Friday, September 24, 2010

Not Everybody Talks

I am not maternal. I would not categorize myself under "caregiver" and when I walk into a room, I cannot sense what mood someone is in. I am in my own world and I have always figured, that is okay. When I need to talk, I do. I figured, everyone else speaks up when they need to, too. I am wrong, of course.

Luckily, when it is really, really quiet it occurs to me, the other person has interiority too. It strikes me, like a bible smacking me on the head. "Wake UP! You're Selfish!"

Tonight it was very, very quiet. In our kitchen. 1 am. My roommate massaged her own feet while I grilled a burger.
"We're both quiet because we're taking care of our own shit" I thought.

But it was quiet. And I considered that my roommate is from Japan. That she only just moved to his city of sin, this enormous city, a few months ago. She hasn't made friends yet. She has no family here.

"How are you?" I asked. She said she was fine. Twenty minutes later, after silence she put down her feet and she said "I am overwhelmed."

She wouldn't have told anyone that this night if I hadn't asked.

Does it have to be the dead of night for me to notice that somebody else may need something? How do you hone your skills at reading other people?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Split Personality

I can't believe how long it has been since I've posted. Well actually, I can.

It is scary to know what you want to do. It is scary to know what you want.

I go through periods during which I REFUSE to admit that I am a dreamer. I go through periods during which I tell people that I would be perfectly happy, excuse me, SO happy to just have a job in an office when I graduate. And I tell people that I am lucky, because I'll be happy doing just about anything.

I am lying. I am just afraid of the truth.

For some people, security works. It not only works, it is their ultimate goal. Their dream. I can understand that. If you came from a broken home where, say, your parents were raging alcoholics who drunkenly ranted about becoming an artist some day or had a new "invention" every day and "god damnit, that was my idea!" when they saw it on the televesion....if THAT was your childhood then of course, the Dreamer type becomes not so glamorous. Paying your bills and tucking your kid into bed, every day, feels like a dream come true in itself. And a 9 to 5 job is an absolutely respectable way to get that.

I could come up with a million scenarios as to why a person would be happy with stability and never even dream of much more.

But the thing is, I am not one of those people. I have been applying for internships as an editor, fact checker, researcher etc....but all for Offices. To be on a Staff.

I love my readers. So much. Many of them are women twice my age who are not writers by trade, many of whom I get the feeling have no plans of becoming one. But I believe that many of you have already found your personal happiness.

Now I am not saying it is EVER too late. It NEVER is. But I am 21 years old and it is sure as Hell not too late for me to become a writer by trade.

It is a never ending struggle to both appreciate the simple things and strive for the extraordinary. But I am going to go have a beer with my roomies now. It will always be important to me to have good friends to have a beer with and a steady, 9 to 5 job would certainly ensure that.

But while i have this beer, I'm going to dream of the extraordinary. Like publishing a book, or having my own column. I think it's possible to have it all. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Yogurt Is Not Old Milk

I learned last night not to indulge in all my cheap college habits in the same night. Spread throughout the week has proven to be fine. But last night I learned not to, in one night:

1) Eat the piece of steak that fell off the nachos onto the bar where people were just doing body shots, just because you never have enough money to buy red meat at home and can't stand to watch the piece go uneaten. Let it rest in piece next to the nipple ring that fell off someone there too.

2) Do not drink the bathroom sink water because it is taking too long to get the bartenders attention to ask for a glass of water. The guy that left the bathroom before you Did just joke about peeing in the sink. He probably wasn't joking. He did wear cut-off sleeves and a trucker hat after all.

3) Do not use the milk that is now visually moving slowly, like yogurt, in it's container, with your cereal at 3 am when you get home from the bar and have the drunken munchies. It's not "just how yogurt is made anyways" as you always tell your roommates when they watch you in disgust.

4) And when you wake up to the feeling of an alien tearing out of your belly, like in that one scary movie where a woman gives birth to an alien, do not wonder what's going on. You know what's going on. You did this.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Was Hit On By A Hobo

It's funny that (among many other nasty, nasty ones) some of my ex's parting words were "fine, go. You just want to party with your friends" And while that is certainly not why I left, I have been doing my fair share of partying. Girlfriends, I've missed you:)

One thing I forgot about going out to bars and clubs in the highly inconvenient, but constant effort to deflect come-on's by men, while still trying to have a good time. But at least one thing I can say, is they sure do provide a little entertainment.

HIM: "Where's your boyfriend?" ME: "around here somewhere" HIM: "Wouldnt you rather have someone who is here, now?" My Thoughts: "Oh yes, anyone within the vicinity will do. Anyone at all. But I dont know, the guy next to you managed to spike his hair a little higher. And he is here now too."

HIM: "Wanna dance?" ME: "I just want to dance with my girlfriends (and when did the proper location to place your hand on a stranger move from the waste to the buttox?" HIM: "Are you gay" My Thoughts: "Buddy, you're not helping anything by feeding me answers"........Me: "Yes."

HIM: "I promise I'm not a hobo but----" My Thoughts: "Well i've stopped listening."

To single life!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Chose a Comedy Over a Tragedy

Well, it's been a very long time since I've written.
I got sucked into a very unhealthy relationship. That's really all there is to it. I gave up a lot of what was important to me, including this blog.
I was made to feel like a selfish person for stating my needs--big or small.
I was made to feel so selfish for claiming them, that I stopped claiming them, and I made myself smaller and smaller to try and fit into the relationship. Finally i was in a very small corner, couldn't breathe too well and i said "i think we should break up."

I don't want the subjects of my blogs to mainly be about relationships. Perhaps the fact that they usually were when I was in that relationship, was the sign of a bad relationship. I began the relationship with the mindset "relationships shouldn't involve any thinking" and then I learned "they will involve *some* thinking" and I ran with that.....until I realized, "this relationship is involving too much thinking."

So, turning a new leaf. Something I realized that is very, VERY, important to me (and I realized it because of the complete lack of it towards the end of my relationship) is...LAUGHTER. COMEDY. I don't laugh because I don't care. I laugh because it's something we always have. Regardless of the effects of an event, the implications, the mood etc... you can always squeeze some laughter out of it. Comedy is such a strong force. It's gotten me through this break up, and i think it's going to get me to and Through some of the most intense experiences of my life. For those of you who have been reading my blog, if You hear me getting a bit mopey, Call Me Out. If i'm not laughing, i'm not myself.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Too Young To Think About Mortality?

I haven't posted in a while...I guess I'd say it's because things have stabilized in my life. I wrote a lot about instabilities in my relationship that now seem to be...non issues.

Somehow though, Stability seems to be an issue.

I experienced something the other day. A panic attack? Separation anxiety? Not quite sure. I just know I felt ten leagues under the sea and my heart was beating fast.

I had just been sitting at dinner with my boyfriend and his family.

Why did this happen?

It's going to sounds crazy, really it might, but I think that when something stabilizes in your life it allows you to suddenly, maybe just for a moment, look Far into the future. And that is what happened.

It was probably prompted by a phone conversation with my grandfather that morning. he was just standing at my grandmother's grave and telling me about his memories with her.

Later that afternoon my sister called to say that her and her boyfriend broke up.

Then that evening my Guy sat me down and wanted to know my thoughts on him moving to my hometown (which would in fact be closer to me than where he is now)

It was probably the first two things on that list of happenings that made me react to the last item on the list. We were just sitting at the table, peacefully, happily, STABILY, and suddenly I looked forward. Just for a second, I could see days and years and ages of my life passing with this guy and then death.

It may be because I had absolutely no question in my head at that moment about the relationship. When we have something we are working on/figuring out/fixing, we are fixated on the immediate. I had been fixated on the immediate for a long time and this was the first time I looked forward, even as far as mortality.

I suppose it's not that strange. But it was not pleasant either. I can't be going to lie down in the middle of dinner over these little attacks on a weekly basis. that is not functional. But how do we control this? Does anyone have any experience with what I'm talking about?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Pissed Off My PlayThing

I was a plaything to my last boyfriend. Plain and Simple. Good guy, really he was, but he was stressed, high-strung, cynical—when it came to real life. We functioned because we didn’t talk about real life. I asked about how applications to medical school were going “oooooh, you know. But let’s just not talk about that right now,” and he’d pull me onto the bed.
“Are you still fighting with your Dad?”
“What? Oh, it’s cool,” and….he would pull me onto the bed.
He didn’t want me involved in his stresses. I was not a part of that Real world, O.K. But the trouble came when I realized….he didn’t want to be a part of my real world either. When I began to notice, after I’d give an animated account of a new blog I’d discovered that day, or a job I was excited about interview for, he would pinch me on the arm and say “well that’s great”. And. Pull me. Onto the Bed. He was great at finding funny movies for us to watch, or new restaurants to get take out from, or little articles he found amusing to read to me. But we never talked about ANYTHING serious.
This was what I said when I broke up with him:
“I don’t think you realize I even exist when I’m not in front of you. I don’t think you are able to come up with one single picture of what my days look like during the week when we are not together. And that’s exactly why you don’t take me seriously! That’s why you only make plans last minute with me, or flake on me. Because you don’t realize I’m a real person with real stresses and real things that take up real time! And you don’t realize that, because you don’t want to.”

And this is the phone call my current boyfriend made to me last night.
“I feel like you don’t value what I do at all, like my work. Every time I start to talk about anything work related, you make a joke and move the conversation somewhere else. I don’t feel like you take me seriously at all. But if I didn’t talk about my stress and my work, my life, for godsake!, you wouldn’t even know what I’m doing with my days!”

Ok. He’s right. It’s true, I make jokes. But it’s because…I feel incompetent, inferior even, when photography, lawsuits, money, GROWNUP things are brought up for which I don’t have any of the jargon. More importantly, I do it because I love him and I want to provide FUN for him. I want to bring in a LIGHT mood when he is stressed. I want to make him happy when he is unhappy. It’s not that I don’t take him seriously! It’s that I take him so seriously, because he is so kind and caring and hardworking, that I want to provide for him a BREAK from all that. Wait! Don’t You understand?!...
……Oh. Uh OH. I think it’s me who understands now. I think maybe I understand my EX a little bit more? I think I understand that we can do the exact thing someone did to us…to someone else. Without even realizing it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Never Thought I'd Need A Drink At Disney Land

I used to believe that one person's biggest problem FELT as big as another person's biggest problem, no matter how different those two problems were. The removal of a wart versus the removal of pre-cancerous cysts--I was certain that if the wart was truly the Biggest problem that person had ever encountered, it must have FELT as big as the pre-cancerous cysts.

Even as I write this I begin to realize how absurd it sounds. It's simply the first time I put two such drastic circumstances next to one another and see that my theory doesn't quite hold water.

But I really started to realize that this weekend.

I went to Disneyland with my Guy and he was...out of it. Broody, moody, distant. Didn't even appreciate my sexual advances on the back of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and just as I am about to reach for Captain Jack Sparrow's rum...he apologized. He simply said "I'm sorry. I just have a lot on my mind."

And I know he does. He is involved in a law suit right now for goodness sake. But I was frustrated. So, so frustrated.

"Why? WhyyYY can't you just be here? Now? We only see each other 2 days out of the week! And we're at freaking DISNEY LAND!" I implored him desperately after i'd dragged him Out of the theme park and into Downtown Disney since I desperately needed a drink and they just don't serve alcohol where Mickey Mouse lives.

"Because I am stressed out!" While I wanted him at this moment to look at my dejected face, sigh, grab my hand and say "but enough of that for now" and race me to the next ride....that's now what happened.

So I had to chew on this for a while. Stress? I think I understand stress. I THINK that I do.

I'm a firm believer in trying to live in the moment, during those few, very few precious moments when it is actually ok and inconsequential to do so. If you couldn't possibly DO anything about the thing causing you stress right now, then don't think about it right now! .....THis is what i've been a firm believer in.

...But, I'm realizing that it may be easy to be a firm believer in that when nothing particularly FIRM is happening in my life.

I asked a friend of mine "Do you ever feel apprehensive about seeing your guy when you know he is stressed out?"

"Stress?" She shrugged her shoulders, "He doesn't get stressed. Stress, he says, is for other people."

Wow. Wow, her guy owns his own company--one with enough money riding on it that it's got him living in one of the wealthiest areas in southern California. And "stress is for other people" he says? Apparently one of those "other people" is my guy

I am totally at a loss on this one. I didn't know whether or not to call BullShit on my guy because...I didn't know if it was necessarily bullshit. Do some people just have less capacity for stress? Or, do some people make less effort to pull themselves out of it when they actually could...Do some problems really just FEEL bigger than others? Would my friend's guy "have a lot on his mind" at DisneyLand if he were in the same situation as mine? (And I know now I am doing that God Awful thing of comparing that my guy hates..)

More importantly (I mean, I am the one in this relationship) would I, ME, deal with it any better if I were the one dealing with a lawsuit?

I think my real question is, is my theory all Bullshit? Can we, if we want to, pull ourselves out of stress and IN to moments? Or are there some times when that is just beyond us?

Are some people just born with less capacity for stress?

Here I am bouncing around and DisneyLand trying to get freaky by robot pirates and I do have a research paper to begin, blog ideas to come up with for my internship, a story to write for my workshop...etc.. you get the point.. I have stresses, obligations, who doesn't ? But they begin TOMOROW. but not today.

but....will it all not be quite so easy when things get a little more...well...firm?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

If You Won't Let Me Love You, At Least Take This Pillow

Is love any different than just plain sympathy?
I'm beginning to notice the kinds of moments that make me feel in love. I think every time I see some one suffer a little, but willingly, i all a little bit in love.

But I have to see the suffering, and the person must be silent about it. No complaints. Like when a person gets up at 4 in the morning to drive me to the air port and they yawn and say "oh, it's fine" but I can see it in their face, when they don't think i'm looking, that pitiful, bleary-eyed face that seems to look forward at the street lights and ask "am i dying?"

It's not necessarily suffering in the service of kindness that makes me fall a little bit in love either. The pure act of holding one's temper--that makes me fall a bit in love. Because, well, it can feel so. damn. good to lose your temper, can't it? It's like a relief and sometimes holding it in is suffering.

My poor boss at work today had to explain something to me about ten times, and it was the end of the day, and everyone was leaving, but I just couldn't get a hold on the concept. And he would just give me a tired smile and say "ok" and begin again. And I just wanted to hug him.

I think it is my instinct to fill in the comfort that he didn't provide or take for himself at that moment. Offering a little soft pillow when he was willing to do everything the hard way.

"Marry someone who is kind" is my professor's advice. Kindness, true kindness, tends to look just like suffering. I mean honestly--being being, spiteful, condescending, temperamental--that's easy! It is absolutely no struggle to be those things. No struggle means no suffering.

Kindness requires suffering, and I think our impulse (or at least mine) to love feels about the same as sympathy.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Can Piano Concerts Reduce Infidelity?

I underwent a little interrogation by a friend the other day.

She was telling me about all of the events she and her boyfriend attend; piano concerts, book readings, art exhibits by artists they follow etc..

I nodded and said "mhmm. mhmm." But that's all i had. I didn't have similar stories to share and well... I didn't mind that.

But she did.

"Does your"

"novels?" I responded. "no."

"Oh. Well, what does he read?" She was trying to hide her disapproval.

"books on photography, and finance. he is a commercial photographer afterall."

"Oooh. Well that's good." She can't even look me in the eye at this point, but continues into her lap "I just...I couldn't date someone who wasn't a literary person or wasn't into music and just...the same things. I think it would would just lead me cheat on him! You know?"

No. I did not know, but I felt that she was trying to get some sort of confession from me that I had been tempted to cheat before, or atleast thought about it.

But I hadn't. And my guy is not a "literary person," and we don't attend piano concerts. We sit side by side and play the same cheezy Broadway ditties in the piano book he still has from childhood at his parent's home. We roll around on the floor with the dog. we sleep, we eat, we have sex. Sometimes we just lay together and say nothing. We've been doing this for four months.

"Does it bother you...that we don't do those things?" my guy asked when i reitterated my conversation with the friend.

"No!" I exclaimed. And I meant it.

But what do others think? Is it common interests that keep couples together? Or common traits? Or....common morals?

Either way. My friend and her "literary person" broke up. She cheated on him.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Loving Ain't Always Liking

We've all got friends who constantly date jerks. Girls that date the guy who is always high-fiving someone when "barely legal babe" porn flashes across the screen, or who spanks the girl and demands a sandwich, or the guy that drinks way too much with his buddies and when his girlfriend tells him to cool it he heels over laughing. I have a few friends like this, friends who do not like and do not actually respect their boyfriends.
The closest one I've been able to observe is my sister's. She is always smacking or punching (on the arm, of course) her boyfriends for something. "You Would Do That" is her favorite term. And she is always dating a guy who gives her plenty of reason to say it.

"Why are you dating him?" I asked a friend like this once and she said "At least he's honest. I Know what he's thinking."

And I realized, these girls may think this type of guy is their only option. These girls may think that all guys are thinking "YaaaAAH!" when that porn flashes on the screen, so they may as well date the guy who actually says it. That way, the girl has the reason to smack him. I realized these girls may think all guys deserve to be smacked, and they are just doing their duty by finding the ones who put themselves up to be smacked.

"At Least He Is Honest" ??? !

For God Sake, I hope my guy isn't actually like these other ones---but just...silent.

Friday, April 2, 2010

In The Middle of The Highway

I was driving on the freeway today. It was busy, but traffic was smooth. Everyone was moving along at at least 70 mph, but there were still enough of us, so many of us actually, to make the two men standing on the side of the free way particularly noticeable.
There were two large islands of overgrown grass that were separated by an off ramp. The grass was blowing constantly, but slowly like in a tropical climate and it was tall enough to reach a knee. In fact, the grass did reach a knee, the knees of one homeless man, and another. The two men stood on separate islands of grass and one moved slowly, with difficulty against the wind, to leave his island and cross over to the other island. I watched this from half a mile away and up until we passed it. The one man who was moving, his cheeks were pulled back by the wind and he was straining his eyes.
He must be making his way to the other man, I thought. There is such a fight in him. He had on a leather biking jacket and a backpack and had white hair, the man standing on the other island had on a grey sweatshirt and had long dirty blonde hair. I just could help but think, what are the odds of two homeless men being here, separately, in the middle of this dangerous highway? At least, if they are separate, they must want to speak to each other. They must want to know one another’s story.
At the time our car passed the scene, the one man who had been walking reached the man on the other island of grass who was standing still. And he passed him. It was like watching two different movies play side by side. The one man looking pained, and struggling so much. And the other just loafing around. Looking into the ground, scratching his arm. The two never looked each other in the eye, or even in the direction of the other. I was shocked, but then I realized, maybe I shouldn’t be.
Maybe there is just an understanding between the two men, between many homeless people, for that matter. They probably pass each other and just silently say (in their heads, but they know the other one is saying it)
“I’ts been tough for you. And I can’t help you. Good Luck.”

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Don't Want To Eat McDonalds In A Dumpster!

I wish I could say this is were a post promoting environmental consciousness, but it is not.

This is a post about what keeps a relationship good, and in my experience, it's simply that everything else is good, and their are no stresses. No bills struggling to be paid, no illness taking a toll on the physical relationship, no ego issues due to a job demotion, or bad grade etc..

It's not a healthy way to be, I know. That is not a sustainable relationship. But i'm realizing I've had a few that were that delicate.
I dated one guy in a band who took me backstage and in the VIP rooms of nightclubs in hollywood where there were always drinks, always outrageous outfits to wonder at, always charm. I've dated a guy who ran a pot brownie service so...there was an infinite supply of that to keep us happy. I've dated a guy with whom...well...the sex was just fantastic.

But the band guy--his band broke up. The pot guy--his business got shut down. And the last guy--lost his libido!

I did not, I repeat did NOT date any of these guys for the reasons listed, but only after those factors were removed, I simply realized they were what kept us together.

So now, I am constantly on the look out for what is and is not sustainable.

And my guy would like to go to Europe this summer. Do I have money for my own ticket? Of course not, he knows this.

And I'm worried, ok, I am. The memories, the moments, the emotions that could be created on such a trip and it's just not--Sustainable. My guy can't be paying for me to go to Europe every year, or Puerto Rico or wherever.

"You're being silly!" My dad exclaimed over lunch when i told him this.
"When i was your guy's age, I had plenty of money too. And if i wanted to go on a trip, and I wanted my girlfriend there, then I was paying for her. That's it"

Perhaps I am being silly. But in all honesty I've just really fallen for this one and am desperately trying to strip away all elements that might be non-sustainable and might be giving a false air of love, of ecstasy, to all of this.

Sometimes I get antsy just being in his apartment for too long because it is so nice! Maybe that is adding to my feeling of a high around him. Eating at nice restaurants gets me antsy too.

"What? DO you want to eat McDonalds in a Dumpster?" My friend asked me when i expressed my concern. "And then you'll REALLy know you love him!"

I suppose she has a point. And her image of us eating in a dumpster really pointed out what this is all about--fear. And i can constantly be looking for reasons to be afraid. And at the moment, that constant search, is keeping me from possibly passing up a trip to Europe!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dr.Phil Wouldn't See My StepDad

Before getting into this post I have to say that I do love my stepfather and, yes, even have grown to like him quite a bit.

But when he first hailed from his country of Sweden and set up house in my home, I didn't get him.

He was very into tea parties. Okay, it was coffee, but i'm calling them tea parties because he would set up tiny little saucers and delicate cups from the China cabinet that had only been for decoration my entire life, fold napkins into flowers more complex than ones you see in on covers of National Geographic, and even put little figurines down as center pieces, whatever he could find. There have been little plastic children dancing the waltz, a porcelain knome, and a santa claus made out of twigs. when it was nowhere near Christmas.

And, of course, after all this tedious preparation he would ask me to "Yulia (you witch the J's and Y's in Swedish) please don't do your things here."

And the "here" area was set up days before the tea parties would even take place!

The man also is not a big fan of burps. When i burp he pats me on the shoulder and says "oh you free American Girls."

Do females not have digestive tracts in Sweden? Am i just a "free" liberal American girl that went out and bought myself one? Just another form of our crazy, "free" plastic surgery i suppose.

He is also uncomfortable with gay people. If he sees two men or two women holding hands when we are out he just raises his eyebrows and says "hmm. interesting."
I really don't remember Sweden being so lacking in such common things as intestinal tracts and homosexuals but, maybe he is from the Country there. And i've only been to the capitol city.

Now my grandmother, she could tell I wasn't particularly warming to the guy. it could be because i picked up the plastic figurines of the dancing children at our first tea party, im sorry, Coffee party, and made the little plastic children do obscene things.

I thought no one was watching!

Anyways, my grandmother also likes to give a lot of her opinions, or advice. She also watches a lot of Dr. Phil.

That, and the News. I came over one day and my grandpa informed me my grandmother was upset and not coming out of her room. "It's nothing," He said softly to me.

"It's not nothing!" She shouted from her bed, "There was a hurricane in Oklahoma today. And an earthquake in China. Things are changing. Things are changing."

We live in California.

So anyways, this particular advice came from Dr.Phil.

My grandmother said today's show had been on wife beaters.
"Ten of them on the stage!" She counted for me.

“you should be grateful your mother doesn’t have a husband like that!” is her moral of the story.
I didn’t realize those were the only two options: Extremely straight-laced, conservative, slightly homo-phobic and very judgmental, or a wife-beater. Things look very promising.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Business of the Soul

I love the way my piano teacher and I talk about the act of playing piano, as though it is a business—something very necessary, very serious.

“Now, if you hold the middle peddle down lightly, very lightly, just half way, you see like this? The sound will stick to the walls around the room. It coats the whole place. You hear that?”

She halfway closes one eye as if looking at something far away and holds a finger in the air for me to watch. As though my watching her finger means I’m hearing what she is hearing. She is not strict, never strict. Just serious about the music.

(I love the way all these paintings look--like the people are studying something very meticulously, with so much care, as if every detail were crucial, like a science)

I like this because piano is clearly something for the soul. We would still be living and breathing without it, as we would without all kinds of art. But that is all we would be doing—living and breathing.
The “necessary” or “practical” majors or fields of study, I have never had much interest in those. Don’t get me wrong—I did just have a colonoscopy last week for goodness sake—I know I need the people who engineer new kinds of medicine and what not. But I’ll leave that up to them. I just wonder if they know they need us? “Us” being the artists—if I can go as far as to call myself one. While I don’t engineer or do mathematical proofs, I do still have to go to work, go to school, stand in line at the bank…do the humdrum stuff we all take a pause from our lives to do in order to be alive. But, my soul has to be in the right place in order for me to do all the other things I do simply to keep my body alive. That is why I love people who take the business of the soul seriously, like my piano teacher.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Depression's Out the Door, and I'm all Ready to Cry ??

Do you know anyone who's biggest problem is themselves? I mean whether it be physical illness, depression, anxiety etc.. all their efforts, all their energy and time is put into dealing with that problem?

I used to be very much like this. I struggled with what i self-diagnosed as depression for two years, then an eating disorder for another year and a half, then back to the depression when that was over. I was my own biggest problem. My main relationship was with the gym and my strict eating regiment--it controlled me, I would leave a party, and take a twenty minute subway ride across town to make it to the gym before it closed.

Then with the depression, everything had to be scheduled around therapy appointments, I was seeing different natural doctors to try and 'get things in balance' of course i was dabbling in yoga too.
The point is, I was always controlled by something, but the other morning, everything came together for me, I felt complete freedom, and I didn't know what to do with it.

Of course it didn't happen over night, it has taken years to get here, but my eyes just happened to be wide open in this moment and i realized how drastically different it was from any i'd had in the previous years. In fact, how impossible it would have been for me to have had such a moment before.

I was sitting at the table next to my mother's swimming pool with my guy. We were eating pancakes, eating them slowly and playing with one another's hands.

It was a simple moment, really it was, but it never would have happened two years ago.

Two years ago, I scrambled all my clothes together off my boyfriend's floor at 5 in the morning to rush to begin my morning workout and make sure i got to eat the same goddamn high-fiber, high-protein, ZERO flavor cereal i had at home.
One year prior I would have just been laying in my bed staring at the blank tv screen for an hour thinking, "do i have to do today? I dont want to?"

None of this moment by the pool would have been possible. A love, pancakes, and just staring at the pool rather than feeling guilty for not swimming laps in it!

I told my guy, "I feel so happy this morning, that I am sad."

And I realized, all those problems i'd had (or indulged) for the previous few years, had kept me from looking outside myself.
And now I could. I had all the health and power to look outside myself. Life was no longer just a struggle to breathe! I had reached that plateau, and once I was standing on it, I didn't know what to do there.

Our "problems", be they self-enforced, real, false, whatever...keep us from facing happiness. And What the hell do you do with that? Isn't it the same as facing mortality? When you're no longer struggling just to be alive, what do you do with your new found life?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Have I Got Too Much MOJO?

When did the female become the sexual predator? Or is that just me? Yes, that's right, you pegged it--I'm not getting laid enough. It seems that a rough 'n tumble in the bed with my guy has to be preceded by a moment of incredible significance. Perhaps a restatement of all the reasons we love one another, or the exchanging of Valentines day gifts, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts etc. but damnit...there would have to be a holiday twice a day in order for that deal to fly with me.

Don't get me wrong--I have experienced the theory that sex is better when there are emotions involved. But do they have to be immediate, weighty emotions?! Do we have to always have just finished a discussion about the significance of our relationship in order to get it in? I mean--i love the guy! 24/7.....okay, maybe like...22/7. le'ts be real here. But shouldn't that be enough! Isn't sex one of the perks of working your way to a stable, peaceful relationship??? But for my guy, it seems there must be constant turbulence, and only the coming down from this turbulence turns him on. That's right--makeup sex.

But how about this for a reason to kick our clothes off? We're young! We're cute! We're alive!

My guy actually came out of the restroom yesterday and asked me "what are you doing?"

I was standing on the bed naked for godsake! What more must I be doing?! We were not in a fight, we did not have anywhere to go, why on earth would his first thought be , "what are you doing?"

Humiliating, really.
"Oh I umm...just wanted to see how much my jiggly parts actually jiggled when I jumped on the bed naked."

Honestly now! What do you think i'm doing???

The only thing that could have lead to more embarrassment in this moment would have been if females got erections--because my lord would i have had a big throbbing one at that moment and it's not easy to put your pants back on over one of those!

Maybe I'm just more into sex than my guy is. Maybe I am the guy in this relationship. Or is this becoming an epidemic? Am I not the only one experiencing a switch in the libidos? Somebody please tell me I'm not alone here!

Friday, March 26, 2010

What do you do with all that Health?!

What do we do when the truth would be just too scary? I mean, to tell to another person.
I have posted before about my mother's hypochondria. Just take my word for it--i've known her since before I was born.
There always seems to be something wrong with her. She is hardly recovering from one thing before another another strikes. It has been the cause of much disappointment for my father, myself, my sister.
I can look back at my childhood and pull up many images of myself sitting on my packed suitcase, hearing my mother's soft crying, my father's soft voice, and then suddenly my mother's loud crying "why doesn't anyone feel sorry for me? can't you see im sick!" and then, shortly after, my father appearing in my doorway to inform me that we were no longer going to palm desert for a week, or to Europe for the month.
I remember my father driving me home from school on Fridays, date night for my parents, and him calling my mother on speaker phone, reading her the movie times and restaurant reviews but only getting halfway before my mother cut in, "not tonight. im not feeling so good."

The truth of the matter is that, moments in which other people can and have pushed themselves through it, my mother has not.
After enough date nights, enough trips to Europe or Hawaii were cancelled, my father's infidelity kicked in. And I will say this now, my mother's hypochondria was not, it was NOT, an excuse for my father to do this. There is no excuse, of course.

However, my mother has a new husband now. And when she cancelled on him yesterday he said "i think this is all in your head. i think you could get up and come out." Part of me wanted to shake his hand. When my sister and I heard this, we turned to each other with our eyes nearly popping out of their sockets.
"Someone finally said it?" we whispered to each other.
Yes, i wanted to shake his hand. But also, partly, I wanted to shake his shoulders and say "you dont say that to her! Dont you see? She can't handle that!"

What will she think then? That my father's infidelity was her own fault? That she must, in fact CAN, do more, MORE?? I mean more with her life, with her time. The truth is, her health and her house are her life. She is her own biggest problem, it is true. Her physical health is what she has always devoted all her energy and time to. When her friend had a concusion last summer, she continued to go to work, to go to dinners with her friends, to visit her daughter at school. When my mother had a concusion, she cancelled her trip to hawaii. That was scheduled for two months after this concusion. She saw a doctor every week for 6 weeks. She cancelled all of her lunch dates. Her health has always taken precedence. But the word i'm looking for his hypochondria. That is what has always taken precedence.
I don't think she would know what to do without that. She is 53 years old, and no one has ever said such a thing like that to her before "I think it's all in your head."
Is it too late? Is it too scary?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Can We ReBoot Relationships?

I was thinking about the “romantic gesture” in films, tv shows, novels etc. It tends to involve an airplane, a train, a boat, maybe a rocket ship depending on what we’re working with. And we, as an audience, tend to find it over-the-top, predictable, sappy etc.

But, maybe it makes a bit more sense after a second glance. Who usually makes a Dramatic Gesture? I can round up a couple films: As Good As It Gets, Something’s Gotta Give, The Way We Were. (Why do 2 of these involve Jack Nicholson? I’m watching a series of his films right now)
So who is it that always makes the dramatic gesture? Jack’s OCD character walks on the cracks in the sidewalks and touches the dirty doorknobs to get to Helen Hunt when before he wouldn’t leave off polishing his silverware just to acknowledge her existence, he wouldn’t look up from watching the lines in the sidewalk to look out for obstacles in Helen’s way. He travels to Paris for Diane Keeton on her birthday when before he wouldn’t walk from his bedroom to her’s, in the same house, to sleep beside her.
The people who would not, could not, for the longest time just make all the small efforts—the small, nondramatic gestures—those are the people that make the big ones. They have to add up all the little gestures they missed out on, and try and calculate some gesture of equal worth.
I’ve received a few dramatic gestures, I suppose.
A guy who my mother made no effort to hide her dislike for, came to my home with a giant bouquet of flowers when he knew my mother was home, would open the door, and knew allll about what this guy was coming to apologize for. He waited in the kitchen with my mother, her silence and her judging eyes until I was ready to come speak to him. Up until then, he had made a point of staying away from my home.

Well...he didn't look Quite like this.

Another guy drove two hours to see me after I left him because he wouldn’t drive twenty minutes to see me before. He always had me coming to his place.
Sure, these are not as creative, not as romantic of gestures or as full of querks as those in the movies, but they were made up of all the little gestures I didn’t get before.
Unfortunately, in my experience, this was not sustainable. It is simply an event provoking an event. I leave the guy, and in the emotion of that event, he buys the flowers, he gets in that car. But, let’s face it—I am still the same girl when all the hype is over. I am still the same girl who didn’t, for whatever reason, stir up in them the impulse to do the little gestures. The emotion which lead to the big gesture was not a regular one, so the gesture won’t be regular either. And the truth is, even if I did get flowers every day--that's not what I need. I need someone who can enhance my life a little bit every day.
Whether the guy thinks there is a chart somewhere on which i put a gold star everytime he makes grand gesture, and just looking at that star holds me over for a good month, or, whether he just doesnt think of it at all--i've always found, he falls back into his old ways.
It’s just like giving a slow computer a reboot. Every once in a while, you get so fed up with it to the point you shut it down and then—BAM—it comes back at full speed. And….within a week, you are smacking it again trying to get it to just do the simplest thing!
I don’t need a grand gesture every couple of months. I need the little, decent, seemingly plain and boring gestures that can take place every day.
How sustainable are grand gestures, really? Do we have any good Grand Gesture stories out there?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Little Jiggle and A Smile

I love the comradery of joggers. Now I'm talking a specific kind of jogger. I myself do not have one defined muscle on my body. I am more of the "softer" sort, if you will. So, if you move like a goddamn butterfly, please jog on the opposite side of the street.
No, the type of comradery I am talking about is between those joggers who you can tell are not, really, joggers. The ones who jog because their doctor lowered his glasses and made a gesture something like this

when the patient reported his exercise routine. Or lack there of one. Or the joggers that do it for cholesterol reasons. Maybe the joggers who are the brains behind some big operation and there is a Gala coming up in their honor and, shit, suddenly they have to be a body behind the operation as well, in a sultry evening gown and well, satin just don't look too good on a belly.

I would know. I am the above sort of jogger. And this is the sort of jogger I am talking about. Things jiggle when I run. Parts of my body actually protest. The soft, sort of chicken-fat like area under my arms and on my calfs swing back and forth, trying to escape the rest of this body that has clearly committed itself to some project, "jogging" that well, these soft parts just want nothing to do with. I can actually see my underarms jiggling in my peripheral vision. That's how much they want out of this deal!

I am talking about the joggers that have a particular look on their face. Nose all snarled up like they've just walked into a porta-potty at a carnival.

Eyes bulging out of their head like they're witnessing a carcrash.

And thoughts that go a little something like this. "This sucks, this sucks, this sucks, F**K, this sucks! Who knew my body could be in so much pain? And still be moving? Oh! What was that? A new pain? I didn't even know i COULD have pain there!"

These are the types of joggers that I love to see. We've got that scary look on our face that i described, but when we pass each other, just for a moment, we smile. A pitiful, difficult, sympathetic, raise of the eyebrow (like hey, somebody made you endure this torture too huh?) smile. But that we can smile, through all that misery, what Comradery!

Laxatives and Taxes

Do you ever feel that someone gets offended if you do not do things their way? As if, by doing it a different way, you are suggesting the way they go about it is wrong?

I struggle with this with my mother often. My mother is...fragile, for lack of a better word. She sees at least one doctor per week for a foot, stomach, back, head problem, or you name it. And it is an unspoken rule that she does not do anything for atleast 24 hours after a doctors appointment. Well, actually, it is a Spoken Rule. She comes straight home and, she has said this herself, "oh no, i dont do anything after i see a doctor," and she lays in her bed and asks not to be disturbed.
But, of course, she is disturbed. The pool cleaner shows up that day and asks if we want the pool heated yet, the receptionist calls from a doctor's office to confirm next week's appointment, I come in to tell her a package has arrived for her. You get it, the world goes on. And, inevitably, if the world goes on just a little too long--usually after 4 consecutive "world" happenings--too many phone calls, too many workers showing up at the house, my my mother begins to cry and she pleas, but yells "why can't everyone just leave me alone! I've been to the doctor today!" And then she shuts herself in her room.
These are just the facts. I am not stating my opinion on whether this is a good or bad way for her to go about things.

However, I am having a colonoscopy tomorrow. And you don't need to tell me I am too Damn young for such a thing! Boy, don't I know it. Don't I also know that I will never be able to show my face again to the actually quite dashing young pharmacist who had the honor of giving me the detailed instructions of my pre-operation "cleansing" if you will. I'll be drinking a jug of chemicals that will move a person in many ways if ya get my drift. Anyhow, Dr.Dashing got to give me the low down. And seemed to require I look him in the eye and nod after each direction. Okay, that's beside the point. I simply find a new pharmacy.

But I came home, I drank my delicious lunch of broth and jellow (they've got me on an all liquid diet pre-procedure) and my mother came to ask about the preparation. I told her all about it, and then began to repack my purse.
"Where--where are you going? Are you going somewhere?" My mother asked.
"Yes, i'm going to file my taxes," I answered. "It's the only day this week i'll get the chance to."

"After all this stuff today?" Her eyes were very wide, "And before this big procedure tomorrow."

"Well, yes. It's inconvenient but, the World doesn't stop just because I'm having this done tomorow."

This was when my mom stuttered, shook her head and folded her arms and said "I --I--I know the world doesn't stop! I, I know that, Okay?!" And left the room.

She will cry, and ask "why won't everyone just leave me alone?" But my words, under the same circumstances are "the world doesnt stop."

I didn't mean to push that bruise on her, you know? To tap that delicate, already tender spot on her. But, I wasn't going to do things her way so as to avoid offending her, I had to file my taxes, damnit. I had to keep up with the world.

Thank goodness Vodka fits the requirements of this clear liquid diet. Cheers!

Monday, March 22, 2010


This morning our housekeeper, Victorina, came to my door. Her black t-shirt was soaking wet and so was half of her head.

"Su mama no esta bien, tiene problemas con su corazon," she said. "Your mom is not well. She is having problems with her heart."

Apparently my mom felt faint in the shower. She had just spent ten minutes applying some slimy substance to her hair meant to do a million magical and rejuvenating things, when suddenly she saw orange spots and her heart beat a little too fast. Our housekeeper, Victorina, heard my mom sigh. Just a sigh as if she'd finished a run to the top of a hill. Victorina went into the restroom, timid as hell (can you imagine knowing you're about to approach your entirely undressed employer) and found my mom leaning her head against the shower wall, panting and holding one hand over her chest. Victorina stepped into the shower, her shirt getting drenched in the water, and put my mother's arm around her shoulder, and held my mother around the waist and led her out of the bathroom.

"My hair, it's still in my hair" my mom patted her slimy head, barely able to keep her eyes open.

So Victorina walked my mother to the sink, pulled a bench up to it, sat my mother in the bench, tilted my mother's head back into the sink, and rinsed out my mother's hair.

Then my mother was willing to go lie down.

This was when Victorina came and got me, and went back to work, vacuuming, cleaning the windows, and emptying the dishwasher, All in a wet shirt.

What a moment.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Potty Mouth

I always seem to be making jokes at the worst times. I once went with my mom into the Urgent Care center because she had been peeing approximately every 20 minutes and in the middle of the nurse's routine questions i burst in "it's probably all those cocktails she's been havin'. She's been drinking like a maniac!"
And we did have to take a few moments to assure the nurse I was only joking, before she would go on with her questions.

That was a harmless incident. All it cost me was a sideways glance from my mother. But the other night, I think my joking permanently struck some nerves with the guy. In fact, possibly got that particular cluster of nerves forever whispering "we don't like her" to the guy whenever I come around.
We were spending the weekend together. And well, quite frankly, I just hadn't had my bones jumped as much as i'd liked to. I was feeling the guy was being distant, I was feeling rejected and with no way out. Either talk and make things worse, or be silent.
Silent has never stood out to me as the right choice (even when it has been) so I took to warming up a bit to Captain Morgan, and after a while that pirate got me a little rowdy.
It all began with the itch of an eye and I said "Damnit. I think I got that eye thing again. Did I tell you, last week I kept waking up with my eyes all sticky and crusted shut?"
The guy asks "why are you telling me this?"
And that was enough to shoot this cannon off. I already didn't feel he found me attractive, may as well seal the deal right? May as well let him know just how gross it can get and find out now if he wants to stick around. (Captain Morgan had totally comandeered this ship by now and i'd like to say this was his answer not mine)

"Because I'm gross, ok, Guy. Because I can be gross and you should know that! I have bodily functions, did you know that?"
"I know that," Guy is trying not to let this go any further. Wasted efforts.
"You know, Guy, I dont think you do know that. You're a photographer. 99% of the context in which you see women they are perfect and beautiful. That's got to have tainted your perception of them whether you like it or not."
"No, it has not."
"Oh yeah?" (there's no stopping me now) "Well what if we took a trip to Mexico, and I accidentally drank the water and had to develop a very close relationship with the toilet?!" At this point i'm thrusting my arm in the direction of said toilet as if sending a kid to time out. I've also gotten Guy's attention.
"I would have no problem with that." He says, "but I'm not going to take a photo of you doing it because it wouldn't be particularly lucrative for my career."

What do you think? I really won back my dignity with this one huh? least it was funny.

Friday, March 19, 2010

We All Got Traumas

First off i'd like to say my relationship with this blog is officially the strongest one in my life at the moment. I set out, determined to go for an hour power walk, but fifteen minutes into the walk had thought up a storm for my new post and made a u turn and high-tailed it back to my computer. I guess I should just take this bad boy with me wherever I go huh?

I don't quite know how to get into this post, but I can start with this: at some point, some how, we all either have or will experience an event that will show us that there are no guarantees. I don't mean guarantees that you'll like the new thigh master you ordered off an infomercial. I am talking about getting hurt, emotionally. There are no guarantees against that.
I was thinking about the different ways people deal with this realization. I have friends that are seemingly the cheeriest people I know--applying for every job they want, chatting with every guy they find cute etc. They see something they want and they charge forward.
"Well, this person has clearly never had anything bad happen to them." That has been my thought about these sorts of people. And i've been proven to be a fool many a time. And good! What a relief, what a giant relief, to find out that a friend of mine, one of the happiest people I know (she even claims to be one of the happiest people SHE herself knows) had a boyfriend who committed suicide years back. I get no relief, no joy, from this fact. The relief comes from knowing that shutting down isn't the only option after an experience like that.
But for some people, they believe shutting down is the only option. We all know someone like this--someone who will not go on dates anymore, someone who has given up on trying to publish their novel, etc.. And when you prod them--whether it be delicately, lovingly, or whether it be more of a "get your ass up and DO something!"--they will break down and they will say "I just can't, I just can't. Not after (insert traumatic experience here) happened!"
While our impulse in moments like these is to tell the person all the reasons why that most likely will NOT happen again, I resist that impulse. I would be a bad friend if I indulged that impulse. This is the truth--it's hardass, there's no silver lining, but this is it--there is no guarantee that won't happen again. I am telling you right now, there is absolutely no guarantee. Know this. Just know this, and decide what you want to do with this fact.
I said this to someone recently and he said "I don't see how you would know anything about this."

Well, actually, I have all the reason in the world to be cynical should I choose to be. Here's my sob story. My father was a bigamist. No joke. Second wife, second set of children, 20 years out of his 22 year marriage to my mom. If I wanted to decide that people were shit, If i wanted a reason to provide whenever people asked me why I don't reach for more--I could take that reason. It's right there waiting for me. But....ok, so what? So now what? Nothing. Then you stop. No one is going to say "oooh, ok. no no, i get it. ok well, why don't we send you to the island of the traumatized and you can watch cartoons and eat pudding. Nobody will ask you to do things anymore there that you're afraid of. You are exempt from that."
Fun sounding island huh? And you know, in our own ways, we can create such islands for ourselves. But--it turns out, they're not very satisfying!

And there are some folks who I don't even want to grab them by the shoulders and say "look, there is no guarantee you won't get hurt." Because they may not actually be ready to charge forward again. They may say "ok, i can do this." but more bad thing happens to them, and they just add it to the pile of reasons to not go forward. You do need to be determined to never look at a bad thing as a "reason to not go forward" again, before you, well, go forward again.
I hope this post didnt come off as cold hearted. I should come down from my thrown for a moment to say it took years of therapy, years of living on my island of cartoons and pudding, years of not dating or, being emotionally abusive (yes, me, as a defense to not be hurt) before I realized that there just simply never would be any guarantee, but living on that goddamn pudding island was not a life. It was the beginning of death.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

All Dignity Aside, in the Name of Humor

Now I know us bloggers are these highly intelligent, very cognitive beings. We identify ourselves by our minds. We’ll never meet; we’ll never see each other. Here, we are brains. Bodily functions..what? What are those?
Well, maybe we’re not supposed to do it, but I’m bringing a little bit of my body to this blog.
I paid a little visit to a stomach doctor recently, and met my mother for dinner right after. A grey-stone fountain trickled next to our table and waiters put one hand on their stomach and the other behind their back while taking your order in that polite, only five-star restaurant way. I ordered a filet mignon with some French sauce I cannot pronounce and then announced,
“Well, I had my first rectal exam today.”

Trying to keep this as proper of a moment as possible my mom cleared her throat and creased the napkin on her lap and said, “well, welcome to the world of women.”
I contorted my face and was about to say, “but mom—men have rectums too.”
But I held my tongue, and just looked at my mom in her crème, crewneck sweater from Ann Taylor, her Swarovski white diamond earrings and I got to thinking, I don’t think my mom and dad had the most adventurous of sex lives. And she never did have a son. Maybe she actually doesn’t know that men have rectums!

I’m only kidding. I love my mom, and I give her more credit than that. In fact I must, when I think back to when my dad had his first ever, unavoidable milestone that comes along with the senior discount packets—the colonoscopy. I remember him carrying around that giant jug of yellow liquid that was meant to “cleanse” pre-surgery and looked like a generic laundry detergent. He had to drink that thing all day and there was just no knowing when it would kick in so sometimes, mid sentence, his eyes would just about bulge out of his head and he’d suck his lips into his mouth and make a run for it.

And my mom wouldn’t laugh, wouldn’t even move or make a face to indicate anything was going on. She would just have a warm cup of tea and a back rub waiting for him when he came out of the bathroom.

So, I will take my mom’s warm welcome into “the world of women” as simply a welcome into the world of adulthood. A world in which things start to fall apart and we can no longer ignore this warm, bubbling, farting, aching, often flawed flesh that lurks beneath these immaculate minds (we are bloggers after all). Soon, there will be no dignity left. Only in the blogging world (and perhaps I have just stripped myself of that as well) Cheers!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Russians know how to Use Their Words

I am not referring to any peace treaty or anything historical at all for that matter. That's not my area of expertise.
However, in my Chekhov class, a guy gave a presentation on the Russian Language. He said that there are all these little intricacies to the syntax of their sentences, and letters that can be added here or there that can entirely change the meaning of a sentence.

(This guy looks like he is itching for some good conversation. Or that he has some celebrity gossip)

You add something like a "shk" at the end of a name basically just called the person an a-hole. Or you ad a "anya" at the end, and you called them "my darling." I'm not correct at all about these added letters but you get the point.
Basically, he was letting us know that we very well could have misinterpreted the entire meaning of most of the stories we have read in this class. All because of a WORD. But, it's true, if I were to realize now that one character was calling the other one an SOB at the end of every paragraph, it would certainly change things for me.
But are Words this important in real life? I must think they are because i'm an aspiring writer, and i've brought my "writeriness" to my real life a lot. My guy has pointed this out many a time, like when i'll be crying, andt it will be stormy and raining outside and i'll say "look at this goddamn pathetic fallacy." *pathetic fallacy is the notion that nature sympathizes with our human emotions.

It's times like these when my guy will just turn his palms up and go, "okay..what?" or "you like to write life"
(i scrunch up my nose at him and glare but secretly take it as a complement)

He and I...we get in the occasional tiff. And we both see therapists so we are know....the "communicative type" (said in the voice of the guy from the Clear-Eyes commercials) Don't get me wrong, i think it's great, I just want my readers to know that my nose isn't up in the air when I say that. I hear my therapist talking out of my mouth all the time and can't help but just laugh.
The point is, the guy and me, we can talk our way out of any argument. We can explain any bad feeling into non-existence.
"I thought when you did this, it meant this, so that's why I did that thing after that pissed you off."
"Oooooh. I get it. Ok, lets kiss and make up now."
We can be all puffed up and in fumes and then, piece by piece, strip away all the confusion. And that's great. Really, I think it's great.
And I said that to the guy once. And he said, "Ya, it is. But we shouldn't need words so much."
*GASP* I was one very offended aspiring writer.
But he said sometimes a feeling should be enough. A feeling can carry you through something. That we don't always need these explanations--if we feel the other one is trustworthy, loyal, whatever...we should come out of these things just fine without all these words.

What do all you bloggers think about that?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Never Too Old to Play Doctor

We may be older, but we still don't know what we're doing!

Diagnosis #1)
“You don’t let anyone get away with anything .” “ You don’t put up with any bullshit.” I have memories of various friends, at various times and places saying variations on the above statements to me. I have had many girls express their envy of me because I don’t put up with any nonsense from guys I date.
I started to reflect, two days ago when my roommate looked me square in the eye and professed that same admiration of me—I started to reflect on the context in which these statements have been said to me. And it hit me. Every girl who has said this to me has done so in the midst of complaining about some unfair way their boyfriend treats them. They talk about the bullshit they put up with from their significant other. Then they, the ones in the relationships, say to me, who is chronically single, that they admire my zero-tolerance for bullshit.
So I am going to pose a question that I’m sure I will spend the rest of my life discovering the answer to—is there inevitably a certain amount of bullshit, of “letting things slide” that one has to do put up with in order to be in a relationship?
And if so, how much is too much? From my track record, it is clear that I decided that any amount of bullshit at all was too much.
The next time I have someone say that they admire this quality it me, I may just resent it. It could be proof that I have not grown or advanced at all---that I have not become more allowing or patient.
But actually...some one else did me the favor of pointing out just that...

Same Quality, Different Perspective:

Second Opinion)
“You think everyone is going to hurt you. You just think people will hurt you.” I visited my sister recently at her Co-op in Berkeley, where people hop beds nightly. I had just broken up with yet another guy because i had my regular zero tolerance policy for yet another batch of bs. My sister had no criticisms until I (and i'm not proud of this) had a few drinks and made a side comment about her promiscuity. So, the above statement is what my sister loudly exclaimed to me in front of three of her housemates. I have to admit, I deserved it. A somewhat uncomfortable silence ensued.
So what is she saying? That my being with no one is a sign of my fear that people will hurt me?
Well perhaps I think her being with everyone is a sign of that same fear in her.
Being with multiple people is the same as being alone.
Maybe we are both afraid of the same thing and have just chosen entirely different lifestyles to deal with it.
I miss my sister. But I missed her while she was right in front of me. I think we are missing each other.
What do I care how she deals with our shared fear? (well, health concerns aside) We're trying to play doctor to each other when we're both a patient.
I just dont want her to have that fear. I dont want either one of us to. Here we are criticizing one another's symptoms, when they come from the same cause.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

God Disguised as a Cleaning Lady

I walked for two hours yesterday through the Beverly Hills neighborhoods--every single home demanded a second look. Steel, grape-vine gates protecting warm yellow stucco walls, steep lawns with red brick stairs zigzagging through them, leading to white wooden-planked homes with french shuttered windows. You get the picture--they were beautiful.
"I want this," I thought, "I can't wait to have this." I became intoxicated with ambition, picturing myself clicking heels down the halls of a fast-paced office, poking my head into rooms to spurt out a few, short words of office jargon that i don't even understand because i made them up. I was picturing all this, with one of these lovely homes as the background to my fantasy--a smile on my face knowing i got to come home to that.
At the peak of my daydream, I was affronted. There was a smoker--a SMOKER! in the middle of chirping birds and kids learning how to bike in their driveways full of bmw's and range rovers. A woman, in a red, over-sized Tommy Hilfiger t-shirt, washed out looking jeans and sneakers. A whole outfit from target or walmart i would imagine. Her skin and teeth were a little yellow (i would know because she gave me a tired smile) and her figure was lumpy, awkward. Not the trim toned mothers you would expect in this neighborhood. And puffing out her smoke--something a little grungy in this clean, clean place.
A trim, toned woman poked her head out a window and yelled "Manuela! Las ventanas en la cocina, por favor!" and my smoker flicked out her cigarette and rushed inside.
She was a housekeeper. In this picturesque scene, in the middle of my daydreaming, i couldn't help but feel suprised, a little off even, about her presence in the middle of it all. And I was ashamed. I was ashamed that I needed traces of other kinds of lives out of the picture in order for me to enjoy my picture. And I remembered a very, very different account of a housekeeper I wrote just a year ago, when I wasn't daydreaming about Beverly Hill homes yet. Here:

There is a cleaning lady sitting on the swing set behind me. I saw her in the library bathroom today, and very early this morning right outside my dorm. Just cleaning. But now she is thinking and she is alone and she deserves it. Maybe it’s clichĂ©, I shouldn’t make assumptions. She could be a bitch, a hard-ass mother, or narrowminded, or completely intolerant. But I cant help but feel complete warmth towards her. I always feel that way towards cleaning ladies. We run around thinking all our tasks are so important. So important that cleaning is just an inconvenient frivolity.
Now she is humming. She is back there swinging and humming and I want to go sit in the sand in front of her and lay my head back in her lap and have her stroke my hair. Does she feel the position we impose on her? Doe she really look at us as the gods we think we are and have faith that we are doing great, important things and cant be bothered with cleaning?
Or does she feel bad for us? I feel like she has a wisdom that knows that all my fears, and ambitions, an silly goals are so small in the scheme of things. We are like a bunch of chickens running around with our heads cut off. We are like busy little ants, frantically running around, running, running until we die. And she is god, disguised as a cleaning lady. Keeping things simple. Watching us. Pitying us. Knowing us. Oh god the humming. This is one of those moments worth living for. I don’t deserve to be so close to this intimate moment of hers. Just within earshot of her solitude. Probably her first god damn moment of solitude all day. Maybe if she could read this she would be like “damn, this girl thinks way too much, I’m just swinging and waiting for my ride!” Some maintenance men just arrived and are speaking to her vividly in Spanish. She is walking away with them. Good. They should take her. It was too good to be true to have her back there, all to myself. But I will never forget that humming.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Death can kick up the Life back in Us!

My dad is having brain surgery. Again.
And suddenly I'm looking down at myself, oversized (let's face it, smelly) sweatshirt, yoga pants and the blankets that have adorned me for the past 6 hours as I've babied a hang over and..i'm thinking...i'm alive and Im making no damn use of it! I've been stagnant for hours. Oh my god, I need to change this!
You know you do this. But people do it to varying degrees.

You hear about a death. There is no sugar coated way to say it. Or, you hear about a surgery and suddenly you're forced to remember that the capabilities of our bodies don't necessarily grow with our dreams and aspirations. We are highly cognitive beings. We look up and out at the world around us, always scanning and scheming towards what we want but...we can forget that we are, inevitably, linked up to this thing of flesh beneath us that we don't often look down at.

I take that back. There are plenty of very vain people who look at their physical selves all the time. But we never think about the inner workings. There are intestines writhing around under your cute corset. When we're trying to look hot, we can forget our mortality.

When we are fashioning ourselves to be these unique beings...we forget our undeniable commonality..

No, not that...

I mean that we are these guys' #1 Client

So we are reminded of death and suddenly....

Why did I leave that last boyfriend? Why am I sitting in this cubicle? Why don't I go sit down at strangers' tables at a Starbucks and ask them their life stories?

Why don't I be a little bit more, well, Alive?! Because I was just reminded that I wont be forever! And possibly not for as long as I thought I would be!

We can be reminded for a moment that death has no regard for our plans, so we throw those plans out the window.

The moment I heard of my dad's surgery I thought of my boyfriend. We are on a break at the moment.
But when I heard of my dad's surgery I thought "this is silly! why aren't we together this very instant! what were we arguing about in the first place! God Damnit why arent our warm, ALIVE, bodies with each other right now!"

I'll tell ya why. Because that whole desperately loving-life high would last for about 8 hours, 10 at best if we slept in the next morning. There would be a great, emotional, I gotta have all I can of you sex-session, then there would be sleep. Then we would wake up and one of us would speak. Inevitably about something, anything at all, other than this looming-death concept. Because well...we're not dead. And there's coffee to make and appointment books to check. We'd still be alive. It wasn't goodbye. Those plans we tossed out are just sitting at the door waiting and so are all the frustrations we had before. And then we'd feel like fools.

I know it's said "live every day to the fullest" but....I say...
don't be a fool. If we actually "lived each day to the fullest" we would be doing crazy shit! Does going to work 5 days a week sounds like living life to the fullest? no. exactly.
so if we followed that logic, we would be broke and homeless within a month.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sex and Skeletons

* * * (Written two years ago)
“What can I do for you?” Dr. Michelle Warren eyed me over her reading glasses. Her question irritated me. She knew what I was there for.
“I haven’t gotten my period in 4 months.”
We went over the routine questions, making sure I wasn’t pregnant, didn’t have cancer, wasn’t doing blow etc…then we did some x-rays which finally determined, as I knew all along that:
“This is a nutritional problem.” Dr. Warren fanned out the x-rays on her desk like a deck of cards. “You need to get enough fat in your diet. You need to have enough fat on your body. Your uterus has shrunk immensely. If we don’t reverse this soon, you may have difficulty conceiving. Essentially, your body has resorted back to a pre-pubescent stage.”
No wonder I hadn’t been much fun with my boyfriend in the bedroom that past summer—no sex drive when you’re pre-pubescent.
Dr. Warren lifted her all-concerned tone. “They’re doing a study on this kind of thing at Columbia University. It’s becoming an epidemic. You would be a perfect candidate. They’ll pay you.”
Oh. My. God. I had become a statistic. I refused to do the study.
* * *
Back at my dorm, on my roommate’s bed a saw a recent issue of Mary Claire, and from a Marc Jacob’s add on the back, a girl lying naked in a field with only blades of grass covering up her privates peered back at me. She wore that exhausted look that has become so prevalent among models today. Her eyes were empty—starvation. I recognized this look from somewhere else…oh yeah, the mirror.

(Have we forgotten all the wonderful things our tummies can do?)

I began thinking about this epidemic--these girls who had shrunk and dried up their insides far before the conventional age of drying up. We were sexless. We had given up our sex in order to be sexy. The trouble is, the more the girls become
sexually desirable (skinny) the less they are able to perform when the show is really on—to satiate the desires they have induced in men. The more they become desired, the less they desire in return. Still I couldn’t help but notice that skeletal women were popping up all over magazines and music videos—places where they are offered for the benefit of men. Is this what men want now? I asked myself and, why?

In my high school psychology class, we watched a video on eating disorders. I remember one boy, completely dumb-founded, asking, “why would a girl want to look like that? She looks like a skeleton.” Our teacher offered the explanation that it is not how the girl physically looks that a man may be drawn to, but rather what that appearance says about her character. She explained that self-discipline is a trait that some people find appealing.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Breaks are for the Weak!

Well...I used to think breaks were for the weak. To be clear, I mean breaks from romantic relationships. Because, really, who doesn't love a good Spring Break in Cancun? Or a bathroom break at school or the office where you actually call your friend really fast because you're dying to tell them something!

But when it comes to love...I used to think "taking a break" was for people who were too afraid to do what they knew they had to do. But I'm beginning to realize that "taking a break" simply means admitting, hey, I don't KNOW what to do.
It's ok--great, liberating, actually!--to admit you don't know the answers to everything.

I've broken up with a good deal of guys in my day. I thought that made me strong--deciding on the spot that this one was no good. I KNEW the answer...did I though? Or are we simply terrified of grey areas?

Something I'm learning recently, there are a LOT of grey areas. It's actually quite possible that the colors black and white don't even exist. Second thing I'm learning--I am scared as hell of grey areas!

I used to believe movement--constant movement, capacity for change--was strength.
What if sometimes staying is strength? This probably varies for everyone. In my case, I'm great at breaking things off with a guy, moving schools (I've been to 3 universities!) even deciding a friend is no good because they mess up once.
And my friends and family have always told me "you're so strong for making the changes you need to."
I could only smile and nod at this for as long as I needed to lie to myself. I knew deep inside that...I was weak for considering change and movement as my only option.

Some people of course (and we all know them) go on thirty "breaks" within the same relationship, stay at the job they come home crying from daily, continue to have lunch with the friend that puts them get the point. Some people are terrified of change and are willing to live constantly in the grey area.
And i'll say it again--the grey area is something that MUST be acknowledged. But then it must be worked through. And it's a job that I can imagine never really ends. It's a constant struggle but one that, I think (and hope!) brings a constant source of gratification.
Not necessarily gratification because everything turns out just the way you wanted--but gratification actually, from knowing you were able to consider all sides, able to consider the possibility of you being wrong...or, for some people, able to consider that the other person is wrong and hey, you're right about this one!

Just taking the time to consider, which can be a scary thing to do, is gratifying. Because it's brave.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What if Othello had seen a therapist?

I think some people believe in the notion of a tragic flaw. We probably all know someone who depends on this notion. Maybe an alcoholic, a perpetual cheater, let's say of the "high fidelity" sort, or someone who just can't seem to stay out of a good bar fight. And when we ask them why, Whyyy, do you continue to do this, they hang their head, maybe shake it slowly a few times for dramatic effect before looking up at us with those sad, exhausted puppy eyes (as if they are even exhausting themselves with their behavior) and say something like:
"Because it's just what I do."

A friend's boyfriend pulled out this line on me once. He was drunk (even though he had sworn to his girlfriend not to drink anymore because alcoholism ran in the family and he without fail did something he regretted each time he drank) and he passed the open door to a room I was sitting in, stumbled his way over to me, put his hands on my shoulders and said "I really want to kiss you right--right now" Did i mention this guy had cheated on his girl before?
I almost laughed (an angry laugh) and rolled my eyes (this was such old news) and asked, "why do you do this?"
and then he hung his head and did the whole above-described song and dance.
I wanted to smack that self-pitying look off his face and say "this is not a Shakespearean tragedy!"

I understand there are exceptions--some people really do have illnesses like nymphomaniacs and true, true alcoholics--but something rung non-genuine to me about this self admittance--this recognition and even articulation of what this guy was doing while he was doing it.

He had that line ready, "it's just what I do" as if I was just going to swallow it up. As if I was going to say "aaaah, this is your tragic flaw that leads to your downfall and you are a tragic hero."
NOPE! sorry.
I never thought I would bring my English Majoriness outside the classroom but, I can't help but recall the last scene in Othello when he is about to kill his wife and he says , "that i do groan with all, thou art to die." A.k.a...
"Oh baby it hurts me too to do this to you but, I gotta do it" and as we know he ends up thinking, "shoot! what have i done?"

What if he had stopped right there and said, "woah. I have issues. Desdemona, babe, I think we should take a break while I see a therapist and work some of this out."

Why do people fall back on these "tragic flaws"? Why do they choose to trip over the same stone every time?
My guess is this:
If they don't mess things up in the same way they always do then they have to--oh my god, could it really be--they would have to leave things to their natural course. They would make themselves vulnerable to something else messing things up--something unexpected, something out of their control perhaps.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Catch 22 of Saving Room for Love

(Hey, if I'm going to steal part of my title from his song, may as well put him up here)

Everything we do makes us who we are. I mean the jobs we work, our hobbies, the volunteer work we do, the amount of time we leave for socializing. All of these things make up our temperaments and our overall happiness/positivity/depression/ name it.
I was having dinner with some friends last night, just a couple of kids in their twenties about to graduate college, and we were trying to answer the question: when do you start making a little more room for an "other" ? And I don't mean a martian, although the word "spouse" does sound that out-of-this-world to us right now!
The Catch 22 is this though (and i'm already realizing it to a lesser degree with my boyfriend) :
Guy meets girl. Guy thinks girl is fun, upbeat, motivated, intriguing. Guy wants more time with this girl. That is time FROM this girl. Time time time...that thing that is eaten up by all the above listed activities.
I'll start speaking in the first person now. A little bit of time needs to be given up on all of, if not some of, the other things I do to make time for love in my life and suddenly...i'm not the same person my guy asked to spend time with in the first place. I'm a little less happy if i dont see my friends as much, I feel a little bit ashamed of myself if my grades start get the point. And it filters Directly into my relationship with the guy. Making time for the relationship taints the relationship!
The interesting part to me here is's all about the thoughts we let in (or don't let in).
My family friend is 53 years old and has just within the last 3 years gone to cooking school (never went to college) and now has began her own catering company.
I asked her, honestly, "what were you up to in your life before i met you?" and she answered, "honestly, not much." She said she got married when she was twenty, started having her three kids, and just followed her husband where his work took him and loved him as best as she could so he could do his work as best as he could. But she realized at 50 years old she had never made money for herself, or just never really made anything for her self.
"And that never bothered you before?" I asked, and she literally spit out a little bit of her coffee and screwed up her face and exclaimed, "why think like that?"
And it's true. We make a choice on how we see these things. I become a little down because I feel I'm slipping in my ambitions--i look at giving love to someone and giving up some of my personal life as a Failure. Why not look at loving someone, really, completely and dedicatedly loving someone, as a success?
I don't actually know my opinion on any of this. I am far too young to give up the ideal of going for everything I want, having huge career ambitions and all that. But, but....I think the issue of making room in your life for love will be an issue at all ages. And this friend of mine--her tactic of dealing with that issue, was choosing to look at it as, well, a non issue. The power of thought is incredible.
I'm wondering what some of my readers' experiences have been with making room for love? (Sorry to sound like John Legend)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pilates Killed the Romance

I have to write a disclaimer here: this post certainly wont apply to all--I do not know my readers' priorities and could never judge them.

Most fashion/lifestyle magazines today give you reasons and tips to get out of bed and get your butt to a gym. If you want that kind of advice, there is no shortage of it out there. But in my opinion, and as a person who has suffered with and (luckily!) overcome an eating disorder, I think all the rage about physical health these days can be a little, well, mentally unhealthy. So if you even have an inkling that maybe, just maybe, you're fixated on body image more than you'd like to be, this post could give you something to mull over...maybe something to make you feel better about cutting yourself some slack!

* * * * *
“My fat stage.” This is something I have heard almost all women say they went through at one point in their lives. Showing me photo albums, my friends will flip through the section of their freshman year of college, or the months following a break up, and chuckle (with relief), “and this was my fat stage.” My mother never had a fat stage. She is one of those women who complains they are getting chubby and are just, well, not. I remember early in the morning hearing her gasp and shriek as she dipped into the pool. She would swim laps almost daily. I think of myself in the mornings with my most recent boyfriend. These were the moments of highest intimacy. We whispered, although no one was around to be woken up. But quiet speech is just the natural tendency of people in the mornings, so it gives every conversation held at that time the air of a secret. The world does not know you are up yet—it doesn’t know it can ask things of you yet—so you can steal a few extra, precious moments with the person you share a bed with. I realize now that my dad shared the bed with no one early in the mornings. My mom’s side of the bed was empty long before my dad awoke. She was swimming laps. Or running on the beach. Like I said, my mom never had a “fat stage.” She has always looked frail enough to be broken down by a whisper from across the room.
* * * * *
The definition of the word recession is “the act of withdrawing or going back.” My mother had withdrawn her request to be full, and her slender body, along with her empty side of the bed, are testimony to this.
* * * * *
A study done on how ideals of beauty change over time has found that during recessions “older, heavier, taller” Playboy Playmates of the Year are chosen (Pettijohn 1). My parents are divorced now. And my dad has a new girlfriend, measuring at about five foot, seven inches, a size twelve, and sporting a short blonde bob, she is a modern Marilyn Monroe.
"I always liked a little tummy on a woman," my dad says.

Don't be afraid to have a body that's a little unconventional