How do the spaces we inhabit often represent our internal struggles? In many ways, the condition of my kitchen mirrored the condition of my life for almost twenty-five years. The lens of my marriage and relationship with my ex-husband had clouded the view of my life and I began to act accordingly. At some point I began to realize it was not my kitchen, but me that was feeling “ugly” inside. In the end, beyond a little “window dressing,” my kitchen never really changed. I had changed.
Written during a trip to London with my husband, this piece documents a pivotal and transformation period of time where I began to rediscover a sense of self by letting go of self. A candid journey inward, questioning what it means to be human, to be a father, to be a gay man, but most importantly to be authentic.
Experiencing love is linked to higher self-esteem, improved immune system, lower blood pressure, and various other health benefits. For many, achieving love is akin to self-actualization: it is the ultimate goal of life and synonymous with true happiness. The desire to attain love can lead to obsession, codependence, and intense fears of rejection. Without love, we feel unworthy. So, what happens when love becomes additive? When a fundamental human faculty is utilized excessively, transforming a healing experience into a damaging one? Is it better to have loved and lost, or better to have never loved at all?
One inescapable attribute of the human condition is that events do not always proceed as people expect, intend, or wish. Another characteristic of the human condition is that humans rarely, if ever, find an optimal solution to any problem or situation. Nevertheless, people manage, muddle through, and find a path that works for them. “Phone Tag” addresses those and other aspects of what it means to be human. The characters in “Phone Tag” see, as people in the real world see every day, that small, even minute, perturbations in external conditions and circumstances can lead to enormous differences in results.
How is the self conceptualized when viewed from someone else’s perspective? This foreign perspective brews doubt and confusion within the subject’s mind. It results in a gradual decline of confidence which, in turn, leads to complacency or inaction. “Only Fools Can Be Truly Happy” draws on this confusion of self-perception and attempts to bring forth the complexity and unpredictability of human behavior.
What roles do hope and expectation play in our lives? How can social obligations impact individual fulfillment? Can hopelessness be utilized as a life strategy to attain serenity? “Nobody’s Favorite” is a short story addressing the use of language and the nature of hope in humans’ self-perception.
The controversial and well-known Lolita by Nabokov forces us to address taboo topics and confusing realities in a way that only art can do. How do relationships often represent unrealistic ideals? Despite the novel’s taboo subject matter, can it teach us something about the dynamics of normal relationships? How do different art forms allow us to address immoral behaviors, social faux-pas, or the negative features of our human condition productively?
How has mate selection changed over time? How does assortative dating affect future populations?
How are we drawn to our romantic partners? What factors influence our connection and bond with those we love?
Can we change our behavior? Or, are we forever doomed to repeat the same mistakes because that’s just who we are?