Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Poem

A Poem

You want me to be 'other'.
Different from real.
Not who I am.
You want an 'other'.
You want another.
You want another version, a different me,
a picture in your head on this real body.
I know what you need and I know what you mean.
Its not that I don't care, its that I cant be....
What you are.

I don't mean to be
This thing you've been sold
Its monstrous to see
Your expectations unfold
I know what you need
It just isn't me.
I know how you feel
Its hard to be wrong
Don't try to believe, don't try to deceive
Just let it wash over,
Just let me belong

Pull the tab on the string,
This time I won't sing
What happens now
Is the unraveling
Keep pulling along
What you will see
Is astonishing
Yet great
Once your needs fall away
What is left is

Just me.

How My Job Drives Me To Drink

I have been doing it again. Having the same conversation over and over and over. Having it with myself, having it with other people, having it in my sleep. What do they say about doing the same thing over and over again? I've been circling the shark pool and yet trying to bob for apples. There is nothing left in this conversation. Or is there?

I've found myself circling closer to the source of everything. Its a swim of discovery, kids. I had this conversation a couple of months ago with someone and today I edited for clarity (ha! as if!) and nothing has changed. This is the definition of a rut:

Today I am vacillating between utterly and completely bored and disinterested and thinking of feigning terminal illness to leave and just getting up, grabbing my shit and walking out. I am blown away that I am here- its like my car is on auto pilot to drive here every day.

 It is not even that bad, it's just the realization that this is not for me and never has been. I am not a secretary, I just happen to be able to do those things. I'm not a professional hand washer but I am competent at it... you know? I'm sure I am not the only person trapped in a stupid job but this is now so far beneath my skill set as to be ridiculous. I do lots of menial things at home, why do I need to be here? 

I am in need of a break. I want to go home and clean my house and write a book and paint for a week then do some work in the garden and plant little flowers and paint some walls and let my hair get all dread-locked because it does that when i sleep on my curls. I want to just spend two hours painting intricate patterns on my toenails and a day or a month reading old books....is that too much to ask?

I need a hippie vacation where I take a van and drive somewhere and camp on the beach for one night until I regain my senses and sleep in a hotel....I need to meet new people and write about my travels and run away for a while and be a vegan for a week, teach myself to play guitar and smoke something crazy and stop wearing makeup. I'll shave because I'm neurotic but still....getting up to get dressed to sit here and pretend I give a shit about where we hold our holiday party/meeting? Nope. Not today.

Why don't we go? Life is so short. we are owned by our possessions ..yes things are nice but life is real and real is as good as it gets. I'd rather meet a wonderful old woman who makes amazing coconut pie in a diner in Texas with a life story than to sit in an office on the life support of a paycheck while trying to grow with the help of fluorescent lights. I would rather scrape up my last dollar for that pie than earn another for giving myself away.

While I carried on with all of these white girl problems, my friend Allison said to me that people don't go because we have it ingrained into us that this is how life is supposed to be and that we look down on those who "get out"

She makes an excellent point- we do... we all do..if you are not driving a newer car, paying your 'dues' and conforming to society in a way that would make you acceptable for a Chase bank commercial, you are doing it ALL WRONG! And we are all there to point it out to anyone who messes it up, lest they make us feel/look bad.

Of course we live at the capacity of our incomes, making what we need in order to look like we make a lot, spending all of it in the pursuit of something that makes it OK to keep going to work...what is the sense in consuming more things to make you happier about the terrible job you do to make the money to consume more things?

It reminds me of the Austin Powers line by Fat bastard: I eat because I'm depressed, I'm depressed because I eat, its a vicious cycle! 

The worst part, I feel, is that I'm not even saying anything we all don't know.. all of my words are superfluous. Without inspiration my life will continuously be a repeat of what I know and what everyone knows. That is how you convince yourself something is true- keep saying it, surround yourself with others who believe it and will keep saying it. Pretty soon you are in a feedback loop of your own original thought. What will I have thought that is new in the next 50 years unless I change the loop/break a wall/surround myself with different and interesting and new and challenging things? I'll have nothing to say. Perhaps that is the worst thing of all.

And yet....

Knowledge is power...you have to know that you don't know and know that its time to change, or you can never truly be powerful. To know that is power. To change it is electric. I intend to create a whole new grid.

And there you have it- full circle. I drink because I work. I work because I drink. It's a vicious cycle...

First I need to find the tiny little mouse hole, drink the liquid and be small enough to crawl through to the next room.

Getting the liquid seems to be the hard part..too bad its not vodka...I've got loads of that at home... or maybe its just MORE vodka....?

I think at the end of a big bottle of something alcoholic will be the secret to what needs to be done in order to live a fulfilling life. You can't blame those people at AA- they were just buying lottery tickets really....hoping for the golden ticket at the bottom of some schnapps...it is there, but only at the bottom of the right bottle for the right person at the right time. That is the problem...you can't get enlightenment from drunkenness, you just get unemployed and liver failure.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Drowning In My Old Age

I was in the grocery store a while back and happened to see an old woman with a big bottle of vodka in the front of her cart. This got me thinking, of course..but not about what you think...I mean, first of all- good for her that she is still having a good time and throwing one back. Then I took it to a bad place like I am wont to do-maybe she is in a bad relationship with an alcoholic relative and she's buying their drug for them? (Yes I watch Intervention, don't judge me).

The thing that really got me thinking though was this frail little old lady pushing a cart around the store and I wondered how her retirement situation was going. Did she have to roam the aisles slowly, finding the items on her list and hoping it wasn't too much money? So many people have to do that. So many seniors face hunger and poverty, living on fixed incomes with so little wiggle room, if any at all. Inflating food and fuel prices, medications that cost more than they can hope to afford, and the highest cost for housing we've ever seen.

I wonder how I will weather my own retirement. Will I have enough? Or will I also be lugging a giant bottle of vodka and a few items of produce around a grocery store, confused about my future? I already do that. Combined with the arthritis I am feeling very old. Perhaps the booze will help. Maybe that's what she was doing. Maybe that is enough.

Fear and Yoga, A Memoir

I'm afraid to go to yoga again.

Let me explain. First of all, I am not flexible. I was once, so flexible that I could bend my knees and put my feet up behind my head. I could lift a leg entirely up over my shoulder. I once slipped on our patio AstroTurf as a child and fell after completing one of my showy, bendy moves. That bruise was HUGE! It's like a fishing story of flexibility...But those days are behind us now and I am not flexible.

I have begun the process of stretching my body out all over again, only to discover several dozen muscles that are angry at being disturbed from their hibernation of naps and snacks and booze and don't want anything to do with the lunges, crunches, squats, plies and other torture measures I am inflicting. Too bad. It's happening anyways.

Then I get the great idea. You know the one. The "Hey, I went to yoga a few times, I should do that again" thought. Put that away. That thought is a little ahead of itself. It is immature and young and forgetful and can't seem to remember that the room is one big mirror from which you can see your 'form', IE your craptastic biscuit body shoved into workout wear, disheveled Afro and graceless moves. That room is full of lithe, graceful, ethereal beauties, all descendant from ancient  ballerina genes with corn silk hair in perfect ponytails whose feet never come off the mat with a weird 

plastic-y farting sound. Never.

So I sit reading Groupon and Living Social deals about yoga classes and think "Hmm......well?......nope". And that is honestly probably for the best. We are just not at that stage yet. We need to keep stretching. Then maybe graduate to all out running instead of throwing ourselves forward into the air in front of us, gasping like a fire victim after only a block. Then we can be seen in public with women in tight pants and lovely hair. Then and only then. Maybe

The Mirror

Parents are a mystery to children the way children are a mystery to us. They have lives and thoughts you are not aware of and we are fascinated by each other. I know this because my step daughter likes to watch me do my hair and makeup. It is a quiet, almost solemn stare, like she is looking through a window to a secret ceremony she is not allowed into. I'm at a time in my life when things are making sense to me and coming full circle, like seeing someone do what I did as a child, watching as my nephew tries to crawl up his mother's ass just to be near what she is doing no matter what exciting things she puts over there to interest him, he only wants to be where she is. We did that.

I used to sit on the edge of the bathtub, watching my mother apply make-up in all of her glory. She was so amazing to me, with her gold eye shadows, red lipsticks, painted nails and dabs of perfume. Her hushed conversations and careful eyeliner belied a woman who lived another life, a life apart from me and my peanut butter sandwiches and Barbie dolls playing tennis in my bedroom. She didn't know about the neighbor dog whose breath stunk so bad we called other kids by its name as an insult, or the patch of clover outside that was so soft on my feet. She didn't live in the world of my books, where the characters were my friends, and I mourned their pains and their deaths. I didn't know that she was married to a man whom she knew had an affair, and a child to prove it. Even with my own solemn, quiet stare, I couldn't see into her.

I would look into the mirror sometimes, and think about the girl that lived on that side. I wondered if everything was the same beyond the part I could see. I used to think about it so much that I started dreaming about it. (I am sure a good therapist would have lots to say about that.) I was reminded of that when Emily started watching me put on my makeup, entranced at the little details of me getting ready for my day. In turn, I am in awe when I watch her long skillful fingers find their way to the notes of a beautiful song on the piano, when I see her manage a conflict with her friends, make a decision, and generally navigate her own little slice of this life. Is she the girl that lived on the other side of my mirror? Going about her life in an entirely different way than I did?  Maybe I had to wait to see what life looked like through that other wall, wait until it turned around on me.

We are in such a hurry to be the thing that we are not yet. I wanted to be older, I wanted to drive, I wanted to go to college, I wanted my own apartment, I wanted to be done with school, I wanted to not be so needed every second. With each milestone comes a new thing or situation I want, and new things to be grateful for. Let's not be in such a hurry. Let's sit and watch someone live another life for a moment or two. Maybe we'll find something we have been looking for all along.

The Long Surprise

Not as surprising as say, fucking someone else....

See? It grabs your attention. That's what I love about writing. I read the article in Slate by Amanda Hess on the Double X blog several weeks back and the last line of the third paragraph made me laugh out loud. We've all had this same thought, not just men. The: I will be with this one person for the rest of my life? Whole life?

I know what you are thinking- where is this coming from? But hear me out, because not everything is as sinister as it seems.

One thing I do in my every day life is talk about uncomfortable things, so its gonna happen on the blog as well. You saw it coming. You will be uncomfortable. That is not my intention, I am not aiming for that as my sole purpose, however I will not shy away from it. I know my boundaries and I reach outside of them from time to time, as topics come up and require my thought to be applied. Feel free to do the same.

Sex, marriage, the concept of passion and romance, women and men, the expectations placed on us by our society and ourselves as a result of looking in the mirror the world has made around us (read: bouncing your own ideas back until you are in a wind tunnel of your own original thought) are difficult topics at best, squirmy at worst and mostly to be shied away from.

 Especially when you are talking about infidelity. Cheating. Adultery. By any name and with any terrible attachments (such as happens when your spouse cheats with your friend, sibling  babysitter, nanny, teacher, coworker, old flame) this is the act of stepping out (of your clothes) on your spouse. The article spurred my inspiration, as this is a topic I feel people know, even understand, and yet refuse to acknowledge the reality of.

Why do people cheat? Are we interested in the answer? Well, you are if you are cheated on. You want lots of answers, not the least of which is why?. But for me, its more interesting to examine the institution as a whole. Do people cheat because of monogamy or temptation? Is cheating related to our inability as humans to be honest in the face of what everyone around them says they should think or feel? Or is it the MOST honest expression of who and what we really are DESPITE what others around us say we should think and feel?

 I am inspired by the thoughts of how human social interactions really work and this is one of those taboo topics, but hardly anything is more worthy of exploration than the human heart, particularly as it attends to the most intimate of relationships.

How do we keep a relationship good? Real? Definitive? Safe? What does one do to protect against the infidelity that seems to fly around in the air like a virus? Is it just the protection of self inflicted morality? It's not the religions, as we know from far too many news stories and far more never published. Churches and schools and jobs and kids and homes don't keep it safe. Praying and hoping and lingerie don't keep it safe.
What then, of the modern marriage? Women are no longer economically dependent on men and men are no longer shunned if not married (outside of very conservative cities).

The surprising thing is that so many people are able to be monogamous for so long, not that so many cheat. The percentages are not in favor of the long term married. The fears that people have of becoming too comfortable, too lazy are understandable, as the novelty of 'new love' is supposedly so fun and tempting that you worry you aren't keeping it fun enough. The reality is much different than you may think. The ties that bind are strong, people are complacent and change is hard. I believe I know what it is that makes it work, and that is talking. I know, hot stuff, right?

It proves to be true more often than not. When a relationship devolves into a lack of communication, that is when you can see how talking held you together. Sure, the sex is great, the surprise gifts, the getaway trips, the common bond of raising children are all ways that people keep it together. But the communication is a deal breaker. This is never more true than after a fight when the 'silent treatment' kicks in. Why would you use silence as a punishment? A lack of communication is the way that some people communicate just how shitty of an excuse for a person they think you are.

The long surprise is coming for all of us... we will be surprised at how things turn out, even if they turn out as we hope. We will look back and be surprised if our marriages don't make it, and definitely surprised if they do. People are mysterious and confusing at the same time that they are so deceptively simple. Marriages cannot be saved. Not if they need saving. If someone manages to 'save' their marriage, they wanted it. They worked at it. They had the drive to keep it going. In effect, then, was the marriage ever 'in trouble'? And if it had just ended instead of being dragged out, without the support and interest of the parties involved, would that miserable little hell have been preferable to divorce?

No one can say for sure about another person's life. You have to know what you have and what you want. If they are the same or if they are different things, only you really know. I think finding that out might be the greatest surprise of all.