Friday, December 27, 2013

Words Are Important (or Merry Christmas Mr. Semore, Sorry This is Late)

I was driving home Christmas night after an attempt at going out that was thwarted by a fevered frenzy. As much as we try to fake fevers as children, when the real thing hits, it brings even the most headstrong adults to our knees. I was breathing heavily, shivering, and talking myself through each red light so that I could make it home to shiver and whimper under a mountain of blankets until the fever broke. And I was nauseated.

Rewind a bit and join me on an OkCupid date that was doomed from the start. I had already decided that this handsome, older, lucrative man wasn't quite right after he fully described to me the time he spent deciding what shoes to wear, but the deal was sealed when he found himself struggling to find the noun to match his repeated usage of the word, "nauseous."

What is the noun that goes with nauseous?



Those of us who speak English as a first language have an innate understanding of the structure of how we speak, but we often struggle, and usually give up, when it comes to actually succeeding in the process of proper sentence construction.

The noun that belongs in the canon for all things nauseous, is NAUSEA. The gentleman buying my drinks that evening settled on nauseousness. He was trying to explain that he felt nauseous, and was tired of all the "nauseousness."



I will never forget the correct forms and usage of the word for the feeling you get right before you boot just as I will never forget the day Michael Semore proudly displayed the Queen Elizabeth I Barbie that he had found ON THE CLEARANCE TABLE at a toy store. There are teachers that you remember because they tried too hard, and there are teachers you remember because they simply were. They were knowledge, language, sharing, teaching, faith, and, most importantly, vulnerable (I realize that, in order to make this sentence stylistically more pleasant, the last word SHOULD be "vulnerability," but that doesn't further my point..OKAY).

"If you come to me to ask for a hall pass and tell me you feel nauseous, I will respond by telling you that, yes, you are making me want to throw up too, but I don't see why that qualifies you for a hall pass."

Why? It is something that is NAUSEOUS, like a big ol' pile a' crap, that induces NAUSEA. If you experience something NAUSEOUS, you may become NAUSEATED.



I know, I know. I'm a sad grammar nazi,



the type of person that has to silently correct your grammar to make myself feel better about the future of civilization, when it probably doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things and if I could just chill out about it I wouldn't be so frustrated/might not be single/(insert some form of existence that you find suitable because your ideas about living are just as valid as mine, if not totally different).

It's true. It doesn't REALLY matter. Saying, "I feel nauseous" is acceptable (according to the sacred Oxford English Dictionary that Mr. Semore introduced to us in it's original tangible form that required a magnifying glass just a few short months before the internet would transform absolutely everything). It's accepted. No one will be confused if you tell them you feel nauseous. The only person that might be confused is you, when you are trying to explain to someone that you felt nauseous to excess, and you stumble upon the word/notword "nauseousness," when you could have simply used the term "nausea" and been done with it.

The beauty of language is that it evolves. It exists for the people. It is the only way that we can truly tell the difference between ourselves and the world around us, the only way we can describe our experiences to each other, the only way we can communicate. Language is not merely words; it is symbols. It is a collection of signs to represent the signified, and that is everything that is not us. Even those who cannot speak find a way to communicate, to form symbols that add up to thoughts and feelings and experiences.



I suppose that is why I find it so sacred, so beautiful. I can take words, and what I know about words, and I can use them to tell someone what it feels like to fall in love, or what it feels like when one falls out of love. I can describe what it feels like on a day when I spring out of bed full of excitement about the day ahead and what it feels like when a sudden bout of nausea leaves me huddled in the fetal position and unable to go about my day.

The depth and breadth of language knows no bounds just as humans are capable of more than we can imagine. It's almost nauseating to think of the fact that there are words for feelings in other languages that don't even exist in English. In English we have to find another way to describe that feeling you get when you're standing alone against the wall at a high school social, and that cute boy you've always liked asks you if you want to dance. Usually we resort to using other words, or similes and metaphors to describe that particular brand of nausea, but I'll bet it stands alone just fine in one of the love languages (and by that I mean Latin based languages).

It takes a big person to tell a room full of 16-18 year olds that he loves words and wants them to respect his love by respecting the words. Perhaps that is why Mr. Semore has stayed with me all these years. True passion requires vulnerability, and true vulnerability is daunting, nauseating at times. The only way to affect change in our own lives as well as the lives of others is to be vulnerable. When we open ourselves up to love something or someone or many, the more capable we find ourselves of opening even further, of finding new ways to express ourselves and our feelings. Thus, language evolves further to accommodate our changing needs.  More importantly, we find we are more capable of loving, fully and unabashedly, not just words or shoes, but living and life, and eventually...hopefully...ourselves.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

More Like Farts and Crafts

Look. I'm a girl. I can do things. I can do a lot of things. I can cook, clean (I am ABLE), train a dog, grow vegetables, fold clothes, write, edit, wax academic, be sexy, be casual, bathe myself, eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's in one sitting, binge watch television on Netflix (or any channel offering an America's Next Top Model marathon), read, snore, swallow more than one pill at a time, exercise, cycle, drive a stick shift, gossip, give advice, tell jokes, do shots, do my hair, pack a bowl, read a newspaper, teach a class, follow instructions...I could go on forever. I can do anything really, except CRAFT.

It's not that I CAN'T craft, and it's not that I don't like crafting...no...it is that I don't like it. I don't want to do it. If you're thinking about inviting me to a crafting extravaganza, you might want to think again. And no, adding wine as an incentive will NOT make me somehow want to come to your craft party. I can drink wine any time I want. I'm an adult. I don't need the excuse of a party to drink wine. I have a dog, a couch, a library of books, a television set, AND a box full of cheap wine glasses. I can drink wine on my own and not feel an OUNCE of guilt. There's no magic in taking a handful of buttons and some Mod Podge that will somehow make me feel like drinking wine is suddenly OKAY. I already think drinking wine is okay. There are no superlatives to the word "okay."

I have listened to friends that I LOVE, that I think are the coolest people, BEG me to come to their crafting parties, and I didn't argue. I just laughed. I just laughed. You think I can't talk girl talk with you unless I'm gluing lace to a pillow? Look, I wear makeup. I know the art of seduction. I don't need to prove it by crafting a birthday party for my boyfriend (Okay. I don't have a boyfriend, but if I did, I wouldn't make decorations for his birthday party. I would invite his friends and buy booze. What more could he want?).

And don't think I haven't tried it. I've tried crafting parties. I usually just sit there watching everyone dive into these incredibly intricate and thoughtful projects while I finish off a whole bottle of wine. The only thing I get out of a craft party is purple lips and teeth. Sometimes I cover my fingers in glue and peel it off...cuz that's fun, but I rarely get into the spirit of creativity.

And I KNOW....OMG, I KNOW that it might make Christmas shopping easier. I could just make some crappy hand made cards for people and drop them in the mail and BOOM...Christmas is done, and I feel no guilt for how broke I am. I made pretty things for you. Except that was more okay when I was a kid and making macaroni collages.

You know what. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to make macaroni collages for ALL OF YOU. Macaroni, Elmer's glue all, washable markers, and maybe my handprint. And you HAVE to love it...because I DIY-ed it. I freaking do-it-yourselfed that shit.

Finally, in protest of the most harmless of all of the activities (because, honestly, ladies, more power to you), I'm going to have a girl party where we just drink wine, listen to music, and fart (which means I'll be inviting you to a regular day in my life at my apartment). Who's in?

I have no pictures for this blog.....yet.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

No Shave November

My original intent was to post sexy ladies with hairy legs (mostly just pictures of me in mom shorts), but then I found this (click on it!), and I was inspired to make this joke:

If J Crew makes it trendy for people to wear tights that replicate hairy legs, I am going to save so much money on pants from now on.

At first, it was kind of sexy. Guys would nod to each other in solidarity at the camaraderie that comes from having the same dirty looking facial hair for a full month. Manly men, with 5 o'clock shadow that really looked more like 72 hour shadow, would proudly put their arms around the shoulders of their independent women. The patriarchy had found a way to maintain some sort of control, whilst instituting the sexiest form of the upper hand.

I ask you, but mostly I ask me, what well-read feminist can resist a man who refuses to let the women's movement render him weak? Everything is circular. I'm perfectly happy with men going back to being burly. It beats Bro-ey any day.

But, ladies. It's time to take back the night. We've let them have their fun, and we've had plenty of fun ourselves. It's time to level-up. Get off your sexy asses. Turn away from your Pinterest board in homage to the beast that is the hairy male species.

I now declare (as if I had the authority to do so) No Shave November applicable to women. If you're already doing it, come out about it. If you haven't ever tried it, give it a whirl...swirl....curl.

And for the men out there reading this: EVOLVE.

Love,
Me


Picture credit: http://discountdivah.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/744-hairy-underarms.jpg

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Adventures in Comedy

Okay. I get it. You guys aren't too comfortable with the idea of acid trip blogs. Or maybe it's the life lessons. What do you guys have against life lessons? Too many? How about this:

Last night I dreamed that I did stand up. I was totally in control of the stage but not in control of the audience, which is, I guess, the real point of doing stand-up: getting everyone on the same page as you and taking them along on your wild ride of hilariousness. Yep. that's what it's all about...I imagine.

At one point in the dream, I jumped off stage and went around to different audience members and did that "angry me" thing that I do when I get really intense about something and make weird eye contact with people. No one laughed, but I kept trying it out on different people.

Richard Pryor was there.

I avoided him after my show. I didn't want his notes.

And then Phylicia Rashad was there. And it was, like, a gospel meeting, and I think I was both trapped under the floor and in the audience.

If anyone has any ideas about what the hell this means, I would be happy to hear it.

Also, I have developed an unhealthy addiction to this:


I need all 20 of you to go to every grocery store you can, and destroy every jar you see. Otherwise, I will eat ALL OF THEM. WITH A SPOON. I have never felt like something had this kind of power over me...until now. 

Finally, here are a few of the "normal" characters I have developed in class at Second City, as I should be keeping track of them:

1. "Do I look like I'm in my thirties" girl

video


2. "If I can't fit into this dress, I'll lose this job at Disney" girl

video


3. "I don't talk too much" girl (this one is actually really fun)

video



4. "Heavily medicated" girl

video




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Acid-ity

There comes a time in every child's life that she must experience the world through her own eyes rather than the eyes of those that came before.

No. I'm not talking about history, or adulthood, or just the broader sense of life experience. I'm talking about something much more/less significant. I'm talking about psychedelic drugs, more specifically, ACID.

It might help if you read this post whilst listening to this song:


I am listening to it while I write this post. 

Let me preface this (in the middle) by saying that I do not advocate the irresponsible use of drugs. I don't. Drugs are a HUGE responsibility. NEVER take drugs for shits and giggles. NEVER. 

I decided I wanted to try Acid after seeing a fantastic episode of Mad Men wherein Roger Sterling (my FAVORITE character) takes Acid with his soon to be estranged young wife along with a bunch of other wealthy adults during a time when the medical industry was testing the effects of LSD. I'd been toying with the idea for a while, and I was living close to some similarly toying friends that I considered and still consider to be my intellectual equals. We MADE PLANS that required us to wait a good few months before actually taking the drug. We talked to professional drug takers (or whatever you want to call them) who gave us excellent advice on how to spend the day without crashing into a pile of misery at the end of it (because that's what happens when you take drugs....you feel fantastic and then you crash into a pile of painful misery). 

If the music has ended, you can always restart it. ;)

The day we had planned was upon us. It was in June in Atlanta, and the weather forecasters were calling for an incredibly hot day, over 100 in the shade. Everyone was advised to stay inside. But we didn't want to. We went to a park on a creek, brought water, juice, fruit and trail mix, and spread out. 

From the time one "drops" acid, it takes about an hour or so to feel any of the effects. We were coming out of a hike through the dense woods when I started to "come up" as they say. I found a rock in the shade where I could soak my feet in the water of the creek and allowed the waves of my gradual loss of control to crash over me. 

It mostly just felt like my breathing had slowed down along with my mind. I remember looking up and seeing my friend Matt, who had mentioned putting on some sunblock before anything happened, standing in the creek up to his knees, and confusedly rubbing thick, cakey circles of old sunblock around in his chest hair. 

"There's something wrong with this lotion."

I just laughed. 

I won't go into all the details. I will say that I found myself at one point, sitting on a rock in the middle of the creek, the current rushing over my shoulders as I tossed my head back and laughed at the sky. I laughed and laughed until I wept, and then I wept until I laughed again. I was experiencing the stereotypical Acid trip. I also spent a long time with one of these guys:


thinking, "this guy totally gets it." What? Oh, you know, the basic stuff: Life is fleeting. We're all plummeting towards death, and the more we fear it, the faster it comes. Thus, there's no good place for fear in our lives. There's a place for careful consideration, but life altering fear, NO. 

The truth is, I didn't need to take acid to figure that out. I knew it. What's the one reason you aren't doing exactly what you want to do RIGHT NOW? And you can't say "money," because you know how to make money. The answer is fear. You might be afraid that you won't succeed, afraid that you will succeed, afraid you'll be alone forever, afraid you'll end up on the streets, crazy and homeless (that's not how you become homeless. look at homeless people. most of them need a good doctor and some kind of medication for mental disorders OR help with addiction [BE CAREFUL WITH DRUGS]). 

Every reason that you might be able to give for not living the life you always imagined you could live can be traced back to FEAR. 

I was a trusting kid. My parent's didn't have to scare me into submission too often (I don't think). When a lot of my friends were sneaking out because their parents were strict, I was hanging out at home with my parents watching Star Trek TNG or listening to music and writing in my angst-y teen journal. My parents weren't strict. I got to go out when I made plans, and I didn't go out when I didn't. I trusted their authority and guidance, some might say innocently, because they didn't try to scare me into obeying them. I didn't try to rush into adulthood. I let it come upon me organically. So, for that, I think they knocked it out of the park, even if they don't agree with me. I mean...I am writing a blog about dropping acid. 

So do this: return to freaking innocence. Just laugh if you want. Cry if you want. And don't care what other people say. You're the only one that knows EXACTLY what you need. And if you aren't sure...FIGURE IT OUT, and then give it to yourself. 

The only difference between figuring that out with or without acid is the pure moods style music in your head...and the visuals. CRAZY VISUALS. 

OH. AND THIS:


Saturday, October 26, 2013

I Fought the Law and the.......Please Don't Tow My Car

Look. I don't want you to get the wrong idea. I don't want you to think I'm some tough macho gal that goes running in the direction of her fears like a damn Matador. I'm pretty terrified of a lot of possible scenarios.

Let's take getting caught in a park with Linus off his leash, for instance. I don't know why this terrifies me, but it does. It didn't always terrify me. When I lived in Georgia, Linus and I were a stone's throw from a ton of great outdoor activities. We went up to the Appalachian trail almost weekly, and I'd keep him on his leash until we'd get a little ways in, and then I'd let him loose. Why? Because I'm reckless? No. Because I trained him, and he stays with me. I know the damn dog. So when I let him run around me at a trail head once, without his leash, and a (fat) park ranger drove up and got out of his truck to sidle up to me and announce, "you gotta have your dog on a leash," I pretty much had it coming.

However, this guy had a north Georgia accent, and he said it like I was some kind of idiot that didn't know what I was doing (sometimes I'm irrationally angry at people when I think they think I'm dumb. I just don't like condescension. It's upsetting). So I responded, not by saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, sir. I didn't realize," because who cares what this guy actually thought of me. Oh no. I said, "Oh really? It doesn't say it anywhere on this information board. How am I supposed to know that?"

SO, he pointed at a line on the list of "hikers guidelines" that read, "keep your dog restrained at all times," and he said, "Right there. It says you gotta have your dog on a leash."

"No. It says, 'keep  your dog restrained.'"

"Well, yeah. That means on a leash."

"My dog is trained. He's under my control, and is, therefore, restrained. He will never go too far away from me, and he always comes when I call him."

"But the woods are different," (like I'd never been in the woods before. GAH), "he could look up 'n see a squerrl' n' the next thang yew know he's off into the woods, n' you're callin' me on the phone cryin' 'bout how you can't find yer dog cuz he done run off into the woods."

It's a good thing I'm not violent...


Usually.


I took a breath, a beat, a pause, and finally bent down to put the leash on Linus and said, "I understand. Just...the wording is not as direct as it could be. I can easily argue with the wording."

I took the leash off about five minutes from the trail head. Never lost him.

Today, on the other hand, I drove Linus north of the city to find the Des Plaines River Trail. Funny thing, Google Maps. Whenever I use it to find driving directions to a trail, it just takes me to a random spot close to the trail and says, "you have arrived."



I love that: "You have arrived." Who doesn't dream of hearing that every day of her life? When Google Maps tells me, it usually just means that I'm on a two lane road in the middle of nowhere and there is PROBABLY a trail...into the woods...close by.

Well, I was right next to the trail, but I had no idea where to put my car so that I could get out to walk on the trail. I drove up and down the road avoiding "no parking" areas, the lawns of homeowners, and anything that looked like it was there to keep up the charade of picturesque country living. I literally got stressed about this. About PARKING. I kept thinking, "I can't park in front of this person's house because it will upset them," as if upsetting a midwesterner is the worst thing one can do.

I mean, it kind of is. They're so damn agreeable.

I pulled my car around behind a house that was falling apart, but still on sale, and I left a note. I sat in my car worrying about the realtor possibly showing the house, coming to the back, seeing my car, and flying into a rage of cop calling/fine charging. I WORRIED about this. So I wrote a note that simply asked of anyone that might discover the car, "please don't tow my car. I'm new to the area, and I just want to hike on the trail. I am so sorry. I will be back before sunset."

I don't know where it comes from. Maybe staying in Georgia, as much as I loved, dearly, my friends, was inching me towards the edge. I was like that kid that grows up in a small town, who never fits in, and just wants to leave it all to become a dancer. Because nobody in this one Starbucks town understands that I have DREAMS. So I bucked the law. When the law said, "please restrain your dog," I responded with, "You restrain YOUR dog. Cuz I'ma....kick your....mom. You! Bah! Yeah!" And then I cut all my hair off and joined the circus.

And since then, I've found that circus life is something I want to maintain...so I don't want to upset anyone....or, I would prefer to upset as few people as possible. I plan on sticking around for a minute. Please don't tow my car.

P.S. I let Linus run off-leash on the trail. It was pretty freaking cold and, therefore, pretty empty.
P.P.S. I didn't actually cut all my hair off.


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Hair is There for a Reason

You may not believe this, but I was kind of a late bloomer when it comes to "doing girl things." Try as she might, my mother could not spend enough money on makeup to make me actually wear it. I remember going to multiple "makeovers" at the Clinique counter and having ladies wearing grease-paint masks say to me, "oh yeah, I know exactly what you're saying," when I begged them to make me look "natural."

The truth is, I begged my mother to let me wear makeup, until she actually said yes. It wasn't until I started wearing makeup that I noticed how much time I spent putting it on in the morning and how haggard it made me look by the end of the day, when I was flirting with the boys outside the band hall. It was a waste of my time.

But this blog isn't about makeup. You read the title. Oh no. It's about EYEBROWS.

I recently saw a brilliant commercial for Rice-Crispies, one of the only cereal splurges I was allowed as a child (ONLY CHEERIOS), that made me want to eat all the Rice-Crispies:


I realize I just advertised for Rice-Crispies, and they aren't giving me a dime, but it's almost Christmas, and you guys are going to buy it by the boat-load anyway. So shut up.

This was how I felt about people that plucked their eyebrows. Why? WHY?????? Why spend time every day making yourself miserable when there aren't even enough hours in the day to do the actual things that you WANT to do?

I actually prided myself in my motto: If it grows there, it's supposed to be there!

I can't say why I changed my mind and started plucking, but I did. Maybe it had something to do with the pictures I was churning out:

Like this one from Junior High

Or this one from High School at the Dallas Zoo with my friends from Choir:


Or this one FROM MY SENIOR PROM:


Guys. I didn't even pluck my eyebrows for my own prom. 

And you know what: I had fun, AND I turned out okay. How? 

First, I started caring A LOT about what people thought of me. Then, I hated myself. After that, I thought I looked like a boy, and I TRIED to pluck my eyebrows, but it hurt and I hated it. Then, I asked my mom to wax them for me, and she got scared when it was time to pull the wax off, and kept grabbing at it all scared like and sucking in air through her teeth like she could feel my pain. I have never asked her to do it since. Then, I got them waxed at a salon for $5. Then, I started to have fun with makeup...don't know how that happened either...maybe it's when I started wanting boys to like me. I still thought I was ugly, though. BOO HOO. 

Now, I pluck when I need to, even though I know that no one REALLY notices, except for those girls that are self-conscious enough to find pleasure in pointing out what they don't like about other people. And for you ladies that feel you need to do that, I say, go for it. Use me. I don't care. Because, actually, I don't. I pluck my eyebrows for myself. I wear makeup for myself (and because there are no rules in makeup...but that is another blog that I PROMISE I will write). I don't think I'm ugly any more. I kind of think I'm smokin' hot. I could be wrong. It's okay. 

Do what you want, kiddos. It's your face. And don't let Hamlet tell you you're crazy for wearing makeup or plucking your eyebrows. That guy was CRAY, and everyone died at the end of that play. If you don't want to pluck, just say what I say, "the hair is there for a reason," and if someone argues with you, buy them a drink, give them a high five, and let it be. 




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Some Thoughts on Bewbs

I recently tried to find "breasts humor" on Pinterest, and they told me, "We couldn't find any results for [that], but you might try Holidays, Corgis, Sneakers, or Pasta," (emphasis theirs).

My whim whams have grown from a size Brad Pitt to a size Danny DeVito since my freshman year in college, and I haven't gained A LOT of weight elsewhere.

When I wear something that I consider to be a bit revealing (keeping in mind that I'm kind of a prude), I will talk incessantly about how crazy big Burt and Ernie must look/worry about whether or not everyone thinks I'm a slut.

I've had improv coaches tell me to steer away from mentioning Fred and Ethel during a scene because it makes everyone in the audience look at 'em...because no one noticed until I said something...

I probably have a hunch back from trying to hide my jugs during church, and church school.

I enjoy my mammaries. At least when it's just me and them. And lavender bubble bath.

Once a young lesbian told me that she was sorry, but she just felt dirty looking at me in a low cut dress. I offered to wear a Burka around her. She didn't get the irony.


um.....are you even listening?


Guys will often inform me that my headlights are rather bright, and I'll kinda shake my head, shrug my shoulders and say, "yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaah. I know. It's okay."

I get my melons from my grandmother on my dad's side. Aging gracefully for her included eventually being able to tuck her ta-ta's into her pants.

Every guy I've dated in the past has been a self-proclaimed "ass-man."

I displayed my wahwahs once during a sketch show I did to promote funny women. I was playing Hilary Clinton debating Sarah Palin on the sexualization of women. In the end, the only thing we could agree on was the fact that boobs are, in fact, AWESOME. We both took our tops off to reveal red and blue pasties. My tit-tays are so big, the ratio of pasty to boob was roughly 1: 90.

I have bras that I can successfully wear as hats.

I don't want anyone to think I'm complaining. I know it's hard to have bee stings as well. For those with the lil 'uns, the cup must sometimes seem half empty. If we could walk a mile in each other's bra, you might take mine off as soon as you get the chance, just so you can have an excuse not to go out, and I'd probably take yours off equally as fast just to experience the freedom of being small enough to go bra-less. Let's not argue. We're all different, and it's those differences (in neener sizes) that make us who we are.

Thanks for listening.


And be good to your











Monday, October 14, 2013

Tick Tock, It's My Biological Clock


I was riding on the top level of a double decker bus in London when I first heard any mention of my "time running out." I was twenty-eight, living in London with my boyfriend, with no idea what I REALLY wanted for my future. I turned to the girl who said to me, "Ahftuh you tuhn thuty five, your eggs staht to go bad," and asked, "where'd ya hear that?" 

"From my proffessahs at college."

"Were they old white dudes?"

"Yes..."

"Then, it's invalid."

I learned two years later, living in a small town in Georgia with my NEW boyfriend, and visiting the fancy popular gynecologist in town (who was against birth control because it was "un natural hormones," against anti-depressants because they were working too hard to make me happy, and happily shacked up with a cop with whom she shared a gorgeous incredible country home on the Ettowah river...with a jacuzzi) when I learned that I didn't need to be in any kind of hurry, "just don't get to 39 without knowing for sure that you want kids. It gets harder after forty." 

So I thought, SURE. Why not. I've got time. 

I then proceeded to break up with my boyfriend, adopt a puppy, and rent a cute house in the middle of the square of a town with perhaps 2 eligible single men. What's a few more years of singledom (That's a word...right)? 

It wasn't long after that, that I began to feel it. 

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. 

A friend had a baby, and would sit in the room with her and watch while she rocked her little one to sleep and just...I would just mouth breathe. 

I'd be lounging in the park every now and then and see this:


And just float off into dream land where I wore excessively low cut white dresses and packed elaborate picnic baskets with organic and gluten free food, and drank wine and ate strawberries while my beautiful daughter(?) did a million cute things that made me swoon, and I never got drunk on the wine, or got any of it on my white dress, and my boobs didn't almost fall out of the dress even once. And there was mist, and sparkles, and narwals, and Enya was playing in the background some song about the poetry of motherhood...in the desert or something. 

And then, snap, it would go away and I'd be back in my body, not too concerned with my impending menopause, and kinda terrified at the thought of actually having a baby.

But that was it. That was the extent to which my clock was ticking...until now. 


This time, it's different. I'm not swooning too much at seeing a mother and child together. No, this time it's carnal. Every boy is good and beautiful. Every boy that I see...of course, until I talk to them. I don't know if it's Chicago, or what, but I am out of my mind boy crazy and simultaneously out of my mind terrified of any sort of romantic encounter/endeavor. Everywhere I go, they walk past me with their beards, and their chest hair poking out of their collars, and I just want to grab em, and kiss em, and scream: 

WE WOULD MAKE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BABY DON'T YOU THINK?!?!

And it's more often now. Like...multiple times in a week...sometimes more than once a day. I mean, I always go back to being terrified at the thought of having kids. Don't worry. It's just that it never happened that often with the mommy baby wonderland world. 

Of course, it is now that my nature as a human being is becoming more and more apparent. It is now that I see just how much of an animal, at my roots, I am, which also accounts for the fact that I have never found a friend as good as my dog. I think.

My body wants to procreate. Despite my liberal political leanings and overpopulation mumbo jumbo nonsense, my body wants to continue the species. 

IT WANTS TO MULTIPLY. UGH. 

What happened to Ms. Independent? She got the mad baby fever and ran, foaming at the mouth, from her shell of independence, tearing at her clothes like one of those zombies that runs instead of limps towards you, except she's reaching for your OTHER brain. 

That said, if you're a dude, let me know if you'd like my number. I'm avaaaaaaaaaiiiiiilaaaaaable. 




Thursday, October 10, 2013

Song of Jeff Goldblum

I celebrate Jeff Goldblum, and sing Jeff Goldblum,
And what Jeff Goldblum assumes, I shall assume,
For every atom belonging to Jeff Goldblum as good belongs to me.

I loafe and invite Jeff Goldblum,
I lean and loafe at my ease, observing the effects of chaos on a dinosaur theme park.



Jeff's tongue, every atom of his blood, form'd from this soil, this air,
Born in Pittsburg of parents born from parents the same, and their parents
the same,
He, now sixty something, is still perfect
And I hope he ceases not until death

A child said what is Jeff Goldblum? fetching a framed portrait with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I cannot define a force any more than
he.
I guess it must be found in classics such as The Fly, or in the background in Annie Hall.
He was a friend in Nine Months, and a lover in Earth Girls Are Easy.
The dark and dreamy scientist in Jurassic Park, and a fearless hero in Independence Day. 




I saw him once, from afar, in the light of the follow-spot.
Slender and dark. Tall and Handsome.
Speaking the words of Mamet, on a stage in London, England.
And to that I hold. My moment with Jeff Goldblum.
Jeff Goldblum, and I.

And since, I have seen him,
In Portland
Father in The League
The One with the Mugging
Investigating Criminal Intent
Alongside Tim and Eric, great job.

I sing a song of Jeff Goldblum, and my voice is never tired,
and the sun is never brighter.

He will hardly know who I am or what I mean
But I shall be good health to him nevertheless.

Failing to fetch him at first keep encouraged,
Missing him one place, I search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for Jeff Goldblum.






*I am hoping "the Poet" will allow my artistic license in celebration of such a man. Either way, special thanks to Walt Whitman for singing of himself.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

To the Root of the Tragedy part II (AKA SPOILERS)

On Wednesday of last week, I brought you along on my happy little tirade, if you will, over the classical definition of a tragedy according to Aristotle. Let's review that before I move forward into the world of Breaking Bad (because I PROMISED).

1. The Greeks invented what we now know as Theatre. INVENTED IT.
2. Aristotle wrote a book about the rules: The Poetics (this also applies to literature, and since the Greeks basically invented classic literature as well, one can assume The Poetics is basically the Bible of literary art).
3. The Greek Tragedy is comprised of specific aspects or tropes: A protagonist of high standing (doesn't have to be nobility, but someone respected), with a tragic flaw (within his character), who fights the gods (or something like fate), and loses, as he is expected to lose.

Every time the world of art has undergone a "renaissance," the Greeks have been re-explored, re-explained, and re--------animated.

Then we talked about Arthur Miller, who wrote about the romanticized American Dream (Death of a Salesman). It was a romanticized dream, and still is. Miller's tale, in a way, takes the romance out of it by pouring it all on this one guy, who is going crazy, and who eventually kills himself. And we call it the great American tragedy. But it isn't really...it's tragic, but not tragedy in the sense that Aristotle describes.

Enter Vince Gilligan (and Spoilers).

Breaking Bad, according to its creator (Vince Gilligan), is a story of what makes a man bad. He wanted to show the transition of a character from protagonist to antagonist (these terms are also Poetics terms). The protagonist is our hero, and he drives the story forward; while the antagonist is our villain (to simplify it), and he works against the protagonist. Our hero in Breaking Bad, Walter White, is both, by design, but I believe he is still our hero.

I admit, halfway through the series, I began to think that Jessie was our protagonist. As irritating as his character was, he was the only consistently moral character in the entire show. Moral? He was just a junkie. God bless artists like Gilligan, and actors like Aaron Paul, who work together to show that no man or woman is just one thing or the other. Jessie is our Everyman (that's another old theatre reference). We connect to him and his response to what is happening around him. It makes sense to us. But, Walter, both pro and antagonist, is our tragic hero.

White is a teacher. The very term can be seen as a tragedy in American society (guh. I hate it when people say "in American society") (so. much). Teachers are simultaneously celebrated and spat upon. Teachers are glorified and underestimated. There's a whole 'nother blog in there about the injustices in the American education system. Gilligan focuses on a tiny one (that's hyperbole, in case you didn't know): pay. White has cancer, and his meager teacher salary/health care plan, won't pay for ANY OF THE TREATMENT.

He could have been more; he could have been a bajillionaire like his friends at Gray Matter, but he sold his share of the company. Here's where we see the first inkling of his tragic flaw. It was the research he did at Gray Matter that gave him the lung cancer, and it is his old friends, the beneficiaries of the success of Gray Matter that offer to pay for his treatments. How appropriate. BUT, Walt won't have it. He refuses it, primarily, I THINK, because of Pride.

His Pride in his work rears its head throughout the story. Here's one example: His son sets up a website to help raise money for the treatment, and Walt uses this to launder some of his "cooking" money. Sounds like a great thing, except Walt Jr (oh, Flynn) gets the credit, and this is inFURIATing to Walt.

So there's the tragic flaw. But, what are these GODS he's fighting? It's not like he's fighting fate. Perhaps one could say he is pitted against man's very nature and tendency towards greed (the vicious circle of money hoarding that causes health insurance companies to destroy the concept of "free market" when it comes to health care...which is the reason Walt "thinks" he has to do what he is doing...I could go on and on it's the circle of freaking life). I posit that he is pitted against the gods of our time. The men and women who think themselves gods. Walt stands before each of them, and defeats them. Gus Fring, a truly terrifying villain, who is perceived as untouchable and unbeatable by the audience (at least I felt that way), protected by the most stalwart of guardians (Mike), and who has been quietly building his empire over the years. He made himself into a god, and Walter takes him down.

Then there are the Neo-Nazis. They exist for no other reason than to exert power over others. What greater power is there, than to be able to hold someone's life in your hands? They do not hold the same respect for art, music, or food, like the sophisticated Fring, but they are master's at what they do: killing. It is a fitting skill for a group that exemplifies hatred. Hate. Darkness. Death. These aspects of the human experience were once embodied by ancient gods. Look it up!

And then there is Walter White. The ultimate villain in this story. I imagine we all signed on thinking it would be fun to observe the silly antics that ensue when a goofy high school chemistry teacher gets mixed up with the drug lords of the west. But Walter White was too proud, and, as all great literature attests: pride always goes before a fall.

In the end, the only villain White has to face is himself, and in the end he does so as the hero he once was. Knowing that it will be end of him, he walks into the lions den of what HE CREATED, and he destroys it all.

Some may have wanted Jessie to kill Walter. I know I did, but when Walter sees what he has done to this kid who was "just a junkie," and gives him the gift of the opportunity to take him down, Jessie does exactly what any of us would have done. First, he says he won't do it unless its actually what Walter wants him to do. Then, when he sees that Walt is already dying, he drops the gun, and he runs. And it's beautiful.

Why were  most of us satisfied with the ending of Breaking Bad? Because we travelled down the darkest path a man can take WITH Walter, and we knew, just as he knew, that the only way out was through the finality of death. Instead of hiding away in the woods, and letting the final throws of cancer take him in his sleep, he went back to do what he could to honor those who died on his watch. Each character in the story has a flaw, and each character suffers or dies for his or her flaw. To appease the gods, Walter offers up himself and the empire that he built through his multitude of sins.

Greed begets more greed. Hatred begets more hatred. Only love drives any of these things away. When did it happen for Walter? When did the light of love begin to chisel away at his carefully constructed villainy? I believe it happened when he saw his brother-in-law die at the hands of the Neo-Nazis. Hank looked death in the face and was not afraid. He did not beg for his life. He did not back away from his beliefs. He saw a gun pointed at his head and no way out, and he resigned himself to his fate. Walter has to watch this, and everyone else watching (the guys outside the television set. you guys. me.) felt the subtle shift.

Breaking Bad was and is, truly, a great American tragedy. It takes a man who values his family over his fate, who allows pride to change his course, who tumbles into oblivion as he battles gods that are bigger and more frightening with every turn, and through the reminder of what it means to love...to truly love...goodness and light, he picks himself up, and he tears down his kingdom of pride, burying himself in the rubble.

In the end, there are no more lies. He can admit to his wife that he loved what he did. That it made him feel alive. And he can absolve his anger towards Jessie (whom he truly loved) when he sees his suffering, and grant him the freedom that he could never win for himself. He was the hero and the villain of his own story, just as we all are. And when we see that he can do it...that he can stand up in the face of certain death....we know we can too. And we feel better (that's catharsis).

So call it what you will, and take from it what you want. This is the not the end of Breaking Bad, and it is not the end of the reinvention of the dramatic arts. The themes of fear, fate, pride, courage, love, and light will live forever, even if none of us live long enough to ride in a flying car.

And, honestly...I thought we'd have flying cars by now. What gives?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

To the Root of the Tragedy Part I

I have taught six sections of Theatre Appreciation in my lifetime, and for each of the sections, I required students to read what some consider to be the great American tragedy, Death of a Salesman. Then, I asked them if they thought that it was true. Is Death of a Salesman the great American tragedy?

You probably know the story. Homeboy Willy Loman is living the dream, or trying to. A traveling salesman, he's worked his whole life to see his family shine in the light of the American Dream. However you define that, I'll go out on a limb and say that we can all agree that it has something to do with rising to the top, being able to have whatever we need without having to worry about anything...and it may also include without being limited to...at least fifteen minutes of fame.

When Willy doesn't reach great heights in his heyday, he looks to his son, Biff. Surely Biff will carry on the "family name" through success. He was successful in high school; thus, there is no reason he should not be successful beyond.

There is an ongoing literary dispute over the contention that this play is truly a tragedy. Yes, it is tragic, but a tragic life or tragic ending and a tragedy are two different things.

In Aristotle's Poetics, he describes tragedy as being, "an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament...in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis [sic] of such emotions..."

Confused? Well, first of all, just so you know, "[sic]" in the middle of a quote means that I know that the previous word is misspelled (or grammatically incorrect), but I gotta be true to the guy that wrote it. Secondly, what?

In theatre, as in most forms of literature, we cling desperately to the past. In the case of the dramatics, we hold to the Greeks because they were the first dudes to start writing stuff down about theatre. Also, they wrote plays...and a guy named Thespis one day was all, "I sound better than all these people in this [Greek] chorus, so I'm going to step out in front and start talking alone." Thus, self-centered, and mostly ignorant to the true art of the form actors were born. GUH. (I'm kiddin, y'all. I'm an actor)

The tradition of the Greek Tragedy was to have a tragic hero, described by Aristotle as "a man who is neither a paragon of virtue and justice nor undergoes the change to misfortune through any real badness or wickedness but because of some mistake."Aristotle actually defines the man as a great man, a man who is regarded as a good man from a good family. Mistake is also defined as a "tragic flaw." Every tragic hero has a flaw that makes him predisposed to tragedy. It's not that our hero trips accidentally. There is an error in his character.

And we, the audience, watch him fight a great enemy (through actions and events, rather than a narrative), knowing that he will fail because of his tragic flaw. The enemies he goes up against are not "bad guys," or "villains," but rather representations of truly unbeatable odds. In most Greek tragedies, heroes fight the gods or even worse, they fight the inevitability of fate. Who here has read Oedipus the King?

So, with that in mind, is the American Dream a god? Is it fate? Or is it an idea? Is Willy Loman a true hero? Does he die victoriously standing tall in the face of his fate? When you finish reading or watching Arthur Miller's famous play, do you feel the purging of all of your fears?

Did I mention that part? Aristotle's "Katharsis" is possibly the most important part of the tragedy. If we know our hero is going to fight that which cannot be defeated, and we know he is going to suffer and probably die, why on EARTH do we waste our time watching tragedies? Because we do. We love watching a derailed train charge to its destruction. What happens to us in the end?

Catharsis. The internet defines it as "the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions." We applaud the man or woman who is brave enough, despite his or her inevitable fall, to stand up to fate, and to stand proud. Because we all die. And we all fear death. We are all going to die, and we are all terrified of that finality of life. The end of everything we know or can define. We fear it so much that we rarely even speak of it. But the tragedians are not afraid to bring it center stage, to make us see it face to face, and through their fearlessness in the art, we are given relief from our greatest fear...if only for a moment.

Therefore, before you read the NEXT blog that I write, I want you to ask yourself: Do you feel relief when Loman decides to kill himself? Do you feel that Willy is a tragic Hero? Are you satisfied with the ending of Death of a Salesman? Or do you feel more hopeless than ever about the fate of the American pitted against the demands of the Dream?

And finally, did you watch Breaking Bad?

Monday, September 30, 2013

As Usual, Something "New" and "Different"

I was sittin on the bus the other day, and I noticed an advertisement inside the bus for a speed dating organization. They touted themselves as "different" from the rest because they offered "categories." Through the miracle of inner-bus billboards, I learned that such "categories" unique to said "different" organization included:

Singles in their 20s.

Singles in their 30s.

Singles over 40.

Christian Singles.

Jewish Singles.

Muslim Singles.

I'm sorry. But...if you're offering me categories that can be considered "different" from those OTHER speed dating organizations...shouldn't the categories be...like...different? I mean, goodness knows I've never tried speed dating (although it might be fun..ny), so I guess maybe I'm not one to talk, but think about it this way:

As if the mere existence of multiple speed dating organizations wasn't SAD enough, now we come to find out that "most" of them (?) don't actually offer "categories," but when they do, they are the dullest and most obvious/redundant categories one might possibly be able to think of.

Thus, in response to the ad, I made a little list in my head of categories that might actually make me choose one service over another...were I ever to find myself bored enough to take a drunken run through a few speed dating shin-digs. Here's my list of categories that would make MY speeding dating worth calling unique.

Democrat Singles

Republican Singles (only if I haven't been INSANELY ANGRY in a while and need to feel that burn)

Traveling Singles

Steady normal job Singles (only out of curiosity)

Pothead Singles

Pothead Democrat Singles.

Singles who don't like real beer or whiskey. (avoid)

Singles who LOVE real beer and whiskey.

Singles who like to tell jokes.

Singles who don't laugh at anything.

Singles who fart only when alone.

Singles who fart most of the time. (not unlike my relationship with Target, I will look everywhere else for him and then find exactly who I was looking for in this very category)

Singles who laugh at farts.

Singles who don't laugh at farts.

Singles who love food.

Singles who don't love food. (or Singles who mostly eat just chicken fingers)

Messy Singles. (no more lying to myself)

Organized Singles.

Singles who don't mind Being Single, but occasionally have moments of despair, during which they weep at the overwhelming thought of being alone forever and being eaten by their cats.

Okay. There are more. I could honestly go on forever. But I won't. You get the picture.
If you want, feel free to comment (anyone with a gmail or google account can do so!) with categories that would make YOU get off your tookus and grab life by the speed dating bell.

Until next time, my lovelies.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Anyone can Master's Degree

I was thinking the other day, an activity in which I often indulge, about the process of writing a paper, or a thesis...if you will. I find myself most days getting carried away when I find a work, such as a film or a play, that lends itself to numerous topics of discussion/research/basic delving. And the truth is, anyone can write a research paper on absolutely anything that suits his or her fancy. Freshmen college students have trouble with it because no one has ever given them the power of choice before, but once we all get a little bit older and more...attached to our belief systems...we often have less trouble making decisions and running with them. Thus...the thesis of this blog will be:

You can write a master's thesis!

Picture it: One day, you're lying around on your sofa watching sports...ball, and you keep seeing commercials for Bud Light, and you're like "Why is everyone in these commercials so happy with their beer? Bud Light is gross. In fact, the majority of Bud Light drinkers appear to me to be Bros...and Ho..s." Then, maybe you giggle or chortle at the thought...but upon further thinking...this topic becomes a little more...urgent. "No, but seriously...why?" I'm sure anyone and everyone could end the thought right there by chocking it up to bad breeding, lack of adventure, money...health? But not you. Not now. You've got to get to the bottom of it.

If I learned anything in Grad school, it was that I needed to eventually make a solid choice to say something that had never been said AND backed up with research. SURE, most people joke about the Bud Light demographic...but very few people, nay, no one has really gone out on a limb to research this phenomenon. Why not you? Seriously. Anyone can do this.

So you start googling. Maybe you find a few articles here and there, but you don't really find the mother load until you spend the better part of three months pouring over J-Store. It's this awesomful website where researchers in the liberal arts have access to an ass-ton of scholarly articles on all sorts of topics.

AN ASS-TON.

Then you get excited! Things are moving along! You are inspired, and that inspiration is driving you. So what if you spend most of your time locked in a small room, staring at your computer screen, surrounded by mountains of printed J-Store articles in piles that kind of resemble organization. You can no longer be bothered with parties and bar hopping. You are on a journey...NO! A QUEST!

And maybe your friends call you, and beg you to get out of the house. And maybe you do hit up a party or two wearing a giant sweatshirt. And maybe your friends notice that you can't stop blinking (probably because you've been drowning in computer screen). And maybe you start to think that this blinking thing is more than just the screens...like...maybe you have turrets syndrome...it's POSSIBLE.

And then one day you share what you've written so far with one of your friends that you KNOW is smarter than you are, but she returns it to you with the note "This is terrible writing. You may want to take a class on writing because this is impossible to follow." And maybe you get a little angry, and crouch down on the floor of your room, screaming into a pillow. Then, ripping up all the draft papers into shreds, you begin to throw them around the room in a raging frenzy, and when you run out of paper, you collapse into a ball of tears and anger on the floor.

And maybe a few days later you notice that you've begun to break out in hives, and you tell your mom, and she says that maybe it's not hives, maybe you have meningitis, and you're like "WHY THE HELL WOULD IT BE MENINGITIS?!?" But then maybe it is meningitis and you'll be dead in a few days and who really cares about Bud Light anyway because it's A STUPID GROSS BEER FOR LAME PEOPLE THAT DON'T LIKE LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously. Academia doesn't belong solely to the elitists.

Then, finally, you are done. The paper is complete. And, after a panel of your most trusted and respected friends ask questions about your findings, they all shake your hand, including the friend that told you that your writing was atrocious. She even apologizes for not taking into account that you had clearly given her a draft that you would eventually re-work into a glorious achievement in research.

Now you're ready to get back to working for a living because you have to pay the government upwards of $30,000 for supporting you whilst you were researching the significance of social stratification/social construction and its influence on beer choice.

I'm just sayin.

I have a Master's Degree and so can you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

ABC...Gum

Oh man. I used to be such a victim. I used to spend all my time whining to myself about how much of a victim I was and how nobody understood. I mean, it was hard not to assume when, on a typical day, my driver's side power window on my Honda Civic broke with the window not completely up, it rained buckets, and everyone else but me was in a relationship all the time ever. I was totally justified. I know.

It changed though. It was mostly gradual, but I can definitely put my finger on a specific time and place when I began to stop crying to myself about how lame my life was. Outside of extensive therapy and a lot of googling of topics like "nobody understands","I don't have anything to wear","does my dog hate me", etc, there is one moment of exemplary protest that seems to be the greater of the catalysts shoving me in the direction of a more positive self image.

I was shopping for vegetable plants at Home Depot for a vegetable garden I was planning on growing at the house into which I had just moved in Atlanta (it's a prepositional phrase party!!). I had purchased some Black Cow, Mushroom compost, and the Bonnie baby plants that allowed me to skip the seedling process (it was too late for it at that point anyhow, but we can talk about gardening timelines in another blog), and I was attempting to load them into my car. Luckily, no one was parked next to me which made it easier to transfer the items from the cart to the car while leaving my car door open all the way. UNTIL, this...HUMAN...in some car that I can't remember drove up and, despite the fact that there were numerous parking places available, decided to park in the one next to me that was currently occupied by my cart and my car door...and ME. REALLY? REALLLLLY?

So she honked. YES. She freaking honked at me.

I pulled my cart out of the way, shut my car door (mid transfer of items) so I could press my body against my car to give her enough room to back into the space.

And there I was. Totally at the mercy of this woman and her car...and her stupid heels (to Home Depot)...and her gum...and her bling-ey phone....and her stupid bug-eye sun glasses.

LIFE IS HARD, PEOPLE!!!!!

As she walked by, I mumbled "you win," like the experienced victim I was, but she heard me, her head snapped in my direction, and she spat, "it's not a competition," in the smuggest way possible.

I finished my car loading, pushed the cart all the way back to the garden center because I am thoughtful and responsible and nice and AWESOME, and I shuffled back to my car where I had a piece of gum that had already been chewed resting on the lid of the diet coke I had been poisoning myself with all day because I refuse to throw it out the window. It NEVER GOES AWAY, PEOPLE.  Oh delicious ABC gum...stuck carefully on a plastic lid...left behind in a warm car...slightly melty enough to turn into a long string of gum when I pulled it off the lid.

And then I had an idea. I looked at the gum, looked at the car backed into the parking space next to mine, looked back at the gum, checked to make sure I had at least one more piece (I love chewing gum), thought back to moments ago and those heels and sunglasses, rolled down my passenger side window (which worked), took a deep breath, and flung the gum onto the mean lady's carefully parked car.

It's not a competition? It's not a COMPETITION?!?!

BOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

I win.

And that was when it all changed.

Well...it started to change a year or so before that during a yelling match I had with an old lady and her dogs...but that is another story for another time.

What I'm trying to say here is:

I ALWAYS HAVE GUM IN MY CAR....AND SOMETIMES IN THE BOTTOM OF MY PURSE...BECAUSE IT COMES OUT OF THE PACKAGE AND THE WRAPPING COMES OFF AND IT GETS SHUFFLED AROUND IN THERE AND STICKS TO THINGS LIKE MY KEYS AND MY PHONE.

So watch yourself. I play to win.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Spanish Steps are in Rome

It's often difficult to write about experiences mid-experience. How can one be truly present and in the moment whilst continually drafting the next story in his or her mind? (Listen. I'm just going to use terms such as "whilst" because I'm pretty sure they're very impressive. If I'm wrong, I don't want to be right.) Honestly, how? Shut up. It's impossible. That's why I can't find ways to inject moments from my life that everyone has been begging me to write about until long after they've passed.

Remember when everything mattered so much? When the whole world was surely paying very close attention to you, especially whether or not your legs were too hairy? Remember?

I found myself, eight or so years ago, sitting on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy, Tiramisu Gelato dripping down my hand and wrist, chocolate in the corner of my mouth...my mouth gaping just enough...watching the children splash each other in the fountain at the bottom of the steps. Of COURSE I was watching children play in a fountain in ROME. I swear I'm not being overly sentimental. These are the kinds of things that happen in these places. It is ridiculous.

So I'm sitting there, sticky, mouth breathing, chocolate all over my face, just like that kid in junior high that was in love with me...the one I could NEVER take seriously because the amount of chocolate on his face was never his first order of business when it came to impressing upon me the level of his admiration, which, for me, was a death sentence. Because what my face looked like...the number of boogers in my nose, the placement of my hair, was far more important than how delicious the chocolate  I was eating was, or how gorgeous the day was. GOD IN HEAVEN those things meant so much in those days. The terror of looking a little out of place outweighed everything I loved/wanted to love about life.

Of course it's not until we truly understand the power of that weight that we can live without it. And we have to respect that power because, as Dr. Ellie Satler so eloquently states in one of the greatest films of all time, "You never [have] control. That's the illusion. I was overwhelmed by the power...But I made a mistake too. I didn't have enough respect for that power and it's out now." What else is Jurassic Park if not a tale of the Everyman, struggling to control the outcome of his existence? We proudly state, "I have found a way to achieve happiness through meticulous attention to detail!" Except instead of being happy, we just hate everyone, especially ourselves, and we invite our friends to the party only to have to watch them be hunted down by our demons, ripped to shreds in a tropical storm, or blinded, paralyzed, and eaten alive by tiny lizards. Spoiler alert, the old guy dies in the book.

The weight is a gift, and as soon as we acknowledge it and respect it, it lifts from us. And we find ourselves on the Spanish Steps in Rome, covered in chocolate, giggling at kids in a freaking fountain. And it's AMAZING.

OR...we never give it any respect, and we get hunted and eaten by a Velociraptor.




*I may have taken a few things from that quote out of context so as to bend its meaning to my own will. You're cool with that? Right?

*Also, see any comma splices? Let me know. Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chapter 1

That's right, folks. This is officially the first chapter of the REST OF MY BLOG. For this new volume of work, I promise to stay positive...er...funny. I promise to try to find the silver lining...without being annoying. I promise to be just cynical enough to impress upon you, my readers, just how important it is to understand how unimportant MOST things are. I promise to be honest, without being dismal. I promise to tell jokes. I promise that I am, if nothing else, incredibly ridiculous. Seriously. I'm kidding.

I now live in Chicago, IL. It has yet to be winter. If any of my posts seem particularly Chicago-centric, please understand that it's not that I think my city is more interesting than your city. I don't. I am leery of jokes based on things that happen to someone "because" they live in New York or LA...as if saying you live in a particular city automatically makes you the expert teller of jokes about....basically everything. Everyone experiences life the way they experience it, and one way isn't actually better or more fulfilling than any other way. I have lived happily in Texas, Memphis, Georgia, London, and Pilsen. My life in Chicago is different, but not funnier or more exciting. I am still me. Except I can ride my bike more easily, and I'm pretty sure I don't have enough tattoos. Also, I may have to wear more clothing than you do during the winter. But, it's whatever. No big deal. 

Finally, and I swear this is the only time I'll be annoying/emotional. I am probably happier than I have ever been in my life. It's sad, but true. My worst fear has come to fruition. I've been terrified that, after years of struggling desperately to keep my head above water, I would eventually stop struggling and start enjoying myself. Heaven forbid my inner monologue start saying things like, "oh man. I don't want a boyfriend! I'm so happy. I  just want to hang out with people and listen to them and get to know them. There's no rush. I love working. I get to go to work, enjoy the shift, and make enough money to live a life that I'm perfectly satisfied with (my credit's pretty bad, though). AND I'm good at what I do. I'm actually talented. I'm not kidding. I know it. I know how to do what I do, and I know how to do it well." That's pretty much what it says most all of the time. It also says things like, "I feel no shame. I love who I am, where I am, and what I'm doing. I have a rockin' bod, great taste in pretty much everything, my face is a work of art (even my crooked nose), I have a fantastic sense of humor, and my brain is hungry for more. Don't even get me started on my brain."

Sorry...? Except...Should I really apologize for finally finding a mountain of self worth deep in the recesses of my soul? Why am I apologizing for that? My joy is 0% derived from anyone's pain and 100% derived from my desire...nay, QUEST...to be content and to love myself. Anyone can go on the same quest. Anyone can find it. You can find it. I found it. I mean...seriously....I found it. ME. 

Finally, and here's that cynicism I promised, life isn't easier. Yeah. Sorry. That, I am truly sorry about. I can't say it's easier, or that it's been easy. It's not and it hasn't. My brain isn't always so nice. I still have days when my brain says things like, "ugh. I'm lazy. What's the point of not eating all of the cookies? My Thighs!! Thai delivery is going to take more than AN HOUR!?!? LOVE DOESN'T EXIST!!!!!!"

The only thing I can say with full confidence to you right now is that life is BETTER. And, honestly, that's enough.

So...um....lemme tell you some jokes...