Monday, October 29, 2012

The Winnebago Man

Bill and I just watched the documentary "The Winnebago Man." I hadn't seen the Winnebago Man before--I guess that's just a part of my education that fell through the cracks. I enjoyed this!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Words from the Wise

William Q. Boyfriend has been in the role of therapist for the past 24 hours. (It's a temporary gig.) I have been struggling with the idea of life and how it passes and how if someone has a few years on you, then that might not mean that you are forever young but rather invariably infantile.

Yet Bill says that you cannot compete with someone's history (no doy) not even your own (holy shit!).

I have been feeling insecure and thinking of what I can do for myself. I was thinking that probably as life goes on I'd be happy just to have a cup of coffee be able to linger where I leave it for a couple of hours. Or I'd be happy to have salt and pepper shakers in the shape of my favorite animal. I was thinking that life would get increasingly complex and I would be happy just to have one material pleasure, however in poor taste, that would be truly my own.

I guess I'm afraid of losing myself as I get older. As I see how my beliefs change and sometimes harden. I cling to distinctions as a way to remind myself how I am not naive, simplistic, uncaring and how I am . . . multi.

I get sad thinking that my good qualities, the very best of myself, are things that remain unrecognized. To pull off what I have pulled off . . .! [Self-pity! Unattractive.]

Tangible example: I was going to celebrate a personal milestone with a little vacation. Yet events in my personal life dictated that this vacation be postponed and since it's been put off, I'm finding it difficult to make reservations and create the trip I had in mind. I could do a half-assed version, but that feels really uncomfortable to me. So, instead, I've decided to put that money towards some car repairs. Pragmatic.

Bill is very pragmatic, and I hate succumbing. I just do. It's just so obvious. Yet I realize the thrill of driving around waiting for a belt to snap is not the type of unobvious adventure I really want to have in my life.

I ask Bill whether postponing a vacation is just like when I set aside the trillion other things I say I'm going to do and want to do. My distressing example: the mom of a character in a young adult novel I'm reading who is an adjunct professor because she has a hard time finishing things, like a PhD.

Bill says I need to give up the guilt. I search the library for books on guilt and get pissed off because most any guilt advice is also connected to being a woman, mom, white, German or not German, and/or a Christian.

I don't have guilt related to any of those things! I just have guilt because I'm full of potential (that's probably wasted) and because I can't save anyone let alone my own dumb self because there's not much that I need to be saved from. Other than this guilt, probably.

Bill says just because I put something off (at this point in our conversation, my planned trip the gym becomes a distant memory and something else to demonstrate how I don't do what I say I'm going to do) doesn't mean that I've given up.

I think, "Oh, yeah. I don't really give up." I have the distant realization that all the preposterous things I believe in I really do believe in. I guess it's just hard to look at my life and see how any of those things can come into being--it is disjointed.

However, I look at the different periods in my life and see how disjointed they have been so far. Each different time seems to have its own tone or color--a certain timbre. Each time I have felt certain about where I was going or where I have been. This is perhaps the first time where I don't have a particular storyline for myself and this may be what scares me the most. That sense that nothing could happen to me in my life.

But this is a sense of despair and it's not one that I subscribe to. It has just come over me lately and I have felt bewildered by it.

[And as Mitt Romney's dad once told Mitt Romney, keep working through despair. (He just could have amended the advice to say that despair is in order if you are mostly a total liar and socio-economical elitist.)]

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I don't know whose joke this is, but I heard this week that Curiosity found metal on Mars and that it could be a buried city . . . or just some metal.

I like the idea of a buried city. I like when Bill sees a different model of his car and says, "There I go. Funny to see string theory work right in front of you." I like the movie Another Earth.

So when I'm really moody and I'm thinking, "This is not my beautiful wife" and I don't know who anyone is or what my story is or what I think of someone that I have thought a lot about before and I'm wondering, "Do I do this or do I do that? Is my problem this or is my problem that?" When I don't feel despondent but I don't feel fabulous, when I feel muddy and like my insides could and should be excavated, then I think, "What would Mars Courtney do?"

If I were multiple and living out as many stories as I imagine others have, if I were as interesting as others (always there's this comparison, which is what is actually driving my madness, which is my madness), then I would not get so wound up.

I imagine that others see me, who is actually me but only shows up as a version of myself, as a Mars Courtney, and I think maybe they think that I am a certain person--a certain person who has features that could be considered attractive or maybe features that would lead one to think that I have a much more interesting life than I really do. I imagine they create a Mars Courtney and if I get a positive feeling from someone, then I want to be that Mars Courtney for them.

This is what I do to people all the time. I create stories about people, and the less I know, then the more grandiose the story. It's the mystery of people, but it's not necessarily the personality I care about so much any more or why someone would have certain attitudes, emotions, or beliefs. It's more like the details of someone's life. Why do I feel differently about someone's exes or current partners if I think the other person is attractive or unattractive? Or has a fascinating job or a menial job? Or if that person faced a tragedy? Because it gives me a sense of control. It calms the fear inside of me.

Mars Courtney lives out a bunch of lives because she has time and a bunch of good starts to many stories. Real me is pretty much solely motivated by fear and I get a fear ball that manifests as anger. Real me is very boring and real me is stuck by the term "beginner's mind." As in, "Oh, shit. I know nothing." As in, "Oh, shit. I guess we are starting this again." As in, "I still have these thighs? This ugly morning look? This ordinary life? This wardrobe?"

I can take care of this self. I've gotten a lot better at this over the years, but I still get scared that maybe I will regress. I get scared of not being by myself, of letting myself trust others, especially when my deepest and safest retreat has been inside of myself. I am trying to let myself grow, which is what I think Mars people do naturally. They live. All the stories of people are purely one version and there are more. There are more versions of me, somewhere. I just cannot be all of them myself.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quotes from the Week

From Bill Maher on "Real Time" this week speaking to Frank Luntz: "That's the difference between rich Democrats and rich Republicans--some of us vote against our interests for the better of the country."

Alice Walker in Guernica's article, "Alice Walker: Writing What's Right," by Megan Labrise: "In a more aware culture, writers would be considered priests."

Salman Rushdie in Joseph Anton: "Youth was often wretched, the struggle to become themselves tore the young to shreds, but sometimes, after the struggle, better days began" (48).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Political Hearts

Perhaps due more to stress than to the reality of the situation, but I was in tears once Romney said he would cut federal subsidies to such services as PBS and as he repeatedly said he would give states the right to administer governmental programs.

I thought, "Can this really happen to our country?"

[I know I'm not saying anything new or anything someone can't find anywhere else; I'm just going to continue my vent, though.]

Romney was a bully last night and I don't think he won at all. I think he just did better than expected--that's not a win. He showed himself to be above the rules and above answering questions. He was misleading. And, fundamentally, I think you can't be a part of something that you want to get rid of.

All of the bullshit he was spouting about the middle class and unemployment . . . not only can he not relate, but he doesn't understand that he is misleading the middle class into thinking he can help them.

I'm a public employee and I'm in service to my citizens. This is something that means a lot to me. I live in red state that I only hope will one day be a swing state. I talk to people every day who disparage Obama while they are benefitting from policies that he has helped put in place--policies that Romney would work to eliminate. I do not see how these people would be helped by a Romney administration. I believe the job talk is just talk. Not to mention that we just don't live in a society where everyone can work and get by with that good ol' American individualism.

I think Obama really stated it best when he said a budget shows priorities. It is math, and it's math with story. Decisions need to be made and those decisions reflect beliefs. Some quotes come to mind: "put your money where your mouth is" and "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dreaming that we will one day live with our best selves

Last night a dream came to me of a clean-cut man leaning out of a serving window of an ice cream truck giving an ice cream cone to the nine-year-old version of himself, who was riding a bike. The older man was so happy to be serving and to be hanging around his child self.

Dream logic hypothesized that someday we would all be living with the best versions of ourselves--the person we were when we were at the height of our lives. The self we are now keeps aging and living life, but lives it in conjunction with our best self. Sometimes this self is older, sometimes this self is younger.

Age and appearances didn't matter. Everyone was so happy to have a partner and to know exactly what one person wanted! Everyone was just happy all the time!

That was the good part of my dream that liked very much. The weird part of my dream made me feel odd, so I won't share that feeling.

If I were living with my best self right now, I think that person would probably be six or older than thirty-two. I just want interaction with someone on my level and that person is either reading Highlights magazine and shunning coloring properly or she is deeply immersed in compelling research and writing that is making the world a better place.

And I remain as a unitary person deeply enchanted by these other humans. I try to unwind as a day draws to an end and to take care of my body and my surroundings. I try to draw close the things I am afraid of and do not want to hear. I plot the future based on if/then statements and more and more I turn these plottings over to God and rework any negativity into gratitude. I rework any tension into care for myself. I think that if this is a dream, then I need to be careful and that I better start dreaming bigger dreams.