Posts Tagged With: Jam’n Java Open Mic

Day 2260: Cute

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

groundhog

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).

fullsizeoutput_36e1

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:

fullsizeoutput_36e3

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 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:

fullsizeoutput_35f0

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:

img_2040

img_2042

fullsizeoutput_35e9

fullsizeoutput_35e8

img_2047

img_2050

fullsizeoutput_35ea

fullsizeoutput_35ef

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!)

img_2041

 

Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 31 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?

 

IMG_1851

fullsizeoutput_35a8

IMG_1853

fullsizeoutput_359f

fullsizeoutput_35a0

IMG_1839

 

fullsizeoutput_35ac

fullsizeoutput_35a6

IMG_1881

fullsizeoutput_35ab

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?

fullsizeoutput_35a3

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

Day 2204: What the hell happened?

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

IMG_1467

“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?

IMG_1443

IMG_1448

IMG_1449

fullsizeoutput_350b

fullsizeoutput_350a

fullsizeoutput_350c

IMG_1456

fullsizeoutput_3503

IMG_1461

IMG_1466

IMG_1468

IMG_1470

IMG_1471

IMG_1473

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?

IMG_1462

 

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

Day 2133: A loud uprising

Yesterday, in a therapy group, we discussed this quote by Nikita Gill.

fullsizeoutput_3430

To love yourself should be no quiet affair, but a loud uprising. — Nikita Gill

About a month ago, when I watched a loud uprising of men’s and women’s anger about the USA’s latest Supreme Court Justice, I wrote a song — “I’m Mad About You” — which I debuted last night at an Open Mic.

In case those lyrics aren’t loud enough in that video, here they are, uprising:

I’m Mad About You

I’m mad about you.

You make me feel blue.

You make me so angry

And that isn’t new.

The things you do to enrage me,

Cage me and disengage me

Make me scream and dream of murdering you,

And I’m mad about you.

I’m mad about you.

You’re worse than the flu.

I’m pissed that you’re out there

And that’s always true.

You make me want to annoy you,

Toy with you and destroy you,

Yell and tell the horrible things that you do.

And I’m mad about you.

You may be curious

Why I’m so furious.

I’ll try to make things plain,

As I continue to womansplain.

The things you say to inflame me,

Shame me, blame me, and maim me

Should return, concern, and burn you-know who.

Because I’m mad about you.

I’m mad about you.

No, I’m not quite through.

You make me so bullshit,

I spit this at you.

I wish I could disappear you,

Never hear or be near you,

Oy, oh boy, the joy to be rid of you,

Because I’m mad, not sad, not glad, just mad about you.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

Two people yesterday told me they believe that song could go viral, which would be a loud uprising for me. Every loud uprising starts with a small sound (especially if you have only 11 subscribers on YouTube), so I’ve quietly posted that performance here.

Do you notice any loud uprisings in my other photos from yesterday?

fullsizeoutput_342f

fullsizeoutput_3431

IMG_0837

fullsizeoutput_342e

fullsizeoutput_342d

 

IMG_0823

IMG_0824

IMG_0835

IMG_0842

IMG_0846

IMG_0847

IMG_0848

IMG_0851

IMG_0853

The gentleman on the right in that last photo is Ben, who creates a loud and supportive uprising at the start of my performance of “I’m Mad About You”.

I’m looking forward to a loud uprising at the USA mid-term elections on Tuesday, November 6. I’m also looking forward to uprisings of any volume in the comments section, below.

Thanks to all who helped me create the loud uprisings in today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

fullsizeoutput_3444

 

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

Day 2105: Politics

Was it politics last night when I added these lyrics to my latest original song, “Triggers”?

Everybody has a trigger,

Some are long and some are short.

Now a trigger who is bigger

Might be on the Supreme Court.

Actually, a more accurate line about current U.S. politics would have been “Now a trigger who is bigger WILL be on the Supreme Court.”

Here’s  a definition of politics:

POLITICS  noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction
pol·i·tics | \ ˈpä-lə-ˌtiks \
Definition of politics
1a : the art or science of government
b : the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy
c : the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government
2 : political actions, practices, or policies
3a : political affairs or business
especially : competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership (as in a government)
b : political life especially as a principal activity or profession
c : political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices
4 : the political opinions or sympathies of a person
5a : the total complex of relations between people living in society
b : relations or conduct in a particular area of experience especially as seen or dealt with from a political point of view

Here are the politics of  last night’s debut  performance of “Triggers.”

Any politics in my photos from yesterday?

IMG_0111

IMG_0112

IMG_0116

IMG_0115

IMG_0114

IMG_0117

IMG_0118

IMG_0113

IMG_0124

IMG_0121

IMG_0120

IMG_0129

IMG_0109

IMG_0107

To make myself happy, I’ll be experiencing the politics of Orlando’s Disney World in January.

As alway, I practice the politics of gratitude.

IMG_0108

Categories: definition, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2077: Applause

Several times in therapy groups this week, there was spontaneous applause, as people supported each other’s perspectives and progress.

I remember attending an “Opening the Heart” weekend workshop many years ago, where each one of us received thunderous, sustained applause after introducing ourselves. I still vividly recall how that applause felt, after I had revealed myself and my vulnerabilities to many strangers.

How do you respond to applause?

Last night, I was surprised by the timing of the applause to my latest original song, “Shameless Appeals for Applause.”

 

I now shamelessly appeal for applause for my photos from yesterday:

 

No matter what kind of comment you leave below, you’re sure to get applause from me.

Gratitude is a kind of applause, so I’m now clapping for all those who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.

IMG_4580

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 2042: Hidden Thoughts

Everybody has hidden thoughts. I hope I make it safe enough for people to express their hidden thoughts, here and in therapy.

I  sometimes express my hidden thoughts  in pictures.

IMG_1886

It seems hidden from Harley that I’m not trying to harm him with my iPhone. There he is, trying to hide himself upstairs after I tried to take a photo of him when he was hidden behind the downstairs curtains.

IMG_1888

My hidden thoughts about having to return the wrong-sized ukulele case I ordered from Amazon included this: “Why wasn’t I smart enough to measure the friggin’ ukulele before I ordered the friggin’ ukulele case?!?!”

My hidden thoughts when I realized that the Amazon return location was smack in the middle of the Commonwealth Bridge reconstruction that is creating horrible traffic jams all over Boston included this: “!!!&%^$!&%$$!!@#!!!”

IMG_1917

IMG_1920

IMG_1905

It was very hot and humid yesterday, and legal spaces for me to park my car were hidden from me. I expressed my hidden thoughts to a policeman directing traffic as follows: “I need to get to the Amazon return center. I can’t find any legal place to park around here!”  After taking a pause for some hidden thoughts, the policeman said, “I don’t think there will be a problem, but park on a side street and if you get a ticket bring it back to me.” I did find a legal space, a ten-minute walk away. I encountered the policeman on my walk to the Amazon return center and expressed these hidden thoughts, “Are you the best policeman ever?  Could I take your photo for my daily blog?”

IMG_1895

Donald didn’t agree that he was the best policeman ever, but he did let me take his picture. I wonder what his hidden thoughts were there.

Can you find any hidden thoughts in my other photos from yesterday?

IMG_1923

IMG_1925

IMG_1924

I wonder what the audience’s hidden thoughts were last night about my third original song, “Hidden Thoughts.”

Please express any hidden thoughts in a comment, below.

As always, there is no hidden gratitude towards all who help me express my hidden thoughts in this blog, including YOU!

IMG_1927

IMG_1929

IMG_1928

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 2014: How do you stop catastrophizing?

When there are so many catastrophes around, how do you stop catastrophizing?

Do you share what you observe?

When the cupboard is bare, do you stock it?

Do you imagine a world without cancer?

Do you keep calm and carry on?

Do you get in touch with your strengths?

Do you change your life?

Do you try to see your way through all the clutter?

Do you let go of judgment and cognitive distortions, focusing on what helps?

Do you try meditation?

Do you turn to music?

Do you share your catastrophizing with other people?

Do you forgive yourself and others for mistakes? Do you gird yourself for the next catastrophe? Or, do you focus on gratitude?

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 1979: I love a lot

I love a lot of these photos:

IMG_0244

IMG_0242

fullsizeoutput_2fac

IMG_0246

IMG_0248

IMG_0247

 

IMG_0250

IMG_0251

IMG_0253

I love a lot of people (including Mary, above) who were at The Open Mic at Kickstand Cafe last night to witness the debut of my first original song (which starts with the words “I love a lot”).

I love a lot of YouTube videos but I’m choosing this one for today:

I love a lot of comments.

I love a lot of people who helped me create today’s blog post and — of course! — YOU.

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.