Karl Lagerfeld – Humanity’s Antagonist

History has shown us that you can be a genius and a monster at the same time.  We have examples of the various perversions and mutations of the genius, but I am guessing that genius or not, the monster part is actually more rooted in insecurities.  A genius should be confident in his abilities and talents.  An evil genius may have come by the “genius” title accidentally and his insecurities of being “found out” have caused him to become a notorious asshole.  When you are a monster, no one bothers to get close enough to find out that you are really just an insecure man guarding the secret that he is merely average.  But David Rakoff (as always) says it best.

“All of the designers I have met up to this point have been very nice, although upon being introduced to Karl Lagerfeld, he looks me up and down and dismisses me with the not super-kind, “What can you write that hasn’t been written already?”

He’s absolutely right, I have no idea. I can but try. The only thing I can come up with right now is that Lagerfeld’s powdered white ponytail has dusted the shoulders of his suit with what looks like dandruff but isn’t.  Not having undergone his alarming weight loss yet, seated on a tiny velvet chair, with his large doughy rump dominating the miniature piece of furniture like a loose, flabby, ass-flavored muffin over-risen from its pan, he resembles a Daumier caricature of some corpulent, overfed, inhumane oligarch drawn sitting on a commode, stuffing his greedy throat with the corpses of dead children, while from his other end he shits out huge, malodorous piles of tainted money. How’s that for new and groundbreaking, Mr. L.?”
David Rakoff, Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems

Karl Lagerfeld – Humanity’s Antagonist

History has shown us that you can be a genius and a monster at the same time.  We have examples of the various perversions and mutations of the genius, but I am guessing that genius or not, the monster part is actually more rooted in insecurities.  A genius should be confident in his abilities and talents.  An evil genius may have come by the “genius” title accidentally and his insecurities of being “found out” have caused him to become a notorious asshole.  When you are a monster, no one bothers to get close enough to find out that you are really just an insecure man guarding the secret that he is merely average.  But David Rakoff (as always) says it best.

“All of the designers I have met up to this point have been very nice, although upon being introduced to Karl Lagerfeld, he looks me up and down and dismisses me with the not super-kind, “What can you write that hasn’t been written already?”

He’s absolutely right, I have no idea. I can but try. The only thing I can come up with right now is that Lagerfeld’s powdered white ponytail has dusted the shoulders of his suit with what looks like dandruff but isn’t.  Not having undergone his alarming weight loss yet, seated on a tiny velvet chair, with his large doughy rump dominating the miniature piece of furniture like a loose, flabby, ass-flavored muffin over-risen from its pan, he resembles a Daumier caricature of some corpulent, overfed, inhumane oligarch drawn sitting on a commode, stuffing his greedy throat with the corpses of dead children, while from his other end he shits out huge, malodorous piles of tainted money. How’s that for new and groundbreaking, Mr. L.?”
David Rakoff, Don’t Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems

Onward and Upward – My Last Day

A Time to Dance - Hearts and Laserbeams

Today was my last day at Suit Supply.  T.G.I.M.F.F.  You know they won’t let their employees us the #suitsupply hashtag on social media platforms?  They want to “control the image” of the company.  That’s fine.  Their ex-employees can do what they want.

Quitting is the best thing you can do for yourself sometimes.  If you feel that there is no way the changes you want will be possible, you need to find something else.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to have the option of being better.  You do not have the power to change the structure and tone of a company, if it does not agree with you, you need to move on.  You should never love a company because it does not possess the ability to love you back.

I quit primarily because my life was exceptionally out of balance.  I wasn’t able to go to the gym regularly (I have only been six or so times in the last six months) and my days off were spent recuperating from the work week.  The Secondary reasons why I quit are my frustrations of working with an incompetent, dismissive and dysfunctional corporate structure.  Most of the employees higher than the store level are exceptionally rude and just not good at their jobs.  When you are told by the COO that if you don’t get what you need from the buyers, it is your responsibility to continually bother them until they do their jobs, there is a problem with responsibility.  I don’t think pestering someone to do their job is an acceptable form of business.  That, and while I was managing the employees and store and responsible for everything that happened in the store for months and months, they never made it official.  I was getting paid a sales associate wage, but too busy to make commission.  My only bonus was the 10-12 hours of weekly overtime I was being paid.

I would like to share a couple articles that I have recently read:

You have probably heard before that most people do not quit their jobs, they quit their boss.  It makes sense.  That is absolutely 100% the reason I left Gucci.  It’s the reason everyone leaves that store.  It is one of the main reasons I am leaving Suit Supply (not my boss specifically, but the corporate structure and attitude of how they treat people in the stores).  Here is some help I wish the right people would read, I know they won’t, but I wish they would:
12 Personality Traits Of A Great Boss

 

And for my coworkers and anyone else wanting to make a change, I found the 10 Free Apps You Need For Effective Job Hunting.  Download them now.  Make that technology work for you.  Now that you have all the apps at your fingertips, you need to market yourself.  Read How To Supercharge Your LinkedIn Profile In 15 Minutes and follow the instructions.  Read What Recruiters Pay Attention To For Your LinkedIn And Online Profile and see what tweaks you can make to your profile to be noticed.  You don’t have to believe me that it is time to quit, read 9 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Job and decide for yourself.

 

 

 

Audrey Hepburn – Words To Live By

Audrey-Hepburn-

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.” — Audrey Hepburn
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SPA v44.0 Launch is Live

Every birthday, I dust off this old gem, read over it, trim a bit here, add a bit there and repost it.  It is my way of keeping in check with what I have decided is who I want to be.  The whole process takes a week, I read and reread, I think about what is missing, how I want the words to read and what I want them to convey.  This year, along with the slight editing, I added a new “Exercise and Skin Care” paragraph.  I am very disciplined about both.  I have this one body and it needs to last at least another 50 years and hopefully run at peak performance for most of it.  Every year, I also take a current photo, I like how much I look like my bitstrips guy right now, so I split-screened it.20140119_125101“What I Have Learned So Far”

I’ve learned that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I want to continue to grow and change and progress until I die.  I do not ever want to rest on my laurels, get set in my ways, do something a specific way for no other reason that I have always done it that way.  I want to be routinely evaluating my choices to see if they still match with the person I am and the person I am on my way to becoming.  We can all do that, think about what is important to you and then reflect at the end of the day, as you drift off to sleep, to see if you accomplished it.  It is really less of a score card and more of a reminder for the next day.  Did you possess compassion whenever possible and applicable?  Did you express gratitude to your friends and family for being able to share each other’s life?

I’ve learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.  The past is nothing we can control and it can color who we are, but we can make the decision to be anything we set our minds to.  Create your identity, do not let it be assigned to you.  The traumas of our childhoods can easily make us into “victims” or “survivors” and we can hide behind that identity for the rest of our lives if we desire.  That trauma happened a long time ago and is over, to continue the trauma is your choice, but it does not give you a free pass to poor behavior.  It is a long struggle to be able to recognize you are worth good things happening to you, once you allow that thought to enter your consciousness, you start to let go of the past.

I’ve learned that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change. Sometimes, our paths run right along each other at the same speed, seeing the same sights.  Then our paths may separate, but that does not erase our history and the reasons why we first became friends.  We all understand that we change, so thinking that our friends shouldn’t is unreasonable.

I’ve learned that money is a horrible way of keeping score.  Money does not make you better or worse than anyone, it is an instrument.  Like any other instrument, it can be used in a million different ways.  The most beautiful concerto can be played on an old piano just as easily as the keys of a Steinway can be smashed with a mallet.  Find something you are passionate about and devote your extra money to it’s promotion.  Make your money work for you as hard as you worked for it.  Keep the circle of energy flowing.

I’ve learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different. “I say tomato, you say tomato. Let’s call the whole thing off. But oh! If we call the whole thing off, then we must part. And oh! If we ever part, then that might break my heart!”  The Gershwins were on to something.  Learning to not be so arrogant that your way is the right and only way will take you far in love and life.  The ability to see things from different perspectives, even if you disagree with those perspectives is a valuable skill.

I’ve learned that you can get by on charm and looks for only so long.  After that, you’d better know something.  This does not always seem true and maybe the length can stretch out for years, but in the end the boys and girls will stop turning their heads when you pass, so you better at least have some good stories of your youth to retell.  There is nothing wrong with physical charm, but giving it any weight and worth as a way to judge yourself or others is a mistake.  It is just a roll of the DNA dice. It does not matter how attractive a person is if they are ugly on the inside.  Everyone has a unique talent or gift in life.  Personally, I have always been drawn to people that have an ability to tell a story, that have a talent of finding humor everywhere, and people that know that life is an ongoing journey of exploration.  It is a physical attraction, an attraction to a glow or fire or something that people possess inside.  Have you ever tried having a conversation with nice biceps and teeth? Exactly.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do. We all have our talents, we all have our accomplishments, and for the most part, they are unique to us. Comparing yourself to the best parts of others will of course cause you to feel inferior.  The exercise in being proud of and happy for your friend’s success is a hard one.  It is hard to remove your jealousy or envy.  When you are able to do it, however, you become a better friend and a better person.  If you still cannot remove yourself from the equation, think about how awesome you are for choosing such talented and successful friends.  We can be happy when our friend’s are successful, no matter what Morrissey says.

I’ve learned that you can keep going long after you can’t.  It applies to running, it applies to life.  It is always darkest before the dawn for a reason, so you appreciate the dawn all the more.  Heartbreak and disappointment are horrible and painful, they can tear you into pieces from which you think you can never reassemble.  You can, and in time, you will.  That ability is one of the most exciting and unique parts of being human: resilience.  Knowing that life right now is hard, but having the memory and perspective that none of it is permanent and situations will change.  “Don’t give up, I know you can make it good.”

I’ve learned that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.  Learning to understand their language may make the difference between feeling loved and feeling neglected.  Getting mad because someone doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved is like getting mad because the IKEA furniture assembly instructions are only in Swedish.  You can either try to translate and understand the IKEA instructions or you can shop somewhere with different instruction inserts.  Complaining will not bring you any closer to assembling that chair.

I’ve learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you.  Every second of every day, we have the choice on how we are going to behave.  We can fly off the handle at the slightest things or we can choose to not let them ruin our day.  How we react and behave to every day situations is completely in our control.  Our past experiences may point us in a knee-jerk direction, but they have no actual power over us today.  Choose an attitude that would make you proud of the person you are.  If it does not feel natural to behave that way, fake it, eventually, it will become part of you.  I am a strong believer in the school of “Fake it ’till you make it.” I am a result of that philosophy.  I didn’t like something about me or recognized something about me that didn’t work, thought about how I could do it differently, and consciously did it that way going forward.  It did not immediately feel natural, but eventually, it became a part of me.  It is like diet and exercise for your character, it is hard and strenuous, but eventually, it becomes who you are.  Anger is ego, we all know this.  That person that cut you off in traffic did not do it to you because of who you are, they just did it.  It didn’t happen to you, it just happened, don’t take it so personally that it changes your mood.  Don’t hold onto it, that energy is undirected and wasted.

I’ve learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. The title of “Hero” has been been attributed to so many people in so many ways that it’s meaning has been diluted.  For this, I mean a person whose courage and strength I admire.  Heroes are quite often not popular or even liked at the time, usually because their actions cause discomfort and disruption.  Heroes see how the world can be a better place and do their best to change it.  For the most part, actors, athletes, popular musicians, and politicians are bad choices as personal heroes, there are plenty of examples why.

I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you.  All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.  Learning and accepting that you cannot control how other people feel or react to your feelings is freeing.  I have learned to not withhold my feelings due to fear of them not being matched with equal strength from the other person.  Feelings are not discounted just because they are not returned.  Love and affection require expression to attain it’s full potential, they need air around them to grow.  It is crucial that you allow the organic nature of your feeling to exist and not squelch or play down them in any way. Washington Irving wrote, “Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.”  Take a chance, take a leap, the air rushing under your feet will do you good.

I’ve learned that it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts. Everyone knows this.  Your job and your stuff you love will never give you a ride to the airport or love you back. Your things you have will not bring you love.  That BMW will get you attention that at first may seem a lot like love, but it is probably more like envy. The people you touch in your life may not sit impressively on your mantle or fill up your checking account, but they will hold your hand when you cry and bring you soup when you are sick. In life, the immeasurable out-values all. There are no price tickets attached to love, devotion, friendship, and loyalty.

I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back. None of this changes how I should feel.  Zelda Fitzgerald is quoted as saying, “I don’t want to live — I want to love first, and live incidentally.”  I find myself thinking of this quote often and understanding it to mean that we need love to live, that we should approach life as a series of opportunities to love.  Everyone has been on both sides of this coin at one point in life: the lover and the loved.  It sucks and I hate it, but at the same time, there is a real rawness to heartbreak that is the purest of emotions.  That emotion has no ulterior motives, no hidden agendas that it hopes by creating one, another will follow.  It is pure loss, pure ache, and purely human. No matter how horrible it is, you feel so alive and wonderful knowing that you possess such capacity for feeling.

I’ve learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words.  It may be the last time you see them.  Bring everyone you meet a gift.  This obviously does not mean a physical item wrapped with a bow, it could be a compliment, a touch, a smile.  Do not leave things unsaid for fear of over exposing your heart.  Your heart functions best when exposed raw to the air, it expands and produces more than ever imaginable.  This applies too even if you were thinking about someone during the day, send them a text or email to tell them.  Keep communications open, don’t let too much time pass.

**New For SPA v44.0**

Move.  Motivate.  Moisturize.  Do your best to create and maintain healthy habits.  I know that when I am not physically active, running, lifting weights, I feel depressed.  My body feels depressed and out of sorts when I do miss more than a couple days at the gym.  It’s because it’s my body’s habit to be active, to experience an elevated heart rate, to stretch and push the boundaries of my musculature.  I feel so much better having gone to the gym.  That does not mean that I am always super excited about going to the gym.  My motivation for keeping a regular gym habit is elevated energy/mood, stress management, strength as I age, and vanity.  Do not underestimate the power of vanity, when harnessed for good, it can accomplish a lot.  Moisturizing falls under the Gym/Motivate/Vanity tab and plays a part in taking care of yourself.  I hope that I can live at least another 50 years (who knows what science will have done by then?) and I want those 50 years to be healthy active ones.  It is my job to keep myself in the best shape I can.

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Take Your Own Advice

I wrote this last year and it works for me, maybe it will work for you too?  I think about it from time to time and even just typing little notes on my phone and saving them for later seems to work for me.

Advice From Yourself

For this exercise, you are going to need a piece of paper, a pen, and some free time to think. You will need the free time first, I suggest you noodle on it while you are doing your daily thirty minutes of cardio. (You are doing thirty minutes of cardio every day, aren’t you? I’m not interested in your excuses.) Ask yourself this question:

If you could use a time machine just once to travel back and tell yourself one sentence, what age would you travel back to and what would you say?

If we had a month to go back in time and be the guidance counselors to our younger versions, I would let you write paragraphs with bullet points. I would let you outline a schedule of future events and how you should handle them. You only have a couple minutes to give yourself one sentence of advice and it should be in the form of advice. I am the first to admit that if I could, I would go back to 1985 and whisper in my ear to buy Microsoft stock when it goes public, but that really isn’t what this exercise is about.

Mine would be 14 years old and I would say “Hi, I’m you in the future, I came back to tell you that there is an amazing life for you with limitless possibilities out there, you just need to be fearless and know that you can do absolutely anything you put your mind to.”

Now that you have had time to think about it and come up with one sentence that you would want to tell the younger you, write it down on a piece of paper. I know one sentence is hard no one is going to make you diagram it if it turns out to be a bit of a run on, but try to keep it to one sentence.

You are all ready to go back in time, you have your one sentence script, you know exactly what you want to tell yourself. Go to your bathroom mirror. Read the sentence.

You can’t go back in time, but it is never too late. Life has not passed you by, it may be passing you by, it it is never too late. If you went back in time and whispered to yourself to become a teen pop star, that may not have been the best use of your one trip in a time machine, but you can still adapt it to your life today. Take singing lessons, surround yourself with kids, take hip hop dance lessons. It is never too late for hip hop dance lessons.

My guess is that most of you gave yourself advice similar to mine, to stand up, stand out, not be afraid of going after your dreams, grasp for the brass ring, to love hard and fearlessly, and to wring every ounce of juice out of life.

Tape that piece of paper to your bathroom mirror, read it every morning and honor that younger you by making up for lost time. You can’t go back in time, but it’s never too late.

Know Jack – Words To Live By

It is easy to say, difficult to try, and very hard to recognize in others, but it can be done, horizons can expand, thoughts can evolve, as long as there is life, there is potential for growth.

“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” – Jack Kerouac

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