An essay on my brother @jon_dittmer


The reason I love my brother is obvious – he’s my brother, he’s “Jon” and is pretty much one of the easiest people to get along with on the face of the planet. He is non-threatening, lovingly aloof, and funny (if not “hilarious”). His talents go on for days and he is – in general – congenially photogenic, warm hearted, and able to make a box go outside for some free time creative.

Post-modern and traditional, my brother is a family man. The odd man’s hipster tee (he’s unique in a sea of late twenty some things) and jewelry go with his laid back flow. His style is owned through his uninterested moments where you pray, please God, help me to be cool enough to hang out with him.

But that’s all what everybody knows about him. What I love about my brother that is not as obvious is the way he inspires me to be: raw, regular, and as if to possess some certain amount of magic.

What Jon lacks in discipline may keep him from mastery but his zeal and his flavor keep him creating every day of his life. When he is not producing something completely awe-inspiring or tasty (Jon traditionally gives his craft as presents: his music on cd, his home roasted coffee beans, his photography) he is processing somewhere deep and pretty and wide.

Lately I have been in situations that have made my newness to the topic matter obvious, my past flippant behavior regrettable, and my love for the topic clearer. In such situations, I have made friends and I have made mistakes. But regardless of how much I pray through them, breathe before the next interaction and heal after each “not good enough” moment, I continue to experience feelings of defeat. Regardless of my confidence, I face feeling like I should not be there. And there enters the counter-corresponding “hoping I am not cautiously dismissed”.

My belief is I have enough of a dinstinct spirit for people to recognize my contribution but lack just enough in precision to seem affordable to lose. I’m the surprise sprinter, the miraculous first place long jump, and the comedian in the corner. Yet I tend to be difficult in practice as I have mixed opinions on just how good I want to be. This belief about myself freaks me out and causes me to cling to relationships I believe  recognize the unsinkable part of my ship.

Even when these relationships don’t honor the uniqueness of the spirit I mentioned a few lines back.

Because of his rejection of the perceived ideal, I see my brother as undefeatable. My brother is sometimes timid, but always there. And he always belongs – with the degree to which he belongs even stronger in the case he is dismissed. Whereas he drifts somewhere interesting away, I stay longer. Where I compile, strategize and communicate, he distinctly does not act or whine or persist.

Maybe it’s not necessarily trust that makes this for him, but it is certainly a degree of rootedness.

And I honor this aspect of him very much. As I move forward in my artistry, I’ll be applying this particular element of self-acceptance I have learned from my brother: do it. It will be amazing.



My fleeting high school dream of being a genetic engineer. #DNA @wordpressdotcom @postaday

If I could turn back time, I’d go to my high school biology class. Specifically on the day we were taking our new knowledge on DNA for a spin using paper cutouts. I remember being silent (a rarity for teenage me) and focused. I remember thinking about HIV/AIDS and Down’s Syndrome and, with my two week intro to genetic instruction, understanding how different diseases are represented via biological information. I marvelled at diseases can be “seen in the wiring”. I remember feeling like I was fitting a puzzle together as we mapped out different characteristics with our paper cut outs and I remember thinking “this is really cool”.

In my scholarly excitement for the subject matter, I went to my teacher and told him something about my thoughts on cures and how to manipulate the structure and wondering “so how do you do that?” and probably even saying something about wanting to figure this out.

He said to me, “Ah. Yes, dear. Just remember it’s a lot harder with real DNA than with pieces of paper.”

Even now, his response to me is so disheartening. For the obvious reason of the lack of encouragement but for the way I feel now knowing how life is seriously limitless. And though I, at 17, could have chosen then to pursue any life I chose; I heard his response and thought “Yea, he’s right, I’ll leave this to the scientists.”

No longer identifying groups of people as “scientists”, “singers”, “intellectuals” and feeling as though I am in an undefined group that can’t connect; I know now how much more true it is to line up the facet of myself that can build on an interest – a shared moment – a counter philosophy. This understanding trumps exclusion and defeat.

If I could go back in time, I would stand behind my 17 year old self and remind her: somebody has to pray for the scientists, somebody has to inspire the healer. Unbounded ideation is essential for concrete innovation. Cut to the truth about my strengths and abilities and – though real DNA is “a lot harder” than paper; scissor-sharp imagination beats a blank sheet of paper.

Nothing is untouchable or outside of connection. Thank God for a thirty year old world view.

I followed a writing prompt this morning to whip up this little ditty and get my brain ready for Enterprise.

#Attn #TeamErin #allmyfriendsandfamily #skincare #greentea @touhill @kaldis: a start to the week in a beautiful way

WHOA man. Let me tell you – I was honest about my feelings today in the face of fear and sadness. I overcame something I so shallowly believed was true by just assuming my point, my moment, and my time. I was distracted. I was trying to work and something was just on it and believe it or not – the lunar aries, sun in cancer emotional water seeker crab here doesn’t have time to analyze emotions anymore! What this means is that I no longer untie every momentary knot to find the joy and the love, I simply know love well enough now at 32 that I see her everywhere and acknowledge when he’s not. ;)

I digress.

This email is really for my crew that is really pulling hard for me and cheering me on as I work through this crazy skin condition. Green tea has made an immediate difference along with a nice long walk home. For those equally looking to defuse skin madness, here are the steps I have tried:

* hot green mint tea from kaldi’s and a sit in the sun (w/ ball cap)
* two cups of green tea w/ honey to drink
* all the post steeped tea bags have soothed my skin by applying it right on. at one point, i had a warm wash cloth against my skin and lower cheek / jaw bone with a thicker hand towel backing it to avoid a big drippy mess. and i poured green tea out of my Touhill wine sized travel mug into the warm washcloth and put the freshly hot steeped tea w/ honey against my skin for the most soothing steam wash.

Really? All that? I am laughing at my serious descriptions. What a great Monday. I walked the girls home to Will and had a great visit with Laurie – the no nonsense free spirit “chic-la” momma who has the sweetest baby girl and the sweetest style. (shop her here) Something about watching your girls scoot w/ backpacks on on a semi warm spring evening then catching up in a nothing but positive conversation to make you thankful for everything you have always been thankful for in a whole new way. Anyway – if you are one of my trusted esteems and advisors, thank you. And to all of you – namaste. :) erin

What’s the Touhill? Check it here.
What green team a I drinking? This one.
What Kaldi’s do I go to? Not telling.


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