Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Woman and Society: A One-Sided Dialogue.

Are you sad? You don't have to be sad! You can go shopping, drown yourself in home goods and fall fashions, and you'll be right as rain.
Have you been sad for a long time? You probably need a boyfriend! Go to this bar, get this app, join this group, give money to this church! You will find a boyfriend!

How are you and your boyfriend? Good? If you don't get married, you might not be good for much longer! You should get married! Luckily, there is lots of stuff you can buy, and you can get your friends to buy you stuff too!
Are you sad? Why are you still sad? Do you have the best cable package? I mean, can you watch Game of Thrones when you want? Then there is no reason you should be sad. I mean...SPOTIFY exists. It may not be the 90s any more, but at least you have Spotify.

Why are you locking yourself in your room and crying like that? You shut the door and sit in the dark crying, sometimes a creepy ghost. That's not good for you. You should stop doing that. Eat some ice cream...or some Lucky Charms! It's impossible to be unhappy when doing one or both of those things. In fact, go to the grocery store and get whatever you want to eat. It doesn't matter how unhealthy it is, it has to be better than weeping uncontrollably.
Why are you so angry? It's hard to tell who you are you're Bruce Banner one day and then you're the Hulk the next day. You should exercise more. Exercising is the best and purest thing you can do. Just go for a run...but make sure you wear these shoes. You don't want to get injured. I mean, a doctor's bill is going to be more than these shoes. Get these shoes...and these workout clothes. These pants really accent your legs, and that color on you is so sexy. WAIT! You should join this gym...maybe you'll meet case you haven't "met someone" yet. Plus, if you're in shape, someone will definitely want you to have his kids, and if you don't have kids...well....I don't know what you're doing with your life.
Why do you think you haven't met anyone? Do you think it's because you're really intense? I're really intense. Remember? Bruce Banner? The Hulk? You have to hide that stuff. You probably intimidate guys. Maybe don't let anyone know how smart you your best not to scare them. That's the best way to find someone with which to spend the rest of your life. Just, don't be your full self. Duh.

You seriously need to work on your anger issues. I just don't get it. You're attractive, smart, and talented. You have everything. Why are you so angry? Why are you so sad? Why do you keep having panic attacks? Why can't you just get over it? Just don't be like that.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Jenny Sticks and Onion Starters

Jenny cut down a lot of saplings in the woods around the Garden at Montaluce to use for "projects." I called us outlaw gardeners, and these sticks were our ticket to whatever structures we imagined for our two acres of weeds in the North Georgia mountains. Jenny justified cutting down the saplings by explaining that they would never get the opportunity to grow beyond a certain size because the bigger trees would, essentially, choke them out.
Jenny Sticks and other foraged supplies.
We called her crazy Jenny, and her collection of saplings and branches, Jenny sticks.

Jenny was a brave woman with clear foresight, but she lacked confidence in her gardening abilities. I remember coming to work in the morning, a bag of onion starters in my back pocket, ready to get them in the ground so we could harvest in the fall, and then spending over an hour debating whether or not we would be able to properly protect the onions with the soil on the top of the hill where we intended to plant them.

Would it be loamy enough? Loamy soil will easily crumble in your hand, unlike clay, which makes up the majority of the earth in Georgia. You can find loam where trees have fallen in the woods and broken down. It's dark, moist, and it smells like soil should smell. Would our clay soil be able to remain well drained with the right additives? Would we be able to amend the clay enough so that it would allow the tiny onion starters room to expand and grow? Anything could upset the onions during their tenure in the garden, we read....admittedly on the internet.

Eventually, as was the case with most of these planning sessions, I would take a deep breath, stop trying to make sense of the diagrams, and start heading for the garden, ignoring Jenny's incessant desire to be "ready." There's no sense in waiting until I'm sure nothing can go wrong. I will never be absolutely certain that nothing will go wrong.

I can, however, be 100% certain that something will, most certainly, go terribly wrong, and I am.

That first patch of onions we planted didn't have a chance. We were way off on our additives, and the starters ended up growing decent green onions but nothing more. It was no matter. We didn't plant all of the starters there. A few weeks later we started a different crop mixed in with our garlic on a sloping area of the acreage that Jenny had used the sticks to terrace. The terracing allowed us to add enough to the soil to give the onions and garlic room to grow, and in the end we filled a room with onions and garlic after we harvested.

People talk a lot about their inability to start a project or make a life change because they aren't ready; I hear myself talking about being ready, about waiting until I'm fully prepared to take the next step, but I find the longer I wait, the more time I spend on the couch feeling sorry for myself, drowning in my depression because I'm not even really trying to swim.
The Garden a half a year later. The fruits of our risk.

So I try to keep moving. The world isn't going to stop turning for me to make sure I have all my ducks in a row. It's spinning pretty fast, actually, and we are all in a constant state of controlled falling. So, I put my seeds in the ground and take what I get.

Be faithful to your work, and be faithful to yourself, and with each misstep, you'll move closer to getting it.......right?

But don't expect to ever get know...just completely and totally right. In fact, now might be a good time to try to let go of the idea that there is such a thing.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Uh.....There's Way More than Two Roads in this Wood

Yes. I am fickle. I promise you love and devotion, and here it is, a full year and a few days since I've even looked at you. How do I expect anyone to ever trust me? As I've learned over the past year, I trust most just as far as I trust myself, which is not much further than I can throw myself, which, and I just tried this outside, isn't too far.

I understand why you're afraid of the cold now, friends. I don't blame you. I never knew what winter was until 2014, and 2015 confirmed my suspicions. I am a glutton for punishment. I've never really seen things from a Russian's perspective until now, and I can't wait to relive Chekhov's classics in their true light as riotous comedies. 

Family, I am a depressed person, but I am not lost. I just don't trust myself, and I really need to be able to do that in order to do, well, anything else.

So, I dove deep into the darkest parts of my own ocean. I stared into the abyss. I cried a WHOLE lot. Sometimes openly, like a big baby. But I was never lost. 

However, I did more than cry while I was staring deep into the inevitability of my own obsolescence (yeah. we're DOING this). 

I listened. I watched. I noted. I tried. And I failed 99% of the time.

I went to Target the other day for Oreo's and left with an area rug and a poster of Wonder Woman. The rug was marked down from $99 to $29, so, OF COURSE, and who cares how much the poster cost, look at it:

                                                 I digress.

The tiny one percent of the time I didn't fail was when I pictured myself as Wonder Woman in that poster, in her stance, fists clenched, legs apart, no possibility of a thigh gap, (because I've got linebacker thighs, I'll crush you) and I kept going.  

I've been so angry for so very long. Why did no one tell me there was someone like me that I could look up to? Why did everyone around me tell me to be quiet, that the best women were the meek women, that behind every good man was a good woman? And why were they all so surprised when I finally lost it? Why did no one tell me that I could be my own hero, and not in that tweaked out Matthew McConaughey I'm my own hero kind of way?

I learned to research in grad school, to read and re-read and to underline in the library books in pencil, and to remember to recheck them out when they were due, once every three months...or was it six...Dammit!

I also learned the hardest part of it all: starting to write it down.

So here we go...again.

But don't worry. Life has been teaching me how to handle it. Nature, in her own violent beauty, is reminding me how hard I must work and how capable I am of doing that work. I learned a great many lessons in the woods.

I find myself in the woods sometimes, but in my head. I summon my Wonder Woman strength, shut out all the sounds around me, and remember how faithful they are, year round. How much I learned of life and death from the micro-movements of the forest floors. How free we were, Linus and I, and how free we still are. How freedom is relative. How peace is a state of mind. How I have all the answers right here.

And how I never would have found it without the people who love me.

Most people don't know the crushing reality of Robert Frost's beloved "The Road Not Taken," that the road itself made no difference at all. Reality dictates that we make a choice, one way or the other.

         And both that morning equally lay
         In leaves no step had trodden black.
         Oh, I kept the first for another day!
         Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
         I doubted if I should ever come back.

We only ever get one chance to be alive, and one way of living is no better or worse than the other. The points don't matter. In fact, and tell everyone you know what I'm about to one is keeping score.

Remember the people that love you. Take them with you everywhere you go. They are the most important parts of your life.

You can go any way you want; you will learn how to get through it as you move forward.

So go.

I'll be here when the weight isn't too much for me, talking about a lunatic, summoning the strength of Diana.