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Every nursing mother, in the midst of her little dependent brood, has far more right to whine, sulk or scold, as temperament dictates, because beefsteak and coffee are not prepared for her and exactly to her taste, than any man ever had or ever can have during the present stage of human evolution.
Antoinette Brown Blackwell
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I'm not one of those who spring up yelling, "Yippee! Another day!" I'll grumble and sulk around a couple of hours, reading newspapers and trying to pick out an idea I might do something with on the show. But I don't really start functioning until noon or later; then about two I go to the studio and the pace begins to quicken.
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I pray not to be such a whiny, self-obsessed baby, and give thanks that I am not quite as bad as I used to be (talk about miracles). Then something comes up, and I overreact and blame and sulk, and it feels like I haven't made any progress at all. But it turns out I'm less of a brat than before, and I hit the reset button much sooner, shake it off, and get my sense if humor back.
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I was wondering how you were going to punish me for not confiding in you. Punishment, actually, is something I've thought about for a long time. What form of punishment would be enough for what I did? Imprisonment? Death? Something else? Something scarier? I could only think of so many horrible tortures before they stopped having meaning. But you' you've come up with a punishment I never considered. You're going to sulk me to death.
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The biggest problem I had - and the biggest problem teenagers have - is not how they dress, how they look or how they act or talk. It's how they see themselves - their self-esteem. In the tenth grade, I realized I am who I am. I've got big ears and big feet. I can etiher sulk around or I can be happy with who I am. The minute I decided to be confident with who I was, all that other stuff stopped. It's all in the way you carry yourself.
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I shared a bed with my sister, Grace, until I was seventeen years old. She was afraid to sleep alone and would begin asking me around 5:00 P.M. every day whether she could sleep with me. I put on a big show of saying no, taking pleasure in watching her beg and sulk, but eventually I always relented. Her sticky, muscly little body thrashed beside me every night as I read Anne Sexton, watched reruns of SNL, sometimes even as I slipped my hand into my underwear to figure some stuff out.
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To a Vase "How do I break thee? Let me count the ways. I break thee if thou art at any height My paw can reach, when, smarting from some slight, I sulk, or have one of my crazy days. I break thee with an accidental graze Or twitch of tail, if I should take a fright. I break thee out of pure and simple spite The way I broke the jar of mayonnaise. I break thee if a bug upon thee sits. I break thee if I'm in a playful mood, And then I wrestle with the shiny bits. I break thee if I do not like my food. And if someone they shards together fits, I'll break thee once again when thou art glued.
Henry N. Beard
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So whenever that brittle voice of dissatisfaction emerges within me, I can say "Ah, my ego! There you are, old friend!" It's the same thing when I'm being criticized and I notice myself reaching with outrage, heartache, or defensiveness. It's just my ego, flaring up and testing its power. In such circumstances, I have learned to watch my heated emotions carefully, but I try not to take them too seriously, because I know that it's merely my ego that has been wounded-never my soul It is merely my ego that wants revenge, or to win the biggest prize. It is merely my ego that wants to start a Twitter war against a hater, or to sulk at an insult or to quit in righteous indignation because I didn't get the outcome I wanted. "At such times, I can always steady my life one more by returning to my soul. I ask it, "And what is it that you want, dear one?" "The answer is always the same: "More wonder, please." "As long as I'm still moving in that direction-toward wonder-then I know I will always be fine in my soul, which is where it counts. And since creativity is still the most effective way for me to access wonder, I choose it.
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Finally when he climbed below deck after dark, wondering where his dinner was, perhaps with a storm come up and rough seas and blinding rains, I'd sulk and lure him into the warm and steamy darkness and from the hairs of his warm body I'd breed a myriad smiling, sparkle-eyed one-year-olds, my broods, my flocks. In the churning seas, below the waves, together inside our hammock woven in coarse sailcloth by Unguentine's deft hands, a spherical webbed sack which hung and swivelled between the two walls of our bedroom, we would spin round and round with lapping tongues and the soft suction of lips, whirling, our amorous centrifuge, all night long, zipped inside against the elements. Now, years and years later, those nights, the thought and touch of them is enough to make me throw myself down on the ground and roll in the dust like a hen nibbled by mites, generating clouds, stars and all the rest.
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Thomas Merton wrote, 'there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.' There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage. I won't have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus. Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock-more than a maple- a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can't take it with you.
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to let the actions of a deluded dictator shape your very notions of what this nation was, is and will continue to be, is to give that dictator far more power than he ever stole for himself. To allow the unconscionable dealings of a minority deform and mutate what it means to be Egyptian is just as great an unconscionable act. A nation is its people, and we're 85 million strong. Even if you were to fill the high walls of Tora with every last fraudulent being to have ever roamed the land, as a percentage of the total population what you'd probably end up with is, well, a footnote... is it not pride-pride in our nation and nationality in our history and heritage-that catalysed the revolution? Without it, why even bother? Deep down, beneath the national disappointment, depression and devastation, there must have been an unshakable pride. A pride that was hurt by the regime. And when that hurt got so bad, the nation acted out. It collectively said, 'Screw this and screw you... What we witnessed in Tahrir [January 25, 2011] was a protective instinct that chased the British out of Egypt and gave the Square the very soul-stirring name we know it by. The same pride that had us wrench back control of our Suez Canal and the same sense of patriotism that, in 2011 BC, had the ancients rise up against a fearsome ruler who had reigned supreme for 94 long years. Not bad considering the Pharaohs didn't even have Facebook... And even if, God forbid, scary men-with excess facial hair who insist on sporting clothing in that terribly unflattering midi-length-were to somehow wrench control of this nation, I would still be proud to be an Egyptian. Although I'd probably sulk off to some city where the authorities allowed me to attract men using only the power of my hair. The term to revolt 'against' something only tells half the story. you don't just revolt 'against' a regime or an oppressor. You revolt for freedom, for democracy, for a better life. You revolt on behalf of a deep-seated faith that things should be better. And in that sense there were millions revolting long before the nation descended upon Tahrir. Those who insisted on staying in Egypt and investing their skills in the homeland, despite daily difficulties... they were revolting. Those who fought against red tape, ignorance, ingratitude, and evil temptations to build clean and credible businesses, however big or small... they were revolting. Those who worked for a pittance, even though they knew their education and skills entitled them to so much more-the doctors, nurses, teachers, and the civil servants... they too were revolting. They could have given up and said, 'Why bother? It can't be done.' But the very act of waking up each morning and getting down to business, the very act of survival, was a revolutionary one. Those-to paraphrase the poem-who held on when there was nothing in them, except the will which said to them to hold on... they were all revolting.
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I was standing lost, sunk, my hands in my pockets, gazing toward Tinker Mountain and feeling the earth reel down. All at once, I saw what looked like a Martian spaceship whirling towards me in the air. It flashed borrowed light like a propeller. Its forward motion greatly outran its fall. As I watched, transfixed, it rose, just before it would have touched a thistle, and hovered pirouetting in one spot, then twirled on and finally came to rest. I found it in the grass; it was a maple key... Hullo. I threw it into the wind and it flew off again, bristling with animate purpose, not like a thing dropped or windblown, pushed by the witless winds of convection currents hauling round the world's rondure where they must, but like a creature muscled and vigorous, or a creature spread thin to that other wind, the wind of the spirit that bloweth where it listeth, lighting, and raising up, and easing down. O maple key, I thought, I must confess I thought, o welcome, cheers. And the bell under my ribs rang a true note, a flourish of blended horns, clarion, sweet, and making a long dim sense I will try at length to explain. Flung is too harsh a word for the rush of the world. Blown is more like it, but blown by a generous, unending breath. That breath never ceases to kindle, exuberant, abandoned; frayed splinters spatter in every direction and burgeon into flame. And now when I sway to a fitful wind, alone and listing, I will think, maple key. When I see a photograph of earth from outer space, the planet so startlingly painterly and hung, I will think, maple key. When I shake your hand or meet your eyes, I will think two maple keys. If I am maple key falling, at least I can twirl. Thomas Merton wrote, 'There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.' There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It's no self-conscious, so apparently moral, simple to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage. I won't have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus. Ezekiel excoriates false prophets who have 'not gone up into the gaps.' The gaps are the thing. The gaps are the spirit's one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean that the spirit can discover itself for the first time like a once blind man unbound. The gaps are the cliffs in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; they are the fissures between mountains and cells the wind lances through, the icy narrowing fjords splitting the cliffs of mystery. Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock- more than a maple- a universe. This is how you spend the afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can't take it with you.
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