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Inukshuk, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, image courtesy of mapio.net

We each have a giant within us. Not a sleeping, scary giant as the idiom would have us believe, but a watchful giant. A giant of wisdom, patience, intelligence, knowingness, substance, grace, competence, and calm. Yet sometimes our big, beautiful giant inside seems asleep. For example, my giant can be awake but then seem to slumber like an idiot, half-woke, unable to stay conscious to the truth of what is and what it can do. I can look in mirrors held up by those I love and trust and be like: ‘I hope that the real deal I see is me?’. And that doubt leaves me punch-drunk because my decisions bear fruit of being good ones! I behave competently and do things confidently. I’m brave when afraid. Other people see it too. So why then this disconnect? Why the shock when someone sees my giant? Turns out, the real idiot is the tiny yet powerful trickster of the ego that runs amok now and again while the knowing soul of the giant waits patiently to be like: ‘are you done? I’d like to get up and have a stretch.’. Well, here’s the news AND the weather: I am done. …


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Barack Obama’s much-anticipated memoir, “A Promised Land” is emblematic of the man himself in that it is most unusual. I don’t mean unusual in the way conspiracy theorists or Fox News fanatics mean unusual when they describe Obama. I mean unusual in the sense of his life story, his meteoric trajectory, and how a man like him — not from money or a dynastic family; not white, an unusual name and raised by a single mother — ascended to the Office of the Presidency. So, I guess, in a remote sense, I do mean unusual the way a conspiracy theorist or Fox News fanatic might mean such a word. However, unlike them, Barack Obama’s unusualness, his peculiarity, signified, and continues to signify to me, a world wide open. One of potentials and possibilities. …


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Pearl inside of an oyster shell

In the movie “Juno” there is this great moment when the titular character’s stepmother, after finding out about her stepdaughter’s pregnancy, asks “is that the kind of girl you are?”. In response to that question, the usually (at least on the outside) cocksure Juno quietly and softly and vulnerably replies, “I don’t really know what kind of girl I am.”. That moment has stayed with me nearly fifteen years since that movie came out and it is, still, a question I find myself pondering. …


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Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

As the horror show of Donald Trump’s non-transition out of a job he never should have had in the first place continues to play out, one quote keeps rolling around in my head: “you ain’t got to go home but you got to get the hell out of here!”. …


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Photo via flickr.com

The other day my friend was going through a thing with one of their parents. It was just the usual and fairly regular parent-child dynamic. It featured the familiar refrains of “I have a better idea”, “you could do it this way”, and “what the hell is wrong with you” circulating in the air. It also contained the pretty typical mix of recrimination, guilt, frustration, years of history and every single button being pushed by the ones who installed them (i.e. this person’s parent). Needless to say, my friend was upset, both, at themselves for exposing themselves to such familiar criticism and, then, for getting upset by the criticism. They were also upset at their parent for not seeing them as the adult that they are. …


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I have never once in my life thought about getting a tattoo. It is not a judgment thing for those who do have them, it’s just a me thing. Really, honestly, it’s not you, but, it is totally me. I have far too many obsessive tendencies to put something that permanent on my body. I’d inspect it, ruminate over it and think it should be a little more to the left or, no, maybe slightly more to the right. Bottom line is that it wouldn’t be the right thing for me. I could barely decide to get the cartilage pierced in my ear. It took me from age twenty to forty to do it so, as you can see, the decision making process is lengthy. …


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Being a hopeful optimist — and a dogged one at that — sucks. It really and truly and fully and completely s-u-c-k-s. Last week I wrote a piece about America showing us who they are (racist, misogynist, xenophobic, etc.) and how it was time to believe them. I wrote about how America shows us time and again who they are and they need to be believed. That piece still holds and I still do believe them. America is all of those things and then some. America is a ‘democracy’ that has a ‘President’ who will not concede a free and fair election and a party who is aiding and abetting him in plain sight. In the latest twist of a very on brand for 2020 plot, Emily W. Smith, the General Services Administration Administrator (who knew that was a thing?!), …


I bought into the idealized version of America: the dream, the hope, the Camelot

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As I write this, Joe Biden has not yet won the Presidency. He seems on track to win and by all margins, mathematics, forecasts and punditry he will have won by later today; this fourth day of November in the godforsaken year of 2020. In my mind, when that happened, I was going to feel rejuvenated, restored and renewed by this victory. The mind, the body and the soul that had been shredded, gutted and torn apart by these last four years, despite best efforts to mitigate the damage, would begin to be sown together. I would feel rebuilt and reborn because there was the brightness of a new day. …


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I thought about titling this piece, “Forty Lessons on My Fortieth Birthday” and was even considering making it a series. When I sat down to sketch it out though I realized that many of the lessons would involve lessons around confirmation of things I love: balloons, flowers, champagne and anything in a rose gold hue. None of those things really seemed pressing to impart to anyone unless anyone out there is still on the fence about their love for champagne or a rose gold hue. If anyone cannot affirm those things this may not be the right place for them. Just saying. …


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When Barack Obama wrote about hope, he wrote about what an audacious thing it is to maintain a sense of hope in what Jack Gilbert describes as “the ruthless furnace of this world”. Right now, in 2020 we are being tested in a big way and, as they should, big tests beg big questions like: how can one remain hopeful when there appears to be simply nothing to feel hopeful about? We can hope for a better tomorrow, a better next year but how can we maintain hope in the right here and the right now?

As a hope-aholic these are, to me, truly terrifying questions. Hope has given me fuel; been the wind at my back and a life force when it seemed like all else may have been lost and, yet, right, now it seems like it is not doing its usual trick. It is not providing the salve and relief that it usually does because, like all of us, I can’t see beyond this minute forget the next day or the next year. As Austin Channing Brown says, “I see next years planners are out and I’m not sure I’m going to tempt 2021 like that”. I hear that Austin. I. Hear. That. We can’t plan, we can’t foretell; we can’t book flights and concert tickets and fill up our suitcases and our calendars. Yet, while hope doesn’t feel quite the same, I also cannot say I feel hopeless. …

About

Christine Quaglia

I write about what affects our lives. Thoughts we have, questions we raise and ways in which we can grow and, hopefully, become better so we can do better.

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