These are the the kind of things that will ignite my soul–if you care about these types of things.

My mom’s favorite attribute of me is my loyalty. She says it’s unwavering, fierce, and swallows one hole. She outlines differences between my brothers and I by telling of a situation where I walk into the room and search until I find her first before addressing anyone else. My brothers tend to go through everyone else until they finally make it to her, last. I like this story a lot, but I suspect I like it because of the deep desire to be so important to someone else that they see me first; building blocks of how to love.

This theme follows me into many story lines of love, and the literal manifestation of it almost always fails to capture the essence of which my mom speaks. I’ve watched as one I’ve made my world walks into a room full of others and charms the crowd casually keeping an eye out for me. All the while I was at the entrance watching my beloved like a ghost. If I were truly a ghost like the ones from the past that tightly grab on to haunt because any life is better than not living, well then I would have been seen–definitely. But, I am not a ghost and I’m not a crowd. I’m just another person looking to be recognized above all else.

There were times upon falling in love that I avoided rooms all together because this ultimate test in compatibility proved I couldn’t be loved that much. As I get older, I realize it’s not that I am unlovable but rather I have walked into the wrong room–someone else’s.

The not-so-subtle art of being a New Yorker.

There’s a not-so-subtle art about being a New Yorker. Much like a Jackson Pollock piece–every movement defines a very strong emotion; deep urge; challenged spirit; unseen possibility; thickness of character; blurred intent; desperate hope; and a thinning line of innocence–hard to understand until you really see it up close.

It may take someone smarter than you, perhaps a fellow New Yorker, to point out that Pollock is to be felt and not explained. Suspicious, as any good NY transplant will become, you walk up close to see the intense imperfections for yourself. Pictures and postcards–the second-hand accounts–do not capture the beautiful chaos of One: Number 31, 1950. Standing in the MoMa PS1, you understand Pollock’s masterpiece, and like the city that brought it to you, the allover approach is now all over you.

A closer look at this work reveals some of the decisions made in the act of painting: the selection of colors; the use of contrasting matte and glossy paints; if the lines would be thick or thin, fast or slow; whether to wait for the paint to dry or to work wet-on-wet, so that different paints bleed and pool; and a host of others. Only when the painting was completed did Pollock determine where the edges should be. In One: Number 31, 1950, Pollock left a breathing space bordering all four sides of the field of paint. However, in other paintings, the lines and spatters continue beyond the edges.–MoMa

After an unspecified amount of time has passed, you walk away with a Pollock-thick inspired aesthetic that you carry with you wherever you go–this is the art of being a New Yorker.

I can’t quite say that I understand Mark Rothko, so maybe I’ll bump into a Los Angeles transplant at the MOCA who will open my eyes to the brilliance of color.

New York, I will miss you.

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Thank You Nuclear Families, Tummy Tucks, and a Thanksgiving without newspaper smudges.

It’s fascinating how our Thanks You’s transform over time.

In childhood I was mostly thankful for having more than my brother to play with as we gathered at Granny Erwin’s house.  Back in those days–the days of large family gatherings–we’d bring picnic tables into the living room so that we could all partake in the merriment of family.  The protruding bellies of my uncles, gossiping-voices of my aunts, and little cousin tattle-telling threats; this was Thanksgiving as I knew it.  Once Aunt Debbie–our beautician–cleaned her scissors and shears from the last haircut of the day, Thanksgiving had come to its end.  I was thankful for the following:  Dear Santa Letters we read from the local newspaper in hopes of seeing ours published, the end of Uncle Thed and Puff’s tickling torture, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, The Macy’s Day Parade, Aunt Glenda’s delightful full-bellied laugh, an Aunt LuLu and Uncle Darry Lee sighting, being in a family that danced, Crystal telling me about boys, Joe and Red shooting slingshots and my finding the best rock to shoot at the barn versus listening to Crystal’s boy-crazed stories, Bubba and Donnie sneaking into the tool shed, and my nuclear family.

High school was tricky as family units began to separate and splinter off into several small siloed Thanksgiving gatherings.  There wasn’t a headquarters any more, but rather several remote ones in which transformed the holiday into a chore.  There were new faces without the history or tradition in which defined family to me.  Bubba and I spent time with new families, outsiders looking in from the window, missing what Thanksgiving used to be.  Maybe we would get to see the characters of our family if our visit corresponded with their schedule, otherwise we would try to see them on Christmas.  I was thankful for the following: no more bickering, having a buddy like my brother to experience days like these with, our new baby brother Blake, my birthday so I could choose my own guest list, and the silence and alienation that allowed me to cherish memories and learn how to be alone.

College, I went where I wanted and I always went back home.  I was searching for myself, but mostly I was hoping to find the characters of my family again.  People had moved on; cousins married, loved ones died, slingshots were passé, picnic tables remained outside, gossiping sounded more faint, we were less enthused with newspapers and Santa, everyone was doing Weight Watchers, and Aunt Debbie forgot her scissors and sheers.  I was thankful for the following: being home, newspaper smudges on my fingers, eating despite being broke, playing with my cousin’s children, being too old for tickle torture, that CD that turned into family dancing, divorce allowing happiness, for not having to eat smaller portions, not having to tell Aunt Debbie I needed a more complex type of haircut, not being married, and the remembrance of those we lost along the way.

Today, I have to decide between Thanksgiving or Christmas, the latter always wins going home.  My family has extended into its own social network and text messaging allows me to tell all these characters how thankful I am they are in my life or have passed through it.  Newspapers are electronic as to prevent smudging, gossiping is viral, tummy tucks replaced dieting, Aunt Debbie is retired so no haircuts rendered, my cousins have divorced and remarried, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton have had so much plastic surgery their faces don’t move, I’m not sure slingshots are even sold any more but Crystal is still boy crazy, new faces are no longer intimidating, and I’m okay with Thanksgiving this way.  I’ll dance on Christmas, but the Macy’s Day Parade is on in all our homes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how it works: heal, breathe, and use your words.

I haven’t deliberated over my life in quite some time, but leave it to the powers that be to slow me down with a broken rib.  Breathing requires such concentration that I have no choice but to focus on the only thing I can do, at the moment–think.  I wouldn’t claim to be a wordsmith, anymore.  No, that title left me months ago along with other descriptors–confident, spiritually evolved, kind, gentle, optimistic, loving, hopeful…to name a few.  Nothing in particular happened to derail me, but rather caught up to me.

As I get older and time becomes more valuable, moments of reflection get smaller and more specific.  An outlook on the world becomes too large to manage, and scaling back is the only way to not become overwhelmed, so interpretation on a case-by-case basis shapes perspective.  And, perspectives change; so much change.  It’s hard to get a good grip on change and such concepts as “using your words”–wordsmith skills– can easily slip through your fingers unless you practice,  after all practice makes perfect.  Behavior is surprising enough without throwing in an inability to communicate.

Last month I was headed to an event with two friends.  We were in a cab exchanging self-characteristic type things.  I launched into a characteristic about myself, and then paused mid-sentence. “Actually, that’s not true,” I said. “It’s one of those things I would like to think was true about me, but isn’t.”  For the life of me I can’t recall the characteristic, but it wasn’t an inherent characteristic of me and one I would likely never acquire.  It made me feel strange and uncomfortable to admit that, but it was true.  Cue Regina Spektor‘s “On The Radio”

…this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else’s heart
Pumping someone else’s blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don’t get harmed
But even if it does
You’ll just do it all again…

I’m figuring out that, for the most part, people teach you about yourself.  Someone told me, once, that hate is equally important than love; love teaches you about others, but hate teaches you about yourself.  Entrusting another with your heart is a scary event–even more so if you don’t  have a clear perspective on who you are in the first place–but each invitation brings a new moment to practice being you.

The Latitude and Longitude of Human Experience In The Information Age.

The intrinsic value of our youth–where ideals beget hope, goals, and who we could become in life–and its diminishing returns are a brutal reminder of us in our heyday.  Enter nostalgia, the leading cause of alcoholism.  Okay, I probably can’t cite that as factual but it certainly could make sense.   Remember when hope, goals, and who we were, were as simple as riding the breath and not something we had to continually practice?

In a bar in Hell’s Kitchen, I sat sipping on a Shiraz and talking to two friends that recently discovered that they were eerily compatible and should date.  In talking about relationships and waxing philosophically about life, I made one of my most peculiar confessions.  I confessed to having strange sensations, which can only be likened to the vibrato of harp music within my soul, upon hearing certain types of information.

This phenomenon began in a geography class in junior high school during Coach Martin’s commentary of spatial interactions that lead into an example of tornadoes.  I wasn’t sure if it was hormonal or if I found Coach Martin sexy.  I hadn’t recalled thinking he was particularly fascinating before that, but then again I never had a vibration throughout my body to anything anyone else had ever said before.  I hung on to his every word, mesmerized at my own latitude and longitude of human experience.

It wasn’t until I was on the phone with my credit card company in college grappling with the consequences of default that the phenomenon occurred again.  Phone systems were much less sophisticated back then and actual people–the customer service type–actually spoke to you.

“Let me just verify that we have your most current information on file, Ms. Ben.”

Her voice wasn’t particularly nice, a Southern monotone, but as she launched into the verification of my identity the harp started.

“Your address is….”

“Your phone number is…”

“Your last charge was on..”

“Your mother’s maiden name is…”

She read off my information as I sat, vibrating from the inside, reveling in my personal information.  Was this a fetish?  I scribbled fetish on a post-it to research at the library later (pre-Google days). Was I a homosexual?  I scribbled homosexual down on the same small yellow paper.

“Ms. Ben?  Is this information correct?”

“It is, thank you.”

It happened several other times in college when someone spoke with  great intellectual gusto.  This type of massaging of my soul made much more sense to me–I clearly had a thing for intellect that was irrelevant of its host.

As the world moved into the information age, whoa, you can imagine my information-gasm. Everything and everyone of great intelligence at my fingertips.

I confessed to going inside the bank (when I never truly needed it) because at Chase their customer service advocates pull you to their desk in an effort to convert you from one account holder to multiple.  In this process they verify your information, and despite having been in there a few days earlier, I let whomever read back to me my most current information for the mere feeling it provides me.  I also confessed to most days feeling numb.  What was this weird physiological response to my identification?

“I totally get it,” my friend replied.  “It’s like a confirmation of your existence in this big ol’ world.”

All of a sudden, my confession made more sense.  It wasn’t weird at all, but simply my way of assessing my extrinsic value, and as a business student I can tell you it’s less valuable (than intrinsic).

The Stoic Approach To Broken

“And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened. “–Douglas Coupland

Everyone has a pivotal moment, a retrospective stand-still, in which growing becomes hard; innocence lost.  It’s like being punched for the first time, doubled-over in perplexing pain, trying to catch your breath.  After that–the first time–it becomes easier to take a beating.  Maybe you self-protect or maybe you’re scared or maybe you’re stronger, but you’re never where you were before.  Moments of truth awaken reflexes within you that were either conditioned or innate, but either way the reaction defines you.

Everyone also has an ostensibly innocuous moment, a seemingly irrelevant event, in which a choice or decision is entered into the dynamic mindstream of another; karma.   Sending and banishing another into Samsara–cyclic suffering–until noble virtue, noble concentration, noble discernment, and noble release is understood.  Sounds like a disproportionate amount of spirit work for one versus the other, right?  Not really, it’s all in the give and take.

One midday Saturday in the early 80’s, I watched out the screen door as a trio of teenagers walked down our mostly desolate road in Divide Community.  No rock was left unturned by my family in our Podunk community and it was the first and perhaps only time strangers afoot passed through.  The details between my curiosity as a screen lurker and why those orphans or hippies or serial killers were devouring the Hamburger Helper at our dinner table may have been misplaced.  Nevertheless, the youngest of the ambiguous sibling tribe became a squatter in our hamlet.  Squatters get all the benefits of home without the responsibility, and by their very nature live in survival mode so everything is a threat.  He was the first broken person I knew, and a catalyst for the demise of  my family unit.

Several months after my parent’s divorce, we were in the grocery store when a familiar but faceless lady mentioned seeing my father buying beer.  This information would have been a fairly normal adult activity, however my father spent my whole life up to that point judging and preaching about the sins of the sinner.

“You must have meant my Uncle Donnie,” I interjected.  “People think they’re twins, but they aren’t. MY dad doesn’t drink.  Drinking beer is a sin.”

Ironically, I will never forget her expression.  She quickly withdrew her tongue from idle talk and looked down.

“Oh.”  She glanced at my mom and then back to me.  “Maybe you’re right.”

I placed my hands on my hips and curtly replied, “I am.”

I was afraid of what it meant; my father drinking.   Was this how stoic people did things?

I didn’t have a penchant for bad things during my teenage years like my friends did during their era of rebellion.  I coughed and  complained too much for my friends to truly get me addicted to cigarettes (like most of them eventually did).  Not a smoker.  It wasn’t an easy feat, either, to get me drinking alcohol.  I hated the taste of liquor, wine, and beer.  One particularly weighty morning, I snatched a beer from my stepfather’s refrigerated stash and took it with me to school.  I got in my car and pushed in the single cassette tape of TLC’s “Waterfalls” and drove toward school–beer between legs and sobbing.

(WAIVER:  I DO NOT CONDONE DRINKING & DRIVING, NOR DO I CONDONE DRINKING LOW-POINT BEER.) 

7:30am, football field parking lot, sobbing and gagging as I forced down my first beer, alone.  After all, this is how stoic people do it.

5+1=A Story

There’s a silence in all of us that allows us to know the 5 W’s and 1 H; who, what, when, where, why, and how.  In my undergraduate studies in Journalism this was the basic investigative formula for getting the facts of any story.  At the very least, it gave you the lead to something bigger.  I’m finding, later in life, the concepts previously learned are applicable in other aspects of life not exactly academic.  In my graduate studies, Leadership specifically, the concepts can be applied in life at the very moment of conception—if you’re in the action you cannot see what’s truly happening.  Other than the age gap, the true difference lies in the person (who) you are (what) at that moment (when) in time (where) when you’re truly left alone to process “how” (why).

This is my story, at the moment…

I’ll be 34 in almost exactly five months and the overarching theme of most people in my age bracket isn’t mine.  I could have had this Cleaver-like existence, but it wasn’t me.  So WHO am I?  I’ll keep this aligned to the five-point theme and in bullets (so this may be super difficult in choice but here goes):

  1. Stubborn – This has been with me the longest of any other descriptor and perhaps the go-to word for anyone that has ever cared for me.  It’s served me both well and poorly at various stages in my life.  Being stubborn in my early twenties, paid off in ambitious endeavors as I wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and forged through impossibility to succeed.  However, there is a fine line between stubborn and pride that is painfully uncomplimentary–not knowing where this line is can create a cascading failure. While I have admitted to learning far more in my failures than successes, the irony lies in my stubbornness.
  2. Loyal – I’m fiercely loyal, which is problematic at times because anything “fierce” is intense and there are few people willing to succumb to such devoted attachment much less reciprocate.  However, loyalty comes in many levels and the duty I place upon others may very well be impossible outside of me.
  3. Creative – This gives me the ability to transcend myself, others, and discover something more meaningful.  Perhaps my only saving grace in the world.
  4. Hopeful – I’m confident that while I cannot control the events, people, or circumstances that come into my life, I believe that it’ll all work out as it should and the best for everyone.  That every exit is an entrance into somewhere else, and in the words of Mark Twain, “Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.”

The sum of the above abridged characteristics is my partial identity–the WHAT to my WHO.  This, of course, could be different from those that know me or have known me, so this potential difference gives me a separate identity from my own.  If identity is a necessity then what does that say about “me”?  That we’re more than who we are because who we are isn’t isolated to who we think we are, but rather who we are to others?  We live in half-truths until we relate to others because 1+1=2.

“Now ‘WHY a thing is itself’ is a meaningless inquiry (for — to give meaning to the question ‘why’ — the fact or the existence of the thing must already be evident’-e.g. that the moon is eclipsed-but the fact that a thing is itself is the single reason and the single cause to be given in answer to all such questions as why the man is man, or the musician musical’, unless one were to answer ‘because each thing is inseparable from itself, and its being one just meant this’ this, however, is common to all things and is a short and easy way with the question).” – Aristotle’s Law, Metaphysics Book VII, Part 17

WHEN I was a child, the identification came mostly from my family.  This is both good and bad because while the definition of you is contingent upon others–it’s also tied to them and less to you.  This helps you be grounded when you fly too far from your roots, but it’s confusing when belief systems move out of orbit from the Mothership.  This is WHERE you begin to define your own life and how it fits or doesn’t fit with others.

So, HOW do you get to where you’re going? This route is different for each of us, and in realizing this I’ll figure out my story.


Love, take it to the mattresses.

There’s a subtle shift that occurs after two people realize they’re standing in the moment of finality. It’s as if the world whispers, “Don’t blink or you’ll lose the last moment where you know who is standing in front of you.” The moment of truth, arrived, and this is what it’s like to not know each other anymore.

She slept on mattress on the floor—the same mattress I had purchased after the heartbreak before her—when I passed by the hallway packing the last of my things. I thought, “She has a place to rest her head even if she sleeps near the ground for now, but she’ll get a frame to lift it back up.” It was that same line of thinking I had after the initial shock of the I’m-going-to-leave-my-marriage realization; I’m doing the right thing for both of us in the long run even if the short run scorches our feet.

I’m sleeping on an air mattress tonight in my renovated shoebox in Alphabet City. It’s been quite some time—5 months to be exact—since I’ve been comfortable in my own space. Despite the obvious disarray from the move, I’m free to be free. Although, if I’m truly being honest, here, that uncomforted space issue started one year and five months ago. While I’m being honest, let’s face it, freedom is never free.

Shopping for mattresses is a lot like soul work; you have to know yourself well enough to know what you like, how much you’re willing to invest in your comfort, and not rush it. I was upsold on the first overpriced mattress, a firm with a pillow top, like many other things during that period in my life. Later, I was also talked into tossing it for a terribly old, piss stained, non-pillow top mattress, by a girlfriend attached to most everything except me. After she hurt me in the most despicable way possible, I was sans mattress, not that one fit into my inherited vagabond lifestyle in the first place; couch surfing required less capital and emotional investment.

Futons, the minimalist way of resting your head, was the way to Zen. Mattresses were heavy and laborious constructs of luxury that I didn’t need. No, out with the old and in with the new. I acquired a different, vibrant, soul enriching, school of thought, and the only way to happiness was through the suffering–and, let me just say this about suffering; there were some painstakingly difficult nights of sleep where my back was concerned. Futon people don’t have significant romantic relationships. They just can’t, really, because a futon person is in a transitory state of living that no one wants to catch.

With the first indication of love interest, I tossed that sucker and bought a new mattress, firm, for her back problems. Solving her problems, giving her comfort, and making certain she never woke up in pain, was how I spent the next four-or-so years. Sleeping on that firm mattress, built to sustain the strength of the spine, it occurred to me that this firm mattress was not mine. I purchased it, yes, but this was not where I was supposed to rest my head.

I left her the firm mattress, which was now on the floor with her. I had my freedom, so I marched into Macy’s listening to the divorce theme song “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + the Machine and I plopped down on that plush Euro bed mattress.

“Can I help you?”

I smiled, big. “Yes, I’m in the market for a new mattress.”

“Feel like testing out the others?”

I closed my eyes, briefly, and despite being internally sold on the one I was on I shook my head yes.

She led me to different makes and styles of mattresses, and I obliged because I had never taken my time before, until we made a full round and stood in front of the first choice; the queen plush Euro bed. “Do you know the comfort level you want?” She asked.

“I do,” I replied. “I want to sleep in a cloud.”

“So this one seems like the perfect fit.” She pointed.

“Yes.”

We made small talk as I spent an extravagant amount of money on my mattress–MY mattress.

“What’s the reason for the purchase today?” She looked up from entering my credit card information.

“I was married for four years and the trade-off was the firm mattress.” I paused and felt a tremendous amount of fulfillment. “Now that I’m teetering on the brink of divorce, I want to rest my head in the clouds.”

The cloud-like mattress arrives on Thursday, so for now I’m making do with the air mattress. I’d rather be like one with air than two on an old piss stained non-pillowtop, firm, break-my-back-for-love type of mattress. So, while we may be strangers and prefer different mattresses, I know one thing to be true about myself–I prefer plush.

 

NEWSFLASH: Toilet Paper in bulk, the leading cause of divorce.

If I haven’t written in a month or so, forgive me.  There are bigger mind-numbing issues at hand like say my pending divorce; the untangling of my life from another.  Between school, work, house selling, divorce dissonance, and the splitting of hairs, I’ve not had much sanity to sit with myself and pound feelings out onto a screen–not that sanity has ever been a writing device.  Alas, here I am attempting to tap into the irreverent confessional known as this blog.  I’ll spare you the shit show.

There’s really a lot to learn from  marrying someone and then divorcing them, and even more to learn about the person they loved and married and subsequently grew to despise during divorce.  Take for example the status progression of orange juice:

MARRY ME—

‘No pulp’ for me, please.

Oh, you like ‘lots of pulp’?

No problem, let’s get married and we’ll buy ‘some pulp.’

I WANT A DIVORCE—

Open fridge, stare at ‘lots of pulp’ orange juice.

Shut fridge, go to brunch with friends for fresh squeezed.

There’s also a Costco effect that happens within any single person struck with the realization that they must walk away from someone they no longer love.  In Eat Pray Love, she had this moment of epiphany in her bathroom–crying, kneeling, begging God for answers.  In Personal Velocity, Greta is at the kitchen table and its her husband’s cheap shoes.  For me, it was standing in the wholesale warehouse of Costco looking at a mountainous shelf of toilet paper in bulk.  The concrete below my feet felt of ice because it was December, and floor insulation is rendered an unnecessary overhead cost since it doesn’t generated any sort of significant revenue per-square-foot for a place that uses such a discount strategy as Costco.  There is a distinct moment of panic–kind of like a hot flash–that occurs when a simple and underwhelming task of buying toilet paper suddenly overwhelms you and becomes not so simple, and thus defines your life.   In a snap, you’re back but not the same person that wandered down aisle six in search for the 600-count roll of industrial strength toilet paper.  No, you left that person–whoever she was–in the frozen food section sampling the mini pigs-in-a-blanket.  This person, standing in front of a ridiculous barrier of paper products just wants a single roll of toilet paper from a Bodega in Manhattan.  This person has no reason to buy in bulk, and truth be told, never thought of herself as a buyer of bulk, a drinker of ‘lots of pulp,’ a homeowner in dirty Jersey, or a pigs-in-a-blanket eater.

This person is going to leave her marriage.

Life is a mix tape.

Over the weekend I discovered a mix CD that an acquaintance made for me.  Thinking back in the history of my sometimes fleeting, sometimes lasting, and always significant connections, there have more often than not an exchange of  music in whatever new format.  Perhaps, that is the nature in which my life veered as first a passion and then into a career that makes people express themselves in the medium of sound.  The dualistic side of me also expresses sentiments in words to which books are given earlier and found much later – in transition – when needed.  On this mix was a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” by Letters To Cleo.  Truth be told, it’s a really great cover and I’m a complete and utter hater of covers, mostly.  But, this particular cover started playing as a day of Spring seeped into my Land Rover’s windows during a drive around Washington Square Park. One of those much-needed soul-lifting type of days injected with Vitamin D from the long-lust sunshine of Spring warding off Winter’s discontent.  The weather is just right, the sun kisses your cheeks, and the world wraps its arms around you, for just a moment, to let you know that everything is as it should be.

It was in the verse, “Now here I go again, I see, the crystal visions / I keep my visions to myself / It’s only me / Who wants to wrap around your dreams and… / Have you any dreams you’d like to sell? / Dreams of loneliness… / Like a heartbeat drives you mad… /
In the stillness of remembering / What you had / And what you lost,”  I found perspective.  That moment left an indelible imprint in my soul; the moment I could now put a name to this particular song, a face, an experience that would forever be conjured up in any future playing of the song.

There is nothing easy with the ending of a connection, really, and if it’s too easy to disconnect  then perhaps you should look around at the company you’re keeping.  The point is…you never can fully disconnect because you absorb them into you.  But, that won’t stop you from trying to abandon them (and perhaps you will).  After all, life is a mix tape.

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