Tag Archives: artwork

Perfectionsm, Perfectionsim, Perfectionism

There are countless things that happen and I think to myself, “I’m going to blog about this.”

Like:

  • That one time I took my Granuelita to the oral surgeon’s office…  A young dentistry intern arrogantly, cruelly attempted to humiliate and degrade the kind older nurse that was attending us.  Blood boiling, I thought to myself, “I’m going to blog about this.”  Topics of discussion: Elitism, Inequality, Sadism, Classism, Social Darwinism.

Like:

  • That one time my aunt wanted me to invest extra time and energy at work that I did not have.  A request which I counteracted with a clear, strict and unbreakable boundary.  A flabby muscle I’m working to strengthen.  To which she reacted with a tearful, “You’re just so gringa, Vanessa.  So much more AMERICAN about giving than we are.” Topics of discussion: Guilt as a form of manipulation, unhealthy co-dependence, you owe me, I owe them, self love vs. unmediated self-sacrifice for another’s “love”, family values in Cuban Culture, family values in Gringa culture…

Like:

  • ETC.

I didn’t blog about either experience, however, because I just didn’t have all the time I needed to get a perfect grasp on them.  Or so I believed…

What within the amassing pile of daily complications and contemplations ultimately proves THE MOST helpful or inspiring to someone else?  Which private details of one’s dirty laundry should be shared or withheld?  Hell if I know.  The perfectionist inside rages on with such strangulating questions, urging me to excavate the truest (most perfect essence) of every wrinkle and gray hair, each quip and camera angle … until I’ve extracted its perfect version.  Only THEN should I put it on display.

“You are to Work HARDER. DO more x,y,z. On everything. Until you’ve reached its BEST: Your blog, Your art projects, Next Sunday’s Yard Sale … PERFECT is the only option.”

I can’t.  I say it here, now, in front of my 8 subscribers, one of which is me, I can’t do this whole Perfect-thing … perfectly.  I can’t choose the perfect topic of discussion and blog about it perfectly.  I can’t financially capitalize on all of my talents and capabilities perfectly.  I can’t take a picture or write a poem or organize my emails or say “no, I can’t” or say “yes, thank you” … perfectly.  I can’t do anything perfectly.

I must accept the indisputable truth that certain versions of imperfect are the most perfect anything is going to get.  I must accept imperfect manifestations of perfect concepts if I’m to continue creating and taking professional risks and making jokes and hugging people.

What I’m getting at is that I’ve decided to give up working toward the ideal manifestation of an ideal because it’s impossible and torturesome.  I’ll do my best, nothing more, nothing less, and then get some rest.  Just like kids.  They have it made.

What exactly am I talking about?  Hell if I know.  I accept that I only know the gist of what I’m getting at and it’s okay.

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photo by Greg Sand

My beloved Amor Eterno — grouchy black toy poodle with a head of grey — my family, my friend passed away a couple of days ago.  You were deeply loved & will be greatly missed.  See you in 30 yrs, mi negra linda… Rest in happiness and peace.

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“I Apologize” – Oscar Brown Jr.

I apologize for being black
All I am plus all I lack
Please sir, please m’am
Give me some slack
‘Cause I apologize

I apologize for being poor
For being sick and tired and sore
Since I ain’t slick
Don’t know the score
I do apologize

I apologize because I bear
Resemblance most black people share
Thick lips, flat nose, and nappy hair
Yes I apologize

I apologize for how I look
For all of the lows and blows I took
On those Lord knows I’d close the book
As I apologize

I apologize for all I gave
For letting you make me yo’ slave
And going to my early grave
Yes I apologize

I apologize for being caught
For being sold, for being bought
For being told I count for naught
Yeah I apologize

I apologize for all I’ve done
For all my toil out in the sun
Don’t want to spoil your righteous fun
So I apologize

I apologize and curse my kind
For being fooled, for being blind
For being ruled, and in your bind
Yes I apologize

I apologize and curse my feet
For being slow, for being late
Because I know it’s me you hate
Why not apologize

I apologize and tip my hat
‘Cause you so rich and free and fat
Son of a bitch, that’s where it’s at
And I apologize

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My Tooth Hurts & Reality Bites – Sorta.

“Sunlight is an Antiseptic” – Seth Godin (On Transparency)

My tooth is KILLING my other teeth.  They’re all in a row screaming at me to help this one tooth that I have neither the insurance or money to do.

It’s been a week since I last blogged because — well — writing is an act of honesty, of transparency.  For me, anyway.  It’s hard to put on airs or keep up facades when I write.  I mean the act is after all — Me in a silent room with my aunt’s borrowed iBook G4 computer.  And, as the Cubans say, “presumiendo” makes me feel “tan fina como el trapo de la cosina.”  That translates into: Presuming makes me feel as refined as a kitchen rag.  It makes more sense in Spanish.

Anyway, WHAT I’m trying to get at is that I’d like to blog about something helpful, positive, face-saving, but the truth of the matter is that’s just my ego trying — yet again — to avoid vulnerability, shame, and outside judgment.  It turns out I can’t help that I’m a flawed human creature thing, and my tooth hurts, and I don’t have any money for health insurance or a dentist right now.

Also, although I LOVE my art (writing and making movies), and doing it obsessively (non-stop until I pass out from physical exhaustion), the rest of my life feels beyond unmanageable.

My Part Time B Job (although I’m grateful for it) — well — hurts.  Financially, I make enough money to put $30 in my gas tank per week, eat off the Jack’s $1 menu twice a day, and go see a play once a month.  The rest of the little $$ Bling-Bling Cha-Ching I have left I always invest into my art materials — a hard drive, complimentary books (for reviewers), packaging materials, mailings, etc.  Oh yeah, and rent.

I hustle for the rest — give a little here, take a little there — in an ethical spiritual way, of course.  For instance, my aunt ROCKS and lets me use her iBook G4 laptop and I write kick arse letters on my aunt’s behalf and stay later at work to help her with her tax stuff.  My friend Linda Marie helped with all the complex formatting/tech stuff for my book The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive in order to submit it to my AMAZEDAWG (highly recommended) book distribution company Lightning Source, and I bought her dinz a bunch of times aka Ceviche Loco and paid her a bargain-price sum in small installments whenever I got paid.  Also, I am ALWAYS there for her if she ever needs help on a project, which she knows.  Etc, Etc … The poor man’s life in a capitalist system proves to be the only time communism actually works.  Tribe Members helping each other  — organically, fluidly, with an abundant spirit — realize their dreams.

I’m profoundly grateful for the blessed life I have, for the supportive, loving, brilliant, and generous group of people I am surrounded by, and privileged to call my family and friends.

That being said, I’m quite burnt out on living hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck, the hustle & bustle of keeping head above water …

SO, first step to changing this dynamic in my life is admitting to myself — very frankly — that it’s real and I need it to change.

What exactly needs to change?  Well, I’m not exactly sure …  These are the things I know for sure:

1) My sole purpose in life is to grow spiritually and make the art I love (movies & books).

2) Since I graduated college 7 years ago, I’ve tried to make money working full-time jobs and part-time jobs within the movie industry as a runner, receptionist, office & on-set PA, executive assistant, assistant editor, & editor in the mainstream studio system, the indie fiction world, and the documentary world (that def. being my fave).  I’ve made up to $1500 a week, yet none of these jobs quelled the restless ball of barbed wire bouncing restlessly within my chest — hankering for something more. After 1 week at a gig (like clockwork) dissatisfaction & depression would kick in and I wanted out.  Still, I’d muster up enough energy to stay between 3 months – 10 months.  After all, rent is due!

Then I thought: WELL, maybe I’ll just cut the crap and admit to myself that the only career that could make me truly happy would be one centered around the films and books brewing in me cabeza & corazon — to work on my art and help my friends out with their art.

Case closed.  Understood and accepted.  I’d relentlessly and unabashedly work on my projects and my friends’ projects because really that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.  I understand that building a career as a writer & filmmaker is going to take time — no prob, let’s get to work 🙂

Still, I need money — for equipment, rent, food, gas, car … Hmmmm, well okay I’ll apply to grants!  I know lots of artists, writers, and filmmakers living off grants!  My first short fiction film in college was funded by a $5,000 McNamara Arts Grant and it was the first grant I ever applied to!  In the meanwhile, I’ll work b-jobs I don’t have to take home with me: Sold packing tape, was a tutor, sold more packing tape, and then settled as a part-time executive assistant.  Jobs that drain bones of their luster, but kept them fed.  I applied to various grants over this 3 year period: Film Grants, Writing Grants, Minority Grants, Woman Grants … Grant Applications that usually took an entire Saturday & Sunday and probably most of Monday to do.  40 hours of work per application, thanks to that perfectionist watchdog a-hole — me.  Nothing. Got no grants.

All right then — next plan …

Well, all of my film equipment is 7 years old by this point — hanging in there with me, my body hasn’t been checked out by a doctor in about a year and a half, and hospital/credit card/school loan debt grows interest by the day.

My book is getting good reviews, my feature screenplay is one draft from being its ultimate best, and by now it’s ready to start researching/approaching appropriate producers … Which is beyond RAD.

But I’m still broker than a stripper on crack.

SO, I applied to grad school for my master’s in film theory!  I’d LOVE to teach film at a junior college while I continue making my art.  The school loans will keep me alive while I go to school (I can also afford to upgrade some equipment & buy some more necessary materials), and once I graduate — the degree will get me a professor-pay job that I’ll most likely LOVE (since I love watching movies, discussing them, and writing about them more than drinking 40’s, eating tres-leches cakes, and making out with beautiful chicas, which = A LOT OF LOVE) AND the mula made there will help me invest in my art projects and pay off debt.

Woohoo!  Now, there’s about 4 months until I hear if I was accepted by grad school and 6 months until grad school begins … Getting out of bed to make it to my exec assistant part-time job seems an almost impossible task by this point … for the barbed-wire ball is bouncing in my chest again and the money’s hella tight (close to non-existent).  GAHHHH!  This. way. isn’t. working. anymore.

Please baby jesus let me get into grad school and receive massive amounts of fafsa money and in the meanwhile — help me figure out what to do!

I must chuck my pride into the toilet and apply for an EBT card so that I can afford to shop at Trader Joe’s, which will stop the fast food industry from raping my cholesterol and blood sugar levels!

UM, so there you have it.  Transparency.  Godin’s right.  Sunlight is an antiseptic.  I feel better already.  Doing the “I’m so fabulously together I blog about it” song & dance is FAR more humiliating and boring.

I’ll finish with a quick fun little story:

2 weeks ago I was honored to be invited by event sponsor Moet & Chandon
as a guest blogger to renowned spanish newspaper La Opinion’s esteemed Latina Leader Awards (Mujeres Destacadas Awards/Luncheonat the beautiful Millenium Biltmore where 30 inspirational leaders of the Latina community were recognized for their priceless contributions to American society in 4 different categories: Leadership, Health, Arts & Culture, and Education.

After the valet parks my car (there was no street parking or affordable parking lot nearby), I rush to a stall in the women’s bathroom and text my mom this:

Mamushka, please transfer 50 bucks into my account. I have no money to pay for parking! Lol! I get out in 2-3 hours. That’s when I would need the money. This place is swanky!!! ;)”

The first half covered my Chase account overdraft, and the rest of it went to parking.

All that said & done, I’m comforted by the fact that Winona Ryder sorta went through something like this too.  Even if only in a movie.  One of the funnest movies EVER!: Reality Bites … It does sometimes, Winona.  I agree.


The Nothing hankers for more …

I can’t sleep.  Per the usual.  Restlessness ringing through my ears.  Had an amazing weekend.  After coming off of an almost crushing week of grad school application and article deadlines.  I just have two more pieces due this week!  Woohoo!

I wonder if there’s anything on my mind worth sharing or if I’m merely indulging in uncomfortable squirmishness via public platform.  Maybe a little of both?  Meh, who knows.  I’ve been working so hard on my book and film stuff that I’ve sort of taken a breather from my spiritual & psychological homework, and been coasting on the healing breakthroughs of other weeks and months.  This can only keep me sane for so long though before The Ache for deepening explodes tingling chimes into my arteries and rushes them down center chest into the entrails of my stomach lining. Thus producing cravings similar to the ones I get to eat and/or be fed at 5:20 in the morning.  Or the craving everyone gets to chug a cold 40 oz bottle of Mickey’s Malt after a long hard 14 days of back to back deadlines …

I think I’ll spend much of this week tending to the call for more … not with booze, food, women, or artwork / careerwork, however, but with the spiritual & psychological work I’ve been avoiding … To heed the ringing restlessness by listening to its needs, which call for me to tend to the deepening of my experience by evolving its point of reference: my perspective.

Unfortunately, outward blessings do little to tame inner The Nothing, which, as of now lies dormant, but once awakened wreaks reckless havoc on my spirit, mind, body … and consequential life.

Only spiritual & psychological maintenance / rigorously honest and thorough work on the dimensional levels of my inward experience will afford me the perspective I need to remain centered, humble, serene, and grateful for my outward experiences. Alright, I’ve rambled on enough.  Time to get into action.

But before I peace out, here are some passages I came across last week that effectively lulled The Nothing into REM for a brief set of savory hours.

They passed a warm palm down its chest, and quelled its ominous hunger pains …

Excerpt from a poem by Stacy Gnail:

‎To have demanded each seam celestial, appealed for planetary pleats. And when you saw the sun a sequin, the moon a button shaped from glass, and in the stars a pattern for a dress … to have stood then at the edge of the wood, heard a hound’s bark and my heart hark in return.

Excerpt from a poem by Troy Urquhart:

It begins.
Simply, or not.
It begins
as a word or a phrase
or a glance.
Or a sentence.
Frost would say
“it begins with a lump
in the throat.”

Excerpt from a poem by Rosa Alcala:

The body’s hidden face

The question, as we sit
by the grill, becomes:
What is the real animal
between us?

A poem by Suheir Hammad:

his approach
to love he said
was that of a farmer
most love like
hunters and like
hunters most kill
what they desire
he tills
soil through toes
nose in the wet
earth he waits
prays to the gods
and slowly harvests
ever thankful

Excerpt from a poem by Emily Dickinson:

Let us discourse – with care –
Powder exists in Charcoal –
Before it exists in Fire –

And finally, by my friend Dare Williams:

Love is a stranger in an open car…

– Img from my fave blog RileyDog


Love passages & quotes more than mini churros from Jack in the Box.

More from Conversations before the end of time:

“It is only by discovering the biological origin of this intrinsic human imperative to make art that we will truly come to understand what art means for human life and what its future might be.

… Today the question of ‘community’ is much debated — not only ‘what’ art is for, but ‘who’ it is for.

… To understand what art is, or might again become, Dissanayke claims that it is useful to consider the bigger span of human history and not just the restricted field of modern Western Society, in which art has become identified with salable objects rather than with kinds of behavior or ways of doing things that embellish and enlarge life. Although small-scale, less-specialized, premodern societies may not possess the abstract concept ‘art,’ they do offer all their members frequent opportunities to be ‘artists,’ and to be a vehicle for group meaning. The paradox of the isolated, elitist view of ‘art for art’s sake’ is that art is simultaneously sanctified and dismissed as rubbish; it becomes the subject of complex exegesis and yet is totally ignored; it commands millions in the auctioneer’s salon and yet is irrelevant to most people’s lives. According to Dissanayake, we are in this paradoxical spot because Western society treats art as a dispensable luxury, when it is really an innate behavior that is essential to our human, biological nature. Art, in her sense of making special, is important to the lives of everyone, not just to an elite group of artists in an art world. A fundamental human need is being expressed, and met by artistic activity.”

Thanks to one of my favorite blogs Riley Dog for the always splendid & stimulating image finds.


Venti Agoraphobia Latte w/ a shot of Awesomeness!

Alright, I’ve decided to take a break from the mania of emailing the 60-page list of killer blogs I compiled with queries for review of my book The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive.

It’s truly been a blast revisiting their pages, and clicking on their recommended links through which I have discovered a whole nother’ slew of kick-arse blogs!  The author of the now closed Readerville blog put it best in 2009 when he said:

“It’s been an exceptional nine years. In June of 2000, the web was a very different place than it is today. Online resources for readers were comparatively few but pretty terrific, and Readerville was proud to be among them. Back then, if you told someone you talked to people on the Internet, they still looked at you funny, and most in the book industry couldn’t really grasp the idea of readers handselling books to each other in forums such as ours. These days, I’m thrilled at the vast assortment of tools for people to connect online—from blogs to Facebook and Twitter, to the many social book cataloging sites, and beyond. Readers have resources nobody could have imagined nine years ago, and it’s a joy to see books being talked about in every corner of the Internet.”

Not only books, but ALL the arts!  There are SO many AMAZING Art & Literary Blogs. Visual, Performance, Culinary, & Journalistic (Politics & News), Activism. The list goes on.  Finally, we the world’s citizens get, and give each other, choices. Yum.  I have to stop subscribing to all their RSS feeds though or I’ll never be able to clear my inbox! Gah! We live in some fabulous times — Tis’ truly the Information Age. I’m thrilled!!!

I’m also pooped and I have group therapy/meditation in an hour so I’m going to make this short.

From ages 18 – 23, I was one of the hugest party girls — in Gucci look-alike Payless Shoesource stilettos — to ever strut the planet .  At age 25, I’d partied the party out of my system.

Being an extremist by nature , I have since then grown to hate leaving the house unless it’s to go to a film festival, art showing, or performance (theatre, dance, etc).

Contrary to the V-Dawg of yesterday, I hate parties, clubs, and 99% of social engagements.  Not only do I dislike them.  I loathe them.  A panic runs from my toes up to my head and back down again from the phase of anticipation until I am out of the situation.

Me & Kim Basinger are apparently the only agoraphobics in entertainment, lol.  The anxiety doesn’t come from being “afraid” of people or what they’ll think of me or blah blah nah nah.  I rarely buy into that boring nonsense.

I think mainly it comes from feeling wildly out of place, like a train that’s been derailed.  All I want to do — ALL THE TIME — is work on my writing and films.  Or hang out with friends 1 or 2 at a time — go get dinz and catch a flick, save the world one convo at a time.  You know, I’m 80-years old.

From reckloose to recluse.  Yikes!

I must face and accept that I am a bona fide introvert.  I absolutely positively do not like “hanging out” and absolutely positively love staying home and working on my art.  GAH!  My party-girl inside never thought she’d have to embrace this day, but alas … so it is.  What a pain-in-my-arse I have become at 27-years old ;p

Ah vel, I must accept my newly mutated ways and stop telling people I’ll go to their parties so I don’t have a panic attack, cancel last minute, and then suffer the punches of guilt in my chest for the rest of the day 🙂

Gah!  Tis’ sort of duro. Oh vell …

Anyway, speaking of working on art.  In doing my book promotion email fest 5000 today, I came across some awesomeness I’d like to share with you before I jam out the door to group therapy/meditation a.k.a. therapeutic convos with other like-hearted cray crays ;p

Enjoy!!! :

Some of Today’s Fave Blog Discoveries:

Some of Today’s Fave Photo Discoveries from Awesome Blogs:


Meritocracy: The Way The West is Run & Happiness Won.

So, it’s 4:48am and, per the usual, I’ve barely caught a wink of shut eye.  Slept about the usual 3 1/2 hours.  I know I have to buy sleepy time tea or some other herbal blah blah to help me slumber, but to tell you the truth — I LOVE working on my art stuff from 10 pm – 7am.  The only problem is that I have to stay awake from 7am – 10pm, as well.  If it were up to me, I’d do that every night and then sleep during the day, but alas I’m a mere worker among workers and must live in the light of day if I’m to afford living at all.

I’ve been spending these last few nights contacting awesome blog reviewers from the 50 page list I compiled and pitching them my book for review.  It’s actually been a blast!  I’m 5 pages away from being done.  There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you’re about to accomplish a goal that will move your artwork deeper into the consciousness of the wide open world.

My artwork (writings & films) are like my children and I only want what’s best for them.  I want them to be whole, healthy, and available for experience.  Yes, it feels great to create art with integrity that I love, that I’m proud of, and make it available to other people who may be moved, provoked, and comforted by it.

As my granuelita always says (in Spanish), “You want to stir someone’s mind, touch their heart.  That’s the pipeline.”

Everyday I kill Tha’ Brass Ring-chase within me — a.k.a. my Ego’s search for validation — a little more, which opens me up to the endless, priceless, fitting possibilities for my works of art.

What I mean by that is: I’m no longer peddling my art toward the general public or the elitist 1%, but toward ITS people … my people.  Queers, Latino-Americans, Artists, Feminists, Eccentrics.  Hey, if others like random republican football players feel for The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive (my book) too, well that’s an added bonus.  As Seth Godin states in one of the latest posts from his phenomenal marketing blog:

When was the last time you bought a tie?

“When was the last time you bought a tie?

My guess is not lately.

When you first got a fancy job, you had a tie shortage, and thus attention was paid to ties. You bought “enough for now.” Then you solved the tie problem and moved on.

When you first bought an iPhone, you had an app shortage, so attention was paid to apps. You bought “enough for now.” Then you moved on.

Music might be an exception (buying a new stereo doesn’t often lead to a new music binge). But in general, some external event occurs that creates a fissure, an opportunity, a problem. We search, we buy, we’re done.

The challenge, then, is to develop products that match what the market is looking for, and more important, to overtly and aggressively seek out the people in that situation and ignore the rest. Which is precisely what most marketers large and small are not doing right now.

RELATED: Many marketers I know have a great idea for a product or service that will target a segment of the market that doesn’t know to look for the great idea. For example, you might want to sell a better, easier to use hatchet for women. The problem is that women, long accustomed to never being able to find an axe that they’re comfortable with, have given up looking, perhaps several generations ago.

Alerting a market segment that isn’t looking is a thousand times harder than activating a segment that just can’t wait for your arrival. Since it’s your choice, since the segment is up to you, why not pick one that is itching for you to show up?”

I used to believed that to be truly successful the select 1% — those at “The Top” — had to approve of what I was peddling and be a part of it.  They always made it sound as if promoting my artwork to the niche, minority communities — those the art in actuality represented — was a second grade choice, “settling for scraps.”

The more I take my Ego out of the equation of my career, however, the more I realize what a hilarious falsity “The Top 1%” and their definition of worth/worthwhile proves to be!  I was hustled!

Who cares about Sundance this, Golden Globes that, Grant Recipient of blah, Pulitzer Prize Winner at Age 3, being Anointed “Enough.”  It’s like when People Magazine comes out with their Top 100 lists: 100 best actresses of all time, 100 most beautiful, etc.  These subjective check off lists are perpetuated as objective truths …

In Western society, even in the freest of democracies, citizens become imprisoned by the by-laws of Meritocracy.

In other words, we become slaves to the praise and acceptance of those at “The Top,” often sacrificing love for our nuanced identities, our unaccepted “flaws,” in the process.  Western society is built upon that culture of COMPARISON, where people constantly have to prove their inherent worth by showing it’s greater than someone else’s through merit.  Meritocracy lies at the core of our Capitalistic Society.  Exemplified by our tendency to quantify our personal value in numbers.  For instance, every bloody effing activity we partake in has to have an Award Show and a 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place winner.  I mean we even have dog-strutting competitions a.k.a. Dog Shows! Gah!

Consequently, if you’re #1 then I’m automatically #2 or #3 or #30 or #100, which means I’m less than you as a person, artist, success — both numerically and symbolically speaking.  We spend our entire lives trying to prove to society, to our family, to ourselves that we’re #1 and therefore “enough.”

… Even the most liberal of us, equalists at heart — people that believe the worth of everyone is inherently equal.  We who at our core believe there’s no difference between the value of the company janitor and the company CEO because we understand that the only real difference between the two is how much we personally like them. Yes, even we — who comprehend that bureaucracies are founded upon a completely subjective, biased ratings system — become shackled by the ominous system of cultural governance: Meritocracy. According to Merriam-Webster’s online free dictionary Meritocracy is defined as:

1: a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement.”

And by Wikipedia as:
Meritocracy, in the first, most administrative sense, is a system of government or other administration (such as business administration) wherein appointments are made and responsibilities assigned to individuals based upon their “merits”, namely intelligence, credentials and education,[1] determined through evaluations or examinations.
Meritocracy itself is not a form of government, but rather an ideology. Meritocracy itself is frequently confused as being a type of government, rather than correctly as a methodology or factor used in or for, the appointment of individuals to government. Individuals appointed to a meritocracy are judged based upon certain merits which could range from intelligence to morality to general aptitude to specific knowledge. A criticism of this methodology is that [3] “merit” itself is a highly subjective term, potentially lacking in clarity and therefore open to misuse.
Young’s fictional narrator describes that on one hand, the “stolid mass” or majority is not the greatest contributor to society, but the “creative minority” or “restless elite”.[12] Yet on the other hand, describes that there are casualties of progress whose influence is underestimated and that from such stolid adherence to natural science and intelligence, arises arrogance and complacency.[12] The casualties of this progress described by the phrase “Every selection of one is a rejection of many”.[12]
What I’m trying to get at is that I have blindly suffered from internalized meritocracy since I was 4-years old.  You get the “A” and it means THIS 🙂 about you, you get the “B” and it means THIS :/ about you, you get a “C” and it means THIS 😦 about you — about your “enoughness.”
.
I attribute this self-destructive Darwinian attitude to Western culture’s conception of “worth.”  The Western mind often functions under the belief that “worth” isn’t a quality human beings are born with, but EARN over their lifetime through actions considered “worthwhile.”  Individual worth is assessed by a system of qualification founded upon the idea that actions are either “meritorious” or “nothing special.” I can’t speak much on the Eastern way of quantifying individual worth as I didn’t grow up in it, but I know this to be my experience with The West’s definition of life’s winners and losers.  Many people in this society choose, on a daily basis, to be “successful” over “happy,” if it means they’ll be considered worth more by society.  Somehow, success and happiness haven’t become synonymous the way I once thought they would.  I was trained to believe they would by school, parents, religion, and television.
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NPR recently did a fascinating report on “The Secrets of Happiness” in which anthropological researcher Dan Buettner concludes that the happiest communities in the world exist in San Luis Obispo and Denmark because the people there chose careers that moved them a.k.a. made them happy as opposed to raked in the most $$$ …
“Finally, Buettner says that he has learned that people are happiest when they spend their time and money on experiences, as opposed to objects. He advises taking up an interest in sports or the arts, which will provide longer-term satisfaction than any one purchase. ‘The luster of an experience can actually go up with time,’ he says. ‘So learning to play a new instrument, learning a new language — those sorts of things will pay dividends for years or decades to come.’

When asked about his own happiness level, Buettner admitted that he is incredibly content. After all, he has spent his life in the hot pursuit of adventure and helping others discover how to live longer and smile more. ‘I have always followed exactly what interests me and never really worried about the money,’ he says. ‘And when you think about it, to be able to travel the world … on an expense account and do exactly what interests you, it just doesn’t get much better than that.’ “

Hear the fascinating 6 minute podcast here.

I’ve realized in recent days how truly happy I am for the advent of the internet.  The internet has made it so that the everyday woman/man can realize how valuable their nuanced attributes are.  The internet has created an open space where “the little people” can share their bigness with each other without the direct meddling, filtering, and manipulation of elitist opinion.
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We’re realizing how much we all have to teach and offer each other, a lot more than the top 1% would like to have us to believe.  We no longer have to limit ourselves to the criteria devised by the TOP 1% of the population — the meritorious “chosen ones” of our communities — about what and who is valuable, and what and who is not.
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As I stated in the blog post before this one, I recently began reading Conversations before the end of time, which I LOVE.  I’ve compiled a couple of passages from the book that best sum up how Western Meritocracy is crumbling (within our communities anyway, our foreign affairs are a totally other discussion).  These passages, I believe, encapsulate the exciting changes taking place in the macrocosm of the Western World through the microscope of the art world.
“In my conversation with Barbara Kirshtenblatt-Gimblet, she defines meritocracy as a form of gate-keeping: a way to keep some people in and some people out.
the move away from autonomous art — art that is cut off from any social or communal definitions — is happening whether we like it or not, and is bringing about a very different relationship between artists and the public sphere.

Rejecting the isolationist tendencies of modernism, Richard Shusterman questions the whole enterprise of defining art as a specialized category of objects or activities separate from their influential connection with real life.

Aesthetics can no longer protect itself with a thaumaturgy of ‘formal’ and ‘purist’ values, or a notion of art isolated unto itself, separate from the experience of other things.”