off of the assumption that “the book is always better” I’ve add this to my list of must-reads!

6. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

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“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license…records my first name simply as Cal.”

I picked this up off a Barnes and Noble “recommended” shelf awhile back and the synopsis intrigued me. I was there to buy other books so I didn’t get it that day but is has been on my mind ever since. Maybe the next time I’m out book shopping I will pick it up.

7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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In picturesque nineteenth-century New England, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy come of age while their father is off to war.

Little Women has always been one of my very favorite movies. One of the very few “chick flicks” I enjoy watching. I’ve wanted to read the book ever since I was a teenager but just never got around to it. I see it in stores all the time being sold for $7 or less but I just never buy it. I have to get this next time too!

8. A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

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Bob Arctor is a junkie and a drug dealer, both using and selling the mind-altering Substance D. Fred is a law enforcement agent, tasked with bringing Bob down. It sounds like a standard case. The only problem is that Bob and Fred are the same person.

Another one of my favorite movies! This was twisted and kept me on the edge of my seat. The book has got to be amazing too!

9. Y The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan

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This is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.

I actually own a few books from this graphic novel series and so far it has been an amazing read. I added it because I really, really want to buy the rest of the series but money.

10. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman

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Gaiman himself has summarized the plot of the series (in the foreword to Endless Nights) as “The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision.”

Another graphic novel series of which I own just the first few books but would love to buy the rest. I started reading it because it got such rave reviews EVERYWHERE. I have to admit I felt a bit let down at first, it’s good but not as good as I thought it would be. I like it enough to buy the rest of the books though and I hope it gets better as the story moves along.

So there you have it, my list of books I wish I could buy but I can’t because I’m broke. Writing this has been a bit depressing but I think some book shopping is in order this weekend to cheer me up! :)

If We Were Having Coffee

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that this week has been long and I am tired. I would tell you that things aren’t going so well for me at work. Nothing seems to be going right and I am feeling a bit burned out on it all. I didn’t get the driver I wanted, I didn’t get the route I wanted, the route I did get has changed for the worst. I am working long hours, much longer than I am getting paid for. I am bored and sad a lot of the time and now that Chardonnay is busy all day I have been feeling a bit alone. I would tell you that I hate that I feel like that.

I think I am making her feel bad about her new position. I don’t mean to and I never thought I would be one of those women who makes their partner feel bad for working hard. She is stressed and she misses me as much as I miss her and making her feel bad about it doesn’t fix anything. We need to make sure the time we are spending together is quality time. We need more communication and we both have to be patient and understanding of the other. We are having a rough time right now but nothing we can’t handle. We just need to get used to a new schedule and a bit less time spent together.

I would tell you that there is a bit of a silver lining to all of this. With Chardonnay busy all the time and me in no mood to interact with people around me I have found a lot of time to get other things done. I am reading more and teaching myself math and science. I missed so much in school and it has been both very exciting and very frustrating to teach myself all the things I missed out on. The stuff I have finished so far are things I already knew, or once knew and forgot. This week I move on to learn things I was never taught.

I would probably refill my coffee at this point, lots of sugar, lots of creamer. I would tell you I am also trying to find some philosophy lectures to watch. I am pushing myself to learn more and more about as many subjects as I can. I’m not sure exactly what the end game is. I’m not why I am doing all this but I just have this drive to learn everything I can. I want to have a basic (or better) knowledge of all subjects. I think this way I can find out what my passion really is and I can start thinking about what kind of career I want. I am unhappy at my current job and I want to leave but I won’t unless I find a job I love and I think that means going back to school and getting a degree.

I would tell you that for the most part I am doing ok. I am worried about getting depressed but I am holding on. I would ask you for advice but I bet you wouldn’t have any to give. This is something I have to figure out for myself. I have to learn how to be alone and how to cope with my feelings again without Chardonnay around to help me. I have to figure out how to be happy on my own and I have to move forward. I have to find my own happiness too. I would say all of this and still not know what to do though. That is the hard part, we all know what we should do but we don’t know exactly how to do it.

I would ask you how you were doing. I would say I hope everything is going well and that if things weren’t I am here to listen to you too. I would ask you if you needed anything, if there was any way I could help and I would hope you would tell me if there was. I would drink the last of my coffee, the sugary part that collects art the bottom. I would thank you for the coffee and tell you this was nice. I would tell you to have a good day and a good rest of the week. I would say we should get together like this more often. I would walk you out and wish you good luck.

Thank you to Gene’O for the inspiration, and for making this a community thing. I really enjoyed writing it. :)