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happyblog: who are you?

i'm trying to come up with two sentences to kick off the bio on kenobi. one of them needs to say what i do. the other needs to explain how i do what i do differently than everyone else. and this isn't just about branding, or market differentiation, although it is about those things. it also requires a certain air of ambition and aspiration, because not everything i've done in the past reflects what i hope to do in the future.
but i usually have a lot to say, so cramming in a lot of thinking about both topics into two sentences is a bit daunting. not because i think my potential clients should have to read everything i have to say...WAIT! i just thought of a solution to this problem.
but the suggestion of ATA, i started just jamming on everything i would want to convey without space limitations. i got this so far:
I write. I make up worlds. I design everything. I care about beauty and equality insofar as things can be the same and different. Balance and decay and struggle are beautiful, along with simplicity, synthesis, generosity, and ambition. Learning is what it's all about. There is poetry in honesty and forthrightness. We should all have a path to power, whether our influence extends to the boundaries of our physical self, our family, our community, our planet. Full transparency means full responsibility, and accountability, and it's ok that it will take a long time to reach for that. We are mammals. We can organize for innovation, creativity, agency, authenticity, and art. We all innovate, create, act, embody, and express. Solutions are more exciting than achievements. We must move forward together, so there can be no absolute but life, which is change. When I look at the world I see stories, and when I look at stories I see the world as it is/was/wants to be. So we weave messages of self consciousness into laughing, frolicking good times, because it's easier to feel good than to feel that you must.
i'd really like to do stand-up comedy. i'm not that funny to other people, but so much of the world is funny to me, and perhaps i could provide the world a valuable service by pointing these things out. par exemple, i read the paragraph above and i have to laugh at myself for the following: 1) i go from talking about myself to the entire species in 3 sentences, 2) i use nice words to talk about things that are yucky, because isn't that juxtaposition so artistic? 3) i really, really want to give it all away. like, ruin the punchline, open the curtain, give tours of the sausage factory, hand over the keys...give it all away! i have no mystique. in fact, i revolt against the whole idea that mystery is alluring. uncertainty is cool, unpleasant/awesome at times, but mystery just sounds like an obstacle to me. unknown variables can't be accounted for!
so i can go off on artistic tangents, check. but i'm also really good at overview and organization, and telling people what to do. i used to say "organized," but it's really not true. i am good at putting things in their places. can i be a taxonomist? it's more complicated than that. i can see the best in people, and i have a real knack for encouraging people to get what is inside of them out into the world. i facilitate. and i can prioritize ideas across timelines and hierarchies, and i am not afraid to say that something isn't good enough. i edit. for some reason, people trust me on this. people tell me i should be running things.
"writer" seems limited. "designer" seems technically inaccurate. "producer" seems too financially responsible. "project manager" seems too detail driven. "creative director" seems too authoritative, and definitely too cool. "artist," "curator," "director" seem dubious.
really, i can be any of these roles. i am not any one of them. i am the combination of all of them.
so, what is that?
no, seriously. i'm asking YOU. what is that?!


happyblog: yogasmic

it's a gift from the universe when someone enters your life and consistently brings good energy. Becca is one of those people, and yoga is one of the things Becca brings to me and to the world.
this article by Maureen Dowd on the awesomeness of yoga is just another in a long line of Becca's blessings.
about two months ago, in typical Phoebe fashion, i decided to start a year-long yoga challenge. i would do yoga every day for 365 days, come hail or sleet or snow. i have to be that all-or-nothing or else i don't feel like it's a real commitment. but, two months later, i've been to yoga probably a dozen times. maybe more, but definitely not every day.
usually, i'd consider this a big failure and either trash the whole idea or start over again. but there's a lot more to yoga than yoga, and i think i've actually been pretty successful at approaching my life as a breathing practice. and, y'know what? every day is both unnecessarily absolute, and also unrealistically arbitrary. i don't need to go to a yoga class or do a sun salutation every day to get the benefits of mindfulness and deep breathing.
that sounds a lot like a justification, but isn't everything? life changes every day, so we must yoga accordingly.
it's already been a journey!
after almost a year of going back and forth between power vinyasa and bikram, i felt like the first thing i needed was a more relaxed approach...and that lead me to Abhyasa and J Brown. it was like a deep exhale just walking in the door. i learned how to go softly through a series of poses and work as hard as i could at the same time. (here's where it gets fluffy) there's a lot of love in that space.
i will probably always go back to YTTP as long as i live in new york, even though it is a yoga factory, it's humid with sweat, and packed with NYU students. but that doesn't matter. they do an hour-long, intensely demanding power vinyasa flow that makes me feel flexible and strong immediately...and, after a week, makes me feel like a superhero. the great thing about a yoga practice that's so anonymous (so new york) is that you can really go there and get whatever you want to get out of it. there's no one looking at you, so there's no need to please or compete. or...i should say, i feel no need to please or compete in that space. that's a rare luxury for me.
and i will always bow at the altar of Tricia Donegan. she is a goddess, and i adore her. her bikram studio is a show (and her friendship with Gaga makes this more noticeable every day), but as soon as i step in the room i am only there with myself. when the weather gets cold, and it's dark in the afternoon, this is where i will be. maybe not every day, but a lot. Becca and i started a 30 day challenge (she completed it!) our first month at the studio, and after 15 days i've never felt better! then on day 16 i got sicker than i've ever been and could barely get out of bed for water for two weeks. i hope my body can find a better way to get rid of all my shit this time around.
the biggest place where deep breathing has been of service is in this whole love thing. i'm not accustomed to vulnerability, even though i long for it, and every time i reveal something of myself to him it's like pulling out internal organs. so i walk a lot, and ride my bike a lot, and breathe deeply every day so i don't vomit on him. he says i act like i've never interacted with anyone like this before, and that's true. i don't interact with anyone in the same way, and i never know what to expect. in the past, i've always been the last to know how i feel, and now i know and i don't know how to process it. it's a constant stretching while trying to stay connected to myself. in a way, this is the hardest part of my yoga practice.
Becca suggested a while ago that i need a couch for romance. a transitional space between chairs and bed that lets you be together but not too intimately. i still do not have a couch, but i am working on being flexible enough to switch between chairs and bed without having to overcome my own obstacles every time, but also knowing where to put the boundaries so i still protect myself. it's about balance, and about staying in a position that's hard and uncomfortable at first, but sticking to it. and about knowing where and when to be soft. and just letting things happen while i breathe, and trust that i'll still be myself on the other side.
the axiom is wrong: practice doesn't make perfect. nothing does. practice makes practice. and that's good enough.


happyblog: wonder woman in real life

i love the storytelling possibilities in comic books, but truthfully, i'm not much of a collector.
my adoration and dollars have been spent on one, wonderful heroine: Wonder Woman! who else?
a child of the very late seventies, i grew up watching the lovely Linda Carter fulfill all our voluptuous, feminist fantasies on tv. and, of course, i loved the Bionic Woman (talk about making lemonade!) and She-Ra. and Facts of Life, and Three's Company, and Who's The Boss, and Charlie's Angels. and the Smurfs, because really Smurfette was the only one with an identity. and my mom made me wear overalls no matter how hard i yearned for pink frillyness, and i had a ridiculously awesome metal dumptruck and backhoe. even i'm shocked that i'm not a lesbian.
more to the point, though, is that Linda Carter actually lived in my neighborhood. i went trick or treating at her house once, and i don't even remember whether or not she came to the door! my anxiety/fantasy about meeting her in person so totally overshadowed the physical reality that it didn't even matter. just goes to show that dreams are just as real as reality.
this month is the release of the "New 52" Wonder Woman, and i went to the local "nerd hut" (thank you, MJ!) to pick one up. well, they were sold out or something and i didn't get it, but i did get the recent storyline of back issues, a summary of which i have attached below:
i sure would like to write these books. it's not that i don't like what's there...i do! usually more than i think i'm going to. but there must be more to WW than the usual 1) battle with herself, 2) confrontation (good or bad) with her mother, 3) reminder from the gods that she's the chosen one, and 4) the part where she gets believably beaten up, but still wins. it's a great formula!
but that struggle is the past. it's time for WW, as our role-model/sister/leader to find herself. to make peace with her oedipal urges. to embrace her divine origins, and accept her humanity as the strength it is. to kick the life out of all comers, and know she's not going to get a scratch on her! not because she's perfect or invincible or anything, but because she knows she's that good.
what we need from her is a strong, coherent reminder of what it means to be an American in a global society, with competing needs and shared resources, and many many gods and goddesses, some of whom do not happily coexist. i'd like to see her resolve some problems that are not superhuman, and to do that in a superhuman way. not because she's better than us, but because she has a longer timeframe on which to see our behaviors. because she's just enough removed to see us clearly, and to expect better from us as a nation and species.
i will say one thing about the costume: you will never get it better than the original, so just stop remodeling. or, since she's such a cult of personality, why not have a closet full of designer gear in WW themes that she rotates like a real life celebrity? i mean, a uniform is so old fashioned, and if it's not a fixed part of her identity, then let go of it entirely. we women like to change clothes, it's true, but changes in clothes only reflect what changes for us internally. if we want to be representational, let's go with that. and if not that, then let's give her a more dynamic externalized personality.


happyblog: so long, steve!

it makes sense that it was the end, for him, because otherwise he would never have retired. but i am sorry to see that we will not have the benefit of Steve Jobs's vision as an eminence gris - he is one of the few who have seen the future as we will want to live it.
i know no better way to pay tribute to his unwavering:
i am now working on my fourth Mac - this one's an Air, and i don't even miss not having a slot for my collection of dvds
i have slept with every Apple i've owned
i've taken my Mac to school, to work, and on vacation
sometimes, in the coffee shops where i work, there are only Apples in the room
i read an amazing book about the history of Apple called...i don't remember and can't find it now...but i remember how sure the Steves were about what they were doing. i'm convinced that is what innovation requires: absolute certainty.
i want more from you, Apple, especially now. i want an ipad the size of a paperback book, that fits in the back pocket of my jeans. and i want an ipad the size of a tabloid sheet of paper, that i can mount on a wall, or use as a table-sized touch screen. and a wireless silicone keyboard that i can roll up and stick in the other pocket. and i want a slightly smaller iphone to link and remotely control them all. and i want all my data stored in a virtual hard drive, so i can replicate any content on any screen at any time. and a bunch of stuff i haven't thought of, but i'm sure i will want/need when you make it.
happy trails through the undiscovered country, sir. your dreams will, perchance, make more sense in the sleep of death than they do here in our waking life.
so, now you know i'm an Apple gal. (phoebe brand update!?!)


happyblog: open your heart

i'm really afraid of getting lost in this.
i mentioned in my first post that establishing (refining? refreshing? flexing?) my professional identity was happening simultaneously with falling in love. (well, i suspect that's what this is.) i mention it because they're related, and i think today i figured out how.
finding myself professionally is like hatching. pushing and kicking and scratching a space for myself in the world. violently struggling for substance in the ether. you feel me. right? and after 33 years of getting to know myself a little bit, i finally feel like i've got a grasp on what it is to be all the time gestating isn't wasted so much as it is servicing a greater existence. and i've gotten really good at fighting for myself. though i'll admit i've spent a lot of that energy fighting against myself, or against someone or something else. (ah, it's a vicious circle!)
so now i've got the battle skills, and i think i've identified the battlefield correctly. finally. maybe.
but here i am in a circumstance that demands a surrender. not unequivocal. not i-give-everything-you-give-nothing surrender, but i-give-everything-to-get-everything surrender. an opening. but i have this innate fear of getting lost in 1950s housewifery - the kind that inevitably drives women to disappear inside something or someone else...their superstar kids, their prototypical husband, their organic pickling...
i live in absolute terror of that sublimation. even though i'd like to be a domestic goddess, i'd rather make piles of cash and hire a nanny, a cook, a tutor, a personal shopper, a tailor, a driver, and a maid. because i don't want those jobs. i want to be a loving and devoted wife and mother, but i don't see all these roles coinciding in the way that ideal has been promulgated. if we're picking goddess archetypes, i'd take Artemis (Athena, even) over Hera every day!
and he wants me to be more myself at the same time as making lots of room for him. it's stretching in both directions. or maybe it's not stretching, so much as becoming fluid. gosh, even that sounds intimidatingly self-less. but i guess if i think of this like an element...and i feel myself elementally...
for the past couple days, i've been saying to myself "no one else can make you do something you don't want to." but i realize it's not someone else making me do things i don't want's wanting to do things for this person that i don't want to do for anyone else (even myself)!
the point here is that i'm putting more of myself out there right now than i thought i could. i won't run out of any of this power, will i?
wow, this is related to everything.


happyblog: open your head

i mentioned in my first post that i am working to hone my creative identity, and this is the first time i've ever thought about this as a conscious process.
in the past, i have been focused on ideas - having them, discarding them, investing in them, representing them. but it has become clear to me as i experiment with this whole freelance writing/designing/producing thing that people--clients--want something more than that. they want an identity. they want me - but not just me, they want a version of me that is consistent with the ideas i present, and with their impression of me. and also consistent with how they see themselves and their project(s).
this isn't a bad thing, but it is a challenge. the challenge, of course, is in crafting a role for myself that is both authentic and aspirational.
so here's what i'm working on: this blog (which is "just me" but more thoughtful and certainly thoroughly edited), reworking my website (which is, of course, a curated version of my identity as a writer/designer/producer), and developing an (aspirational) portfolio of work that represents both who i am, and what i want to do.
i think for many of my friends and collaborators, they find it unbelievably frustrating that i haven't already figured this out. so to you, dear friends, i say this: i may be slow, but i am quick to act when i do get it. and thanks for believing in me the whole time.


happyblog: girl effect on the world bank

The World Bank and Nike are pushing girls: The Girl Effect


clube de spamo

according to my stretchtastic yoga amiga--code name Sarcastica--who just got back from Hawaii, a lot of SPAM eating goes on there. right there in the middle of paradise, where the mangoes actually grow on trees instead of shelves. maybe meat doesn't keep well there?

From: Clube do Ricardo
Subject: Clube do Ricardo
Date: October 23, 2011 8:20:17 PM EDT
To: Phoebe Elefante

Olá Galera! 

A Ricardo Eletro está com uma promoção de tudo 90% de desconto...

Basta se cadastrar!

Não é virus!!!

Entre no site e participe...

happyblog: first post

[a word or two of introduction: i've been exploring the idea of starting another blog. primarily at the request of the extremely strong urgings of the guy i refer to below. it's been interesting to come face to face with the reality that i want to please him. and then i completely reject that idea in favor of continuing to be myself. but this log is mine, even if it is angry. and it's been part of my life for too long to abandon just because he thinks so! more moving around. instead, i've decided to create a second blog--not to replace this one--that is so essentially me it's hilarious! check it out: twentydollarversace]

two big things are happening right now: i'm working to hone my creative identity, and i'm pretty sure i'm falling in love.
it's oddly personal to say that out loud, don't you think? either one, really, is admitting - confessing - something in public that probably ought to be hidden. so i can appear...what?...more confident? more credible? more professional? but what can we learn from that?
the truth is that sometimes you need someone else to see yourself clearly. so that's why these things are happening at the same time, and why this blog exists. sometimes you need help to close one door and open another. he's right, calling what i wrote in the past "the angry blog." and i'm still angry about a lot of things, but so are you, and there's no purpose belaboring the point. it's about getting past that.

In the past...