original song

Day 2300: Up for anything

Now that I’m up for the day, I can tell you that lately I’ve been up for anything, including

  • doing my taxes,
  • getting tasks off my plate more quickly,
  • writing lyrics and music,
  • figuring out harmonies for “Nobody’s Perfect”, which I co-wrote and will be co-singing with Social Work intern Nat Shirley,
  • performing music in front of people,
  • doing presentations at work,
  • facilitating five therapy groups a week,
  • serving as President of a group therapy professional organization,
  • reaching out to new people,
  • blogging daily,
  • saying “yes” to things I want to say “yes” to,
  • saying “no” to things I want to say “no” to,
  • quieting my harsh inner critic,
  • taking classes,
  • binge watching RuPaul’s Drag Race,
  • dancing,
  • accepting and giving compliments,
  • asking for what I want, and
  • Michael’s home-cooked meals,

I’m up for sharing the lyrics of “Nobody’s Perfect” if you’re up for reading them.

Nobody’s Perfect

Nobody’s perfect, even us two.

We try to be perfect,

But that doesn’t do.

We both make mistakes.

In that, we’re like you.

Nobody’s perfect.

Nothing is more true.

Nobody’s perfect, even your friends.

If you’re expecting perfection

Those friendships may end.

Friends make mistakes.

In that they’re like you.

Nobody’s perfect.

Nothing is more true.

Perfectionism makes us imperfectly judgy,

Rigid, unhappy, refusing to budge-y,

It makes your thoughts and feelings uncomfortably sludgy,

With mean self-flagellation even if you’re slightly pudgy.

(if an instrumentalist joins us)

Nobody’s perfect.

Even us three.

Letting go of perfection

Helps us to be free.

Ann: She and he aren’t perfect,

In that, they’re like me.

Together: Nobody’s perfect,

You, them, or we.

Perfectionism makes us imperfectly judgy,

Rigid, unhappy, refusing to budge-y,

Expectations turn unrealistic and sludgy,

It’s a crime and a sin even if you’re just pudgy.

Nobody’s perfect.

Even a star.

Stars need to look perfect,

But they never are.

Stars make mistakes,

In that they’re like you.

Nobody’s perfect

And that’s perfectly true.

© Ann Koplow, 2019

Are you up for my photos from yesterday?

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I’m up for anything, including sharing this first attempt by Nat and me to create harmonies for “Nobody’s Perfect.”

 

 

I’m up for telling you that Nat wrote the melody for “Nobody’s Perfect.” I may not be up for singing that high when we perform it, so we may have to lower it.

Now I’m up for your comments, which you can make below.

I’m definitely up for thanking those who helped me create this up-for-anything post (especially Nat), and — of course! — YOU, for being up for anything in this blog.

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Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 2290: Love Letters

Today’s blogging love letter is inspired by a lovely conversation with loving WordPress blogger Debra, whom I loved meeting in Los Angeles on Friday. I told Debra that my son, Aaron, whom I love, does not read my blog and how he has told me that he will read all the letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs in my blog after I die.

I told Debra that I love that, because after I’m gone Aaron will discover that this blog is “a love letter to him, as well as to many others.”

In this daily blog, over the past six years, I have written love letters to

  • my son Aaron,
  • my boyfriend Michael,
  • my sister Ellen,
  • my parents,
  • my therapy groups,
  • group therapy,
  • my readers,
  • my ex-sister-in-law Deborah,
  • my ex-sister-in-law Diane,
  • my other ex-in-laws (including my nieces Laura, Julie, and Victoria)
  • my sister-in-law Linda,
  • my cousin Lani,
  • my friend Barbara,
  • my friend Deb,
  • my friend Carol,
  • my friend Jeanette,
  • friends and ex-college-roommates Marcia and Maria,
  • my friends Janet and Ray,
  • my friend Megan,
  • my friend Janis,
  • my friend Dave,
  • my friend Lawry,
  • my friend Eleanor,
  • my friend Arnie,
  • my friend Peggy,
  • My friend Kathy,
  • My friend Jenn and her family,
  • My Scottish heart sisters Vicki and Andrena,
  • my son Aaron’s friends,
  • my co-worker Alice,
  • other co-workers (past and present),
  • my ex-neighbor Karen,
  • my dentist,
  • healers,
  • school friends,
  • childhood friends,
  • children of all ages,
  • fellow bloggers I’ve met including Mark Bialczak, Lisa from Daily Musings,  Val Boyko from Find Your Middle Ground,  and the aforementioned Debra from breathelighter,
  • fellow bloggers I haven’t met (yet),
  • blogging,
  • my high school classmates including Jean and Beth,
  • my old schools,
  • my old business partner Jonathan,
  • Ron Lynch,
  • Dr. Neil Portenza/Josh Ladgrove,
  • Irv Yalom,
  • Pat Metheny,
  • Lyle Mays,
  • Michael Brecker,
  • Jean-Luc Ponty,
  • Jaco Pastorius,
  • Miles Davis,
  • Stephen Sondheim,
  • Gene Kelly and other dancers,
  • Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, and other singer-songwriters,
  • Mel Brooks and other film-makers,
  • Jackie Chan,
  • Walt Disney,
  • Jane Austen and other writers,
  • other celebrities,
  • people with unusual hearts,
  • musicals,
  • movies,
  • television shows,
  • jazz,
  • strangers I’ve met who have immediately become less strange,
  • Boston, Massachusetts,
  • the North Shore of Boston,
  • the South Shore of Boston,
  • South Carolina,
  • Panama,
  • Iceland,
  • Edinburgh,
  • the Edinburgh Festival Fringe,
  • the ocean,
  • my hair artiste MiAlisa,
  • my car mechanics,
  • my car,
  • my medical doctors and other treaters,
  • group therapy professional organizations,
  • comedy,
  • comedians,
  • music,
  • musicians,
  • writers,
  • other creative types,
  • our cats,
  • dogs,
  • animals,
  • nature,
  • happy people,
  • people in pain,
  • all the different human emotions,
  • languages,
  • words and definitions,
  • signs,
  • certain letters of the alphabet, and
  • many other inspiring and/or ordinary subjects and objects.

I sometimes love linking to past blog posts and sometimes I don’t, especially when my love letter list is so long! I also don’t love leaving people off of loving lists, so I may be adding more love letters to this post, later.

What love letters are you writing these days?

I should write love letters to Ron Lynch for inviting me to warm up the crowd last night at his Tomorrow! show in L.A. and also to Don for sending me the video, as promised.

I look forward to all the letters in the comments section, below.

Love letters to all  who helped me create today’s blogging love letter and — of course! — to YOU, my lovely and loving readers.

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

Day 2269: Life is like a camera

Yesterday, when I was having the time of my life visiting my friend Megan’s office, I captured this still life with my camera:

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Life is like a camera.  Focus on what is important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don’t work out, take another shot.

Yesterday, I did focus on what is important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and take another shot at recording my first original song, “I Don’t Like You,” because my life-long friend Arnie suggested I change the camera from vertical to horizontal.

 

I don’t like negative people (even though they help me develop) but I do love both Arnie and Megan, and I captured the good times yesterday.

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Do you think life is like a camera? Take a shot at a comment, below.

Thanks to Megan, Arnie, my son, my camera, and — of course! — YOU.

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2264: Choices

Exactly three hundred and seven days/posts ago (but whose choice is it to count?), I published a post titled “Choices” in which I chose to share an exercise about the topic of “Choices” from a therapy group the day before.   Today, my repetitive choice is to mention yesterday’s therapy group, wherein people made choices to focus on the topic “Choices” from all the topics discussed and to share (1) important choices from the past, (2) choices coming up for them, and (3) what makes choices more difficult or easier.

My photographic choices yesterday included these choice images:

 

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Note that a patient made the choice of “anticipation” over “hopelessness” from the feeling chart on my office door:

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Also, I didn’t make the choice to photograph my list of important life choices, which included:

  • Going back to social work school to become a therapist in the 1990s,
  • Deciding to specialize in group therapy, and
  • Developing my Coping and Healing groups.

What important life choices have you made?

Earlier this week, I made the choice to ask Nat —  a social work intern and fellow musician —  to write a song with me, which we will choose to perform together, singing close and choice harmonies, at a future open mic..  Together Nat and I have already made some choices including this one:  I write the lyrics and Nat writes the music.

My choice is to share these lyrics with you:

Nobody’s Perfect

lyrics by Ann Koplow

Nobody’s perfect

Even us two.

We try to be perfect

But that doesn’t do.

We both make mistakes,

In that, we’re like you.

Nobody’s perfect.

That’s perfectly true.

Nobody’s perfect,

Including your friends.

If you’re looking for perfection

Those friendships might end.

Your friends make mistakes,

In that, they’re like you.

Nobody’s perfect.

That’s perfectly true.

Perfectionism makes us imperfectly judgy,

Rigid, unhappy, refusing to budge-y,

It makes thoughts and feelings uncomfortably sludgey

With harsh self-flagellation even if you’re just pudgy.

Nobody’s perfect,

Even a star.

Stars may need to look perfect

But they seldom are.

They all make mistakes,

In that they’re  like you.

Nobody’s perfect

And that’s perfectly true.

© Ann Koplow, 2019

 

Nat chose to tell me he’s glad we’re writing a song together with the choice words “self-flagellation.”

Nat made the choice yesterday to send me some choice music he’s already composed for “Nobody’s Perfect.” Soon, we’ll be making  more musical choices together, including featuring the choice fiddle stylings of our talented co-worker, Alice Malone.

Other people have made the choice to write songs titled “Nobody’s Perfect” including this one:

I wonder what choices my readers will make in the comments section, below.

As always, I make the choice to end my posts with gratitude for all those who helped me create this post and — of course! — YOU, for making the choice to visit this blog, here and now.

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Categories: group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 2260: Cute

Happy groundhog day!  Isn’t this a cute photo of a groundhog?

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That’s my cute Facebook profile photo today, because Groundhog Day is my birthday!

Yesterday, I heard the word “cute” several times — when I listened to this recording of my latest open mic performance

 

… and when I showed my boyfriend Michael Malone the birthday card with original art created by my newest good friend Alice Malone (no relation between those two cute Malones).

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I think Alice Malone’s drawing of a tiger looking at ties is much more than cute.  Don’t you?

I don’t think it’s cute how there’s a delay between my taking photos on my iPhone and my ability to post them in my blog, especially when I deliberately take pictures of things  I think are cute.  However, I will share all my other new photos from yesterday and share those other cute photos when they turn up (probably tomorrow).

 

If you decide you want  a closer look at the cuteness in those photos, give a cute click on the photo of your choice.

While I am creating this blog post, a lot of cute people are distracting me (as I was distracted during my “cute” performance last night by a cute kid dancing in front of the audience)  by wishing me a happy birthday.

I’m going to make another cute try and see if I can access those other cute photos.

Here they are!

 

Here’s a cuter and closer look at Alice Malone’s website:

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Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good!  That’s a cute and helpful saying.

I look forward to many cute comments, below.

Thanks to those who helped me create this cute post and to all who helped me make it to age 66!

 

 

 

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

Day 2254: What’s not inside

What’s not inside our home is this sign, which I saw inside a supermarket last night:

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Have you seen what’s not inside?  How we can we something that’s not there?

What’s not inside my heart and mind, here and now, seen or unseen, includes

  • hate,
  • resentment,
  • fear about the future,
  • regret about the past,
  • expectations about my birthday on Groundhog Day,
  • concern about what other people are thinking about me,  and
  • all the words I wrote, earlier this month, for my latest original song, which I’ll be debuting at an Open Mic in five days.

What IS inside this post are the lyrics for that song, because typing them here might help place them more firmly inside my mind.

What are Other People Thinking About You?

by Ann Koplow

What are other people thinking about you?

Is it something good or something bad?

Who’s to say if you’re somebody they’ve noticed

And what they would be thinking if they had.

Was the person’s dirty look about you?

Was that guy annoyed by something you did?

Could it be he’s thinking instead of his family

Like his most distressing and stressing kid.

People’s thoughts go everywhere,

Of you they’re often not aware,

And even if their thoughts end up on you,

Thoughts can’t hurt you anyway,

Their thoughts will move and go away

Unless you let them stick to you like glue.

What are other people thinking about you?

I think we spend too much time thinking that.

Other people’s thoughts can’t really touch us,

Even judgments, like we’re stupid, old, or fat.

People’s thoughts go everywhere,

Of you they’re often not aware

And even if their thoughts end up on you,

Thoughts can’t hurt you anyway,

Those thoughts will change and go away,

Unless you let them stick to you like glue.

What are other people thinking about you?

Face it, you will never know for sure,

Then why not think they’re thinking that you’re gorgeous,

Talented and smart and secure.

© Ann Koplow, 2019

What’s not inside this post is the second ending to that song, which I wrote in response to what my son, Aaron, was thinking about those lyrics.

What is inside this post, as usual, are my recent and previously unshared photos.

 

What’s not inside that photo montage is a picture of my son’s keyboard, which I plan to put inside my car on Friday and bring with me to the Open Mic.

What’s not inside YouTube are  videos about what’s not inside things. Instead, searching on “What’s not Inside” at YouTube yields videos about what IS inside all the following:

What’s not inside this post, so far, is music. Here is “The Calm Inside the Storm” by Cindi Lauper:

What’s not inside this blog, yet, are comments on this post.

What’s always inside my posts are thanks to all who help me create them and — of course! — to YOU.

 

 

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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: , , , , , , , , , | 30 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: , , , , , , , | 31 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

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