Earlier tonight, courtesy of Cam Houser, we went through a Zoom community building exercise, using the 36 questions developed by psychologist Arthur Aron. My Zoom partner, Julia Saxena, and I worked through the questions - at times, awkward, probing, vulnerable, but never uninteresting, and definitely illuminating.
Questions such as:
How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
What roles do love and affection play in your life?
If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
At times, as I thought through and articulated my responses, I felt a little like we were Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Our responses were a little like “whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways” - dancing along the edge of intimacy but not quite.
And then it hit me - as Julia and I both rattled off our responses, we were indirectly explaining how we made trade-offs to be where we both are.
After we logged off the Zoom community building exercise, I thought about Bryan Lee’s essay - Your Perfect Mentor is Your Future Self : what is your origin story that gives you strength, but also “what were the stories about yourself, others, and the world that you had to let go?"
Because, while these 36 questions may be marketed about being the tool to find love, they are also questions that force you to peer into the mirror and reckon with your truths - good, bad, and ugly. And, until you face them, no relationship will ever make you feel better about yourself.
You have to value yourself before someone else can value you.
Straighten Up and Fly Right/Unforgettable - Nat King Cole - Stardust
‘Straighten Up and Fly Right’ Review: Unforgettable: I successfully auditioned for high school chorus by singing Nat King Cole’s “Too Young.” So when a new biography of Nat King Cole was released, I decided to skim the review and now this is on my “to-read” list. My favorite quote from this review signifies the confidence, control, and charm of Nat King Cole: “Do you want to know the difference between Frank and me? The band swings Frank. I swing the band.”
I close out with Nat King Cole’s rendition of “Stardust” - this was the one that was featured in “Sleepless in Seattle,” and despite his beautiful intonation and easy touch, this song is difficult to sing well.
Close your eyes as you listen to this, and focus on the melancholy, wistful quality of his voice as he glides through the lyrics with precise enunciation, making you feel.
My favorite lines from “Stardust”:
You wandered down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by
Sometimes I wonder how I spend
The lonely night
Dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
Have any questions or comments? Let’s chat!
Want to exchange some thoughts over Twitter? You can find me @jennykim
Check out my website for more: puttingittogether.blog
See you next week!
And remember to find that trade-off that will lead to that triumph this week, no matter how small, and celebrate it.