Sunday, December 13, 2015

A disturbing ennui...

Have you ever been on Pinterest, and you've looked at so many pictures of cute animals that you start to feel totally blasé? Like, yes, I see the kitten is small and furry and by all accounts adorable. But I feel nothing.

You start to wonder if you are dead inside. Again cute kitten. Again nothing.

Then you tune into the news: wars, presidential posturing, heinous crimes and general mayhem and meanness.

And the next time you see a picture of a kitten, you realize how much you needed to see it.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My life...

My life's an open source code.
Embed it if you dare.
You'll spend your teen years listening to Depeche Mode.
And your adult life typing in a chair.

—Sarah Torribio

Monday, July 6, 2015

So I have anxiety. . .

I'm coming out as suffering from anxiety.

Let me rebrand that in a more positive way. I'm living with anxiety. No, what I mean is I'm thriving through anxiety.

Call it what you want...

But I have lots of free-floating worry. Sometimes it morphs into full-blown panic. Blame it on my personality, my upbringing, my environment, the madness of modern times or an insufficiency of seratonin. I think it's a combination of each of these factors.

It does occasionally get me down. There are volumes contained in that word DOWN, by the way, but I'll leave it at that for now.

I'm not good at just pushing through things. And I believe in being frank about my experience, because I constantly meet other anxious people. My perspective may be able to help someone feel less alone.

I take medication. I've been to therapy many times, and probably will need another counseling tuneup—a checkup from the neck up—before long. I'm also an unrepentant devourer of self-help books.

But anxiety aside, I've got one life to live. (Unless it turns out that there is such a thing as reincarnation, in which case my point is still applicable: I have one life to live at a time.)

I do what I need to do. I mother my kids.  I drive my car. I "adult," as they say, dealing with bank-tellers and bosses.

I also do what I want to do. I'm a writer, so I conduct interviews. Thanks to some entertainment writing I've done, I could even drop a few names, if it were in good taste. Okay, you pulled my arm: Perry Farrel, Adam Ant, Rick Springfield, Henry Rollins, Scotty McCreery, Sandra Bernhard. . .

I'm a musician myself, and have gotten on stage a few times. I hope to do it some more in the future. I also was, before the recession intervened, an adjunct professor in the communications program at a community college. I've been in front of classroom full of students, and if that's not nerve-wracking, I don't know what is.

I think I'm done touting my resilience. I'd venture to guess that this getting on with things despite anxiety is prevalent to an unknown and unbelievable number of people.

How many of us must steel ourselves for a family gathering? And how many of us simultaneously see the irony in having to brace for something that's meant to be a joyful occasion, something that helps keep our support system strong—which is especially important when you have a mood disorder.

My advice to people with anxiety, in general, is as follows: Don't disappear. Know you're not alone. Reach out for help. Try everything. Don't beat yourself up for being imperfect. In fact, from the objective stance of a pretty good day, I can write a phrase that sounds to me like a small epiphany.

"You're not a broken human being because you have trouble controlling worry and fear. You're just extra-human." Not super-human, although that would be great, because you could tell all obstacles, inner and outer, to go to hell.

And keep your eye out for what other people who have experienced anxiety have to say about it. It can be inspiring and enlightening.

I encountered a couple valuable quotes just today while browsing through the enormous shopping mall of the mind that is Pinterest. First, there's this gem by Kierkegaard.

That's a good way to think about it. My significant other Brian, who sometimes has moments of startling insight, occasionally reminds me, "You're not anxious. You're excited." When you spend a lot of time trying to tamp down fear, you become hyper-vigilant. Adrenaline is adrenaline and so, if your inner anxiety police are working overtime, they can confuse eagerness, anticipation and exhilaration with terror. True story.

And here's another.

Can you imagine that? Georgia O'Keeffe, that desert walker, that world painter, terrified?!

So who am I to curse my fate—to rail against being born with what sometimes feels like a rabbit heart. I'm human and I'm in good company.

—Sarah Torribio

Monday, June 29, 2015

Conscious uncoupling. . .

The prodigal son. . .

I haven't added a blog entry for two months. 

Returning to blogging after a long absence, I feel a bit like the prodigal son. I beg my own pardon, and that of my imaginary horde of followers. 

In my defense, my bank account is overdrawn, and so is my spirit. Writing at times like this feels like that old Air Supply song, "making love out of nothing at all."

I've been culling the internet, looking for inspiration. Instead, I find everyone at odds over political and religious matters. It doesn't help that I lurk on Facebook like I work for the NSA. 

Many of my friends have "rainbow-fied" their profile pictures in response to the Supreme Court's recent legalization of gay marriage nation-wide. I've posted some rainbows myself.  

In the meantime, I've been invited to a gay wedding; my significant other's uncle and his boyfriend are tying the knot in September. I went to their engagement party this weekend. They're happy. The families of the grooms are happy. 

Some of my religious relatives and acquaintances,  by contrast, are posting that they are troubled by the Supreme Court's flouting of God's law. They are cynical about the direction in which the country is headed. One aunt even wrote that she is "saddened" by all the rainbows showing up on social media. It's really a bad day when a rainbow can sadden you. 

All the dissent gives me a headache. But opinions are like chromosomes. Everyone has them, and I'm no different. 

I don't think homosexuality is a sin. I don't even think it's a choice. 

When I was in elementary school, a boy in my class was obviously gay. He preferred playing jumprope with the girls to playing kickball with the boys. Years later, I ran into him at a club and there he was, wearing spandex and as gay as he had always been. This guy was black and hard of hearing. He wouldn't have consciously chosen to make himself part of another minority. 

It's anecdotal evidence, but as a writer, I respect anecdotes. After all, they're stories. 

Anyhow, I have been trying to share my story, scratching away, mainly at poetry. My current genre is epigrams, short rhymed pieces in the vein of Dorothy Parker and Edna St. Vincent Millay. As I recently quipped, "I'm playing with words for playing's sake, till my lyrics are limp and my metaphors ache." Here are a few of my latest. 

I like to test my balance, 
just a couple times a year.
There's something rather freeing
in a glut of wine or beer. 

Some words need a cocktail's nudge
before they can be said. 
Won't you raise a glass to me, 
so I can lose my head? 


Fan me with your paper wings
before, like heat, you rise.
Don't hurry to the porch-light moon,
oh darling, shield your eyes. 


Going Green
I'm into recycling and vertical gardening
Telling the earth thanks, and begging your pardoning
Shrinking my footprint and going drought-tolerant
Going to protests and shouting and hollering

I'm point out chem trails and tilting at windmills
Creative repurposing, scouring landfills
I'm making a playground from old rubber tires
Throwing hard looks and gang signs at climate deniers 


They'd say I lost my innocence
I say I lost repression
Learned feeling any kind of up 
Is better than depression


An idealist has an idea list of how to make things better. 
A pessimist in the broiling heat says, "Better bring a sweater." 


The flower that she picks, elated
is looking rather pixelated. 

This kind of writing is nothing that will win me a Pulitzer Prize. It's not bringing home the bacon. But it's stringing words together, a writer's version of putting one foot in front of the other. 

—Sarah Torribio

Monday, April 6, 2015

Song of the Day: "C'mere" by Interpol

So I've had a number of things occur in the last few weeks. Things I haven't processed. Allow me to be oblique, until I get up my nerve. (Allow me to use the word oblique for the first time. It sounds pretentious but know I am using it with great trepidation.)

Anyhow, here is a brief of interesting occurrences this month.

1) I had writing collaboration drama. Outcome to be determined later.

2) I interviewed the drummer for Interpol and am planning to write an interview story, due soon for a publication. I have avoided plunging in because they are INTERPOL for God's sake. I want to do them justice. And every song I listen to by them, old and new, blows my mind. No, more like it shakes the gelatin of my brain, like something jiggling a jello mold.

"C'mere" is currently a masterpiece in my mind, and I'm playing it on repeat because of its cozy melancholy. It sounds like it's a gloomy, overcast day with lots of thunder, but you're seated near a fire. . .And, in a few minutes, like you're walking on a wet moor, soon to succumb to fever, a la Jane Austin protagonist Marianne Dashwood. Not quite as hysterical as Cathy in Wuthering Heights, due to the emotional detachment of the vocalist despite the near sentimentality of his words.

In "Slow Hands," Paul Banks of Interpol makes uncontrolled love sound both overwhelming and clinical:

"I submit my incentive is romance/I watch the pole dance of the stars. We rejoice because the hurting is is so painless from the distance of passing stars."

Shades of the beautiful hopelessness of Joy Division, but then the song gets downright unabashedly, Tom Cruise jumping on the couch, romantic. It would sound like passion, had the earlier sentences not been presented like a court case.

"And I am married to your charms and grace. We just go crazy like the good old days. You make me want to pick up a guitar, and celebrate the myriad ways that I love you."

By the way, there is something hot about guys that use words like myriad.

Part II of this blog will appear when I am less overwrought and prone to verbal risks and linguistic mania.

In conclusion, I must be getting happy again because I'm starting to fangirl more over bands I like.

So yeah, here's that song. . .

                                                                             >> next song

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Paleo manners. . .

Forget the Paleo Diet. I'm going to write a book on Paleo Etiquette. It's a very direct way of dealing with people and involves non-verbal cues like grunting.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Up all night. . .

I was up all night dreaming
Of what I should wear
When I go careening
On rides at the fair

--Sarah Torribio