Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Taking A Break

I've been having a hard time finishing a few posts lately. They've been percolating for days or weeks and every attempt I make to finish these up and publish is met with some reticence on my part. There is something not quite right, something that keeps me from being 'done' with it.

I am going to take a short break from posting...a week or so.. I have some things to work out and work on, ideas to mull around further to make sure they really reflect what I am trying to say. I am on a path of being my most genuine self, of not being afraid to say the unpopular things, of finding my own voice. I'll be back with plenty to say.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On Seeing A Psychic

I have some unconventional interests. I'm sure I worried about whether or not they would be considered normal at one point. I keep that information next to all the fucks I don't give about people who think my hobbies are weird...right in there with my tarot cards. Its full in that drawer, let me tell you.

Recently, I had a birthday and for some time, I have been wanting to go to a psychic for my birthday. The plan was simple - I would get together with a few friends, head out to maybe a hotel room we stocked with wine and goodies and have a psychic come to us or we'd head out, get our palms read and then have cocktails and laugh about it afterwards, sharing what we heard and secretly hoped to be true or not.

Good so far?

This started to work out. Then it went horribly awry. The psychics in my area all close up shop on Saturdays at 6 pm. Early Wiccan dinners? I don't know.  Seems like a bad idea to close up shop before all the people have had a chance to get a glass of wine and the courage to hear that their life line has too many breaks in it!

Finally after driving around for a while and heading to yet another place that may or may not be open, we see a sign: Palm Readings $10. It was a sign- a big one! I'm feeling spiritually open, so I take it to mean that we should definitely go here. This is why the other ones didn't work out, right? Never mind that this is a sign on the back wall of a drive through Mexican restaurant parking lot. Probably still legit, right? We call. She answers. We can come in one at a time.

I jumped out of my car like it was on fire, told the ladies I'd be right back. I hot foot it to the door of a ramshackle house in a terrible neighborhood as twilight starts turning dark. Its dim in the room and I talk to a young woman for a few minutes who seats me on a sofa. No table, no beaded curtain, no paraphernalia that would suggest "psychic"... she goes to look at my hand after a minute and I'm are you going to see it? In the only move she will make that seems clairvoyant in the slightest, she turns on a lamp. Then I realize she is VERY young. Maybe 16, 17 years old tops. She is wearing FUCKING BRACES. Oh dear.

So we do a short palm reading. She tells me a few things I could have learned on a website. She has no imagination. I have only been to one other psychic, but I tend to go into this mode where I don't want to give anything away, I don't want them to "know' me, I want them to 'get' me and so I am vague with her. I do tell her that I am married, my age and my first name, as she asked me the last two and I suppose she guessed that I am married (I took off my rings before she opened the door). She asks if I have children, but tells me nothing about the marriage or children part. She finally asks me if I work and what I do. Its starting to feel like she wants me to do this for her.

Eventually I give up. The room almost seemed brighter the second I realized that there was really no hope whatsoever in this exchange with her. I thank her and go to pay, and of course she has no change.

Who in the world has a 6 foot by 8 foot sign on the side of their house next to a busy street corner with a restaurant to advertise their services and has NO change? I give her the $20 and tell her to keep it. I tell her I will let the girls know she is ready. I head to the car. I had asked her name, knowing full well I will have no reason to use it ever again. Plus its a name I dislike, so that adds to the dissatisfaction of dropping some cash onto a total fraud.

Once back in the car, I tell them that I over paid, that she is in high school and that there is no point in going in there unless you want to fund her cell phone bill. They decide wisely to hold onto their money and that we will just do this again some other time. The night ended spectacularly well though, as my friend had us back to her house where she had prepared wonderful food and cake and sangria and was just generally the gracious hostess she always is. I owe her big.

You would think I would learn my lesson. You would be wrong. I love this shit, people. I eat it up. I have no excuse, and I won't think one up for you. Its tacky and terrible but the minute I meet a psychic who believes their own shit, I smell their patchouli and hear them shuffle their cards, talk in a slow soft speaking voice that feels like they are imparting some ancient secret while they handle my palm like a crystal ball, I will be in gaudy hippie heaven. This experience was terrible, but like a gambling addict-I'm just sure the next one will be great.

Monday, June 17, 2013

For The Rest of my Life

There is no way. No fucking way on earth. I got up this morning, with the awful feeling in my eyes that is combination onion tears, sand and glass and realized it was time to start putting myself together for another work day and it hit me. NO.

Not a chance. Some people look at the person they are going to marry and have doubts like -ooh, I don't with this person for the rest of my life? Ehhh, hmmmm..... I just don't know...

Me? I wake up..lay there with my eyes sealed shut..think about how long it will take me to pack up a lunch, get travel coffee and water ready, take some vitamins and run through the shower like its a backyard sprinkler, bunch my hair into an unforgiving knot and toss on some office clothes. During this whole mental marathon I realize... NO.

I don't want to do this. I don't think this is going to work for the rest of my life. Nope. Just won't do.

If you hate your job, your position is beneath you, you are not sure how you got into this mess and you know you need nothing more than a butter covered shovel of fate to dig you out and push you onto your real life, I understand your pain. Come over to my house, there will be wine served and I don't care who thinks its too early to start drinking. We will start a revolution. Burn bras. Whatever you're into. I'm game. Let's march on Main Street and state our grievances. Let's take what is ours instead of asking. We've taken a back seat for too long. Let's drive.

I cheat on my job all the time by writing this blog, but it still doesn't make me happy to go there. That plan never works out the way people think it will. Everything will have its challenges in life, and I am determined to make the best of a bad situation, but come the fuck on already. No one benefits from this. Even the ones that do. The complacency and expectations grow by the day so it will be even harder when the band aid rips off. In the end, I've always known what to do. Time to make some friends. And enemies. If you think you get one without the other, you are more delusional than you look. Let's do something else with the rest of the time we have on this rock.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

God Should Get a Blog

I had no idea how many blogs were devoted to God. NO idea. I should have known, but I am over here busily living my godless life. But sometimes I go trawling and I found out there are countless blogs devoted to God. Not 'all the gods', but the one 'God' heralded by the likes of the Catholic church, Tammy Faye Baker and Republicans trying to tie my knees together. Thousands of people, hundreds of thousands- are out there proclaiming their love for this deity. I read a little of each one to examine their thoughts. I'm always interested in people and their beliefs and this is a place where I feel we can learn a lot.

For those of you who have not been here before, I am a raging atheist. There is no redemption to be had. I like the semiotics of religion, all the beautiful paintings and gold halos and wings and candles... I dig it. Has a very peaceful vibe. Whatever gets you through. I'm not here to hold protests outside of your place of worship, I don't care what you wear (or don't) as long as no one gets hurt and its within the confines of a civilized society. The things churches do are great-lots of charity, giving to the needy.. I am really into all that. I love to give money to a good cause.

See? We can get along. But I don't believe. I slipped past it and can't go back and pretend. It is as if I was having a dream and woke up. Then I wanted to go back into the dream, so I get back in bed and close my eyes trying to get back right where I left off. Its no use, there is no hope now, I am out of the dream. It has faded away like a thin trail of smoke and I can't grasp it. I stopped trying long ago.

I grew up going to church. For many years I thought everyone believed in God. Everyone. By the time I was 8 years old, we had a real problem on our hands. I was too curious for my church's taste and wouldn't quit asking the very literal questions. Questions they either could not or would not attempt to answer. I got responses that were intended to make me feel 8. When I found a sympathetic ear, or someone who had not heard about my reputation, the conversation often went like this:

Me: "Why do you believe in God?"
Them: "Because HE is all around us."

Me: "Where? Can you see him? Really?"
Them: "Well you see his creations, the earth and people and plants and animals. So you know he is there."
Me: "Uh, no I mean- can you actually see him?"
Them: "I feel Him, don't you feel Him? That is how it works. You feel it in your heart."
Me: "Hmmm, I'm not feeling anything."
Them: "You need to have faith."
Me: "What is that?"
Them: "Believing because you know it to be true, even though you can't see it."
Me: "Oh, like pretend."
Them: "No. You don't have enough faith. You need to try harder."
Me: "Didn't you say there would be ice cream?"

You can't shame me into believing. These conversations took place in church on Sundays, on the way in, the way out, during Sunday school classes, at church friend's houses, and sometimes, when I couldn't take it anymore and felt a contradiction too strong not to address, in the middle of a sermon. It was not long before I was asked to not attend sermons. Then to keep my questioning to a minimum. Then to ask my parents. When my sister passed away,  it was the beginning of the end. I knew she was sick. I understood that meant she wouldn't live as long as we would. I got it. What I had a problem with is the idea that someone knew all of this all along, every little bad thing and it was in their PLAN. That the creator of the universe had written down this suffering in their magical to do list and was going to make sure it happened. For some reason. Which you weren't supposed to question. And you couldn't ask. Because you couldn't find him. (Because he didn't exist.)

My sister's death is not the reason I don't believe in god. It spurred on my already increasing suspicion of the whole thing, but my basic understanding of science plus growing out of the age when I believed in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy (and other made up entities created to make you behave, ahem) really pulled me out of the place where I tried so hard to believe.

My parents and teachers and church acquaintances could not understand my questioning. There was no purpose in asking them anymore. As I got older, I did the research I needed to, delved into the places where I thought I could find answers. The more time that went on, I realized that it was lunacy in my book to devote any more time to this. That we make light of the people that lived long ago and their belief in many gods, all for different purposes. We make light of the Native Americans that believed in a Sun God and a Moon God and a Corn God. Why? Why is our deity any more sane? We can't see him either. The people in mental hospitals will tell you this is hypocrisy- they see something that no one else can, too. Why aren't they getting tax free donations instead like the churches do?

I gave up on religion as a whole long before the rest of my family and well before I realized how it could be and was being used to subvert women, minorities, homosexuals, and anyone who dared to hold a conflicting view. It seemed like most of the people meant well enough -looking back, the concept of missionaries seemed harmless enough, even saintly. If you believe your god won't save people from eternal damnation unless they accept him as their personal savior, then you want to reach as many people as possible and make sure they go to heaven, right? It just seems that...well...why would they go to hell for being born in a country where western Judeo-Christian European religions weren't prevalent? No one questioned that?

Plus- being punished for not accepting the invisible creator of all life to be your personal savior, when you watch the world burn around you and terrible diseases strike your village- why would you believe you were a child of this god? Why would they make some people live like that and others get Cadillacs? This god is obviously not a socialist.

Oh- free will! That's right. That's why you have malaria. Sorry are exercising your free will all wrong. Better luck next time. Except we don't believe in next time. You have this soul for all eternity. Now rub these beads and praise god and his mom, though or things are about to get way worse for you. True story.

If this doesn't sound like a cult to anyone else, that is fine. If you need to believe to get you through the trying and difficult times of your life, I get it. I do. Who wouldn't want there to be a benevolent god? A deity so undemanding all he wanted was your unending praises and glory and would give you everlasting life in his kingdom of white clouds, angels and harp music? Who doesn't want to think that they are here on earth with a specific purpose, one only they can fulfill and he has it written down all on his notepad and you are following the path he set out for you to a T?

Plus he has a huge blog following. That has to be worth millions in advertising dollars. I'm going to tag this post and see if I can get in on some of that. This dude needs some better PR and for someone to tell him what Republican means. Any takers?

Ask Me About Your Imminent Death

This is the sign I am trying to post on my desk. Facing outward. Towards the door. So far, negotiations are not going well. Apparently it sounds 'threatening'. Whatever.

I am in the position of being the one to tell people where to go look for all the fucks I don't give when they walk into my office with a personal problem. I have been here for 2 years and let me tell you, I don't give a mother fuck what your problem is and how it should equate to me getting you a pencil, pen, stapler, sharpener, post-it note, paperclip, bottle of water, or a place to whine. Get the fuck out. Come back if you have a real problem so I can tough love it out of you. 

This is a real concern because I work at a school. There are hundreds of people that mill through this building every day and thousands across campus. I don't know about all of them, but I do know about me. I never once in all the way too many years it took me to complete my college degree ever though that it was a good idea to go track down a department office and find an admin who looked like they would be interested in helping me and then ask them for a number of office supplies, or the use of a phone, or if they had a stick of gum. They are not there for you. They are trying to do the job of keeping things running so that your instructor calls your name on the first day of class, so that you have books in the bookstore to actually buy when you need them for a course, managing schedules and equipment and supplies and part time know- my job.

 Which is not, nor will it ever be, wiping your ass. Furthermore, if my job was to hand out office supplies, I'd have a cash register. You will notice the campus SELLS that stuff. That's right...keep walking...uh huh...almost there...and SLAM. No longer my problem.

Entitlement is the real problem. It is everything. The impetus for some of my best jokes, the most annoying thing to ever happen and at the same time, it is the reason I am where I am. To eradicate entitlement in all its forms. Hence the tough love approach to things. Entitlement will earn you imminent death. Maybe you didn't know that. Fate brought us together so I can slap out of you the idea that everyone is here to serve you. Should you ignore this, see the sign.

Hear that world? You are on notice. If you think someone owes you something or that you shouldn't have to go through the proper channels, wait in line, do your part or show up to your own life, I am here to tell you otherwise. All you have to do is ask. For something you shouldn't have. Do it. I dare you.

Then I will give out the best freebie I have: Free Throat Hugs!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

As Long As You Are of Marriageable Age

Women are on a continuum of sorts. We exist at some point along a spectrum created by the environment and others around us, our own inhibitions, exhibitions, fears, hopes and dreams. You can place yourself anywhere you like, but you did not create the continuum nor can you destroy it single handedly. I find myself following the script left by others far too often and I have to take stock of things. I need to remember to be careful to not be so careful. To be mindful of what I want for myself and what I want to leave behind as the mark that I was ever here at all. To move along on the continuum without watching what others are doing.

We all move around this strange landscape many times throughout our lives. I have currently taken up residence now at "old married lady". I was once a young little thing, accustomed to looks, glances, sweeping across the landscape again to catch a glimpse of me and my glory. Look again, friend. There is even more fabulous to catch the second time around. You'll notice my cute braided belt, the way my hair falls to my back in waves, the shadows hiding behind the tiniest bump of collarbone. The delicate earrings hanging against my swan like neck, the swift movements of my slender fingers. The fun shoes I wore effortlessly.

I thought "Hey There" was my name for a few years.That's right.I know you were talking to me...I'll look back and smile behind my sunglasses for you. I made your whole fucking day.

A wise woman once told me when I was younger that if she had known when she was my age what she knew now, 'she wouldn't have given it away, she would have sold it!' We laughed at the fun and scandal of the unsaid part of the statement. And we each had a quiet moment in our heads about what it meant to us at that point in our lives. I'm having a quiet moment again, only this time all to myself. I'm realizing a whole new side of that comment.

I'm a little older now. A little wiser. A little less young and spry and fashionable. A little less likely to be walking along in high heels. A little less likely to catch your attention. I am just a bit less interesting and you will stop along another point on the landscape, a fertile young thing with legs that go for days, a tan that makes you jealous and hair that she spent hours perfecting. Now I'm in an outfit you might find in the window at Talbot's. My hair is unremarkable when its on its best behavior. Covering my body is the main goal of my clothing.

I am becoming invisible.

Invisible to many man and even women. Invisible to children who don't need my supervision and invisible to young teenagers not looking to me for cues on how to dress or wear eye makeup. I am just slightly less visible now to a young man at a bar, or the bartender themselves. Fading. Slowly. Like a pencil drawing that was not properly protected, the ravages of time and sunlight and air are taking pieces of me away bit by bit. I am still here, but you see me less. The contrast between me and the surrounding area is less noticeable, the edges blurring slightly. I am the only one that notices so far. 

These changes took place slowly, like all things do. There is not a certain age when every woman becomes invisible. There is no magic spot on the timer and we all pop off our springs and drop to the ground, to be consumed by the earth. Each of us has our own spot where we just take up residence on a bench seat and call being a hottie a day.

This spot that you can't find is also a place where you can mark a beginning. This can mark the place where you become so much more. The realization that at some point no one will be interested in me purely for my sexuality is not the depressing thought I think it is for some women. Once I am no longer considered to be 'of marriageable age' whatever that means, I am even less worried about what you think than I ever was. Being older is freedom. The kind I thought I would get at 21, when I was a wishful little 16. The kind I thought I'd have at 25, when I was a precocious 18. Now that those days are well into the past, I'm getting to really be free. Free of the perceptions people have of a young woman. Free of the judgement of how many men I dated, how often my phone rings, whether or not I am sexy enough, too sexy, or 'frumpy' because I'm not actively pursuing attraction. Free of your attention. Your gaze. Your needs.

The lack of judgement and freedom to be yourself is available at any age. Even though I am still considered young by many, I am choosing to be old. The arthritis, wrinkles and pantsuits are just part of my costume, people. I'm going to work this old lady bit. I am taking advantage of a warm afternoon, a good book and the age when no one asks you how much you've had to drink.

We are hard on young people, holding them to too high of standards at times. We are easiest on people who should know better, giving them the benefit of respect in old age. To not be ogled and get the whole bottle of wine to myself? I'll skip wearing lipstick for that...feel free to join me.

Is It For You? Or Against You?

When you see something in your path, be it a $20 bill, a brick or a puddle of oil - how do you see it?

Is the item for you? Did the universe bless you with an unexpected surprise of money? Is the brick a challenge to overcome, a reminder of what you have already overcome, or is it a weapon to hurl? Is the puddle of oil a reminder of abundance, a distraction that slows you down just enough to be out of the way of an accident? Or is it there just to help you slip and fall and ruin your day?

In short, when you look at the world- do you see it as a resource filled place, just waiting for you to add your talents and stir, then extract all life has to offer?

Or do you see the world as a scary place, as a place full of danger and terror, things that are not right and will threaten your existence and your peace of mind?

The perspective we have of things often dictates what those things are to us and how they behave and react in accordance with our own actions. We can lose sight of things, situations and people, if we don't respect what they are, instead only how our fears can make them seem to us.

Stop trying to decide if you are a 'better' person because you see the glass either half empty or half full. Either way there is water in that glass. No one doubts that reality.

The question I am asking is- will it nourish you? Or will it drown you?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Favorite Things

Sleeping in.

Waking up, realizing you don't have to move and then letting your muscles relax, putting your phone out of reach, turning over to nuzzle back into your pillow, knowing you can go back to sleep for hours.

Those moments when the dog hasn't seen the whites of your eyes and no one knows you have woken up. Those stolen seconds are precious.

The tiniest bit of resistance where the air sits on the surface, and it meets your teeth right before they sink down into the most delectable frosting ever to kiss the top of a lemon cupcake.... that is made of perfection. No coincidence that perfection rhymes with confection, hmm?

The blood that rushes back into the oxygen starved veins after you pull your foot out from under you once it has gone to sleep. You didn't mean to leave it there but..the internet...

Ice. In drinks. Ahhh... all the drinks...

A fresh manicure of dark nail polish. The way it looks right before I leave the salon and rub my car keys all over it or chip it washing a cheese grater.

The smell of herbs when you freshly pick them from the plant. The crisp, fresh, peppery wonder of knowing that you got this with your own hands and you can eat it right there and then. The weight in your hand of a tomato you grew, knowing it will taste better than one you could buy.

The moment about ten seconds after a near-miss accident. Not right before, not when its happening and not anytime in the 9 seconds after, because you are recovering from a close call heart attack and the blood is still rushing back to your extremities and you may be staring hard at the driver if it was not you. But right after that, you are so amazed to be alive and in a car, breathing, everything is fine. And you are grateful. More grateful than you had been in days.

The anticipation of things, anything...everything. The way a Friday afternoon feels when you don't have too many plans for the weekend and almost ANYTHING could happen. When you have plans to do something fun and not anything like your mundane daily life, and the thoughts of how it will go could fill your every moment until then.

Taking off your bra at the end of the day. Or during a long road trip. While driving. Fast.

Driving fast, for that matter. On a flat stretch of road. That reaches out in front of you, to places known well or parts unknown to most people. Not you though, you are headed straight for it.

A freshly brewed coffee. Hot and steaming and wonderful in its dark complexity. Within its murky midst is the warming of your throat, the caffeine you need to prop your eyelids up to pretend to care about work, the warm ceramic to hug your hands when you get to hold it on the couch because its the weekend.

The smell of your favorite person's skin. Right as you kiss their neck. The unique way their hand feels in yours. The constancy of their heartbeat. The solid feel of them when you wake up in the night, and they are next to you. Real. Safe.

Finding just the right words to say. Right when you need them. Right when someone else needs them. Putting things in perspective, bringing someone off the ledge or even off their pedestal. Using language to bridge a gap or show an emotion, expressing hope or inspiring someone.

These are a few of my favorite things. What makes life worth living. What keeps you coming back for more?

The Comments Section

As you know by now, I vacillate between hatred of the human race as a whole and wanting to hear them out, understand where they are coming from and feel like I can be a part of helping them to reach their fullest potential, by somehow lighting their way out of whatever darkness befalls them.

This cycle is on its own timer, there is not a perfect rhythm to it, and it is often started and stopped based on an interaction I have with the general public, or more often, some moron coworker. Nothing, however, is as powerful a force on my feelings about the human race as THE COMMENTS SECTION.

You know what I am talking about. I am a grade A lurker. I read articles, stories, feel good pieces, all of it...then I dive down, deep into the comments section. It has that feel of when you were a kid and you went to the big public pool and you and your friends tried to see who could stay underwater the longest, or swim to the bottom of the diving area and back without breaking the surface. You have to prepare for these endeavors, take a deep breath, and know your limits.

Let me just say that the comments section is one of my guilty pleasures. As a fat girl, you might think that I have Twinkies stashed in my desk drawers or bogo coupons to a local fast food place. Nope. My secret is the closed circuit camera behind my eyes that watches the insane bullshit people put onto web pages because they are desperate for someone to hear their opinion. For someone to think their snarky joke is funny. The weird competition to get more 'thumbs up' or 'likes' for their insightful take on what you all just read. 

Sometimes their fury is just too great to be contained within the confines of their office or their mind, and they have to let someone, everyone know just how they feel. I loved lurking because I felt above them. Oh, look at these idiots, fighting it out with their home made weapons and trying to affect real change by attempting to sway one single person with a well placed insult! Rubes!

I finally created an account on one of my favorite websites. Toe in the water. I posted a tiny little comment on a story. Now we are swimming. Then I read an article about the Senate hearing on sexual assault in the military. I'm posting paragraphs and going back hours later to check what has been said about my comments. I have graduated to the diving team.

From the sidelines to the middle of the field, I have risen to the challenge, yet fallen so far. I wanted to be better than this, and then I got side tracked by illusions of grandeur and couldn't help myself. They NEEDED to hear this! Oy. I am embarrassed. And thrilled. Excuse me while I go check and respond... 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I Probably Shouldn't Post

You should never shop for groceries when you are hungry. For the same reason, you should never post to your blog when you want to backhand someone who works with you. Because you'll eat their face off without even considering how many calories might be in it.

I don't like to think about what I should and shouldn't do. As one of the new interesting people I know said to me "We SHOULD all over ourselves and all over each other...we really ought to think about not leaving our SHOULD everywhere and instead approach people, situations, and things without expecting that we already know what is best for everyone" Sage advice, new friend. Sage advice.

Therefore I will go shopping when I am hungry and post whatever I damn well please. I'll be careful not to mention names but suffice it to say, this character is on my last nerve. I have a problem with entitlement, I always seem to get my feathers in a ruffle when someone thinks their needs are paramount to everything else and skips over the normal course of business in a way that 'jumps the line' so to speak. The individual in question was born to be entitled. This person thinks their purpose in life is so astoundingly great that they must interrupt you to let you know and lest you forget, they will insist on putting their needs ahead of everyone else EVEN WHEN THEY ARE NOT HERE. Which is a bit over the line. Really.

In order to not send emails that would effectively relieve me of my position, I am taking the high road and posting on my blog to relate to my readership what a bunch of shit dick morons I work with. There, all better. Thanks for stopping in. Have a candy on your way out. They're entitlement-free!