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A Birthday Letter December 8, 2009

Posted by Jordan in Thoughts, Twilight.
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Dear Moon, UC, all of the incredible women on and around LTT, LTR, and the rest of the Twilight fandom, and every single person I’ve been able to get to know because of or through it –

Wow. I don’t really know of another way to start this, other than simply saying wow. Wow.

I’m overwhelmed as I try to textualize all of this – the happiness I feel for Moon and UC on LTT/LTR’s Birthiversary, the extreme gratitude I feel towards the amazing people I’ve been privileged to get to know for all that they have (probably unknowingly) done that has served as a light among darkness for me, the sense of awe I still feel for all that has grown out from the book series, the profound sense of privilege (and responsibility, in a sense) I feel out of being part of this community, and, most of all, the deep, unwavering love I feel for all of it. ALL of it. And all of you. Including you. Yes, YOU. If you’re reading this – even if I don’t know you very well, or if we haven’t met in person, or if we haven’t had the chance to talk very much – I want you to know that I am fervently thankful for you, that I am HERE for you in whatever way that I can be, and that I love you.

This is not just LTT/LTR’s birthday – this time (this approximate time, anyway) also serves as my personal Twi-versary. Here’s a bit of minutiae that none of you know about: I still have the receipts for my purchases of each of the books, so I can tell you exactly when it all started for me. November 9th, 2008. That was the date, last year, when I – totally unaware of what I was getting myself into – picked up a paperback copy of Twilight, curious as to what all the hype was about. I ended up reading the first six chapters – up to the Port Angeles trip – in the bookstore that night! I completely lost track of time in the process, and was finally brought back to Earth by my realization that the store would be closing in a few minutes. Stunned by the world that I had stepped into, I decided that it would be pointless to even make the slightest pretense of not being fascinated by all of it, so I bought the book that night (along with John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” on vinyl. Pretty good haul, wouldn’t you say?). I even made sure to buy that same paperback copy of the book – the first one I ever picked up. It’s now something of a prized possession for me. I bought an advance ticket for an opening night showing of the movie and went by myself, since I hardly even knew anyone else who was into it back then. I was initially kind of bummed about going by myself, but, once I got to the theater that night, it didn’t matter. I completely forgot about that, because I was STUNNED by the scene that night, and what I saw. Even though – shock of shocks – myself and the couple of other guys in attendance were overwhelmingly outnumbered by the girls there, I discovered that it didn’t really bother me, and that I actually liked it. I can’t say that I expect this to make much sense, but I also felt my innate sense of protectiveness and nurturing, because I CARED about all of those girls in the theater that night. Nevermind that none of them even knew who I was – those girls MATTERED to me (and continue to matter to me), and I savored every single second of that night’s experience, because I got to see all of them at their most beautiful – thrillingly, wonderfully happy, unapologetically female, and just alive. FULL of life. That was one of the moments that gave me an inkling of what kind of person I want to be, and what kind of existence makes sense to me – I want to contribute as much as possible to those moments, and to helping those girls, and others like them, know that I CARE. 

I’m not even sure of where next to go with this letter, or what else to say (or type, rather). I am sure, however, that I have been extraordinarily blessed by all of you, and by all of this. I consider myself very lucky, and, if I may, I’ll venture into TUCT (Total Unabashed Corniness Territory) for a moment and sign off with this: I love being a unicorn, I wear that label with pride, like a badge of honor, I love that some now know me as “the OG unicorn” or simply as “the unicorn”, and, most of all, I love that some call me “our unicorn”. Yes, I am. I am happy to belong to all of this, and I will be here as long as you all will let me.

Love (and spider monkeys),

Jordan

So, Fromm and I were discussing love recently… November 30, 2009

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I was reading Erich Fromm’s “The Art Of Loving” the other day, and there was a particular point he hit upon that really made sense to me and got me thinking. Basically, what he said went like this. Whenever people start thinking about love, or about relationships and why they might not be involved in one, a mistake that a lot of them make is think that the problem lies not within themselves, but with who they know. In other words, a lot of people, in an effort to make themselves feel better – and because we all carry some amount of self-bias – convince themselves that they’re not really where the problem lies. The problem is that they just haven’t found the right person to love, they tell themselves. While this can hold some situational merit, a lot of the time it’s not entirely true. Fromm made what I thought was a brilliant comparison – he said that a person thinking that way would be like a novice painter wrestling with why he isn’t a master of his craft yet, and then convincing himself that the problem lies not with his own lack of skill, but with the dilemma of his simply not having found the right object to paint yet! If he could only find the right object, or muse, or inspiration – why, he wouldn’t need to work on improving himself! He would just know! That, Fromm says, is what people essentially do with respect to love. They tell themselves that they just need to find that right person, and then everything else will fall into place without extra effort. On the contrary, though, Fromm argued that love is an art form that can (and needs to be) worked on for the sake of improvement, just as any other form of art can be. Sure, your situation and environment can play a part, but the biggest thing is YOU.

That has really stuck with me. I can be BETTER, and I try, continually, as sincerely as I can, to be better. We all can, and we all need to. I mean, just look around – the world needs us. Our culture isn’t about lifting each other up anymore. It’s about tearing each other down. We should all be investing as much as possible into being part of the solution to that problem, not the perpetuation of it.

Love.

A train of thought. Want to jump on? November 24, 2009

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Here’s a train of thought that I’ve kind of been mentally kicking around a lot recently. My housemates (a husband and wife who I’m extremely close with – we’ve all known each other for years) and I were talking about relationships (of the romantic variety, of course – as if you’re surprised), and about the reasons people remain involved in one as opposed to ending it. I think that the apathy often exhibited – whether or not it’s done intentionally – towards the whole thing is frightening. Here, then, is the main idea, the main thought, that really resonates with me and that I wish was more widely understood:

People need to judge their relationships based on the presence of what is great, not the absence of what isn’t great.

Let me attempt to explain. It’s far too easy – and far too common, unfortunately – to just set your relationship standard really, really low. Doing that makes it all too easy to lull yourself into a false sense of satisfaction, because, hey, your relationship is pretty much guaranteed to be a success! Going by that messed-up evaluation, anyway. It’s going far beyond the lowest common denominator – what I’m talking about is when people measure themselves against nearly the lowest POSSIBLE denominator. It’s such a cop-out – “Well, we haven’t yelled at each other today, no one threw any pancakes out of anger at breakfast this morning, and we don’t really MIND each other – yeah, we’re all good! Why not, right? I like the company, we have some fun … what’s so bad about it?” Just … no. NO. That’s the COMPLETELY wrong lens to look through. I mean, if you set the proverbial bar unnaturally and unrealistically low, then of COURSE it will be easy to jump over it. Duh. It’s apathy manifesting itself in the worst of ways. When someone is asked about their relationship,  the response that should come naturally should be the rattling off examples of how/why theirs is great, not how/why theirs doesn’t suck. Understand the difference?

I want to just be there for those that need someone. October 2, 2009

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Here’s one of my new discoveries: Mayday Parade’s “Miserable At Best” is just a great, great song. It’s so sweet, and pure, and youthful, and effervescent, and wonderfully evocative. I just love it. It’s what my heart looks like right now, even though the lyrics don’t apply to me. That doesn’t matter. It’s the mood.

Today. Right now. October afternoon. It feels lovely outside, I have the rest of the night free, and I want to DO something! Listening to “Miserable At Best” makes me want to just go, and meet people, and go to a park, and hug, and cry, and find a lonely girl whose room is covered in Twilight posters and just spend time with her, and hug her, and make her feel special, and order pizza and watch a movie, and just make her feel warm, and make her understand that it does NOT have to work the way that the outside world does, and remind her that there are actually people out there who care and who don’t want to just pass her by. That girl – and I know she, and others like her, are in my city, somewhere – that girl and her feelings, they MATTER. The rest of the world might be content to just roll their eyes, but those girls, and what they’re going through, are IMPORTANT to me! I want to be there for them, because I CARE.

Today’s young people – Generation 2009 – are the most literate, self-aware, intelligent generation that’s ever lived. Paradoxically, even despite the whole Web 2.0 movement and all the ways we now have to stay connected to each other, today’s young people also feel more isolated, more ostracized, more misunderstood, and more alone than any other young people ever have. I want to help them, and I want to help change that second part.

What I am not. Not yet, anyway. June 20, 2009

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Ok, so, my last post was about what I want. All of that still applies. This post will be about what I am not. At least, not yet. I remain hopeful. If you’re confused – and you probably are – keep reading.

First, before I can really explain, you should watch this video, and then continue reading what’s below it.

Now, you may have indeed watched it, but did you really see it? Did you truly listen to it?

Since you’re all caught up, here’s what I am not.

I am not good enough, pure enough, decent enough, or worthy enough to bear witness to art that is that beautiful.

It’s a bit of a sobering thought, but it’s true. I don’t deserve to get to experience something like that. I don’t really know how (or why) I’ve been deemed lucky enough to get to experience it anyway, and I don’t really know whether my being cognizant of this is a blessing or a curse.

But, as I said above, I remain hopeful. I don’t know what the process is here, or how I’m supposed to reconcile any of this with myself, but I’m trying. I can be better. We all can be.

sleepless nights and city lights… (if you’re curious as to what I want, read this post.) June 1, 2009

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Here is exactly, precisely, what I want. Nothing more, and nothing less. I know that there are other things that should probably be taking precedence right now, but right now? In this moment? I don’t care. I really, really don’t care. So, that being said (or typed, in this case), here is what I want.

I want it to be an overcast, brisk, slightly chilly day, with the smell of rain in the air. The kind of day that most people, for reasons unknown to me, find depressing, but that I find liberating and exhilarating. I want to meet her at a coffee shop, along with a few friends. When I arrive, I want to get to see her break out a big smile. I want to hug her lovingly, in a way that envelopes her with warmth and suggests strength and intensity but also kindness and tenderness. I want to play with her hair during the hug, close my eyes, and completely forget where I am. Then, after a few minutes of conversation and of catching up with friends, I want to stand up, walk over to her, lean down with a smile on my face, place my hand on her shoulder, and discreetly request that she excuse herself from the main group, so that the two of us can talk privately. Then, I want her to accompany me to a corner of the room, away from everyone else, so that all other conversation sounds distant and muted. I want to focus only on her. I want to move two chairs close together, so that we can sit facing each other, but still be quite close. I want to lean forward, take her hands in mine, look up at her, and just gaze. Just gaze … for however long. Seconds, minutes, hours … I don’t care. The kind of looks that sometimes say more than words ever could. Then, I want to look straight at her, see that her eyes are stunning and that they are like windows and mirrors simultaneously, and say, in a low, soft, but still fervent, affectionate, and passionate voice, “I love you.” I then want to kiss her twice: once on her forehead and once on her lips.

Emotions, and what they do to me. May 13, 2009

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I think I’ve figured something out about myself.

I think that the potency of my emotions sometimes carries me to the point where I think and feel too much for my own good.

Last night, I was at Barnes & Noble, completely engrossed in a book of love letters, when I noticed this girl sitting across from me. I don’t know why, but I was immediately struck by how beautiful she was and I had a hard time stopping myself from staring. She had mild, warm skin tones, inquisitive eyes, long, gorgeous auburn hair, and she was wearing a long white skirt that looked fantastic on her. She looked elegant, intelligent, and stunning, all at the same time.

Well, I eventually was ready to leave, but I had this incredible urge to go say something to her. So, I went up to her and said, “Excuse me – I don’t mean to bother you, and I don’t want to seem rude, but I couldn’t help noticing you, and I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re beautiful. It does everyone good to be reminded of that, and you’re beautiful. Just know that.” She smiled at me and said “Thank you”, but she was clearly taken a bit aback, so I smiled back, turned, and left. I exited the building to walk to my car, and I had tears in my eyes by the time I got to it. I don’t even know why, and this might not make any sense, but I already wanted to talk to her more, and to hear about the book she was reading, and about what she thinks and feels, and about what was on her mind, and what was worrying her, and what I could perhaps help with, and I just broke down. So, yeah, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do or think anymore, but I’m pretty sure, going back to the first couple of sentences of this post, that I feel too much. And the crazy part – the part that really might not make any sense – is that I wouldn’t ever change that about myself. I don’t think that I would even consider it, actually, if I were given the opportunity. So, I guess I just have to deal with it, and take the good with the bad. I really don’t know. I don’t think there’s a “right” or “wrong” answer – there’s just me, and all I can do is do the best that I can. I do, however, know this with certainty: I’ll take “feeling too much” over “not feeling” every single time.

I just can’t help myself, and I don’t know what else to do other than to feel, and try to make sense of everything from there. Emotion is my reference point.

A Love Letter May 9, 2009

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Dear Soulmate,

I want to love.

I want to give so much love that it disorients the people who receive it. I want to love so much that it makes people question my sincerity, only to pleasantly surprise those same people when they realize that I mean it.

Most of all, I want to shock someone with love, and I want that someone to be you. I want to love you to such an extreme that it becomes life-consuming. I want to love you so much that you end up being spoiled completely and totally rotten. And I don’t mean “spoil” as in “mess up” or “deface” – I mean “spoil” as in “absolutely redefine what it means to treat someone like an angel and seek, every day, to lay waste to their previous definition of happiness and force them to try to generate another one”. And, honestly, I don’t even want you to be successful at that – I want to love you to the point of rendering you speechless.

I’ll wait as long as I have to for you, sweetheart. Just, please know that I’m here, and that I won’t ever give up on you. I can’t, because even though I might not even know you yet, I love you. I love you more than anyone else has ever loved anyone, and you have absolutely no idea how excited I am to, one day, be able to show you. I want to fall into you so deeply that the outside world completely loses relevance for me, because you are my world. You are all that I am, and all that I will ever be.

Love beyond all boundaries,

Jordan

A Letter To Ashley Greene April 25, 2009

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Dear Ashley,

I know it’s been a few hours since we’ve talked (did you go buy that cell phone charger yet so you can call me back?), but in the interim, I decided I’d drop you a few lines this way. Here’s the thing. I was just looking at some pictures of you online, and you, of all the girls in the world, do not need excessive make-up to look good. Make-up, when used in moderation and when used tastefully, is perfectly fine, and I understand why girls do it. When it’s applied right, it can accentuate your natural beauty and help bring out your features that you like or that you’re most comfortable with, and de-emphasize features or angles that you might not like. That’s all fine.

However, when used excessively, I think make-up is actually counterproductive. Granted, it would be phenomenally difficult for you to ever look like anything less than a vibrant, nearly-blinding ray of sunshine, but still. If it’s obvious that the cosmetics have just been caked on, it can end up looking too artificial and it can actually obscure natural beauty instead of draw attention to it. That’s not fine.

Especially not for you, because you, Ashley Greene, are an incredible, gorgeous young woman who does not need make-up to look amazing. I know I’m just one guy, and hey, what could I possibly know, but I think pictures like this one are your best.

 

Waiting with the bed made and your breakfast ready,

Jordan

The power that music can possess never ceases to amaze me. March 27, 2009

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Random thought before I get to the main idea of this post: Ryan Adams’ version of “Wonderwall” by Oasis is fantastic. I’ve probably listened to it ten times tonight.

I needed to get out of the house for a little while tonight. I just needed to get some fresh air, and be exposed to some stimuli, knowwhatimsayin? So I went to an arcade and played a few video games. Don’t judge me.

Anyway, as I was driving back to my house, I was listening to the Twilight Soundtrack. I pulled into the driveway while listening to Iron And Wine’s “Flightless Bird, American Mouth”, and I’m not entirely sure how to explain what happened next. I couldn’t stop listening to it. I was completely entranced. I must have listened to it five or six times straight before I “woke up” and got out of my car. I’ve sat alone in my car listening to music an innumerable amount of times before, and there have been times when I feel like I might not ever come back to Earth from whatever place the music takes me to, but this was different. It was like contrasting things happening simultaneously – like, my heart sped up quite a bit, because of the intense, simple beauty of that song, and because I couldn’t help but picture how beautiful the prom scene is that that song is used for in the movie. Yet, just as my heart was reacting that way, the longer I listened to the song, I actually felt more and more relaxed, almost like I could just drift right off to sleep. It was such a strange emotional juxtaposition – once I actually got into the house, it took me a few minutes to recover, so that I could process thoughts normally again.

Music is and will forever be the sun to my earth.