God is Ariana Grande

ariana grande

I shot this photo on my dining room table with an overhead light fixture. Thus the hologram effect on the singer’s face.

Reading Elle is my secret joy. I quote from the magazine to encourage women blog readers to go out and buy the magazine. You can get it in Rite Aid.

The August 2018 issue of Elle  features Ariana Grande on the cover with this manifesto below her coveted mane: God is a Woman. I beg to differ: God is Ariana Grande.

In the interview with this pop singer superstar it was revealed that Grande is Italian: part Abruzzo; part Sicilian. Though I’m Sicilian too I’m as white-faced as Casper the 1970s TV show ghost.

“You’re a real white girl,” the guy who shot the first photo for my original website told me. “Are you sure you’re Sicilian?”

It makes me proud that Grande is Italian too. Italians are not all dum-dums, racists, and mafioso. With no other group of people is it okay to slander them like is commonly done with Italians. It seems like it’s open season on people with a lot of vowels in their last name.

Ariana Grande has a tattoo that reads in fine print bellissima, or most beautiful. She’s copped to having anxiety. At her concert in Manchester a bomb exploded and her fans were sent running away. Ever the trooper, she returned to Manchester for a benefit concert.

Why I ultimately like Grande is that she doesn’t care about her reputation. I’ll quote this snippet from the Elle interview: “She is loud and proud in her anti-Trumpism and has aligned herself with gun reform and Black Lives Matter.”

You don’t say? She does: “There’s a lot of noise when you say anything about anything. But if I’m not going to say it, what’s the fucking point of being here? Not everyone is going to agree with you, but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to shut up and sing my songs. I’m also going to be a human being who cares about other human beings; to be an ally and use my privilege to help educate people.”

As per the interview too: Ariana Grande has been in therapy for more than 10 years.

Did I say Ariana Grande is Italian?

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Write Your Story to Heal Your Self

Today I presented a memoir writing workshop at the 12th Annual Peer Conference at the NYU Kimmel Center. The title of the session was Write Your Story to Heal Your Self.

I firmly believe everyone can be creative. The premise of my workshop was that you can heal the self-stigma by writing your story.

Michael Jackson sang in “Man in the Mirror” that if you want to change the world you first have to change yourself.

Healing yourself is the start of healing the planet.

I told attendees that I healed via self-expression using art forms. My love of music, writing, books, and fashion helped me heal.

Here I’d like to reprint the questions listed on page 2 of the handout I gave attendees.

Feel free to Write Your Story to Heal Yourself using these Qs as a guide:

You’re a true original.

How do you define yourself?

Language is power. Written and verbal communication are a playing field.

Whoever controls their self-definition has the power to create their future.

A fortune cookie message tells us:

The sure way to predict the future is to invent it.

Here are some questions to get you thinking.

Jot down whatever comes to mind after reading them.

What is your diagnosis? How old were you when you received it?

How did your life change after the diagnosis?

What is it you don’t like about having a mental health issue?

In what way has good come of living in recovery?

What’s better about your life now?

Write about something you have that the illness didn’t take away.

Write about an event that was one of the happiest times in your life.

If you could have a super power what would it be and why?

What do you like about yourself?

What makes you a true original?

What’s your favorite color and why?

What are you the proudest of in your life?

To sum up write a six-word memoir. Use only six words to talk about yourself and your life.

99 Red Balloons

red balloons

I’m reminded of the song “99 Red Balloons” from the 1980s.

The lyrics talked about how this is it and this is war. The leader singer then let 99 red balloons loose to fly up in the sky.

It was a song about promoting peace on earth.

A lot of twisted individuals with sick minds are ruling countries in the world.

America is undoubtedly going to be forced into another near-endless war. A war whose funding will come by diverting the landmark mental health funding into the war chest.

This is it. This is war.

Won’t you join me in speaking about against any kind of war and warfare?

Optimal mental health is all too uncommon in the leaders pulling the triggers and authorizing chemical and nuclear attacks.

What’s next?

 

Rebel Rebel

bowie-cover

I’ve installed David Bowie’s song “Rebel Rebel” on my iPod and set the alarm clock to wake me to this song.

Ordinary people in the world aren’t kind to those of us who rebel.

Early on in my life I rebelled the role of “mental patient.”

Thirty years later I tell you readers that living a counterfeit life is a mistake.

It comes down to being okay with not conforming to what has been designated as the norm in society.

Yet why do people think they have the right to brand others as–at worst “crazy”–and at best not normal? This intrigues me that most people fall in line to wanting to be normal or have a normal life–and expect others to follow suit.

I ask you: Is normal what it’s cracked up to be? I think not.

If you ask me there’s no safety in numbers–you’re just numbing your individuality to please people who won’t accept your true self.

I have thought often about the futility of seeking other people’s approval for who you are and how you live your life.

Way back in the 1970s David Bowie sung about how the girl’s mother didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl.

The lyrics about the torn dress; the face a mess–and how the young girl was there when the dues were counted out– it all reminds me of the story I told in Left of the Dial.

If you ask me “Rebel Rebel” is the perfect anthem for self-expression of bold stripes and of any stripe.

My high school art teacher told us that successful composition requires “unity with diversity.” That’s a great credo for the world right now.

God made us individuals. He thinks we’re divine just the way we are. We aren’t  supposed to be mirror images of each other.

“Rebel Rebel” was prophetic in its message:

That you can only be a success if you dare to be yourself.

Life Begins at the Hop

In the immortal words of the XTC song title: “Life Begins at the Hop.” Not at conception.

The guy who wrote this HuffingtonPost article is actually a Pastor who flambe’d the pro-life contingent in an astute fashion in his essay.

As for “ripping babies out of the womb at nine months”–that isn’t happening Mr. Toupee. No woman wants to have an abortion. We’re forced to choose. We’re getting abortions as soon as possible without delay.

Just remember that the next president will choose Supreme Court justices.

Running the country isn’t a Monopoly Game where you’re buying and selling real estate with fake money and everyone wants to live on Park Place.

For a lot of us we’ve historically had no say in how the government enacts laws that dictate what we can and can’t do as U.S. citizens.

We’ve had no control over our destiny. We’ve been forced to choose to collect SSI for the rest of our lives because for too long recovery was a distant dream. Not now.

Today we have the choice as to how we want to live our lives–even with any limitations we might still have. Today more than ever we’re able to have a full and robust life. Today we can not only dream we can do the things we want to do.

For the last week the words “Life Begins at the Hop” have been running through my head so I had to Google this. The song was popular on alternative radio in the 1980s.

For the contingent flambe’d in the HuffingtonPost article life begins and ENDs at conception more likely. I risk losing followers or alienating religious readers of this blog by linking to the Pastor’s essay.

Yet now more than ever it’s time to flambe stigma of any kind: sexism, racism, narrow-mindedness, intolerant religion, hatred that leads to violence and killing throughout the world and in America too, and any other kind of fervent ghastly mentality.

I live in a world where everyone I see is beautiful. I live in a world where everyone has the right to recover. I live in a world where difference is to be celebrated.

Where human beings have more in common than not. Where judging people benefits no one–most of all not the person doing the judging.

It’s time to see and love human beings living on earth for what we are: a rainbow not a container of marshmallows.

Whoever wins the presidential election I’m not sure real positive change will happen any time soon.

Change will happen because as Michael Jackson sang in the song “Man in the Mirror” if you want to change the world you first have to change yourself.

All-American Social Club

July 9, 2016

All-American Social Club

This was my America inside the club:

A dreadlocked Adonis in Nike trainers chatted up a chica.

An Asian woman in Breton striped danced with a lightning-haired guy.

An African American woman in a purple shirt danced magnificent with a white woman to the cover band.

This is the America I know: free souls at the social club choosing to buck the system that divides us.

We keep on rockin’ in the real world.

 

Year-End Rear-End Review

I counted down to 1987 at the radio station where the disc jockeys played the top 120 or so songs from 1986 in a “Year-End Rear-End Review of 1986 Record Picks.”

To this day I still listen to music. You can listen to The Alternative Project radio station on the iHeartradio website. In New York City if you have an HD radio receiver you can listen to K-Rock at 92.3 FM HD2.

Over the years my brother has given me exorbitant gift cards for Christmas. One year I used one to buy an HD radio/iPod dock/alarm clock. You can set the alarm clock to wake you up to the radio or to music from your iPod.

I also used one of those gift cards to buy an iPod that holds something like 100,000 songs or something outrageous like that. Of course I doubt it contains anything near that amount of music.

My contention is that often what gave a person joy when they were younger can give them joy as an adult.

From the time I was a young kid I always listened to music on the radio. It’s a free source of happiness.

All you need is the money to buy a radio. And if you’re content to listen to Taylor Swift or any regular Top 40 music played on average stations you don’t need an HD radio receiver just any old cheap radio whose frequency comes in clearly.

At the time I was a disc jockey in the 1980s a listener had called in and told me he was miraculously able to tune into WSIA, Staten Island from all the way up in Boston. This cheered me.

I make the case for listening to music. Or reading books. Or cooking or baking from recipes. Or if it’s your thing watching TV. These simple pleasures can be enjoyed from your own apartment or house.

In the coming season with the encroaching arctic freeze of late I recommend staying inside and doing things like listening to music or cooking.

You really don’t need a lot of money to be happy.

I make the case for installing iTunes on a computer and listening to music to cheer up our spirits in the coming gloomy cold weather.

I’ll end here by saying that gratefulness goes a long way in feeling good when parts of your life are not so good.

And face it: when it’s cold outside baby who wants to trudge outdoors in the snow.

Music can be a companion to our days. It can lift us up. It can take us to a better place.

It’s said that “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

I say: finding what gives you joy (whether music or something else) and going and doing that makes us richer too.