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Friday, February 25, 2011

Ben and Jerry's vomit.

I thought of a particular (and might I say hilarious) instance that I want to share… When I was an Resident Assistant, I would often leave my door open so that my residents could pop in with any questions, concerns, a quick hello, or just to chat. This particular evening was one of the first few weeks of school and three girls from the floor stayed in my room for hours on end, sitting at my kitchen table, eating, talking and laughing. One girl, Frankie, ran downstairs and got a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to snack on while we talked. She ate it rather quickly and washed it down with a big glass of water. I suppose something particularly funny must have happened (I cannot quite remember) because suddenly Frankie projectile vomited watery ice cream down her shirt and onto her legs amidst a splutter of laughter and coughing. The other two girls were disgusted and possibly embarrassed that I had witnessed such an absurd series of events, but I threw myself onto my bed in a fit of laughter that went on for what seemed like ten minutes.

And our laughter changed everything. Since we opened ourselves to the hilarity of the situation, there were no more barriers to knock down, nothing to hide behind, no reason to pretend. Our friendship became genuine, accepting and (obviously) filled with laughter. Frankie and I laughed. Right there amidst the vomit, the empty Ben and Jerry’s container and the Clorox wipes, we laughed. Frankie could have easily suffered in embarrassment or shame, but she laughed, cleaned up, changed her clothes and came right back to sit at the kitchen table and continue our conversations. She made me realize what vomiting up ice cream can really do for a relationship! Frankie was comfortable enough with herself to laugh, I was comfortable enough with myself to laugh; we were liberated, but our outward expression of unrestrained laughter liberated the other. She avoided the feelings of embarrassment and shame not only by her own laughter but also in our laughter, in the wordless physical expression that laughter held for us. She didn’t need to apologize for making a mess and I didn’t need to assure her that I didn’t care—the laughter said it all.

The art of humor is something that stems from intellect and ignites both the heart and the mind. In laughing at the absurdity of a situation, be it something we are or are not related to, gives us a new perspective. We laugh because we see something we have never seen before or something we have seen a million times in a completely new light. Humor makes people think. It’s the best of both worlds, an emotional release and a rational expression that has the power to build relationships.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Right Words For All Occasions

A long time ago I received a thank you card in the mail. Thank you cards aren’t really anything out of the ordinary, until you realize that it is from your brother. My relation isn’t the best at sending cards. He tries. So, I guess that’s all that matters? (Tell that to the people who sent you that lovely hand knitted sweater for your birthday.) Inside of the card my brother wrote, “It’s a comfort to know we can count on each other through whatever life brings.” I know, I know, how adorable is my brother? I almost got teary eyed when I read the thank you, until I finished (not e to self: one should always finish what one is reading). After the initial heartfelt confession, my brother wrote “Just kidding, I state that line from ‘The Right Words: For all Occasions.’” And then it all made sense.

I busted out laughing.

His sincerity was sweet, but it didn’t really feel like him. Something was off. Adding “Just kidding” became the right words for the occasion. I was filled with more joy and love knowing my brother was trying to make me laugh, than the corny phrase that never really says anything even though it is supposed to say everything.

When someone tries to make you laugh, they are trying to make you happy. There is nothing which conveys how much a person cares than the steps they take to make you laugh.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

odd thoughts for a twelve year old

I never really got into Pokemon. It wasn't because I was too cool for it or too old. I remember I was about twelve when it first became popular in the US. The TV show was on and everyone had the video game for their game-boys. I wanted to be part of this new and exciting thing. But the more I learned the more I was repulsed.

So this kid leaves home to participate in forcing animals to fight each other for entertainment. That part I couldn't get around no matter how hard I tried. I tried to play the video game but something just didn't feel right. Those cute little animals were cooped up in these tiny cages only let out to torture each other at the request of their "masters".

What concerned young Three Feathers even more was that nobody else seemed concerned. I mean twelve year old me knew it wasn't real. It was a fictitious world. But what a hell that must be for those poor animals. I didn't understand how this could become popular.

As the years passed and this fad became less important in my mind until nearly all memory of it faded away I stumbled upon a drawing I made in fifth grade. There is a cute furry creature trapped in a small cage. With the words "I don't understand" written over it.

Perhaps somewhere in this ridiculous situation is where you can find the origins of Three Feathers the activist.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


A teacher asked a class I was in how we would know when we were “adults.” The first thing that came to my mind was that adults laugh less than children do. When I expressed this, my teacher was shocked, even horrified, by my response and told me to never stop laughing…

It reminded me of another teacher who told me, when I left school due to a deep depression, to spend my time away being silly. I laughed when she said it and brushed it off, but two years later, looking back, silliness and laughter have brought me further than I had expected. What would the world look like if we were all a little bit sillier?

These memories bring me to these questions: What do we value in our society and why? Is humor, is joy, undervalued? Do they have value? What is that value? What have they done for you and how have they done it?

One of my favorite sounds in the world is the laughter of my younger sister. I’m not quite sure why, but when she watches South Park late at night when I am at home, I leave my door open, just a crack, so that I can hear her. Sometimes I watch certain movies with her just because I know how much they make her laugh (i.e. Christmas Vacation).

I suppose if adulthood really is the ceasing of laughter, I say, fuck it; let’s embrace childhood like nobody’s business. To be honest, maybe I will anyway… There is a wisdom in childhood that I’m not sure I’m ready to lose sight of.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Malone's Secret Recipe

The one thing I do more than cry is laugh.

I know what you are thinking…and I am not bipolar.

I was recently telling a friend that I judge things (No. I never judge.) on whether or not they make me laugh out loud. I can tell if I enjoyed an episode of The Office based on my personal laugh-o-meter. If I burst out laughing while watching Kevin swim in chili he slaved over, then the writers achieved success. If not, then the writers should get their act together. But it’s Kevin so of course I’m going to be laughing.

I have no control over the noises that leave my mouth. This is only a problem when you are sitting in class and find the teacher’s comments hilarious when no one else does. You become the only person laughing out loud (not just chuckling, laughing) at the teacher’s witty statements. Everyone else hates you. You get a whole lot of STINK EYES staring at your distorted face.

Though my never ceasing laughter may disrupt the classroom, I have no problem with it. I would rather be laughing at every moment than indifferent. I feel happier when I laugh, some of the negative tension floats away.

Embrace your laughter. Who cares if your nose points up, or you make a weird wheezing sound (if you are my father you would make some kind of guttural noise that one cannot describe)? And more importantly find things that make you laugh.

I just happen to have found a lot of them.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Break-up t-shirts

We had broken up about three weeks ago.
But we had this tradition, whenever we got eathother gifts,
they had to be absurd t-shirts, and we HAD to wear them that day.
I had just come back from a trip to Europe with one when we broke up.
She had just come back from Mexico and done the same.

So we decided to make the trade.
Our weeks apart went by without major incident.
So, we figured we could handle this exchange.
I found the gift, under my dresser, still in its packaging.
Tucking it under my arm I went to our meeting spot at a friend's house.

I went first and handed her the clear wrapped package.
The union jack so massive it blinded, with the words:
"My Boyfriend went to London and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt"
It hadn't been my best effort but it was fitting enough to make her smile.

She handed me a worn looking green shirt.
yellow letters stating saucily:
"Single and ready to Mingle"
We had a drink with our friend wearing our new T-Shirts
Then parted ways.

If all break-ups happened this way we might all still remember to laugh about it.

-Three Feathers

Thursday, February 10, 2011

my prayer.

So I've been having this struggle...

People keep asking me why I am not following my passion to stop sexual violence. Good question. I never know how to answer, which is silly because I know the answer... I DON'T KNOW HOW TO STOP SEXUAL VIOLENCE. IF I DID I WOULD'VE ALREADY DONE IT.

So what am I doing? Am I just giving up? Did I decide it was too hard for me? Did I succumb to the practicality of having to survive instead of pursuing my dream?

No. My dream didn't go anywhere. The need didn't go anywhere (that's for sure). I just am not ready yet, and that's okay. Maybe the world isn't ready either.

I had a conversation about this with my teacher recently and realized I need to forgive myself for not being ready to fight this fight. She reminded me that Oscar Romero was in his FIFTIES when he started shaking things up in El Salvador. I am not in my fifties. I am 23. I literally turned 23 on Monday. I am not ready, but the time will come. She told me I need to ask the universe to show me the way whenever it's ready....

Here I am, world. I don't know what to do. I have a vision for a better world, but I don't know how to get us there. Take me. Take me and use me in the way that you need me. Let my body be a vessel of something much greater than I am, let me serve you in the way that you need me to. I don't know how, but I am willing to serve and to go wherever you need me. Just say the word.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This Dream's Too Amazing

Last year during a retreat I attended, we were asked to write down a list of things we want to happen. A bucket list some would say. The list was composed of things I want to do with my life—the things I dream of. After reflecting on the list, I realized that they were all things I was capable of doing. I wrote down my dreams of owning a farm with chickens, going to culinary arts school and starting a bakery/cafĂ©, teaching at my high school, traveling the world. I can make these things happen.

Part of me wonders if I should dream bigger.

But where do I begin?

It seems overwhelming.

I was recently told that I can do so much more with my life than just go back to my high school after college and teach students how to appreciate the beauty of literature. But what should I do? How do I start to change the world, because I really don’t think my farm with chickens is going to achieve that reality? I suppose you never know though, maybe my farm will start a network of local and organic farms. There is an endless amount of avenues I can go down in life, and I don’t know which one will make the most difference. And what if the one I choose doesn’t make me happy.

My mom recently said to me that life doesn’t end after college. Your life is a constant state of change in which you can make a difference. Every day you can find a new passion. So, I suppose I don’t need to know right now how I will change the world. At any point in my life I can change paths and start a new dream.

There are endless possibilities.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

can you gaze into the future for me? It'll just take a sec

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Five years? What about one year?

It isn't an uncommon question. very job interviewy but still, most folks are expected to have an answer for it. But getting on a specific path for a specific goal freaks me out. As I have mentioned before I have had trouble with this when I was a bit younger and I don't know how I feel about it. I mean it really puts the pressure on someone to have a good answer. Even if they did have a good idea of where they saw themselves could they articulate it in a short spoken paragraph? I understand the purpose of the question isn't to freak anyone out but rather glimpse into where a person sees themself in the future.

I feel many of us know many places where we would like to end up. I don't mean to hate on you who have a specific goal in mind I am simply saying its an odd thing to ask expecting a quick synopsis. I mean I found a goal, still tryin to find the path but at least i have a destination and that makes me feel so much better than when I was just floating around. I have an answer to the question but I doubt my quick answer would do justice to what I want to do with my life.

I guess this turned into a bit of a rant... rats.

So to end a little less unhappily here is Charlie talking to himself in ten years.

-Three Feathers

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"life common"?

For a variety of reasons, I have been a little off lately and today just pushed me right over the edge. I picked up a copy of my school’s newspaper on the way into work this morning and, upon reading it, my face got all scrunched up—you know the look, like I had just smelled something really nasty… ‘cause, for all intents and purposes, I had. It was so, so… for lack of a better word… college. Ew, gross.

As of late, I have felt a little bit lonely, a little bit different, and a little bit sad about it. I know this funk will leave me just as quickly as it has come upon me and gratitude will replace that sadness once more, but, for right now, this is where I am at.

There is a song—“Life Uncommon” (by Jewel, who else?)—that I have LOVED for years, but I have always wondered, perhaps naively, why the life she describes has to be “uncommon.” And, you know, maybe it doesn’t have to be, but it does seem to be, doesn’t it? ...

Don’t worry, Mother, it’ll be alright,

And don’t worry, Sister, say your prayers, and sleep tight.

It’ll be fine, Lover of mine, it’ll be just fine,


And lend your voices only to sounds of freedom,

No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from,

Fill lives with love and bravery,

And you shall lead a life uncommon.

I’ve heard your anguish; I’ve heard your hearts cry out:

“We are tired, we are weary, but we aren’t worn out.”

Set down your chains ‘til only faith remains, set down your chains,


There are plenty of people who pray for peace,

But if praying were enough it would have come to be.

Let your words enslave no one,

And the heavens will hush themselves to hear

Our voices ring out clear with sounds of freedom, with sounds of freedom.

Come on, you unbelievers, move out of the way;

There is a new army coming and we armed with faith.

To live, we must give to live.

Chorus x 2

At times like this, when I am slightly downtrodden, and maybe a tad less hopeful than I normally am, I try to imagine what our world would look like if this were a “Life Common.” I am unsure of the details, but I am sure of the beauty.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

When I was little, I used to have the same recurring dream…I was Indian Jones, whip and all. I, as Indy, just stole the treasure, replacing the weight with a bag of sand. Though I thought I succeeded, that great big ball started to chase after me. Shocker. Each time I would wake up right before the ball almost squashed me. I never made it to see the Lost Ark of the Covenant; I don’t even know if I made it out of the cave.

This dream isn’t random like most dreams. I watched Indiana Jones a lot as a kid, mainly because we had all three movies on the classiest form of technology ever invented, VHS—plus, my mom has a thing for Harrison Ford (whom I like to refer to as Hans). Indian Jones infiltrated my life. I had to suffer through my brothers continually telling me to “cover my heart,” while one of them would yell “Kali ma, shakthi deh,” and try to rip the organ out of my chest cavity, which always ended up as a failed effort. I say that I had this dream because I have seen the greatest cinematic achievement known to man quite a bit, when in reality I just watched Full House one too many times. The same thing that happens to me in the dream happens to Steve (whom I like to refer to as Aladdin) on stage when the family travels to Universal Studios. But that’s neither here, nor there. Moral of the story Indy has affected my dream world, and I don’t know if I like it.

I refuse to believe that we dream every night. I know that any Psychologist/person interested in science, blah, blah, blah, would want to slap me in my face. And you know what, I’d slap them right back. I can never remember my dreams; therefore, I refuse to believe that I am actually dreaming every night because I like to believe that I have the memory of an elephant. So for me to have a recurring dream of being Dr. Jones is extremely unusual. It isn’t the being Indy that is unusual, it is the recurring aspect.

Every time I would be carrying the whip, escaping skeletons popping out of the cave walls, I would always experience an enormous amount of panic because I woke up too soon. I never knew what my fate was. What if I never made it to the Temple of Doom…

This fear of not knowing affects me in my conscious state as well as unconscious. I am controlled by the anxiety of not knowing what is in store. I don’t appreciate change. I like having everything planned out. I don’t like when giant obstacles come from nowhere and start chasing me. That’s not fun.

But it’s a part of life.

Indy embraces the unknown. So at the end of the day, even though I embody Indy physically in my dreams, I need to learn how to embody Dr. Jones mentally in real life. Which isn’t a bad thing, maybe there will be some interesting adventures along the way.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Elecric Feelin

Sorry for my absence the past week. I have been caught up in all the snow and following the craziness in Egypt. I will be back for real soon I promise!

I have been in New York snowed in after storm after lovely storm has made their way here, and yes in my twin bed I have been remembering my dreams more than usual. I have practiced lucid dreaming for as long as I can remember but it dosn't happen all the time. It falls to a question I often forget to ask: "hey is this a dream?". Sometimes something crazy seems perfectly acceptable. Other times I will be so wrapped up in what's happening the question won't even cross my mind.

So, I resolved to leave you with a cool video showing how awesome (or awesomely odd) dreams can be. I have puzzled over what video I want to use to represent my interpretation of this (Lady GaGa, MGMT, Waking Life, etc.) but there are so many good ones out there I figured you can just as easily search for yourself as long as you know this isn't my end all/be all of what my dreams are. After all, this is an artists representation of their dream, not mine. Only I can know what my dreams are like even if I spent all day telling you what mine were like. It is both beautiful and frustrating because it is unknowable. Even I forget pieces of my dreams until they are little more than a faded memory if even that.

If you haven't yet read the title of the video (or the post, SPOILER!!!), I decided upon MGMT's "Electric Feel". Yes it is crazy but that is the point. Dreams are crazy. So just listen and if you feel up to it dance. It would be hard not to. I had to get up and dance when I found it on youtube and it started autoplay.

(If you pay close attention you can spot the two actors from the last MGMT video I posted in their same costumes and makeup from "kids" twenty points if you can spot them!)

-Three Feathers