van gogh’s missing ear

Last night I’m grappling with this idea that success of an artist is linked to a personal painful history. Why else does Van Gogh to cut off his own ear? My assumption is he was abandoned as a child, beaten up at school, got confused with the drink, heartbroken and divorced, found an art class when he was 23 and became the class wunderkind.  I ponder this at a Burke Williams spa. I’m naked in a jacuzzi drinking a guava smoothie. It’s time for the steam room.

Am I under a ceiling because my life was too easy?

Maybe we move to India and raise a vegetable garden. Teach them how to work with mud and build strawbale houses. Go homeless for a week and sleep on the Earth. I felt ashamed of being privileged when I was younger. I didn’t ask why I deserved this, but felt out of place at the expensive restaurants and on the Mexico cruises. I’ve made the claim that people fed by the silver spoon face a harder, different set of challenges compared to someone who’s poor. Lisa argues that it’s not exactly harder, but different. They’re both hard. It’s hard to rise up and up if your feet are stable on the floor. You realize you can never fully sink into the ground. You move back in with your parents. You take your old room back. There’s always bread and deli meat to prevent starvation.

Indulgence can be a distraction at times. But now in my late twenties, I’m spending more on ‘personal wellness’ than ever before. My mind is racing now, trying to amass as many experiences as possible.

The steam room makes me nauseous. It’s Egyptian cotton robe time. My friend and I go outside to the co-ed patio lounge. A fireplace warms up our feet. What do we do now? Go online and buy some Apple stock? Cocktails? Louge lessons? Sure. But first let’s look at Thailand tickets.



life at 28

all your friends are either in or out of relationships, others are married, others went through it. your best friend who was a total fuckup has a nice house, a kid, landed the hot wife. you have a gym membership and a yoga membership and don’t have time for either. $8 juice is more delicious than absurd. you buy home appliances online. you take buying jeans very seriously, and you’re a guy. your gay friends are wildly successful. you read less even though it’s how to stay sharp. facebook makes you feel jealous of what your traveling filmmaker journalism friends are doing in iraq and afghanistan.

you develop a closer relationship with bourbon. you can manage two stiff cocktails and drive, somewhat. tequila shots are strictly for rituals with best friends or future in-laws. champagne can be drunk anytime of the day. you’re in bed by 1:30 on Friday for the yoga class at nine. you buy your second pair of slippers online. you take shaving and mustache grooming very seriously. you’re tired of waging inner battles and bet that confidence wins out. the bills keep coming. you are the 99 percent but ready to join the one. disconnecting from everything for a while is the greatest feeling in the world. vinyl over mp3, LSD over molly, PBR still tastes like piss.

it’s lovely to feel sad and happy at the same time. your friends go to Burning Man and beg you to join their zombie art car project. your parents’ records are now in your  hands. you find new meaning in john coltrane and led zeppelin. life and planet earth documentaries hypnotize you for hours. you move back to san francisco. you take trips to mexico and meet couples who work in finance and smoke Cubans together. no matter how many crunches and leg lifts you do, a six-pack is beyond your means.  hand sanitizers are all over the house. you shell out more cash on the birthday gift, because you’ve learned it comes back to you. you buy a crock pot online. your glasses cost more than a car payment.

brunch is the most important meal of the day. one hour of softball makes the muscles sore for three days.  poker is an art form. you know the cheese guy at the farmers market. your parents’ friends chests look larger. you nail the recipe on your first try. ryan gosling causes a wedge in your relationship. you only need one amazing leather jacket. when your parents call, you pick up. you’re fascinated by babies, even though kids are a few years away. nothing beats a night of beer and board games with your best friends. it’s now new years eve. your face hurts from laughing too much. it’s almost midnight, ball’s about to drop, you fall asleep.