Why

As we head into the weekend, it is a good thing that we all have some more free time. This means (unfortunately or fortunately, you can decide) I have some more time to think. This also means that I can come up with new blog posts. This also means that some of those blog posts don’t always make it to “production.” Some of them I leave on the cutting room floor.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of your time. So, I’m offering you an exclusive peek into my brain so that you can get a few chuckles for your Friday and so that hopefully you can ponder some of the mysteries that have kept me up at night. After all, what’s life without a little wonder?

Bailey Dailey’s List of Mysteries

1. If we have such advanced technology, why can’t we make mirrors on our cars that do not make objects “closer than they appear”?

2. Why don’t they make those candy necklaces with other snacks? Strawberries? Pretzels? Cheese?

3. Why can I remember an embarrassing moment that happened when I was 12 but not where I left that important document I need right now?

4. Why do we fear death when it is the only certainty in our lives?

5. Why are chargers (on any device) just  long enough to reach wherever you are?

6. Why do we trip when we think, “don’t trip”?

7. Why are pickle jars so hard to open?

8. Why do we lose so many socks?

9. Wait. Why do we even have socks?

10. Why don’t they make waterproof books so I can read in the shower?

11. Why does every math problem end with someone giving something away? Is everyone that generous with their watermelons that they gift them to six of their friends?

12. Why aren’t you reading this in your head with an accent?

13. Why is “zzz” a symbol for sleep?

14. Why do spiders disappear as soon as you take your eyes off them?

15. Why were lighters invented before matches?

16. Why does Australia have so many animals that can kill you painfully?

17. Why do we shape our eyebrows into little, perfect lines? Why don’t we do that with other hairs on our bodies?

18. Why do we kiss each other to show affection? Are chest bumps just not intimate enough?

19. Why do we believe in a God that we can’t see, but not Santa Claus (even though we know what he looks like)?

20. Why are you still reading this?

And, so on. Well, You’ve seen inside my head, and I hope you’re not too afraid. Just remember: stay curious!

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Negativity is like Double-Dipping

Man, I love guacamole. The perfect ripened avocado, with lemon, tomatoes, peppers, and crunchy, munchy chips. Yum! (Seriously, I sometimes judge parties on the sole fact of whether guacamole is available.)

Any dip is easily the best snack. But is there anything worse than a double-dipper?

You always know that guy or girl. That person who is so caught up in a conversation over by the snack table that he or she doesn’t notice that he or she has put the same chip that he or she has only just bitten and then he or she puts. it. back. in. the. dip.

Horrors of horrors. Now, you’re the only witness to some irrevocable crime that you need to keep to yourself for the rest of night, as you silently mourn the end of the guacamole when there is a full bowl of it on the table.

So, what’s the big deal? All of the person’s saliva and germs are simply contaminating a perfectly good bowl of dip. It doesn’t taste any different. It’s all in your head.

But so is negativity. Negativity is in your head, too. That’s because being decidedly negative is just like double-dipping. You’re spreading your bad feelings, and whether you know it or not, you are upsetting people around you. Sure, you get some perks from double-dipping. After all, waste not, want not. But you are completely polluting your environment (and that dip). And from then on, the people around you can’t experience the situation without feeling negative. In short, it ruins everything. (Dramatic? Maybe. But you get the point.)

So, be careful what you are negative about. Try not to live under a dark cloud. Try not to bring everyone else down because you can. It can change how people feel not only about a situation, but about you. Anyway, you don’t want to be known as a double-dipper, do you? (Sure, there are worse things…but not when it comes to guacamole.)

In the end, negativity is pervasive. So, try to take the chip off your shoulder and definitely don’t put it in the dip twice.

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Make Art or Make Babies

I’m going to tell you the secret of life. Plain and simple. No climbing to the top of a wisdom mountain to hear it, either.

It’s this: Try to do the best you can, and make the best of every situation.

If you can do that, you can look back on your life and feel good about it.

The trick is to actually remember this and practice it daily. Because how often do we slip into a foul mood that we are unable to get out of? (Like last night’s post?) How often do we forget that we don’t have enough time on this Earth to hate anyone or anything? There isn’t enough time to do anything so time-consuming as hate, really. We can only live, love, and die.

For me, I’ll just live, pay back my loans, and then die. I’m kidding. (Sort of.) But while we shouldn’t have to feel that death is rollerskating behind us all the time, we should still be very aware that there is never enough time for us to dawdle when it comes to pursuing our dreams.

We just have to do the best we can, and make the best of it.

So, the question is no longer, what would you do if you could not fail. It’s what do you want to do right now? Because that’s all the time we have, folks. That’s it. And if you’re not going for it, then what are you doing?

(By the way, is it getting hot in here? My heart is racing, and I’m sweating…I’m giving myself my own third degree…)

And by the way, people are going to try to put this question to you in a lot of different ways. The worst way it has ever been put to me is in the following fashion: “Make art or make babies.” This assumes three things about you before the word “go.”

1. It assumes you want to make art.

2. It assumes you want to make babies.

3. It assumes that you can’t do both.

Which, for some people, is correct. But why do I have to choose? Why does anyone have to choose between their dream and their lifestyle?

“Oh yeah. Because we have to make money to eat because if we don’t we die,” says Logic.

“But…if we don’t make art? Don’t we ‘die,’ then too? Creativity has to have a symbolic host that it can flourish in. And raising a new generation can be equally rewarding. It literally needs a host it can flourish in,” says Bailey.

Hmmm, good point. So, scratch that last secret to life. Here’s my new theory:

Do whatever the hell you want to do.

Yup. Just remember that you don’t have a lot of time to do it in. So, er, speed it up. But don’t rush greatness…Uh…Okay, let me try this secret to life thing again…

Do whatever the hell you want to do and take however long you want to do it.

There. I think that about sums it up.

Because the point is, this is your life. I’m sorry, but no proverb or timely quote is going to tell you how you should live it. Of course, it would be absolutely amazing if you pursued your passion. But if you can’t do it full time or you can’t do it right now, then find some other way to do it. Just make sure you are happy. No one said you had to travel the world in your twenties, after all. Our youth-obsessed culture may make you feel that way, but they’re wrong. You’re at the actual helm of the ship, remember? So, you can decide how and when you live your life.

We put too much pressure on ourselves as it is, let alone factoring in when we will die and what we have to cross off the bucket list to get there. If we are going to leave this earth, there’s no stopping us.

So, make the best of it, then. Make the best of your art or your babies.

And read my poem on the topic below.

Make Art or Make Babies

Make art or make babies?

It’s never been put to me so

sharp and so blunt

at the same time. Now I know

my inspiration drips like

candle wax, slithering

emptying my tributaries 

seeping down into 

one final puddle,

leaving me arid.

But I don’t want to choose.

I want to believe that I have

enough stardust for both.

My children won’t be tabula rasas.

Their faces will be rife with blue swirls

ranging and stretching

like tree rings.

Starry night is on the folds of their brains;

on their cat scans.

And Guernica helps them breathe at night

their lungs shallow enough to take in

the disjointed pieces as one.

Their pastel smiles

and oil eyes

their paint brush lashes

and watercolor hearts

make me sigh with the craft

of the fifties housewife.

My motherly instinct croons in the moonlight

wailing that the world might 

be excited to see them.

They are only 

white canvasses on the inside

cut clay

leaning easels

and will be exactly who the universe wants them to be.

Except for a few masterpieces, I hope to imbue

they have many gilded frames to hang.

I am only a conduit in

this world but if I get the

chance to create something

of my own instead of 

letting the atmosphere wash and submerge me

I will paint this town red,

and my children even redder.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

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I Wanted to Write a Blog Post…

…but I couldn’t.

I had a really terrible day. It was a domino effect of awful. Just one bad news bears thing after another. And I can usually brush this stuff off. I can usually push pass the crap. That’s mostly what this blog accomplishes after all: it allows me to make sense of all the ridiculousness that is my life, and really, everyone else’s life.

So, when I sat down to write a blog post tonight, I felt like a straight-up, level 9 poser. Because I can’t sit here and say, “If you’re stuck in traffic, just turn the music up!!1!!!” or “If you’re feeling blue, just be kind and true!!” I couldn’t spin straw into gold today.

Because it doesn’t work like that, does it? Not every time. People get incredibly frustrated, sometimes. And it just doesn’t help to look on the brighter side of things. No, not even people, in general. I. Me. I get frustrated, sometimes. I get horribly angry when I can’t control things. The fact that I couldn’t grow wings in the middle of the traffic jam I was in today really killed me. And yes, most of the time I take responsibility for my actions. I could have been earlier today. I could have gotten out of bed on time. But at the end of the day, in the name of this blog, I have to try to find the silver, gold, and bronze lining. Even when I have to basically sew one myself. But the silver lining to this day? It’s over.

No, but seriously. The silver lining of this one is that even when I didn’t want to write a blog post, even when I didn’t want to admit that everything would get better, I had to. Because that’s how I suddenly feel. Talking things out can do that. Or putting the day behind you can do that. And also eating pumpkin pie can do that.

And ya’ll got a blog post out of me, anyway. Go figure.

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Apparently, I Never Laugh

No, that’s it. That’s the entire blog post.

I don’t laugh.

This was brought to my attention, intervention-style, by my family. We were all sitting around and discussing something humorous, I think. It was hard to tell. And my mother mentioned that my father, in particular, tries especially hard to make me laugh. I, ironically, laughed at this. I said, “What do you mean? I laugh. I laugh all the time.” To which, my sister chimed in. She told me that I really didn’t and that she works hard to make me laugh, too. I was a bit dumbfounded. Here everyone, had kept this weird secret from me. This weird, laughable secret. Was I the joker, so serious? It was impossible. Wasn’t it?

So, I had a bit of an out of body experience. That is, I observed myself in daily life. I tried to track how I reacted to most things. I tried to note what happened after anyone said just about anything to me. And besides chuckling to myself when I unironically listened to “Milkshake” in a quiet office, the family was absolutely correct. I don’t laugh. And when I do laugh, it’s mostly at the expense of other people. Which is downright terrible.

What I have also found is that I try really hard to make other people laugh. I try to get people going by making fun of myself or poking fun at something else. Which I guess is okay. But it doesn’t make up for all of the time I have spent not laughing.

In the end, there’s two lessons here. First, try listening to yourself for a week. If you find you’re on a laugh diet, try to lighten up. I’m not saying to force it. There is absolutely nothing more awkward or annoying than a forced laugh. Just try to be a little more relaxed. Try to see the lighter side of it all. Then, if you find yourself trying to be the clown or the comic in every situation, try to let someone else have the spotlight. As any comedian can tell you, it is difficult to keep being the life of the party when you are “on” all of the time.

So, have I started laughing more? I don’t think so. Not yet. But I’m trying. And I’m thankful for my family. For however hard they try to make me laugh, I’ve never met anyone with a higher success rate than them. After all, laughter can be the best medicine, if you let it be.

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Everyone Should Drown Once in Their Life

It isn’t a vivid memory, but I do remember the time I was caught in a rip tide.

Your guess is as good as mine as how old I was. But I can remember following my sister out into the waves. I was loath to go in, I’ve always hated the ocean even before this incident, but I would pretty much follow my sister anywhere (a trait that many younger sisters share). I can recall trying to jump the waves (and I can remember being short enough that this was a difficult task). I know that my sister was not swimming straight out, but parallel to the shore. She was getting more and more distant, and I was trying to catch up. But I couldn’t. It wasn’t more noteworthy than that. I simply wanted to move, but I couldn’t. And the next thing I knew a lifeguard was swimming out to me, catching me around the waist and striding toward the shore. How was I supposed to know that if I had kept going I would have had to stop? I think, when I got to shore, I started to cry because the reality of the situation hit my young brain. But it was very, very possible that I was just being dramatic and looking for sympathy over my unfortunate experience.

Although I was very far from drowning, I was closer to it than I had ever been before or after. For the rest of my life, I have stayed away from the ocean, not from any real fear, just from a general dislike (and it has always been mutual. No, the ocean does not like me. It knows.). But for everything I find horrifying about the ocean, (that terrible moment when something brushes your leg) I’m truly not afraid of rip tides anymore. I’ve been there, brushed that experience like a jellyfish washing past in those same waves with the same amount of pain and distress, and moved on.

Which is why everyone needs to have a drowning, or near-drowning, experience in their lives. And drowning is important; no near-death experience will do. When you are struggling against water, there is something so very debilitating. Perhaps it is the keen knowledge that you are absolutely out of your element, and there is nothing you can do. Someone has to come and help you. Of course, I was too young to cling to my mortality for every moment after, but the memory remains with me still.

Now, don’t go throwing yourself into bodies of water just to have a stronger constitution and better outlook on life. This concept also applies metaphorically. If you have never really “drowned,” if you’ve never been up the creek without a paddle, how do you know what you are made of? How do you know whether you will sink or swim? How do you know you can’t when you’ve never tried? We should all embrace the chaos as much as possible for this exact reason.

In the end, I’ll be alright if I am never at the mercy of the ocean again. But if I am, the ocean should know I’m a bit bigger and a little harder to pick on. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Almost. More like, what doesn’t kill you makes you a stronger swimmer.

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Leaving a Legacy

No one wants to leave anything behind.

We all want to drink the dregs, spend our money, and peace out in a painless way.

But I think there is a real pressure to make our mark in a tangible fashion in today’s world. To be someone who can directly point to something and say, “That, right there, is my contribution to the world. Bask in it and enjoy it.”

But how many of us really get to do that? How many of us get to leave a legacy that we can be truly proud of?

Actually, we all do.

I think the world needs reminding that no matter how small, we all make ripples in the stream. Whether you write a book, record an album, make a birdhouse, or inspire the people around you by being uniquely you, we all leave our lives at the end of our time a little bit better.

And, friendly note, you don’t have to do any of the above. You don’t have to write a book or an album or sell out a stadium or make millions of dollars just to make sure that you will be remembered. If you just live your life, enjoying the company of others and being positive wherever you go, you can inspire anyone and everyone around you.

Or you can be a crotchety old witch who yells at little kids and refuses to let anyone drive her anywhere. In either situation, you’ll be remembered by those around you. After all, who could ever forget how nice (or mean) you were? People recall the extremes of a person, but more than that, people recall the impression you made on them.

The point is you don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself. (Do not confuse this with “stop chasing after that dream of yours.” You should definitely keep dreaming.) Just accept that you are going to leave your story with someone as the person you are. And once you understand that, you are free to be the person you want to be.

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