Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mareah's Blog: Up and Running!

Please hop over to my crafting blog, Mareah's, and tell me what you think! I'm trying to get my business started, and I'm happy to have something in the works! My latest post shows a couple clothing items I sewed (oooh! ahhhh!); I can sew! I'm trying to convince a friend to let me make her a new dress . . . maybe I can convince you, too? I'm now taking orders for new outfits!

Mareah's: Pretty (Enough) in Pink

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cut, Dry

Some things have not come easy this week, and I keep noticing how my mental and emotional state both can bring me down out of nowhere, it seems. When that happens, it's hard for me to take a step back and gain some perspective--my immediate feelings seem overwhelming. I feel like a bike that has slipped its gear. At first you are pushing on the pedal and can't get it to move, and then your foot slides to the ground and no longer will the chain turn the gear (and vice versa). It's a stuck feeling, though by no means a permanent one.

I have had job stuff on the mind. I've been enjoying my new job (although today it was really slow, and I can't stand being bored), but it does come with the downside of not paying well. So I've been throwing out different options in my mind and even started looking around for a new job (which, in itself, is like an addiction to me). I've had to make some decisions about what I want to do, and I have made those decisions! These are decisions that I made earlier, but needed to reaffirm for myself, I guess.

I have just felt guilty for enjoying my job while thinking about moving on from it, too. But then today, when I was thinking about my salary, I thought, "My dream job doesn't pay this wage. Then this must not be my dream job." You see, I had been so worried about money, and thought that I should just get another job--anything--to help make ends meet. I thought I could just work that job until . . . I had some bills paid off and then I could devote my time to sewing and writing.

But I sense in myself that I am not as strong and industrious as I used to be. I can't work as hard at unfulfilling tasks any longer. And I don't think that's a character flaw, either! I deserve, like anyone, a meaningful career. I don't expect--especially for someone like myself--that this meaningful career is going to come without some some searching. But I know three things: I need a job where I can save the world, write, or sew. If I can't do one of those things, then I'm out. And "saving the world" might mean "changing the world."

Thinking about jobs in terms of relationships has been helpful in the past, and it's been useful this week, too. I have been trying to rebound back to teaching. I've considered proposing a book club idea to the principal; in all, a great idea. I run down my reservations, though, and I realize that I'm just trying to save the school--I feel responsible for it. As much as I want to work with the kiddos, especially on a volunteer, more free-form basis, I just don't know if I can bring myself to raise the idea. I'm not responsible for the school.

It feels like teaching is my marriage . . . so good in theory, and in practice? Sometimes good and sometimes bad. IT comes with a lot of baggage, though, and it's like it doesn't even want to work with me! It has started to believe its own bullshit! I just have a heavy feeling about the book club idea--nothing I can verbalize, but something I need to pay attention to and heed. Just like a marriage . . .

Which is why, being in a job outside of teaching, feels liberating and exciting, like dating feels. But when that sinking feeling of, "This could be better . . ." starts to arise, it's hard to ditch out on a job like you can a man. I have had those experiences, though, of thinking, "Oh, this is how a man should treat me," and I can apply that to, "Oh, this is how a job should treat me." So I had to tell myself that I'm still in the dating phase of my job. Hell, it's written on my file that I am in probation--why do I marry myself off so early in the game?! Just like I have while dating, I can keep my eyes and heart open to things that don't feel right and I can seek to find ways to improve those things. I will no longer feel guilty for wanting more money in my life; I don't think that's a thing I need to feel bad about.

All of that guilt is probably why I have felt so foggy and trapped for much of the week. Why do I do this to myself? Why do some many of us do this to ourselves?!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse

What a total bummer . . . I just heard that Amy Winehouse was found dead. I love her album, Back to Black.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Less-Is-More Day!

I just wanted to make a morning post to announce Third Annual Less-Is-More Day, the day in which we rid ourselves of unnecessary things (physical or mental constructions). If you want to share, I'd love to hear how you celebrated the day!

It's been three years since the apartment fire and a couple weeks ago, at a garage sale, I saw an old dish that I used to have. It was startling seeing it because I felt like I was remembering another life, or seeing an old friend that you can't remember you ever had.

I've been remembering more about that apartment and realizing how uncertain I've felt these past few years in making a home for myself. The one I had--the one I really loved--disappeared on me! I miss it a lot, especially lately, for some reason. I worry that I'm too hung up on the fire, but it is entwined with my identity in ways that I can't fully explain. So much good has come from it and a lot of sadness, too. And that's what it is to me. I'm happy to have this experience--and it keeps on giving me something new to consider!

This year I haven't gotten rid of anything yet. If it counts, I've picked up a bit of my sewing mess and have nearly finished a shirt. Umm--what else? Maybe tonight I will make an effort to clean off the desk and put some things in order. Otherwise, this Less-Is-More Day is going to be more ephemeral for me.

UPDATE: I just received word that a Kiva loan I made has been repaid in full, so I was able to reloan that money. This is all thanks to the ex-boyfriend who gave me the Kiva money as a gift. How thoughtful of him, and how lovely that it can continue being used! This is such a nice thing to have happen today!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Understand Men Now

It took today (and my whole life), but I think I understand men now.

(But we'll get to that later.)

I burned myself on the angriest batch of chili I have ever made. And I have had a severe case of road rage for the past week or so; damned if nearly every driver in Tulsa isn't either a goddamned or a fucking idiot.

And then I thought: genetics! Dad always told me, rather pejoratively, that I drive like my mother. But which parent creates a palpable air of anger or, rather, a "tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan"? That would be my father.

Last night I received a bill from my dental insurance saying that I needed to pay for a visit that I thought was covered. I threw the bill down and exclaimed, "Of course!" I was angry! Once I had my outburst, of course I realized that this must just be a simple mistake, and of course simple mistakes happen because, of course, I make them myself.

But that feeling of indignance, along with my road rage, stayed with me today.

I fantasized about being able to work from home. I didn't want to call in today; I wanted to work, but I didn't want to have to go in to work. I imagined that I owned a home in the Rockies that had a sweeping view and I would get to sew all day or call in and do the job I have now.

I got very homesick yesterday, listening to an NPR report on bluegrass festivals in Colorado. "In Lyons, a town north of Boulder . . ." I thought, "My Lyons?! The place I would drive through to get to the mountains?" It feels like a million lifetimes ago that I was there.

I am reading a book, thanks to a blog I follow, called Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist. Steven Batchelor came of age in the late '60s and traveled around doing drugs and finding god, reading Kerouac and Ginsberg. I am jealous of that life. I am so jealous that it borders on rage. I say I'm jealous of things all the time, but usually I don't really mean it. But I am so angry (so angry that I could almost spit fire, as I like to say we say here in Oklahoma) that I was not a world-traveling, pot-smoking, god-seeker in the 1960s. I, impetulantly, declare that It Is Not Fair. (I'm probably going to live this same life over and over until I am able to get over this type of romanticization of the past. Thanks, reincarnation.)

I shared a prose poem in writing group last month and it had a line that was, perhaps, too easy: "Whatever we've brought on, we've brought in on ourselves." I was asked if I really believed this because, the feedback went, how could I be complicit in something I'm just now discovering?

I thought that was letting me off the hook a little too easily. But the feedback has stayed with me. I drive around in the Oklahoma heat and I just feel plastic. A friend laughs at me when I described how we are living amongst these chemicals; they are eating our brains out. They are sucking my soul out. (I daydream of two weeks in the Colorado mountains being able to hike and not forced to talk to anyone.) It is not a natural place we live in. I don't know who did it, but we are living in a plastic conspiracy (I realized this while on nitrous at the dentist getting my teeth cleaned); I was indoctrinated into the conspiracy as a school child, being told that we need to recycle our newspapers. The finger has always been pointed at paper. But, am I a mega-idiot, or doesn't paper disintegrate on it's own? I'm not saying don't recycle paper. I'm saying left to its own devices, it is actually fine. I'm not saying let's not conserve the trees we have--I'm not saying that at all. I am saying . . . WHAT ABOUT ALL THIS FUCKING PLASTIC SURROUNDING US?

Sometimes I change my mind about whether I do believe in the devil. I think some people are evil, but mostly I think those people have a bigger problem and that problem is idiocy. I think there are conspiracies and bigger things people behind-the-scenes control, but I don't think our plastic problem can be attributed solely to people. I think it's the Devil's doing. But that probably makes me sounds like an idiot myself.

i'm just tired. That's all I want to say. When the angry chili jumped out of its pan and onto my thumb, I shrieked. I put my hand under cold water and made sure Queenie would stay out of the kitchen. And then I had a mini-melt-down and cried out, "Doesn't anyone care about me?"

And that's when I knew why I was so angry.

Later, Ryan came over for my guitar lesson. I learned how to strum better. I have a new tutee for the library's literacy program, and they have to sign a paper that gives them a few ground rules, one of which is that they understand that reading during the course of the week will help them progress faster. I thought, "I hope Ryan doesn't ever expect me to practice the guitar during the week." In October-ish, he will have been giving me lessons for a year, and I've made the type of progress an ant makes in carrying Mount Everest. It is not much.

And so when we were strumming, I felt myself curl in to myself and I felt myself forcing myself back out. He told me to make up a pattern, and I did, but then he told me to add to it. I was pissed! I almost snapped at him, and I retreated to the place in my brain that remembered how horrible it felt playing the trumpet with boys all around me. They expect so much and they say one thing to try to make you feel comfortable, but when you do that one thing, it's never good enough for them. This is why it is horrible to play music with boys; they are infuriating.

Ryan told me that when I'm uncertain, I get quieter and I hardly play. He said it should be the opposite--that when one is uncertain, one should play louder.

And this is how I finally came to understand men.

I'm not especially insecure or perfectionistic or unplayful or less experimental or more tempermental or more sensitive or less able; I just don't go for it when I'm uncertain. That's all. Just like, right now, I am not going for it when I feel the pull of this moon and this summer heat calling me to drive an Oklahoma night drive. I talked to a woman today from Small Town, Oklahoma, embroiled in a small town scandal. I could listen to her all day; I have listened to women like her all day. She said, "I could write a book!" I told her she should. She said she needs a typist. Then she heard me type everything up and said that I could do it. I said, "I was thinking the same thing." The compulsion to visit her is quite strong. But I won't go--it wouldn't be sensible, and I'm just now starting to get something called Adult Cred back in my life. I see plenty of people with loads of Adult Cred and I think, "Did I miss the boat on that one or what?" So I retreat into fantasies because that's the place where I feel like I've actually accomplished something with my life. A friend worries about his legacy. I wonder if Marx says that a worker could still choose to work after seeing through false consciousness. I recall Sister Ellie telling a story about a man who carries the water until he is enlightened, after which he still . . . carries the water.

I don't envy Steven Batchelor's life, even though I am jealous of his circumstance. Sometimes I think the life I'm leading now is the best of every world because it has its challenges while also having loads of privilege to get through these challenges. Imagine being a mother of four and working at KFC until you have a scabies outbreak, which causes you to lose your job. Imagine that. It has really happened to someone. I have a load of these stories; they don't end. Does anyone else realize this? These stories do not end. My life plays out in snippets in parallel with what I hear around me--some of it comes first- or second-hand. And I think, "This is the big picture, people. This is life."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dad Apologizes for the Inevitable: I Preemptively Forgive, Graciously

Tonight Dad offered apologies for one day--should the day come--when he turns into his father. I told him that I forgive him . . . and a whole lot of good that will do him while one of my sisters take care of his ol' self.


Maybe some dad could spend less time fretting about the future if he picked up some watercolors that he keeps meaning to use (guilt works both ways now, Pops!).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Trillion Million Interesting Thoughts

I am caught in my pattern of believing my thoughts are very interesting and that they warrant sharing. What a persistent pattern! Will I indulge the desire yet again?

. . .

. . .

(Still not indulging

but still not not


(Remember when my ex-boyfriend said that poems were "self-indulgent" and I took his line and wrote it into a pretty good love poem for him? Oh, you don't remember that? I do because I've been looking through my old poems and I've put a collection together and now, even though I weeded a lot of poetry out, I think a lot of the collection sucks. Total bummer! And now I have some love poems, but no love poem for Bill yet. So . . . awkward.)

I took the day off due to menstrual cramps and low mental health. I'm really glad I did, although now I could really use some rock and roll and time to sew. Instead--this compulsion to write.

Basically all I wanted to share was two things:
1. I got some new music from the library, including Eyelid Movies, by Phantograms. I love the title because I know exactly what constitutes eyelid movies. They have a song that goes, "I should have been easier on you," and since a man sings it, I'll forgive all the men who should be singing this song to me.

2. I've been thinking about two things: curiosity and closure, due to the book Curious? and how it brought these things to my attention. I'm not very good at closure, but I don't think that necessarily makes me a curious person. I am interested in closure, though, and of getting some for myself.

3. Last night Bill and I pieced-out how grandiose personality disorder is very similar to low self-esteem and neediness.

4. Did you know "Tender" is an emotion? I READ IT ON WIKIPEDIA. You have happy, excited, tender, scared, angry, and sad.

5. We all have a natural resting state of emotion, and I just heard today that there's a technical term for this, but I can't remember the name. And there's something about how we treat newborns that influences their natural state of emotion.

6. I hope my sister and brother-in-law can keep that in mind as they begin raising their newborn, born yesterday morning! Mom has sent me pictures and the baby boy is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute!

7. I picked up Pema Chodron's book Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears. Good title, huh?

8. I got scared yesterday because I realized how much I love Bill. It scared me because he could totally do that man thing where they go through a mid-life crisis and start sleeping around. And it scared me because he could not feel the same way about me. I had to realize (again) that most aspects of either of those issues was not my business; so I'm trudging forward with something I call love, but may just be blind idiocy and delusion--something that looks like me talking in the mirror and trying to find the best angle of my freaking face. So, either way, you know, I carry on with something I voiced squeakily to Bill last night over the phone as, "I just like you a lot!"

9. I'm working on a sewing project now. A couple of days ago I created the Arc de Triomphe of pajama shorts. If I can get them right, they will be a present for Bill (who does not read this blog, so I have no fear of spoiling this present. By which I mean, I have a great fear of spoiling the present because, as is, this is not actually a wearable piece of clothing but I don't have a fear that he will learn of the failed shorts from this blog.).

10. I'm having some great thoughts about immigration (Diane Rehm had a great segment on the topic today) and about class. I've been thinking that it's interesting that we have such a thing called Mestiza consciousness, but there's really no term for someone being between class lines. I love talking about race and listening to others talk about race, and I'm starting to wish that there was a class equivalent of saying "mixed race." I feel "mixed class," and I want to write about that some day (maybe someday it will be interesting to someone besides myself!).

11. Also, a good friend might let me dress her up by finding a dress pattern and making her a new outfit! (As long as she doesn't see how I can't even make shorts, I think I have her vote of confidence!) I'm embracing my girly side and declaring this The Wine Age. (Because girlfriend cannot drink anything else without getting a little bit sick.) In The Wine Age we drink wine (but it doesn't have to be fancy. If it is measured by the liter and comes in a box, then you know what? It's perfect.) and we embrace, like I mentioned, being girly. But we never embrace shortcuts or idiocy, which are, sometimes, associated with girliness. What else do we do in The Wine Age? I'm not sure yet, but I'm pretty sure it's something more self-loving than what we had going in The Pot Age.

12. Speaking of 11s, I finally listened to all of 11:11 by Rodrigo y Gabriela. Loved it. Also, only mildly loved a Flaming Lips album I heard. But, I am really wanting to see them next month. Who's with me? Also, who likes Primus? I can't remember my opinion on them.

That's all my thoughts right now. I'm going to go sew for a bit and then Bill and I are going to see the movie, Buck. We were going to see Tree of Life, but he expressed concern that I wouldn't be able to stay awake for it. I took that as a criticism of my intelligence and showed him a measured amount of indignance! (That's a word, right?) In high school this girl thought a David Lynch movie was a great way to spend a Friday night--does this boy even know who he's talking to?! My larger point was: Holy crap, I've watched a lot of movies this year. Maybe that's just another thing one does in The Wine Age.

PS: I forgot to share that I'm watching a BBC documentary on human origins. I'm on the part where they are exploring how the Chinese may have evolved separately from homo sapiens from homo erectus. Scientists probably know the answer to this already, but since I've stopped the dvd at this point, it's still a new idea to me! How interesting to consider!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Nerds!

A friend, Sheila, is putting together a poetry reading for this Saturday. You should all come! I will be reading some of my own work!