original song

Day 2241: Hello, beautiful

Hello, beautiful.

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How does that affect you, for somebody to call you beautiful?  What would happen if you called yourself beautiful?

Let’s try that again.

Hello, beautiful. On our beautiful flight to Disney World last week, I wrote a new song called “What Are Other People Thinking About You?” which included this lyric:

What are other people thinking about you?

That is something you will never know.

Then why not assume they’re thinking you’re gorgeous,

Smart, and someone they would want to know.

When I looked at those lyrics yesterday in the harsh, cold light of Boston, I realized I could make them more beautiful if I didn’t rhyme “know” with “know.”

Hello, beautiful. Here are my other beautiful photographs from yesterday:

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My beautiful boyfriend Michael, who made that beautiful Portobello Burger last night, often says these beautiful words:

It’s not where you are, it’s who you’re with.

And since you’re always with yourself, why not enjoy the  beautiful company?

Searching YouTube for “Hello beautiful Minnie Mouse” found this beautiful match for today’s post about song lyrics and other beautiful topics:

Hello, beautiful.  Thanks for reading today’s post and if you leave a comment, that would be beautiful.

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Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 2232: Who is your harshest critic?

For years, I would have answered the question, “Who is your harshest critic?” like so:

“It’s me.”

Many of the people I work with in therapy also say that they are their own harshest critics. Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Narrative Therapy, and other proven techniques, we acknowledge the harm of that harsh criticism and reduce its toxicity.

There are times in my life when my answer to the question, “Who is your harshest critic?” would be, “It’s not me.”  I remember, decades ago, when I agonized over whether to leave my job as a writer at a technology company, which had not worked out as I expected.  I said many harshly critical things to myself  (including “you make terrible decisions!”  “what makes you think you’ll find a better job?”)  as I went through the  painful process of pros and cons about staying or leaving.  One of the obvious advantages of leaving was that I did not respect management at that company, so  I did end up resigning. Before I left,  one of the top managers said harsh things to me, including labeling me “a quitter” and somebody not capable of sticking to things that are challenging and difficult.  Once this man externalized my internal harsh criticism, I was able to recognize the unfairness in his reaction, stand up straight, look him in the eye, and say, “That’s not true. I’m leaving because I know I can be happier elsewhere.”

I’ll never forget how good that felt — to directly confront those harsh messages and say, “That’s not true.”

Since becoming a therapist, I’ve done a therapeutic exercise in groups where people write down their harsh internal criticisms and we externalize them.  Somebody in the group reads the harsh critical statement out loud, and the person gets a chance to respond back, sometimes being coached by others.  It’s always inspiring to witness people challenge their internalized harsh critics, replacing those old and toxic messages with more accepting and helpful ones.

Last night, when I performed my latest original song, “It’s Not Me,” about a toxically critical person, I became my harshest critic, again. For one thing, I went on immediately after the featured performer,  a 13-year-old prodigy “– The Mighty Quinn”  — who blew out the joint with his fiddle playing and his singing.  Here’s a photo of Quinn and his father:

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They were the proverbial tough act to follow.  I considered saying, “Let’s hear it for my opening act!” before I started performing, but I harshly criticized that and said something else instead.  As I started playing,  I realized that my ukulele was out of tune. I blanked on something I wanted to say,  and I didn’t like that I needed to use a cheat sheet to remember some of the chords and words.  After I finished,  I sat down, ignoring the applause and the positive comments from people in the audience, listening, instead,  to my harsh inner critic.

I then asked my new co-worker and friend, Alice (who is also a musician), whether she felt bad when her performances weren’t up to her own standards. She said many supportive things, including, “I think you’ll feel better when you watch the recording.”

And, when I watched the recording later, I did feel better. I let go of the role of my own harshest critic and, as always, it felt great! Here‘s the recording, which Alice made:

When I watch this, I use one of my helpful phrases: “It’s good enough AND I can make it better.”

In the past, I’ve been the harshest critic of my blog writing and my photographs, like these:

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For now,   I’m celebrating not being my own harshest critic.

Thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course — to YOU, for your kind acceptance (of me and yourself) (I hope!)

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 2227: Personal 10 Best and Worst of 2018

Because I think New Year’s resolutions can be the worst, my best way of  marking the New Year is to compile my personal 10 Best and 10 Worst lists for the year.  What’s best about that ritual is that it allows me to look back over the past year in a useful way, getting some closure as we move into the brand new year.

Because I don’t want to dwell on the worst, I think it’s best that I share only my personal 10 Best of 2018 (in alphabetical order):

Aaron

Blogging

Friends

Groups

Health of those I love

Home near the ocean

Iceland/Edinburgh trip

Michael

Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy (inc. becoming President)

Original songs

There were so many bests this year,  the cats didn’t even make it on the list.  Although, maybe it’s best that I include them in the “Health of those I love” or in “Friends.”

Here are my best and worst photos from yesterday:

If you can’t read any of those photos, it’s best that you click on them to enlarge.

My son Aaron thinks that the first song I wrote is still my best.  Here it is:

I don’t know if I agree that “I Don’t Like You” is my best, but it’s certainly not my worst.

If you want to share your personal  best and/or worst of 2018, it’s best you do so in the comments section, below.

Every time I post, I do my best to thank all who help me blog every day and — of course! — YOU.  Happy New Year!

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Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 2225: Who is it?

Who is it that just posted this on Facebook?

If it’s not me posting that I’ll be performing my latest original song “It’s Not Me” at the Jam’n Java Open Mic in Arlington’s Kickstand Cafe this Friday (January 4) while wearing my original t-shirt that says “It’s Not Me,” then who is it?

Who is it that just wrote another verse for “It’s Not Me”?

It’s not me who’s claiming

that our love was a sham.

It’s not me who’s blaming

all the things that I am.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

Who is it that took these photos yesterday?

 

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Who is it that will be disappointed if people don’t laugh at the improv section of “It’s Not Me” Friday night?  And who is it that learned how to balance a salt shaker on its side at college?

Who is it that’s sharing this music, here and now?

Who is that saw The Who at The Boston Garden in the 1970s?

Who is it that’s expressing thanks to all who helped me create this post (including my son Aaron and The Who) and to you — Whoo hoo! —  who’s reading it?

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Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 2224: I’m very aware of the passage of time

I’m very aware of the passage of time, as I took time to express in a therapy group exercise about time.

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Are you very aware of the passage of time?  Do you believe that you have all the time you need? Do you rush and get very anxious because of time? I’m very aware that the passage of time affects everybody.

I’m very aware of the passage of time in my other photos from yesterday.

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I’m very aware that I notice more over the passage of time.  What do you notice, during this very precious time?

I’m very aware of the passage of time that’s bringing me closer to the first Friday of the month, which means it’s time for me sing a new original song at a local Open Mic.  I’m very aware that I need to choose between “Don’t Call Me” and “It’s Not Me.”

I’m very aware that I haven’t yet shared the lyrics of “It’s Not Me.” I will, after sharing this passage-of-time song:

I’m very aware of how much time passed before I found “Time Has Come Today” by the Chamber Brothers. Feel free to pass the time by sharing your favorite song about the passage of time, below.

Before any more passage of time, here are  lyrics for “It’s Not Me.”‘

It’s Not Me

by me, Ann Koplow

It’s not me resenting

the mistakes of the past.

It’s not me presenting

why our love shouldn’t last.

 

It’s not me who’s judging,

It’s not me keeping score.

It’s not me begrudging

Saying “you should do more.”

 

It’s not me who’s hurting,

It’s not me feeling bad.

It’s not me deserting

All the good things we’ve had.

 

It’s not me complaining

From dusk until dawn.

It IS me explaining

That it’s me, moving on.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

I’m very aware of the passage of time as I ask for comments and express my thanks to all  (including YOU!) who have helped me in my blogging passages, over time.

Categories: group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2209: Everyone

Hi, everyone!

Every one of my photos today could relate to everyone.

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Everyone with a closed heart is driving me crazy.

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That teabag is telling everyone to be kind to everyone else, but to be compassionate to oneself, in every moment.   I hope everyone reading this can do that.

Everyone I know has been been encouraging me to keep writing songs.  Thanks, everyone!  I wrote every one of these words while I couldn’t sleep:

 

Don’t Call Me

Don’t call me too weepy,

too creepy, too sleepy,

too selfish, too giving,

too sensitive from living.

 

Don’t call me too bitchy,

too itchy or twitchy,

too soft or too loud,

too modest, too proud.

 

If you’re gonna type me or hype me,

pigeonhole, assign a role,

Decide I’m a saint or some asshole,

Don’t call me.

 

Don’t call me too funny or too serious

I find it deleterious,

So don’t call me.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

 

How Much Time

How much time do we have with each other?

With a friend, sibling, or mother.

We don’t know,

take it slow,

Let things grow.

 

How much time do we have with each other?

With a partner, child, or a brother.

It won’t last,

The die is cast.

Take it fast.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

 

Every one of those lyrics is mine and every one of those songs is not yet finished.

I’m going to try to memorize every one of my songs before I go to Edinburgh in August.  I’ll let everyone know if I’m doing a show there.

Here’s Van Morrison with Everyone:

 

Every one of the lyrics for Everyone is in the YouTube description, here.

I’m looking forward to everyone’s comments and I’d like to thank everyone who helps me create every one of these daily posts, including everyone who reads them (like YOU).

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Categories: original song, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 2207: More than words

There are more than words in this daily blog — there are often photos, like this one:

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I often see those words, and more, on my commute to work. Here are some words to describe More Than Words.

More Than Words is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business.

There are more than words in this world, even for those of us who depend on words.  There are feelings,

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facial expressions,

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moments of reflection,

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forgiveness,

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consciousness, art,

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human rights,  music,

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and words that evoke more than words in us.

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I have more than words for the International Human Rights Day Celebration that I witnessed last night after work. Here are more photos (and a video) of my co-worker Sterling and his daughter, sharing words and music with us.IMG_1525

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Sterling (a/k/a Steis)  wrote “Lost for Words” after the violent death of a beloved cousin.   There are no words, but Sterling found some, to heal and move on.

If you leave words in a comment below, that is more than enough for me.

My gratitude for those who help me create these daily blog posts and for YOU is more than words can express, but I’ll try.

 

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2204: What the hell happened?

What the hell!  Did anybody else have a week where you asked yourself,

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“What the hell happened?”

When you’re talking to somebody on the phone and they’re suddenly not there, do you ask yourself, “What the hell happened?  Did they hang up on me?  Was it something I said? Are they angry? Did their phone lose power? Is the signal week?  Should I call back? Are they calling me back?”

What the hell happened  in these photos?

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What the hell happened in the first photo above and the last one?  First photo: We did a mindfulness exercise in a therapy group last week where we focused on a piece of paper we crumpled  and then unfolded. Last photo: a group calling themselves “Gym Class” performed Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” at an open mic last night.

What the hell happened last night when I debuted my latest original song, “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready” at that same open mic?   See for yourself:

What the hell do you think will happen if you leave a comment?

What the hell happens at the end of my blog posts?

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Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 2197: Before I Felt Ready

Have you ever done anything before you felt ready?

I may be performing my latest original song “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready” before I feel ready,  six days from today.

Are you ready to feel the lyrics to that new song?

Ready or not, here they come!

 

I Left the House Before I Felt Ready

by Ann Koplow

 

I left the house before I felt ready,

I’m wrinkled, distracted, a little bed-heady.

Don’t know where my phone is, one glove, or umbrella,

My water bottle’s prob’ly somewhere in the cella.

Here on the outside I’m sort of unsteady

When I’ve left the house before I felt ready.

 

I left the house before I felt certain

What clothes to wear?  Should I tuck my shirt in?

Should I eat a banana, a cookie, a peach?

Do something productive or go to the beach?

With indecision I’m strugglin’ and hurtin’

When I’ve left the house before I felt certain.

 

I left the the house before I felt sure

About what I can tolerate, face, or endure.

Should I stick to what’s safe or try something new?

Taking risks — tsk, tsk tsk — not the right thing to do?

I might meet someone nice or step into manure

When I’ve left the house before I feel sure.

 

I did leave the house, I can recall,

To work, to sing, to shop at the mall,

If  I waited until I was sure not to fall

I’d never leave the house at all.

 

I left the house before I felt ready,

I’m vulnerable, present, and reasonably steady.

I’m glad to be here even if it’s not home,

Even if my hair needs a brush and a comb,

I’m not totally sure or secure, this is true,

But I’m certain I’m ready enough to meet you.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

 

Do you feel ready for my latest photos?

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I’ll be ready with that t-shirt (tucked or untucked) when I debut that song at an Open Mic on Friday, December 7th.

There are no songs on YouTube with my title, but here‘s the Fugees‘ “Ready or Not” performed by Southern University Marching Band in 2016:

I feel ready for your comments if you feel ready to share one below.

I’m always ready to express gratitude to all who help me create these posts and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2137: The House

There are several news headlines about the House today, including:

Mid-term elections: Democrats win House in setback for Trump

Democrats win control of the House in 2018 midterms, CNN projects

Meet the New Agenda Setters in the House

Coincidentally, yesterday I started writing a new song, titled “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready”, which is my first original song based on my first original t-shirt …

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… which was based on original blog posts (herehere, and here), which I wrote in the house.

Here are the lyrics, so far:

I Left the House Before I Felt Ready

 

I left the house before I felt ready,

So I’m wrinkled, distracted, and sort of bed-heady.

I don’t know where my phone is, my glove, or umbrella

And my water bottle’s probably somewhere in the cellar.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

Because my house is near Boston, those last two lines rhyme.

Only one of my photos from yesterday was taken in the house:

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Here’s “House” by Elton John:

 

What are your thoughts and feelings about any of  the houses here?

Thanks to all who helped me write today’s blog post at the house and — of course! — to YOU, for visiting my blogging house.

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Categories: group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 25 Comments

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