Saturday, December 9, 2017

Positive Female Role Model

I was over at my younger sister's place this evening, helping babysit my older younger sister's kids while she and her husband went out on the town in a party bus limo, on a holiday lights tour. My help wasn't really needed--my sister and brother-in-law had things mostly under control, and the kids spent a good part of the evening looking over the shoulder of my younger brother (who lives there) while he WOWed them with a tour of a video game fantasy land...Even so, the kids were happy to see me and I had a good time playing with my youngest nephew, who's just a little over one year old now, and definitely in the top percentile of babies when it comes to cuteness, intelligence, storytelling, and quality of giggles. (He also learned to say name before anyone else's, after mom and dad of course. Granted, it was partly by accident, but it's still the absolute sweetest thing to hear him say, and get excited about.)

After dinner and dragons and such, it was time to get ready for bed. I was asked into the bathroom by my niece, who is six, and while she was getting into her PJs she (rather unexpectedly) asked me: why didn't you ever get married?

After a beat, I replied: (I guess?) I never had the chance...

She's smart, and she's seen a lot of Disney movies, so she took that in and rather quickly changed the subject to something else, like getting stuck in her pajamas or something goofy like that.

It wasn't technically true, I suppose, but it seemed like the most honest thing I could say. I didn't think about it much--I just try to keep it real with the kids, as much as I can.

She's probably asked me that question before, actually, although I feel like I'd have remembered it, much like I remember her asking me, a few years back (and when it was still a possibility, albeit distant), when I was going to have a baby. When I told her I probably wasn't ever going to, she asked why, and all I could say was: because a baby needs a dad, and that's something I don't have in my life.

I still recall my older brother's kids, too, so long ago, asking when they would have cousins...They have just three, now, and none anywhere near their ages.

This really doesn't get easier. I wish it did. I really, really wish it did, but it really, really doesn't.

On the bright side, I don't have to make anyone breakfast tomorrow morning! Not even myself.

Friday, December 1, 2017

In a manner of speaking

I've spent so much time these past few years, looking for something to wear, as if I've been looking for who I want to be, when really: who I actually am is obviously of considerably more importance. I've spent so much time thinking that who I was, was better. Whether it's true, or not, isn't inconsequential, or irrelevant, or a matter of no concern, but it is increasingly difficult to fathom the apparent distance, between the expected result and the actual outcome of this little experiment.To be kind, it's not that I'm getting worse and worse; it's just that I thought I would have learned a few more lessons, by now.

This evening I was watching the late news on tv, and found myself musing on the sportscaster's habit, or way of speaking, and how this particular fellow seemed like a man who must have had a dream in his youth of becoming a sportscaster. He was still young, but overweight and middle-aged beyond his years, and spoke with a seemingly effortless intonation, on key and on point. Listening to his lilt, I had a minor recollection of pursuing a dream, however briefly, right before it occurred to me that it must be so much easier, truly, to play a role which somebody else has already invented.

My house is literally littered with costumes I've made and worn, for a long-running one-woman show with a sparse audience."Clothes don't make the man", they say, but I'm not quite sure the same holds as true for women. I suppose a lot depends on how critical it is for the person wearing the clothes (e.g., pants?) to manipulate their environment in order to gain advantage, or favor, or perhaps simply to create a more pleasant experience, or even for more altruistic reasons, if there were such a thing. And here we are, once again, as I digress...

The point I'm trying to make, or to get to, is that--actually, there is no point. There's no point in putting lipstick on a pig, which is not to say that I am the pig or that this post is, but only to employ yet another questionable idiom in an effort to convey how truly pointless an undertaking it is, going to pains to appear a certain way (together, for example), if that way is other than we actually are, or--more futile yet--other than the way we want to be. Then again, what's perceived through the senses, of appearances and such, can be a strong determining factor in how we assess situations, and people--even people we know quite well (including ourselves, sometimes). The way your love looks to you, is this something you can know without seeing? If the eyes, as they say, are the window, then in many ways it really is true that what you see, is what you get. 

What's my conflict here, and where's my resolution? Where am I going with this? Is this an actual story, or just another late-night journal entry? You may be asking yourself, what am I doing here?

That's just one of many questions I ask myself every morning, while I'm looking for something to wear.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Another sunny Sunday

Last night I dreamt I was with a group of travelers, of sorts. At one of our stops, we were given a challenge in which we were divided into small groups and assigned a task. Initially, it seemed mechanical in nature--my team started out considering the merits of pneumatic vs hydraulic--but eventually the project morphed into creating (of all things) a topper for a wedding cake...each team had been given white floral arrangements of the same essential shapes and forms, made out of different, otherworldly, flowers, which were to be our inspiration...out of these evolved some small sculpture, some slight poetry, some vague representation of union...As the judging took place, I began to realize that I had fallen in love with a man in the group, who was leaving... I followed him out of the open white space we were in, toward the door, which was much like that of a bus, oddly enough, and I held his hand as he descended the steps. He stretched his arm out behind him and gripped my hand tightly through a crack in the door as he walked away. All I could do was squeeze his fingertips, before he slipped out of reach. 

As with all dreams--and everything else really--context is key, but it's pointless enough to try to retell any dream, much less to recount all the circumstances, events, other dreams, thoughts, and days leading up to it, or to now. Let it suffice to say that it's a bittersweet solace, to wake up with the memory of something you never had.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Post-Eclipse (Ego)

I will defeat you.
I have defeated you.
I have always defeated you.

I will always defeat you
Because I already have.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Divine Comedy

It sucks to wake up heartbroken, with your past lying in bed beside you, staring you intimately in the face, as if your own history were the only pages ever written that matter. It really sucks on a day like today, another such beautiful late Spring day in Minnesota, full of warm sunshine and gentle breezes, to start the day in tears you just can't keep off your cheeks, because your chest is caving in. It's all in your mind; you're not alone. You haven't fucked up every important moment in your life--just most of them--and you're not entirely a failure--you just feel like one, for various reasons. You haven't missed every opportunity...just some of the really significant ones, maybe. You're not single, you just don't have a partner, per se, right now--or for the past several years--and just because you have no future plans doesn't mean the future won't come to pass. It will probably come sooner than you think, because time's a bitch like that. In fact, guess what? It's here now, and you have a hundred things to do today and more tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, and the one after that, too. And for the entire next week after that, actually. You're too busy to worry about how you feel or what you need or what you're missing, much less the past and other things you can't change (or can you?). So get up, get dressed, tell your painfully loyal PMS to go fuck her bloody self, and enjoy this goddamn gorgeous day for the blessing it truly is. There will never be another like it. And don't you forget it.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Respect the Disrespect

For today I just have to say, I'm sick of people who can't make the time. They are generally the same people who make a habit of lying by omission, and they deserve to get served.

Friday, April 28, 2017

We Are Stardust

There is a picture in my high school yearbook, of me sitting behind a desk, holding a fanned-out handful of fake money, with a caption that reads: “Most Likely To Succeed”. Contrary to what might be taken as popular opinion, I don’t believe my classmates bestowed me with that honor because their concept of success—mine or anyone else’s—was based on how much money one might amass, but rather because I was a person who demonstrated smarts, talent, intelligence, passion, creativity, kindness, commitment to my values and to living a life of integrity, with compassion for all.  True success, especially in the minds of young people, isn’t based on the prospect of making lots of money. It’s about having, and leading, a good life.

It’s worth mentioning that I wasn’t alone in the photo; my male counterpart was seated next to me, with his own handful of toy dollar bills… I suppose it’s necessary to apply gender equity when making such decisions, to make sure that us “girls” actually win something and/or to accentuate that men and women are held to different standards. For the record, it wasn’t my idea, or his, to hold money behind a desk; that was the photographer’s vision. We could have been sitting in a sportscar, I suppose, or maybe we could have been hanging out in deck chairs, wearing shades and soaking in some sun, or we could even have been giving each other high fives instead. But, as we’re led to believe—despite a lot of evidence and our own core beliefs and most important life experiences to the contrary—money is the most obvious, and most revered, indication of one’s success in life.

Many years before that photo was taken, I sang a song in a school play—my very first solo public performance to a large audience—called “Stars Don’t Carry Money”. The story, which I can scarcely remember, at my age now, was a lesson in Love. I was cast in the “starring” role, for which I wore a costume expertly crafted by my parents and me: a giant, two-sided star made of cardboard, not a clapboard ensemble but with enclosed sides. It looked something like a (DQ) Star Kiss, except slightly elongated and covered in fabric with bright, sparkling threads of silver woven through, and trimmed with shiny tinsel around all the edges, including around the oval which framed my young face.

I was twelve at the time, and had been going through a rather rough spell at school that year. I went to a very small elementary school through the sixth grade, and there were only 5 or 6 girls in our entire class of 20 or so, for most of our years together. From year to year, our relationships shifted a little, with of course one “prettier” girl holding out as most popular, and the rest of us shifting position around her in various ways. To a large extent, there was a clear pecking order: the pretty one and her best friend at level 1, and two or three others at level 2, whose importance in relationship to the level 1s fluctuated according to whatever laws govern such things, and then at the bottom were the poorest, shyest, homeliest girl(s). That year, for reasons not entirely clear to me, I was delegated to the bottom position, for the first time, in a manner that I seem to recall came as a shock to me, in spite of the fact that I had always been something of an outsider, what with going to higher grade levels for math and reading, and having such ugly red hair, and not watching the Dukes of Hazzard.

Thankfully, for the remainder of that year, my younger sister and her ragtag passel of friends took me in on the playground—little sisters rule!—but it was a difficult time for me, at a tender age. I recount this here, now, because one of the somewhat cruel aspects of my relationship with my former friends was that they mocked me for my role in the play, behind my back but within earshot, and about having to wear such an ugly costume... There was also that one time I was shamed for liking watermelon, but that’s another story. This story here is about a song, which went something like this:

Stars don’t carry money
The only gold they know
Is what’s inside
To make them bright
And {some-thing some-thing (rhymes with snow)}

I do wish I could remember the last line—my mother surely would—but I’m reluctant to attempt to paraphrase it here… And let their feelings show? Help our hearts to grow? Give the world its glow?

There are some questions the internet can’t answer.

Anyway, it was a sweet song, and I had a beautiful voice, which of course I didn’t really know at the time—I just knew I enjoyed singing. This was by no means a “Star Search” performance; I was just a girl, not a star, and I sang with the voice that I had, the voice which was given to me, into my care, when I was born into this mad, wonderful world.

Years after that—remarkably to me, now, fewer years than I have resided in my current home—I graduated from high school with a whole different set of friends, but much the same set of values, hopes, dreams, possibilities... In my (co-)valedictory address, I gave an inspired, heartfelt, meaningful, and at times poignant and humorous speech, which moved an entire gymnasium filled with my classmates, friends, their families, our teachers and other members of the community.  By then I was used to being on stage, never not nervous but always capable of performing. It was never an act, though; I always meant it. And all my peers, and others who knew me, knew that. That’s the reason I was voted “most likely” to do whatever it was I was going to do…and that’s why they believed me, for however brief a time, when I closed my speech by invoking the wisdom of Joseph Campbell and urging every single one of them to “Follow Your Bliss”, that it could be done.

It would be a lie to say that I don’t know what happened to that girl and young woman-to-be, but I do wish I knew where she’s gone.

So yeah… Mercury’s retrograding the crap out of me apparently, and I sure hope we get some fucking Venus back here soon!  Thanks for listening.