Thursday, December 31, 2009

As I Lay Spending the Week Reading Faulkner

**A Note Before We Begin: I've spent the whole week absorbed in As I Lay Dying, which is a great way to spend the week, but a bad way to study for exams. [Exams be damned--I am a dumbass anyway!] I wrote this yesterday after finishing the novel and feeling totally fucked up. Skim at your leisure/risk!

Reimagine Sisyphus as a woman. Reimagine Daniel Day-Lewis in Nine as a woman. Do not tell me I make everything about gender; it was already that way. Do you want to tell me that I should be grateful for waking up, for being allowed to read all day, for making coffee? Do you want to tell me that my profession is going down the tubes? Do you want to ask me about my own fallopians? Do you? Imagine your disembrained women serving you food while showing you the vast majority of their titties. Imagine my disembodied men writing novel after novel while I get to read. What is consumer culture? What is consumer culture? Do I feel dirty after reading a novel? Do I?

I do.

An old marriage and an old divorce spring back to life and they haunt me. What did I know and when did I know it? An old December comes back and I remember hanging out in a bathtub, crying, saying, “I meant what I said. I meant what I said. I meant what I said.” I meant it when I said it, otherwise I wouldn’t have said it.

I think time means more things that can haunt you. Yet it’s more of the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s my first marriage (will there be more?) or if it’s my choice of college. I tend to think: I’ll pick better the next time around.

Sisyphus: doomed, right? He’s doomed. Push that fucking rock up the fucking hill one more time it’s not one thing after another it’s the same fucking thing over and over again over and over again. In a box, in a Pandora’s box, on top of which my mother sits. She does not want to go there, and I say, it will be fun it will be alright it will be better to excavate those thoughts instead of letting them play in the dark where they may or may not be bigger or scarier than you think. In the dark exists a witch and a man with a computer and the computer is actually light from the moon shining in on your bedroom wall, but you don’t know that because you are only six and when you are six, the whole universe glimmers with fear. Anything could be a scary story; anything could change at the end. You don’t really think things would be that scary you think they are saving you from something horrible or you think they are too dumb to really scare you. Those are the only options how stupid do you think I am and do you really want to continue this?

I’ll make it worse. Oh I can make it so much worse. Don’t tempt me because now I’m tempted and once I’m tempted you don’t even want to know. I will take your very soul. You won’t even know I’m doing it. You won’t know you had a soul that looked like that until I came along and gave you a gaping bloody hole where your soul should have been. You can’t give up something you actually were in possession of. Oprah and company, shut the fuck up. Just shut up already. Don’t you even tell that woman that she shouldn’t talk to her ex-fiancé anymore. Do you know what this woman wants? Does she want to actually get married and live a fairytale life? That fairytale comes at a price. That fairytale comes by denying that you wanted to fuck that no-good punk on the park trail just because god gave you a vagina and he gave you free will and you happen to have a condom in your wallet and your wallet is on your person because what if you died and someone needed to know who you were. What if. All I’m saying is that your fairytale will happen only by forgetting some of your most basic desires. Your most basic desire to play with stupid men and pretend they are smarter than they think they are and they think they are pretty smart. Forever you are playing the same game. Forever you are playing connect the dots. Connect the fucking obvious dots you know that you are making a noose. A noose around your goddamned head and don’t ever forget it. Make lemonade and connect the dots. You are so lucky that I forget so much each day. You are so lucky that I wake up in the morning meditate smile and say thank you otherwise your entire world would be fucked. You think you know so much? Watch me. Just watch me shake it up.

Sisyphus says as she slides down to the bottom of the hill, only to take up the boulder again. This time, does she smile? Will she smile and can she smile and what does it matter. If taking that boulder up the goddamned hill one more goddamned time is her lot in life, then what does it matter how she approaches it.

Look around. Look around and we are all carrying our own boulders. Cash says that it takes other people to determine whether you are insane or sane. I agree, Cash, William Faulkner; I agree. So what will happen while Darl is in jail and when Dewey Dell has the baby and what will happen when pa eats the victuals the lord intended him to eat? You men never tell me enough; I can never be satiated I am, like Guido, an appetite and I will run everyone dry. You look around you look around. Your hill. Your rock. Your trek up and your trek down. Common values? You expect me to find a mate with common values? What about the common value of failing at committing suicide? I will put myself in a pack with my sister and a good friend. My lover? Where will my lover be? Where? Death comes. Death comes for all of us and sometimes it sounds like the next great adventure and sometimes it sound so boring and sometimes it makes no sound at all. I die every day and I think I am alive now I am not I am a ghost. I haunt Tulsa, Oklahoma and I haunt this apartment and somehow I have these creatures around me I call them cats and they get enough food and water to survive are they ghost cats or are they real cats or are they guardian angels or are they devils. What are they. What are they and how do we classify. Oh science. Oh the scientific name oh naming oh death. It’s funny, isn’t it. It’s funny that we have all the answers right in front of us that Amour does not know how beautiful she is or that she holds the entire world in the palm of her hand. She does not know this and you know swank swank swank I jiggle my keys in my dress pants she reminds me of a young me. Fuck you and your memories of yourself. Do you remember that once you tried to dry hump everything in your path? Do you remember that? Do you remember anything that is unvaluable having no value in creating this image of who you think you are?

I don’t think so. I don’t think you know. I don’t think you know which foot you put in front of another up that fucking hill. Do you want to play a game. Let’s play a game. It’s called it’s called anything you want it to be called and it’s a game you made up all on your own. Drop the boulder or don’t. Live or don’t. Live or die but don’t spoil everything that’s what Anne told us. Anne told us this in her poetry in an epigraph in someone else’s words. Live or die but don’t spoil everything. This excess energy I have this excess energy is meant to go into nurturing. By meant, I mean, could. This excess energy could be nurturing someone else teaching someone else. I don’t know how to do that because I do not believe that things should be nurtured. This life? Tell kids not to be born. Tell them. Tell them now! Say, dear Mary Mary Mary, why were you born? Why? What will she answer? What can her three month old brain and mouth tell us that we can understand? I do not understand anything and I think I am a nurturer. I am a destroyer. I am not anything. I am a piece of shit composed of others’ pieces of shit; that’s a scientific fact I am not bragging or setting myself apart by tearing myself down. You think you know me? Look around and look around and look around. The hill ahead of you? The boulder on your back? Look around? Can you?

I will give you a very simple task she said she said your two problems are coming together and you could write a porno and I wonder will a porno ever be made that could satisfy me what could satisfy me an eternal appetite. What will have cunt licking and brains and some bondage. What. What. What will have stranger sex. What. I said I will give you a simple task and all you have to do is write a nipple novel because you are so wise and you don’t even know it. So wise for recommending that lotion to me and I love you and you have no idea the power of my love. I continue. But nobody asks me. Nobody asks me if I love them because my answer is yes yes and always yes. Do I love you? Haven’t I always loved you and there is no difference between love and Anse—right Addie?! Right, Addie, you old dead woman who did you sneak and out and fuck it was Mr. Tull, wasn’t it wasn’t it and wasn’t it. It was. You cannot lie to me because you don’t want to and I want to know Addie if you love me. What will you tell me to do? What will you tell me to do? What? What did you tell Faulkner and what is he telling me? There must be a way to know everything, don’t you think? Don’t you think? Don’t you think. You do think, Addie, you dead girl there in Jefferson decayed and decomposing you and your flesh your smelling dying flesh that is only beginning to live as another creature’s food and shit. What will you tell me Addie beyond the grave. These characters that someone else made up; I could give a shit. I could give a shit and I could give a shit. Watch me write them. Watch me and watch me and look around. Look the fuck around.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Energy All Over

Period ending and cramps ending and present-making continuing and starting. Some friends emailed, some still not. Nobody, except the immediate, tangible, touchable people, will get a Christmas present on time from me. That is how it goes in this body these days. The generosity of others is overwhelming and everywhere! Also everywhere: traffic accidents. Traffic accidents. What to do when an ambulance is right behind you and things, bodies (heads) are caught in stares and no one knows if it's ok to move forward? What happens? It is human. It is human to stall out and to push until you can't go. The car is falling apart, but don't worry, males in my life, I will attend to it--sooner and not later. Blinds are closed and body is unwashed and a secret outfit lies in the closet and secret music lies in the computer and soon there will be no choice but for the Universe to reach out and help me direct this energy into creating objects for people that I love. A sputtering out in the last month has meant nothing except for time to build a home and time to develop love so that these objects can have the best of what I have to offer. Today all is whirl--the day before yesterday was all in a whirl--all is whirling and this is the best of what I have to offer. To say thank you eternally was not my idea, but it is a great one. Thank you, eternally.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Preference and Attachment

There are quite a few areas in which I would like to polish my Grand Theory Regarding Life and the Universe. I'll pick one for tonight (this restless, alive, dragging night!):

In regards to my opinion on preferring being yourself and hearing/speaking your own voice, I would just like to add that once you become attached to preferring a certain aspect of yourself, then I don't really think you're being your genuine self. (Why did I use "you"? Geez, I hope I don't sound accusatory/officious! It would be my preference to be read as good-natured through and through!)

Concrete-ish example: one of my biggest fears is that of being excluded and missing out on something because I experience this as rejection and nullification of who I am. To illustrate: as a child I would try to touch and notice the most ordinary and out-of-the-way things. In the airport, for example, I would reach out and touch the wall or watch a spot for as long as I could and I would think, "Who knows? Maybe I am the only person who has ever touched or seen that very particular space. Or who knows who else could have touched or watched this very spot?" I've always wanted to be an individual and to belong to a community (an exclusive community, yet not exclusive in the sense of being above others--exclusive in the sense of being very specific).

I've always wanted my specificity to be shared among everyone, so when I have been uninvited (to anything, even the shitter when someone needs to take a crap--that is no joke), I have viewed it as a rejection of who I am.

This started to change, naturally, as I have gotten older and have realized that, naturally, people have varying motivations for doing things. Sometimes when I am uninvited it is a rejection, and sometimes my presence isn't even something someone has thought of or could give a shit about. Like when, year after horrible year, I remain uninvited to the goddamn Academy Awards. I've always wanted to go to that event. But no-oh . . .

The point: I recognize many interpretations of any situation and can still be hurt or excited or anything about it. That feeling will change, so I think it would be wise to not become attached to any one feeling or perspective on/with a given emotionally charged situation.

I think this is what it means to become an observer of your own thoughts/emotions/life. I'm tentative because I just do not know. I think it means you're not always sure how you're behaving in a given moment, and you're ok with that uncertainty just because you have the sense that you'll know more later and you also have the sense that you may not even care about this in the future--you're just not attached. It's just how you feel/think now. And that doesn't make it less important or pressing; I guess I have the sense that permanence means certainty and that's just not true.

Something in the midst of all these posts lately (and, p.s., haven't I been on fire lately?! Man, I've never been smarter! Verbose, yes. Boring, maybe. Irrelevant, perhaps. But on fire! I mean, seriously, does anyone ever read this thing?! As Vic says, "I'm sure many people skim it.") that I've been realizing is just how much fear I have regarding uncertainty. Lately this has manifest as anger. But it has also manifest as me crying and laughing about the depths of my sensitivity and emotional range. I'd prefer to be laughing about my sensitivity, but if I become attached to that position, then I am denying that very sensitivity that I claim to embrace.

It's just weird because then I'm not sure whether I am laughing or crying, and so I am not sure how, exactly, I feel about anything. I have a general idea, one that I'm willing to try out, but I also need to be willing to revise (by being more specific or by just tossing out) my initial estimation.

Because that's all anything ever is: a process, a draft, a labyrinth.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Horizontal Hostility and Individual Identity

Last night I had the experience of being on the receiving end of what I perceived to be some horizontal hostility amongst women. This experience really unnerved me, to put it mildly! Primarily I was taken by surprise and my feelings were (and still are, to some extent) really hurt. But as is my tradition, I was thinking more about horizontal hostility and—well I’m going to wax broadly based on this one experience—I thought the situation was not so much about the man/men we were triangulating around or patriarchy in general.

Well, maybe patriarchy. Well, patriarchal thinking, perhaps. What I perceived last night and today was the great depths of insecurity we all harbor. I believe that we (do I mean women? do I mean Americans in this generation? do I mean humans? do I just mean “me”?) are taught that it is somehow harmful, yet necessary, to have preferences.

This one runs deep for me and I remember learning this lesson as a young child. When I was a kid, I was told that it was wrong to prefer the marshmallows over the oat pieces in the Lucky Charms. This is good advice to give a kid: Hey, kid, eat the good stuff, too! Yet I extrapolated that advice and somehow took away the lesson that I should not have any preferences at all--that I was wrong for liking the marshmallows.

This is such a silly example, yet this has applied to every facet of my life! I would often play elaborate games to somehow make sure that I wasn’t coercing my favorite things to show up. Who was I to prefer tastes, colors, friends, thoughts, people, tv shows, music? Who was I to choose what to study? How to spend a Friday night? Evaluate someone’s response?
I think we are taught to defend, explain, or ignore our preferences rather than just appreciating that we have preferences in the first place.

When it comes to the case of horizontal hostility, I believe women (in this case, but it could be whatever group that finds themselves with a commonality) are judging each other’s preference for their very identity. Speaking concretely, I mean I believed myself to be judged (and actually was, because I had a chance to talk with these women) based on things that had nothing and everything to do with myself. (Okay that wasn’t concrete!)

The situation was that last night a couple people believed that Scott and I were having an affair at the sake of some blonde woman, Courtney; a couple people didn’t know I was the same person they met a few months ago! So I was judged as a cheating hussy, and I know that judgment had nothing to do with anything about me. Yet I also perceived judgment towards specific parts of my observable body, and that felt very personal to me.

It’s like when you get a sense that you don’t like something, but you can’t name why, or maybe you are just jealous, so you pick a trite reason to justify your dislike. But when you realize you are wrong about that trite reason, your feeling of distaste doesn’t just evaporate—there’s something underneath it. What is underneath it is basically that you’ve been acting ugly and you don’t want to admit, accept, and even love your great ability and inclination to act ugly! (I think it’s like this: I think people with a great ugly side are artists—look how creative and imaginative they are! They do not operate under reality at all—how amazingly ordinary and yet generative to be so ugly!)

Since I have a competitive nature (or I have nurtured my competitive side; or both), I know what jealousy feels like. And I have been a catty woman. It all feels awful to me because I think it cuts to that early lesson of not having preferences. To me being on the receiving end of that horizontal hostility last night affirmed my belief that I am no better than anyone else, but that given a choice, I prefer being myself. I didn’t need to affirm these women and assure them that I was, in fact, just like them, nor did I need to congratulate myself for “giving them something to talk about,” so to speak. I did do both of these things, to a minor extent, though, and they both felt uncomfortable to me. Because in the end I think I’m learning to say hey, by all accounts that I am aware of right now, I chose nothing about my life situation! Nothing! And I’m just making do based on what I know about myself; and I’m taking a preference over these little choices I can make.

Does it matter, in the grand scheme of things, what my hair looks like? What I write? Who I sleep with at night? Where I live? What I’m addicted to? No—it really doesn’t matter. And we all know this; on some level we know that these little things are bullshit. But they are absolutely not bullshit if your very definition of yourself is reliant upon comparing your hair to other people’s hair, your writing to other people’s writing, your lovers to others’ lovers, your locality to another’s, your vice to someone else’s.

When I can say this is mine, based on my observations, choices, and constraints, but I know this could easily be changed--it could be yours or it could not be mine at all--is when we can revel in the mystery of individual preferences.

And when I prefer my own hair, writing, lover, home, addiction (oh, are they all the same?!) while recognizing that these things/people/abilities are vastly arbitrary, means I am preferring being myself. When I prefer being myself means I prefer when others are themselves—totally, truly, fully themselves. And it’s not easy; it’s really scary.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Problem Solved: I Am an American Gay Poet

Everything is so alive right now, yes? I feel as if I am posting from prison, where I am shouting out from my self-confinement, which stretches hundreds of years and across the United States. But it comes mostly from New York City and it comes mostly from my desk chair.

I am saying that I am in the tradition of Allen Ginsberg and Walt Whitman. I am saying that last night I dreamed I had an spur-of-the-moment affair with a man who did me in the ass in a parking lot while his girlfriend looked on and saw our pleasure-filled faces below the car. She called me later and said she couldn't be friends with me anymore or friends with any of my friends. I agreed, but couldn't tell her about the pleasure, though I wanted to, and I couldn't tell her that I had no claims to the friends of my friends. I became an outcast back in my old bedroom, with someone trying to decorate the walls and me telling a friend about the hotness of the affair, which occurred after I sat out on the swimming festivities with another friend, so that we could talk over her issues in the locker room while simultaneously making sure no one stole anyone else's purses, because they contained money and cell phones.

It is true that every experience is happening simultaneously. There is only now and we think we are so far removed from our history, but it is present present present, like Ellison says that Faulkner says. That Kay says that Buddhists say that I disbelieved because it was too much for me to think about. It's true. Kay does that--explodes and you are thinking, "What?! Why couldn't you say that earlier? I would be so much smarter now if you spoke up sooner." But she did and that's the point and she's your teacher and so are all your friends. We are so many people and we've had to multiply in order to see the vast expanse of our experience. We will shrink. Into one. My alter-ego: the cult leader. The Walt Whitman, the Allen Ginsberg. I read "America" out my window today. The window was closed and probably no one saw me, but I was nearby that Walgreens and right in front of all those fancy houses on the hill. I see one with all it's windows shut, and I think: what a waste. What a goddamn waste. If I lived there, I would pick one room and write right in front of the window. Like I'm doing now, in this rented apartment, which is too luxurious to be real. Your beautiful house is so beautiful. I will admire it for you because you might be too busy with your ambition and money and concern and family to do much else. I am not the girl wearing camouflage smoking a cigarette walking her dog outside my window. I don't do those things. I have never done those things. I only wear a camouflage hat and smoke cigarettes, but never while walking a dog. Only while shooting a gun, silly. I shoot guns. I admire the phallic; it takes me away with its audacity.

False consciousness, a betrayer of my sex. I admire my sex. I admire my body in the full length bathroom mirror. I have never felt more beautiful, although I have the complete wrong haircut right now. Although there is a ringing in my ears. This might be better spent in a personal file, but let's go public anyway. Let's go public and just say that time for me is sometimes a huge burden. I cry out loneliness and betrayal at night and I realize it has only been three days since I saw a friend and an hour since I saw my lover. Constant constant constant entertainment; boredom sinks; self is here and won't go away, no matter how long I rail. It doesn't matter how long. Our loves cut. Like a razor? Or is that too much?

It's too much because now is not a good time to formally introduce card theory. That edge; my optimism; so close by despair and delusion and anger and aversion. It is all so close by. Do you think I want to be your wife and raise your kids? Well you are right. Can you see me, a mother? Can you see me? Did you know that I had two children that I let a man keep from me? I believed I was a bad mom to the dogs I walked and fed every day. That happened to me. A woman sues for custody of her two dogs and I let a man convince me I couldn't nurture what I was already nurturing. I have two cats now. I cannot travel the world around. I cannot quit school. I cannot live that life because these two cats are saving my life. They need a place to call home because I just don't think they like to travel. They each shit in their cardboard crates when we go across town. They soil their own home. They like the night the best. They like under the covers and by me and last night I pretended to be asleep only to yell and jump at Queenie in order to scare her. That was immature, but it made me laugh. I was always hiding and trying to scare; I don't know why. I don't know why the most immature things make me laugh, like okra up my nose the other night I will show you a booger and I will show you what else I keep hidden. No I won't! Well, I will show you that booger. I will show you some dirty thoughts. Dirty thoughts are everywhere and we don't know what it means to express to make a mistake to live. I will assure you that. I will assure you of what we don't know. But that's ok because I don't know anything. I don't know what it means to inhabit a body, to live in a time, to be in this place called America on the brink of a year that doesn't make any sense: 2010. Did anyone think we would last this long? It doesn't make sense. In fourth grade I thought we'd be dead by now. In second grade I thought the sun would explode by now, even though Dad said that was very very very very very very unlikely. But he didn't say impossible. How was I to know I shouldn't stare at the sun waiting to see it die? How did I know that so-and-so and mrs-so-and-so weren't coming over that Sunday night and I wasted the whole night playing and waiting for them to come. My regret at having wasted time; my bitterness over the passing of time. I thought they knew I was waiting; I thought they would know to tell me that I didn't have to wait anymore. They just thought I was playing, but there was so much other stuff I could be doing if I knew that I didn't have to wait anymore. Or not. Maybe there is nothing else I would do except for draw faces on the chalkboard over and over again. I would draw my face years later over and over again. Do you want to see them? You can't because they burned up. They burned up. I could try to draw my face again, but this haircut is all wrong and now I have wrinkles and the last thing a woman needs is parenthesis on her face. If grammar should be anywhere, it should not be on a woman's body for fucking crying out loud. That grammar. Keep that grammar off. Prescriptive postscriptive, it doesn't matter. Who do you think you are and what are your limits and are you right all the time? All you right all the time? Are you right all the time? Ask yourself; will you ask yourself?

I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by Walt Disney and illiteracy. I have seen the best minds destroyed by freshman composition and by checkboxes. I have watched my mind melt away in the midst of national singing competitions. When I come alive. When do I come alive? It is in between articles in a magazine. A tick-tock of consumerist pull telling me everything, but not telling my anything that is actually valuable. I remain where I am and sometimes that makes it easier for others to believe in their dishing out philosophy. Sometimes I make it easier for others to be who they are; reinforce their convictions. I think that is alright.

Where I live is not a difficult place. This? This is not difficult. It's really really easy to indulge and to write badly--everyone should try it! Everyone should have the opportunity to try it, but that is not always the case. Do I believe writing can save? Do I actually believe that? What would it matter? What would it matter that I am sweating out my armpits like a madwoman, that I am making love to this new scarf, that I have avoided Christmas shopping and lunch and that I don't know when to stop or what is going on? I don't know if it matters. I don't know if matters! What do I know? And am I right all the time?!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Any Truth to Old Beliefs?

From the Courtney Seemingly Subscribes to Backward Beliefs files: does anyone think it's true that women's imaginations are more sparked by reading than men's? Women who were agitated were encouraged not to read (and I'm not just talking about a hundred years ago, but even in far more recent time, like the 1970s). As I'm reading for comps (oh yes, that's me giving myself a huuuuge pat on the back), I'm getting sucked in to everything I'm reading. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser--more divorce and female autonomy, please! Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison--more American racial identity, please! And this time, guys, with more ANGER! More NERVE!

Additionally, I'm just going to say that reading, literally, makes me horny. From reading Spring's Progress on the Prairie blogs about WW2 propaganda and reading American literature and conversing with Mom and Scott about the economy, I am ready for a revolution. A fucking reading revolution. I'm going to look into this: Women Unbound.

On Facebook and Delusion

Recently I have found myself becoming very angry while reading some of my friends' status updates on Facebook. I become enmeshed in a web of judgment, which goes something like this, "You are not as cool as you want us to believe. Your life is not, actually, very difficult. You are not as self-deprecating as you would like us to think; nor are you very funny." I get in a snit like this every now and then.

I get in this mood especially when I think I see a hidden issue that my friend is ignoring, or is not fully expressing. This tends to make me sad because in the midst of this (what I perceive to be) posturing is a great deal of friends' self-judgement and, often, self-hatred.

I feel frustrated because, like any method of communication, a lot gets left out of Facebook, and other forms of online communication. I really think my friends are cool, persevering, tough, and funny, yet not often in the same way they see themselves. So it becomes difficult for me to be both a supportive friend and one who would like to promote an end to self-delusion.

In the past when I've felt this way I would be a little hard on myself and say, "Oh, isn't it so rough when you happen to know everything?!" I would make a joke about my feelings and morph my concern for others into self-righteousness, and then berate myself for that self-righteousness. And thereby minimize whatever genuine care I had for other people.

In a roundabout way, these feelings and this pattern in connected to my own sense of importance. I think, "So-and-so shouldn't feel that way; just talk to me, and I will listen to you!" I get angry because I feel unimportant. And I feel unimportant, because I am accustomed to shitting upon myself. I know you know what that is like!

As I take time to explore my anger, I see how it's showing me the image of myself that I operate under. The very phrase, "I'm angry" supposes a sense of identity. Who is this "I" that feels angry?

I think anger is related to a false sense of self, and that it is asking us to reconceive, in least in some sense, who we think we are. In this state of self-reflection I have learned how difficult it is for me to share my genuine thoughts with others. Because, often, I genuinely believe I am very smart and compassionate. I genuinely believe that others are often wrong. This type of position tends not to endear me to many people! (Even while, at the same time, I know I have a certain charm about myself!)

I guess what I am saying is when I don't honor the part of me that believes it can see through other people's delusion, then I am not honoring myself, and I am claiming that my perspective is unimportant. This is the very same thing I do when I judge friends' Facebook posts, for example.

And when I judge myself as unimportant I become childlike and I throw tantrums when people are not noticing me. This is a completely unflattering part of myself, but it is there, and I notice this child, this child who often wails, "Why won't anyone play with me?!" I love that kid, and I am starting to play with her. (In fact, we played school yesterday and she read a whole novel, all by herself--what a big girl!) This girl likes the things she likes just because she does; perhaps she/we can stop spending time justifying those preferences?!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rockstar Attitude: Engage

I was talking to a dear friend the other day who mentioned that she feels like hugging me whenever she reads my blogs because she thinks I'm beating myself up.

I finally understand this! So, as Sister Ellie beautifully suggested, I've put that Analytical Brain Horse out to pasture, where I can feed this dear horse only the best the Universe has to offer. Thanks for all your heard work, dear Analytical Brain, and for all those races you won for me. Now please enjoy some rest as I attend to all your luxurious desires, with gratitude.

With that horse out playing, I have found my rockstar. This girl has pink hair right now and she is just not going to feel responsible for all the usual shit she feels responsible for. This includes, oh yes, all male anger that has been directed her way over the years. Especially grade-grubby students.

I will listen to your concerns, but rest assured I am your mirror. You don't even know me. You can't.

Girl and Boy Dress Up

Oh, just watch how well Scott and I clean up! I guess we embraced the excess of this Gilded Age and dressed to the nines--all for his company's Christmas party, which was held at the aquarium.

Just a comment: I, for the first time in my life, embraced my curvy body and acted like I could dress like a movie star. Regular ol' Courtney was pretty proud of movie star Courtney. And all Courtneys agree that Scott is the cutest boy ever in the entire Universe--how handsome!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Afternoon Thought from This Afternoon

So, my new apartment does not have an internet connection that I can steal from. I do think I'll purchase an internet connection; however, I'm considering not. Maybe I will cut down on the time I spend online? I have really liked using the internet to communicate with people, but I am starting to wonder how much it reinforces my sense of self, instead of challenging myself. Well, that's a dumb question. I'm trying to ask: how much of myself am I cultivating and shaping a particular way? I've found my anger spiking over a few things, and I wonder whether that anger has a chance to come out since I'm not doing some mind-numbing things online, like I like to do. I do read a lot online and watch movies, so I'd be sad to give that up in the comfort (oh the utter comfort!) of my home. What to do about this internet dilemma?

Late Night Thoughts from the Other Night

Man. Totally.

Because now I have to fake blog—which means I need to pretend that I’m pretending to not have an audience. Jesus. Can MY LIFE get ANY HARDER?

And can my hands smell any more like Wendy’s? Who do I think I am going to Wendy’s at, like, midnight? I have been feasting on fast food as if it were manna from Heaven. Although, to my dear credit, I threw away two of my fries because I was full and I don’t need to indulge, for crying out loud. Actually, that’s just how it’s been going these past few hours. I think: I need to be happy, and I try to seek out happiness and when I don’t need that particular thing anymore, then I move on. It may sound like I’m just seeking out gratification, and maybe that’s the case, yet I just don’t think that’s the complete case.

Thanks to my friends and family, I am starting to see how crazy I am. (Heehee!) Some of us cannot see who we are without seeing how we act. Some of us are just more tactile than others. Some others are more abstract. Tactile tactile tactile. Abstract abstract abstract. Form form form. Content content content. Activism activism activism. Theory theory theory. Individual individual individual. Collective collective collective.

These are the main binaries that run through my head. I am obsessed with binary thinking!

What I struggle with is learning how to listen to others and learning when it’s appropriate for me to vent. Sometimes the mechanics of any relationship seem hard to carry-out. What can one person give and how much does the other person want you to just listen or to offer suggestions and try to help them? How much do I want people to listen to me, and how often am I calling for help?

I believe part of what is motivating my awkwardness in relationships is my insecurity and my continual struggle with being authentic. I have the shaky legs of a girl getting her security under herself, and her ability to trust herself. Not to mention the ability to praise herself and make her mind and body a place of refuge instead of war.

The wars that we commit within ourselves—it’s astounding, really. I think I am nicest to myself when I give myself permission to take my time and think through things. During these periods I confine myself and have a very small circle of friends. I think about large phases that I’ve gone through, like the year I took off after high school. And I’m also thinking about smaller phases, like when I sit down to write.

For some reason, I am beginning to find a lot of peace within myself. Or, at least, I am rediscovering it fairly quickly. I am learning to be more consistent with myself and to do things to help me stay sane.

I am learning to listen to others and to say thank you. It’s hard to just listen. It’s hard for me to realize how narcissistic I act and how self-absorbed I am. Yet it’s also a great a lesson. I’ve always wanted to know about myself. I have taken a trillion quizzes from a trillion sources trying to gain some insight into my temperament and proclivities. And when I listen, I see that everything and everyone is telling me how I am feeling and who I am.

It’s all right here, and I can choose how I am going to respond to what I discover. I am not discovering easy shit—let me assure you!—but I can choose to approach it out of a sense of humor and curiosity and beauty.

I believe those are my guiding principles. If something is not funny, then I really don’t trust it. And if I’m not approaching what I do out of a sense of curiosity or adventure, then I don’t trust my intentions. And if it’s not beautiful, in some way, just any way, then it’s probably not worth it—because there are beautiful things in the world, and they are usually just around the corner from something ugly. So if you find something ugly, then praise the Universe because you are really close to something beautiful!

There are so many people living in the ugly, the unfunny, and the boring. And by “so many people,” I mean myself sometimes now and a lot of the time in the past. I think of my marriage this way. Things got ugly, unfunny, and boring. And guess what? I’ve found and am finding some of these same things as I go along today.

Some of these things play out on the small scale (like in what I wear and what I listen to) and some of these things play out on the large scale (like in what I say to people and what they say back to me). There is truth in the most horrible of thoughts and judgments we have about ourselves, but if we can’t laugh about what we learn, then we just aren’t getting the full truth.

That’s what I think. I think humor and beauty and curiosity save us because they soften the present moment for us. I would rather live in a peaceful and pleasant now. I have lived in the war zone, and it’s not very comfortable. It’s not as conducive to insight as I thought it once was.

I would like to end this entry by wishing you peace!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Artist's Date: Movie and Shopping

I have overwhelmed myself with shopping and consumerism, I believe. I've been trying to find a tall, round table to put on my balcony, and I'm just not finding one. And, as of last night, I am in the market for a fancy dress for a Christmas party. I found some really nice ones at Salvation Army, but none of them fit. They were either too big, or distressingly (and almost fatally) too small.

So, shopping. It just wears me out being around so many things to look at and touch.

The more exciting part of my afternoon was taking myself to see Precious. I thought Mo'Nique stole the show. It's a powerful story, and I couldn't help but wonder if I was watching another movie touting the benefits of education and promoting the "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" mentality. When people have gone through so much trauma, I want to know what their lives are like after they have lived years and years past those events. There is brief mention of this in the movie in regards to the teacher, Ms. Rain--but not enough, to my taste!

I'm still processing the movie, but I did really enjoy it. And now that I think about it, it was nice to have a movie featuring so many strong women.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Boys + Cat Toys = Love

Oh, if the world could see what I saw today in Lowe's home improvement store! Scott and I went there and he asked one of the employees--a cute, young man--whether he'd heard of any medium density fiberboard available in tube form. "No," the young man replies, "I haven't." He asks, "What do you need it for?"

Scott answers, "I am making a cat perch." And I start giggling (because it's just too cute.) The young man tells me that it's not that funny because he did the same thing, only he used plywood to build a base and then a perch. Then he covered it all in carpet.

Scott says, "Yes. I was just looking to try to make a circular area, too."

"Oh, you're going all fancy," the guy replies.

We all kind of laugh, and I nearly pee myself because we are practically at the summit of Mount Masculine and we are conversing about kitty perches! It's been the best night ever!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fierce Individuality

I am multitasking here--I get to impart so-called wisdom (so-called by moi) and avoid creative writing, all at the same time!

I am dying to start a short story, but also really scared to dig in. I told myself I would write a page or so tonight. That's why I am not doing it at all.

Instead, I would like to reflect on the absolute hell that has been living in Scott's house for almost a week now. This guy has some nerve. We eat dinner together, hug and kiss each other, wish each other "sweet dreams" at night, and give each other some downtime, alone. STOP THE INSANITY ALREADY, BOYFRIEND. I'm not sure what his game is, but it's driving me nuts.

Here I am, imprisoned, isolated. I have to sleep in each morning. And I have to drink rum and cokes at night. NOTHING EVER GOES MY WAY! To top it off, tonight, in the bookstore (where we spent part of our stupid night), I learned that we make a good astrological match. Jesusfuckingchrist it never ends.

I mean, how much longer until we both realize that this is going NOWHERE? I see through you, Happiness. Do not think that I will ever be content by your strong allure--I am way to smart and self-hating for that.

All of this is to say, I have been so bored because I have created a very boring, static image of the future. As if I know everything. Today I was working from home and was wondering why I felt so down when everything was going really well. At least, I thought, I knew well enough to know that this is a familiar pattern. Everyone and everything is alright? Well, then, I'm pissed!

That's my usual pattern.

I considered today that maybe the reason (or part of the reason) why we become entangled in intimate relationships is so that we can learn to please ourselves. Maybe people-pleasers especially need this lesson? Maybe people-pleasers, in their quest for connection and understanding, need to learn how to be themselves in the midst of the varied and various companionships they've formed? So that maybe it is this sense of closeness that allows us to forge ahead, bravely and alone, in what we believe we need to pursue. Regarding an old relationship, I wrote that maybe we needed to be apart so that we could see how similar and connected we were. I think the opposite is true, too. Maybe we need to be close so that we can see how different and individual we are. It's something new to me to strike out on my own while holding deep connections to the people I love. It's always been so much easier to reinvent myself with none of the familiar characters around.

A reinvention is occurring, in the space of myself, and I am happy to report that nothing dramatic or serious has happened to spark this change. I think and hope that I am just learning to be just a tiny bit more vulnerable and brave.

David Brooks on Emotional Education

I respect David Brooks, yet I do not often agree with him. His op-ed piece on the importance of emotional education, however, is so timely right now. In "The Other Education," he remarks that "[f]or reasons having to do with the peculiarities of our civilization, we pay a great deal of attention to our scholastic educations, which are formal and supervised, and we devote much less public thought to our emotional educations, which are unsupervised and haphazard. This is odd, since our emotional educations are much more important to our long-term happiness and the quality of our lives."

Agreed, David Brooks! (Although, I wouldn't consider this near-erasure of emotional intelligence "odd," considering the stronghold capitalistic and patriarchal forces have on our culture these days.)

The Role of "Mouthy," "Emotional," and "Feisty" Women

I just read this NYT article, "From Footnote to Fame in Civil Rights History," on Claudette Colvin, who was fifteen years old when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white woman in Montgomery, Alabama. She did this nine months before Rosa Parks' own act of civil disobedience.

I always remembered that someone had refused her seat before Rosa Parks did, but I didn't know who. What I liked about this article was a quote from David J. Garrow (a MLK, Jr. biographer): "'It’s an important reminder that crucial change is often ignited by very plain, unremarkable people who then disappear.'”

Here's to plain, unremarkable , disappearers everywhere--thank you!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Have Seen the Future!

And the future is so lovely! My new apartment has central heating and air! I was over there, got cold, pushed one button, and was soon warm! I know this is a dumb post, but I am so excited about this new apartment!

World AIDS Day and Compassion Charter

Thanks to a friend on Facebook, I just remembered that it's World AIDS Day. So please don't read my post below declaring today an unofficial holiday. It's World AIDS Day, and that's very important.

Also, Sister Ellie posted this on one of her blogs the other day, and I would like to pass it on--it's the Charter for Compassion. It's very good, and you can sign it here.

It's a Holiday!

I just now declared today, Tuesday, December 1, 2009 a holiday! Today is the day I get to officially move in to my new apartment! I am moving from my transition apartment, and, really, making a decision that is the best for me. This is one of the first times I've moved without feeling forced. Which is to say, I MADE A DECISION ABOUT MY OWN LIFE ON MY OWN TIMEFRAME! It feels so good when that happens because it reinforces my own belief in myself. It helps increase my confidence because there is nothing really big to lose, and a lot to be gained. And because I get to use my style of decision-making and see whether that works out for me. It's not really question of seeing whether it will work-out, though. I guess I'm trying to say that deciding to move and handling it the way I want to handle it has been a lot of fun. I kind of wondered how I would handle things, and overall, I have impressed myself with my ability to learn about myself.

Oh, what have I learned, you might ask? WELL LET ME TELL YOU!

I have learned that I do not like to commit to things right away, even though I pretty much latch-on to the first idea that pops into my head. I get really worried about the immediate future, and tend to brood about what's going to happen tomorrow. I like doing a lot of work and then feeling like a martyr about doing that work. Even while, at the same time, I like laughing at myself about feeling like a martyr. When I feel put-upon, I like to not complain, not complain, not complain, and then COMPLAIN REALLY LOUDLY!

I drag my feet forever before doing anything. I feel overwhelmed easily. Then when I work, I enjoy working, yet I start to get ahead of myself and think I'm almost done when really there is a ton left to do. And then I feel overwhelmed again.

I get to make a list and keep as strict attention to time as I would like. This is embarrassing to me, but I will share that I made a couple different types of lists. One day I made four categories: long [time], short [time], hard, easy. (Haha--long and hard categories.) I put different chores in each category and designated how much time I would spend on each category. The next day the categories were "hate," "really hate," "abhor," and "love." The next day I made an entirely too detailed list so that I would get a boost by scratching items off that list. I would work on the list for exactly thirty minutes and then take a break for exactly seven minutes. I probably spent more time walking back and forth from my list than I actually spent working. Whatever. It's all just a game, is what I'm saying. And I like to make up simple, but, strict rules as a way to try to see if I can trick myself into getting things done.

It's weird because I am reminded of those coloring sheets in elementary school, where there'd be a picture broken into different weird shapes. Each shape would have a number and each number had a corresponding color. It never took a genius to figure out that you were coloring a goddamn tree or puppy, for the eighty millionth time in your life. But every time I wanted to be surprised and not figure out what I was doing beforehand.

I never enjoyed coloring just for coloring's sake--once I figured out the final product, I got bored with what I was doing. I wonder why I get bored so easily. I've made up a lot of reasons for that in my life, and now I just don't know. Why do I get bored so easily?