Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's easy when things are easy

I didn't realize how much my living situation was really stressing me out until now, about one month out of it, I thought to myself, "Gee, I haven't thought about such and such."

For almost two years since I moved out of my dear friends' house (which was the best and easiest living situation I had ever had) I've been struggling with living situations that really got me down.

What started as an effort to build a small community, or unit, morphed into a nightmare. I grew to dread almost every normal interaction, and ultimately gave up on the idea that the house where I lived could ever really feel like a home. I had initially put a good deal of effort into my "first" home on my own in the real world.. And in exchange I was met at best with a lack of compatibility--consideration--and at worst with violent hostility.

The last few months living in that house, I stopped eating dinner altogether. I just couldn't bear seeing anyone. I'd get home, perhaps take a plate of crackers up to my room, clean, read, fall asleep.

It took a very frightening wake up call to get the heck out, and while it was scary, traumatic, disruptive, I'm really glad that it happened. I feel safe now. I come home and think about what I will cook and whether anybody else will be there to share it with. I am here, and here I can mostly just be me, still mindful of basic considerations, but not so mindful as to fuck up every now and then (cough, drunken sleep walking?) and get away with a crimson face and a good laugh.

Bottom line: I hate it when people say that some hardship will toughen my hide, or for one reason or another I actually need things to be difficult. That's bullshit. It's easy when things are easy, and I'm not in any way wishing things were different.

holy jesus fuck and a half....

I got a little too drunk last night....not sure how it happened so quickly......
Woke up in my bed, not sure where my cellphone was or how I even got there....
aaaaand.
When I skyped my cellphone and finally found it, there was a text from my house mate asking whether I thought HIS room was my room..............

I was like. WHAT DID I DO. I DO NOT DO THINGS LIKE THAT.....WHAT.....

Scary thought to have...apparently I just got confused and walked in, and walked to his closet as though it was mine?

Remember when I said I thought my life was just a long line of highly mortifying experiences strung all together for the world to laugh at....

Well, furies, add this one to the list.



Monday, December 13, 2010

Hi

Missed you guys, and my little thinking room on the internet.

Haven't had much room for thought recently.

As most of you know, November fucking sucked.

But now I'm better. New house, new (and old) friends, new dress. GREAT new blouse, for that matter.

Fresh, happy, decorated. Put up paper chains and the little silver tree. All is well.

I have some good blog entries thought up in my little head, so stay tuned, kay?

xoxoxoxoL

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oh boy

I just read this article in Psychology Today and learned some harrowing facts about my procrastination habits.

Well, at least I'm trying to get over the whole process of self-deception, and to start self-regulating just a little bit better. It did actually really freak me out.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Picture of Dorian Grossies

Turns out my post about old underwear has put my blog on the international bloggomap. People from Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Egypt, India and Slovakia are looking at my dingy old underwear! And there are new ones each day... Gosh, international attention has never felt so....skeezy.

Now I know what to put in the meta tags for my website!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'd always choose flight over invisibility.


Flight, always flight.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Still flight.

Why?

If you had to choose between flight and invisibility, which would you choose and why?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Icing sur le cake

Thursday!
Parking Ticket

Friday!
I was hit on by the son of this woman who was hosting a party that I had to go to for work.

So get this. Instead of introducing himself to me, this 29-year-old guy, red chest hair peeping prominently through his barely-buttoned oxford, and red wine in hand at 3:00 pm, said: "I have to show you my bedroom."

Well, seeing no other choice in the matter, as my delicate social being was paralyzed with shock and horror, I followed the 29-year-old bare-chested, wine-bearing man into the depths of his rich parents' apartment (where, mind you, he STILL LIVED!) so that he could show me his bedroom. As I slunk farther away from civilized humanity, I heard one of the hostess's friends mutter under her breath, "Well, that's a tactic I've never heard before!"

That made two of us...

Well, he showed me his room which had...are you ready for this....LEOPARD PRINT CARPET, which, according to him warranted my witnessing its existence (since I happened to be wearing blue, totally different, cute and conversely rather tasteful leopard print stockings ;-) ). But, the show didn't end there--what I saw will haunt me for the rest of my days... On top of the leopard print carpet sat a twin-sized bed, dressed with a brown paisley patterned duvet cover, a brown paisley which had somehow been cloned against its will and reborn as wallpaper, which covered every non-leopard surface in the tiny bedroom. Before I blanked out, I think I did see a couple board games and a desktop PC....

Well--in any case, my quick observations just outside the threshold of this chamber came of course as some relief to me and my instincts for basic survival for three reasons. Firstly, as the bed was a twin, then certainly the worst of what he might have possibly been advertising could somewhat easily have been avoided through some simple clumsiness of the elbow or knee. Secondly I'm sure if I ran in one direction or another, he'd hardly be able to find me as my leopard stockings might have a zebra-herd effect on him. And thirdly that should I have actually stepped foot into the room itself, I am certain that I might have gone into a severe state of sensory overload and subsequent paraplectic shock, leading most likely to a swift loss of consciousness and hopefully some decreased memory of the whole fiasco which might then have allowed me to sleep peacefully.

Fortunately, I told him his little room was nice and bolted in the opposite direction.

Later the same night I was also hit on by a French black man named Prince who made me blush. And I ate some cookies.

Saturday!
Went on with little strain or injury, most likely in order to prepare me for the next happy set of occurrences! (Shucks, don't you hate it when that happens?)

Sunday!!!!
I got into a car accident when some idiotic, probably drunk, jerk nearly t-boned my dad's fancy prius while I was driving a friend and my sister to tea. Yay car crashes!

Then I got a fever and felt pretty dizzy and had chills. Yay fever illness!

Then I was berated by another (yes, different) diva-man artist. And this time I DID start crying (after I hung up). Yay egotistical assholes!

Then I fell asleep for about 24 hours and now I feel much better, but what the hell!?!

Slept through all of Monday and find myself here, on Tuesday, still reeling.

Hey, maybe this is the price I need to pay for next week, when I'll undoubtedly get laid.

* * *

Great news, however, on the flipside: I figured out why all these people in the Ukraine, Germany and Indonesia have been reading my blog! They all searched google for the term "panties" or "kiddy panties" and found my post about the Dorian Panties! Too bad they found a shriveled, scanned version of what they were looking for...

...Um, gross?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pride & Prejudice

Well, this week sucked.

I was verbally abused for forty-five minutes by this woman that I'm doing a graphic design job for, my parents left the country and left me with a house for sale, two children and a dog, my roommates are in a tiff, and the cat box has not been changed for weeks [so I changed it], and on top of all of that I've been doing a TON of free work for my gallerist for somebody else's exhibition--we're talking everything from ten hours worth of layout and design work, four hours worth of video editing and tech troubleshooting, not to mention passing hors d'oeuvres and serving beverages at not one, but TWO epic five-hour art openings one day apart (we're talking napkin-collecting, dishwashing, that kind of stuff, all AFTER I finished the day at my other two jobs!!!).

What the hell. I'm feeling exhausted, exploited, and generally trod upon.

On top of it, one of the big famous artists that I was busting my ass for these past days managed to dish out a particularly nasty insult in my direction last night, after it was all over.

When the opening was over last night, I took a seat for the first time--my feet were killing me and I was reaching new depths of full mental and physical exhaustion. I sat down next to one of the artists from the exhibition, who is quite established and has work at the Smithsonian and the like. He's a glass artist.

The first time I met him, it was during an artists dinner at the gallery, where we all went around and presented a new work to the other artists. Mine was of course first, and I showed a video piece. I had a really positive response from a lot of the other artists, including his wife, and generally went from feeling really nervous and intimidated to feeling quite pleased with myself.

Well his presentation went right after mine, and he said, looking straight at me: "There's no big concept to my work, and no fancy tech presentation needed. I work in glass and ceramics; there is value in working with your hands."

That burning red-faced feeling and butterflies in my stomach came straight back.

And then after I got pretty ticked off, but only after, once the shock of it all had worn off.

Anyway, I thought that was all behind us, especially as I made sure not one but three informational videos about his and his wife's work were properly put on display, and edited to be palatable to a gallery audience. I also made some really nice signage for their opening, which otherwise would have no text AND worked late making it right and making any number of revisions in accordance with their whims. To boot, I'm not a server, and I had to run around giving people filet mignon and horseradish (gross/super-degrading), and wash dishes, as there was no dishwasher (human or machine). I mean -- if that doesn't say I'm humble, a hard worker and know how to use my hands, what does?

But I soon realized it wasn't about that. Flash forward to the end of the second five-hour exhibition preview, and I'm sitting in front of one of the videos at a table with the artist himself.

I muster a, "Were you pleased with everything? I think it went formidably well!"

We both agreed, and given this encouragement I continued, more enthusiastically this time, "I'm so glad that your videos worked. It was exciting to see people watching the videos so attentively!" (I was implying, but not directly mentioning that videos and peoples' reactions to videos interest me, in general.)

And, leaning back in his chair, one arm on the table he smiles and says, "Well that's because they were informational videos. If they were art videos, they probably would have walked away."

And with that I tumbled down to a meager, "Ha ha, I guess so..." And got up and walked away.

In my mind, it takes way more energy to be a jerk than it does to be supportive, but I guess for some people it feels like the opposite. But, honestly....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Place

Well, that's it, it's on the market (click the image to see the creepy Howard Hanna profile). If you didn't know already, my parents are moving out of the state, and selling the house I grew up in. And although I'm pretty ticked off that my parents went off to Greece, expecting me to deal with workmen, realty agents, neighbors, dog and their children, I still have enough energy left over to feel a little sad about having to let go of my childhood home, for good.

Most of it has been gone for a long time. The neighborhood I knew growing up is mostly gone, people have moved out of town. My parents have made so many changes to the house over the years, that it's already really different than the way I remember it being. They also made me get all of my stuff out of the place about a year ago, so I don't really have a room of my own there anymore. My brothers' rooms have been converted to sitting rooms and studies.

I honestly didn't expect to feel the pangs of nostalgia, but this weekend when I was there, heartily cursing my parents for leaving me alone and overridden with their life sh#!, I took a moment to look around and think about how nice it was to grow up in one place, one house, for all those years.

My parents and I don't often see eye to eye. They have built their lives around achieving stability--in particular financial and marital stability--above all things. Things like personal happiness, emotional stability, etc. I realize now that in many ways, the things that they valued and worked for in life were a direct response to things they lacked while they were growing up.

Both of their parents went through nasty divorces, just as my parents were leaving home for college. My mom's father didn't believe that women deserved to be educated, and didn't offer a dime for her education. My dad's parents' divorce trial made it to the New Jersey supreme court, and he, his six siblings, and their foster brother were caught in between some serious animosity. In brief, alcoholism, extra-marital affairs, emotional and physical abuse, endless petty court battles, suicide and chronic depression defined a good part of their young lives. And so, I'm sure at one point they made a resolution, both separately and together, that 1) their marriage would never end in divorce (this, is more my dad's big thing) and 2) they would achieve the kind of financial stability that would allow them to support a house, the full education of four children, etc. (my mom's particular leaning).

Perhaps because this is what they offered me growing up, and perhaps because it is all I know, I of course found flaws in their methodologies, as children of parents often do. Both of my parents, for instance, had difficulty controlling their tempers, and corporal punishment was not out of the question when I was growing up as it was for, say, my youngest sibling. And, while they saw me through my "necessary" education and day to day needs with an admirable, even enviable, steadfastness, other reasonable, but superfluous expenses or needs were deemed unworthy, and largely overlooked.

Looking back on it, I realize how young they were, and how fresh their family traumas must have been even after they had me and my brothers. How they were learning to be parents, as I was learning to be. And--part of me understands the decision-making there, however muddled with anger and insecurity, through that assumption of their vulnerability. I honestly believe that they were trying to make the world a better place in their own little way, and coming to terms with a lot of serious baggage in the meantime.

But, seeing the house as it is now, and remembering how it was, I can also see a big, beautiful part of what they were able to give me: a sense of place.

I mean a sense of place in more ways than one. Literally in that they gave me that house for twenty-odd years, and that childhood, which for the most part was pretty--stable. And I also got a sense of place in a different sense--more emotional and intellectual. An internal sense of place, which will be with me a long time after the house, and even the parents are gone. Confidence can come from any number of avenues and byways, but I attribute a good deal of my internal stability to my education and having had people--parents, friends--who did not always understand me, but who did offer support in the best way they knew how. You can't go off beating your own drum, so to speak, without a couple of decent mallots.

And so, thanks house, and thanks parents for doing all that you did.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

zees and zat

A little tired today, been seriously lacking sleep due to a royal pile on of family sh*t, work sh*t, and just sh*t in general. Here are two videos that are too cute, and even though they're kind of dark, I think it's dark in a good way. They cheered me up. Plus the French make melancholy look like a deliciously worn old sweater...Good lord, I'm such a francophart. The song is really good too...j'm holden!



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dear Diary...

Hello readers,
It has occurred to me that the way I've formatted this blog is like a public diary. I never have had much luck with diaries in the past--usually my hand would get tired before I'd fully finished a thought, or I'd only pick it up when I was angry or upset, and so looking back on it it would all seem utterly trivial and I came off completely wrong. So I have all of these books with about three to five journal entries in them, and then tons of [really shitty] drawings, which at the time I thought were totally avant-garde. Even so, I was always pretty fascinated with the idea of the habit of keeping a diary. I immersed myself in the diaries of various other little girls, Anne Frank, of course, Zlata (who was a little girl living in Sarajevo in the 90's), Robert E. Lee's daughter. Any time that I would try to do any creative writing, it would often be in the first person, in journal-entry form. I was convinced that I wanted to go to Columbia University to study journalism, because there I might learn how to effectively write a journal of my own.

As an aside, the benefit of this forum is that I am "composing" my innermost thoughts and secrets for a group of hopefully open and understanding people to read--and so there is (believe it or not) some minor censorship/editing involved. (In reality, I'm super petty and get frequent hand cramps--ha). Frankly, I'm surprised I've made it over a year now with not infrequent posting habits.

Well, getting more to my point here, as my parents are moving out of their house, little dust particles of my childhood are bursting forth in plumes--both good memories and bad. I did, however, have the pleasure of re-reading the various diary entries of a precocious and somewhat lonely little girl, and so I thought I'd share some of them with you. (They are only slightly embarrassing, but mostly pretty funny and, like I said, utterly trivial--e.g. awesome!).

Here is a transcription of the full contents of my 1997 Diary. I was 10, going on 11.

Private
Keep Out!!!
Go Away

January
I've found you in the pile of books by my bed. Oh what a treat it is to have some one to talk to. I'll call you Herry, and I hope we will have good times.

[It should be mentioned that Herry was the name of my favorite stuffed animal, a pink beagle, who has been a good bedfellow to me now for twenty-four years.]

January 24, 1997
Dear Herry,
Today was great. In the morning I was cheerful, as well as in the afternoon. I talked with Sara a bit at recess. At home I don't have to wear my orthodics.

Saturday the 25
Dear Herry,
Today I got squeak, the hamster. Zolin is here to babysit. Chris's pinewood derby was today, tomorrow is Superbowl Sunday.

I <3 Brad Renfro [scribble crossed out J.T.T.] and D.C. [all triple-underlined]

January 26
GreenBay Wow!!! [double underlined]

January 28, 1997
In a baby picture of Sara she is wearing a bicinni [bikini] that is Pink with lips on it! [There is an illustration included, obviously I thought that this was scandalous. I was, and still am a one-piece girl, with a brief hiatus during highschool and college.]

February 1st, My Worst Day.
I'm not selfish. Chris is such a jerk, so are all of them, I don't want to move. I love this house. I did touch it within three years! It's not His at all. Jerk, Jerk, Jerk! They think I'm having a dandy time, But I'm not. Chris hides his devilish deeds behind my parents. I'm so angry. A whole bunch of jerks!

[I'm assuming this is about my dad giving away something to Chris that he assumed I "hadn't touched in three years." A not atypical occurrence. Somebody must have called me selfish. I also am realizing that I loved writing in cursive, and used a lot of Big Fancy Capital Letters]

Feb. 3
Dear Herry,
Mom is going to have a baby! We're not moving after all.

Thoughts for March
It hasn't become March yet, but I feel since I didn't choose to do much of February I wanted to get a head start on March. I just discovered that I can't sketch as well as I can draw. The boys went outside so they can't bug me. I wrote the winning speech for Caitlin.

[Caitlin, like Sara, was one of my best friends in the fourth grade. I wrote her speech for class president elections because I was too nervous to run myself, and besides, I had little interest in politics. Not sure what I meant about sketching versus drawing. I'm assuming that sketching meant drawing from life, and if that is the case it's still true. I can't draw very well from life, but I can draw from my imagination pretty well.]

March 7, 1997
Oh, I'm so sorry I haven't even written to you since February. I'm going to conquer Les Miserables.

Sara's A.g. [American Girl] party is on the 15th the day after her B-day. It is her first sleepover B-day party--I can't wait!



Aaaaaaaand that's it for 1997! In the back are the telephone numbers, sans-area codes for my three best friends: Sara, Caitlin and Meghan. Some practice drawings of horses. Guess sleepovers and Hugo must have hijacked my life. Annie was born in September, and all of a sudden I was the babysitter. Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dazed and confused or (Anxiety is my middle name)

It's 11:06 on a Monday night, and I am pretty exhausted, so forgive me.

All of a sudden it feels like there are so many things that I have to remember, and they all just tsunami in on me...

To boot, being an artist, or at least trying to be one is not by any means easy. A massive glacier of potential decisions and deadlines threatens to plow over me...slowly, painfully. Missteps on or around glaciers of any kind, however metaphorical, are also potentially lethal.

Sigh.

I feel pulled in a million directions right now...to places and people I love...Every relationship I have all of a sudden feels brittle, fragile, finite.

Like, I really feel like if I don't keep the people I love very close to me (in proximity) that they will be gone or forget how much we love each other, or that kind of thing. I'm increasingly obsessed with collecting artifacts of my ongoing relationships, everything from voicemail messages to kitchen notes written on the backs of receipts.

And. The potential trajectory of my life all of as sudden feels quite stunted. Like any decision that I make might, like, change or be everything.

I don't know what to do, or who to be, or what to make or where to go or why any of it matters anyway.

With that, le bed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Picture of Dorian P*nties

A few days ago I was putting on my underwear, these bikini-style blue ones with pink edging and little image of a watermelon rind, quarter, half and full on the crotch, and I thought to myself, god, when are these from?

I've been wearing this particular pair of underwear now it seems for years--and yet, they are blessedly stain and skidmark free, they are un-torn and un-holey, and remarkably un-faded. In fact, the little watermelon image is not at all cracked or worn. To boot, my bootie has grown, and shrunk, and grown again and they always seem to fit.

I looked at the tag, and they are by a brand called HUE, which is sold at department stores. I determined that I must have gotten these with my mother, and the last time I went underwear shopping with my mother was when I bought my first bra. It was a totally boring, white Calvin Klein AA stretchy cup (whoo-ey was that back in the day!) and I think I got another one, also CK with rainbow stripes on it, which I fondly nicknamed "retrobra."

INSTANT FLASHBACK ~ I started to remember it well: yes, both bra and panties were acquired on this Mom-instigated shopping trip, a bonafide journey into pre-teen hell, which started at the Pussycat (a bra boutique, in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, whose name was enough for me to look stealthily around before I entered, just to make sure that nobody I knew was nearby) and ended at Kaufmann's (a now closed Pittsburgh-based department store, full of floor saleswomen who were dying to give me a buy-two-get-one free panties deal). I could not lift my eyes out of embarrassment the whole time. After some small dispute ("But I don't need any underwear...[sulk]") I gave in, sold out, and bought the panties.

TWELVE YEARS AND FOUR* CUP SIZES LATER, out of school, on my own, and I'm still wearing those panties!

Indeed, I must have bought more than just panties that day at Kaufmann's. More than an arse covering with appealing colors and images. More than my mother's instant appeasement and self-satisfaction.

These panties are made of something different, unearthly. The fibers must be some combination of kryptonite, cotton candy, and ozone...but there is an added aspect written in the very seams, which never have shown wear, something supernatural--dark, even.

As I continue to age, the panties, they stay young, new (ish), always fitting to my ass, despite it's haphazard fluctuation in volume...staring back at me in the full-length mirror, and prodding at the still-open wound of pre-teen awkwardness and mom bra-shopping dates for your then-non-existent titties. PTSD, anyone?! Shudder...


Ah, well, it's one less thing I have to worry about in the unrelenting desert void of adulthood. And yet, one has to wonder, does a girl have to sell herself to the devil to get a decent pair of panties these days?! They just don't make 'em (awkward memories, and panties) like they used to.


BEHOLD!
(<--interactive link)

(BTW, they are definitely not this wrinkled when they go on, if you were wondering--it's the scanner, and I think it adds to the effect...)

* Minus one when I went off of birth control

Annie Grows Up

When my friends and I arrived at the beach in early August, my dad and little sister picked us up and my sister, aged 12, exclaimed, "Yay! Finally I have people to play with!"

She's at that funny age right now, where she isn't quite a teenager, but is very aware of how she dresses and acts in public. And yet the little girl part still manages to shine through at odd, dazzlingly un-self-conscious moments on her part. Sure, we twenty-somethings would love to play with you--after all, isn't that what people do when they get together?

She text-messages constantly, and at the beach she wore Ray-bans and a string bikini and looked very grown up, despite her braces. But she still wants people to play with, and I'm sure she still talks to her stuffed animals in private.

I remember when I was this age--every part of me clung to, lusted for the last little joys of childhood. I never wanted to leave my dolls, little animals, and my picture books, all of which I adored. I played with them in secret long after I'd ever admit to doing such a thing. I wasn't at all interested in boys or dances or things like that. Even into my late tweens, nothing was more exciting than the prospect of getting a new doll. However, I'd swear my interest in dolls was a higher, perhaps even meta-interest; that of a doll connoisseur, a collector, rather than a child. Around the age of eleven, I started to read "big" adult-y books by Hugo, Dostoyevsky, first-person accounts of the civil war, which backed my street cred as a mature being. What, play with dolls? Nonsense, let me get back to Les Miserables, I am, after all, three-hundred pages in! No time for dolls. Behind closed doors it was a different story.

Even to this day I still feel pangs of love for my dolls; as I was cleaning my room in my parent's house, I really couldn't bear to part with a few old friends.

Those tween years were a sad time for me, because I was just so painfully conscious that it would all very soon be lost. I wonder if she, too is sad, or whether, blessedly, she feels more ready for the onslought of hormones and high school girl-politics than I was. I hope she is.

On the way home we stopped overnight in New York, and her sole request in all of Manhattan was to go see F.A.O. Schwartz to play on the big piano. When we did get around to mid-town and I showed her the store, she did all but jump up and down. Annie is already pretty tall for her age, and it was immediately clear that she was one of the rare few tweens onsight. So she looked, did not touch. Admired, but did not express any want. She wished to see the big piano, which was shown in the Tom Hanks movie BIG, which she'd seen once on TV. When I saw her wait on line to go on the piano, she seemed pretty sad. I told her that I didn't want to take off my shoes, so she'd have to go alone (and besides, I had to get it on film!). She must have felt a bit like Tom Hanks did in that film, torn between the person her impulses say she is, and the person she is inevitably becoming. I hope she takes her time.

Here's the movie of her on the piano, taken with my new camera that adds a beautiful vintage-y haze to all the pictures and videos it takes. It's actually really difficult for me to watch how she hesitates, teeters between really wanting to just play, and being aware that she's taller, older, too "big" for this (and also in front of a camera).

video

Beach Daze

To catch up a bit, I suppose I ought to start at the beginning of where we left off (mind you I've also posted not one but TWO other posts today, all for your reading pleasure!).

This summer was pretty busy. I was working pretty hard, and then I took a couple weeks off to go to the beach with my family, see my two best friends from college, help one of those best friends get to her deceased grandmother's house to settle the estate, and to go to Maine to interview my father's father, a born-again Christian faith healer who is all but estranged from his seven children and twenty-five grandchildren.

More on all of that later.

But first, we have a weekend at the beach with the girls. It was so nice to see them again, and just be our goofy selves. We all knew the time together was very precious. Miranda was moving to Buenos Aires in September (she's there now) and Phoebe, on her way back to Greece after working things out with her family.

I had my new camera with me, and a voice recorder...

Pictures're worth a thousand words. :)

Home Movie Friends at Beach 2010 from Lizzy De Vita on Vimeo.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What light!

My dear, poor lost sheep. Apologies for being such a neglectful blog composatrice--what on earth have you been doing these weeks since last I posted?

Fear not--these weeks that I have been "working," indeed have been but a ruse for the non-blog-reading public. Let them think that I have other preoccupations but my online persona! Let them say, "Ah, Lizzy, she works so hard at her job!" Job is a word that is foreign to me--my true vocations are what keep me awake at night, lusting after blog readers and comment streams...potential laughs to be had, insights to be insought.

Soon, dear children, soon. I have forsaken you long enough, but I have not forgotten you. Your needs are higher than my own.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Manifestation Contre Réforme de la Retraite - Juin 2010 - Métro, Boulot, Tombeau

People work too much and for too long in offices. I'm going on vacation at the end of the week, and even as a part-timer, I TOTALLY sympathize with this girl. For non-frenchies, there's a phrase in French that goes "Metro, Boulot, Dodo" (meaning "metro, work, sleep") but obviously this girl has taken it to the next step with the rhyme scheme "metro, work, tomb."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Void

So, it's been a while since I've talked much about my love life, but on the almost-first anniversary of my first broken heart I thought my faithful blog readers might be deserving of a little follow up.

I've been reading more and more lately, including a great deal of "destination" literature. Somewhat recently, upon the recommendation of a friend, I picked up an essay called "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Void," which gives the perspectives of thirteen different people that the author encounters while crossing the bleakest part of the Sahara Desert, otherwise known as the Void. What does the Void mean to you?

Hm, well, for those of you who can't make the connection between tons of reading, the Sahara desert & my love life, let me lay it out there for you: it's been a hell of a dry season!

I can't say I'm sorry that this is the case. If there's one thing being in a romantic relationship for 3.5 years taught me, it's that relationships take a lot of work. And I'm ok being on hiatus.

That said, I nearly fainted when on a semi-inadvertent date a couple weeks ago, el bachelor touched my elbow.

Most times, however, I'm happy to go out where I want to when I want to and not have to give much thought to the interests, attitudes, or feelings of a significant other. This has not universally been the case, and for this, I give you the Fourteenth Way of Looking at a Void, in the following blog entry.


The Fourteenth Way of Looking at a Void, or RELEVANT Inventory of L's Lovelife Over the Past Year Described Objectively in List Format For Your Benefit:

Official Dates: 3
Inadvertent Dates: 1
Cumulative Encounters of a Third Kind*: 2.2
Un-romantic Encounters That Left Me Wistful and Contemplative: 2
Total Encounters That Brought Joy and Did Not Send Me Running: 2.8
Eligible Bachelors: 3
Eligible Bachelorettes: 1.3
Ineligible Bachelors: 2
Unfortunate Accidental Encounters of Fourth Kind with Gay Male Friend, who was not included in the Ineligible Bachelors Section, for Your Information: 1

Relevant Profiles of Bachelor(ette)s:

Eligible Bachelor # 1:
Codename: Chainsaw Man
Occupation: Architect/Sculptor
Age: 33
Provenance: Mid-west, probably Missouri
Beard: Yes
Presumed Sexuality: Straight
Type: Boring
Height: 5" above eye level
Official Date: Yes
Total Number of Dates (Official and Non): 2
Location(s): Quiet Bar / Regent Square Apartment
Met: At a hipster bar
Digits given: Yes
Days until digits were utilized: 1.5
Initial Conversations: Promising, centered primarily around architecture
Later Conversation: Non-existant, despite best attempts
Average Subject of Conversation on First Official Date: Nazi Zombie video games, followed closely behind by marriage and children
Hours played watching said Chainsaw Man and nameless male accomplice in furniture-less dark room play Nazi Zombie killing video game on second date: 4
Calls exchanged after said horrific experience: 0
Gods thanked: 1

Eligible Bachelor #2:
Codename: N.A.
Official Date: Not quite
Location: Concert, Bar
Presumed Sexuality: STRAIGHT
Type: Smooth Operator
Occupation: Engineer
Beard: No
Encounter of a Third Kind: .4
Elbows Touched: 1
Height above eye level: -5"
Alcohol consumed on semi-date: Too much

Eligible Bachelorette #1:
Codename: N.A.
Occupation: Unspecified
Official Date: No
Encounter of a Third Kind: .8
Location: Squirrel Hill Apartment
Height above eye level: 2"
Beard: No
Presumed Sexuality: Bi
Type: Coquette
Compliments: Yes, 1
Subject of compliments: Ears
Line: "You have nice ears"
Threesomes proposed: 1
Threesomes indulged: 0
Primary Reasoning for Lack of Indulgence of Said Threesome: Too late, too hot outside.
Awkward near-encounters after: 1

Ineligible Bachelor #1:
Codename: BRECHT EVENS
Encounter of a Third Kind: 1
Location: Random hotel, FRANCE
Presumed Sexuality: Gay
Age: I'd say 32, though it's unspecified.
Occupation: Comic Book Artist
Type: Party Boy
Height Above Eye Level: 7"
Beard: No
Hair: Yes
Practiced Way of Placing Said Hair out of Face with Affected Delicacy That Led One To Believe He Was Gay Even Though It Turned Out He Had a Belgian Girlfriend: Yes
Nuff Said: I'll say!

Ineligible Bachelor #2:
Codename: Swiss Cheese
Age: 35, Unspec.
Type: Sensitive, Knowing
Presumed Availability: Single
Engaged: Yes
Hours of Professions of Love: 6
Gross: Totally

Person Who Left Me Wistful and Contemplative #1:
Codename: Undesignated
Type: Perceptive, introspective
Presumed Availability: Not
Occupation: Artist
Serendipitous Personal Encounters: 6-8
Emails Exchanged Since: 6-8

Eligible Bachelor #2:
Code Name: casbahboyfriend
Presumed Sexuality: Straight
Presumed Availability: Not
Beard: No
Acceptable 5:00 Shadow: Yes!
Height Above Eye Level: 6"
Met: At Art Opening
Occupation: Artist/Sculptor
Digits Given: By way of self-printed old-fashioned calling card
Digits Used: 0
Email/Facebooks Used: Yes, both.
Serendipitous Physical Encounters in Between Digital Ones: 3
Whole-hearted Giddy Joy At Reception of Official Date Text Message Despite the Tired Format: Yes
Official Dates: 1
Location: Bar
Persons Offended by L on Official Date: 1
Great Episodes of Tear-Inducing Laughter At the Expense of Datee When Datee Was Trying to Be Serious About a Totally Absurd Subject After a Long Night of Dull Conversation: 3.7
Long Walk Home Alone (Again): Yes
Worth It: YES

Hehehehehe...well here's all the relevant information--any additional questions or clarifying statements can be directed to the author of this blog on the comments page.





* Includes, but is not limited to Almost Threesomes, Dance Moments, Knowing Glances, Professions of Love, and Elbow Touches.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Wanna be friends?" "Ok!"

I remember the first day of first grade, riding the bus to school. A few stops down from mine, Tess G., a sprightly first-grader, with dark red hair got on the bus. Without hesitating I asked her to sit next to me, even though I'd never met her before and there were plenty of other places to sit.

She plopped down next to me and since none of our legs were able to touch the ground, we started swinging them with growing giddiness, our little hearts fluttering from the thrill of it all.

"Do you want to be best friends?" I asked, grinning.
"Ok!" She replied instantly. And so, from that day on, we were best friends. She later moved away and we lost touch. But at that moment on the bus, nothing else but her newness and proximity were in consideration.


This was before I got really cranky at seven o'clock in the morning, before making friends and sharing seats got way more complicated. Some of my friends, like Tess, have had their run in my life. Some are on layaway, some on pause, while others have remained steady for years. I have enjoyed seeing my friendships grow and deepen, while I've mourned others that I've lost.

Still, I really miss this time, when making friends was just so simple. In a lot of ways programs like Facebook impart on me that same leg-swinging giddiness. "Wanna be friends?" "I ACCEPT!!!" Instant, un-complicated.* But then that feeling fades (as that initial, love-at-first-sight electricity often does in relationships, making the relationship turn into something deeper and more interesting, or alternately more superficial and intermittent.). Maybe occasionally I'll drop a comment on their wall, or poke them or whatever, and that'll be that.

That said, even Facebook's drop-down menus have a subtext, and making new friends is pretty daunting to a sensitive little flower like myself. I find myself thinking back to that first day of school, before my feet could touch the ground.


*As an aside, this French comedian, Gad Elmaleh has this great skit where he actually acts out this scenario ("Can you imagine if we spoke in real life the way we speak via MSN chat, texting or Facebook? Can you imagine? A guy walks into a bar directly to another guy and asks, 'Will you be my friend?' and the other guy answers, 'No, I ignore you.' Or you walk up to a pretty girl and plead, 'Add me...' It's absurd!") I still like it, though.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Oh Em Gee...

I TOTALLY relate to this article and the accompanying chart, as I just went to the bank for the first time in....four months? Maybe got the number for a doctor to schedule my first checkup since...I was 17. "What AM I, some kind of Wizard???"

Thought you guys'd appreciate.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Holy Cannoli

I spoke to a city worker about my (2009) taxes today who was SO nice.

I forgot to fill out a form, and something scary came in the mail that said I might need to be audited, potentially FINED. There was apparently a glitch in processing one of the (many) checks I sent out this year for my crazy artist free-lance taxes. They just didn't get to it, so I was kind of powerless in the matter anyway.

But then I called the number on the letter and I was immediately connected with a human being who was actually in charge of the whole thing. And he was like "Don't lose sleep over this, it's no big thing."

So, I won't. Thanks, man, you made my day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Your Nose is Growing

My landlord lied to me today, with a grotesque blatancy that nearly sent me off the edge. He said that he did not own my house, and therefore was not in a position to properly repair the roof, which leaks and has caused some mold damage to the interior. The matter was out of his hands. If I'm lucky, and keep on prodding him to do something, he'll patch it, but that's the best I can expect until the next round of damage occurs. My discounted rent, he said, was to make up for all of the sh*t I "have to put up with."

However, I was informed by one of the (many) maintenance men I've met in this year-long journey that they are just sitting on the property to tear it down and construct an $800,000 replacement on the prime real estate, and that they're waiting for the people next door to sell the lot. The matter is well within his grip, he just doesn't want to put any money into the house.

I've been on this guy's tail since April when I detected the (first) leak, and they've been "calling roofers" and "fixing other units." They'd get there as soon as they could, and thanks for letting them know.

Then the bathroom started, and water was coming in through the air vent. They didn't pick up their phone because they were "busy serving other units," their voicemail box was full because the child of an immigrant woman who doesn't speak English "keeps calling and filling up the box."

Then water started coming in through the electric socket in the bathroom, and mold erupted on the ceiling. "It isn't for lack of trying," they plead when I sent them a written request via fax last week (the first week of JUNE). "This winter was bad, and there was a lot of ice damage in all of our units."

And I accepted what they said because, you know, maybe it was all true. (Those immigrant children can be burdensome!) But it doesn't add up, and I'm sick of being trod on because I'm a relatively open, trusting individual. My grandmother recently called me "an injustice collector," and I'm starting to think it's true, and, even worse, that it might be my own doing (like, for not standing up for myself due to chronic insecurity and self-devaluing, etc.).

So I'm not sure quite what to do. If I were acting solely on principle, then I'd move out tomorrow, but as a sentient being, there are other factors to consider. But wait, isn't that what got me into this in the first place?? Bugger.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Unwinding

Lately, I've been giving some thought to the way I manage stress. I'm pretty sure I'm not super-healthy about stress. I am generally open about things, and I wear my mind on my sleeve (and yes, in case you were wondering, sometimes I do go sleeveless). But at the same time, I obsess over problem situations, and I get aggravated when I find myself dwelling on things that my logical self knows aren't worth the effort! Chronic back problems abound, (wait, hold on, I have a body to worry about too?!?) I am confident that I need to find more constructive ways to recognize stress and figure it out. Now wouldn't that be the mature adult thing to do?

The first step is identifying the problem. What better diagnostic tool than one's blog? So, now I am going to delve into a bit of self-analysis. Whether or not y'all wish to come along for the ride is up to you.

When people go on vacation, or come home from work they say they "need to unwind." What exactly are they unwinding? What part of them is wound? With what, and how does it get that way? Thinking about this word in its affirmative form has allowed me to see a kind of vision of how I get stressed, how I become needy of unwinding.

Faced with stress, I am a definite wind-er. I do not really act out much, in fact, most of the time when I'm feeling stress, I wouldn't necessarily say "I'm stressed!!!!" especially when there's no tangible end in sight. I'm more likely to accept things and feel "normal" until some benevolent person in my life says, "This isn't normal."

But I am [stressed]. And the situation usually isn't "normal," whatever that is.

In reality, when I'm not "feeling" anything, I'm actually winding myself around and around an issue. Defense mechanism, anyone?! I've mentioned before in this blog that I feel like there's a maximum threshold for the comprehension of psychological and physical pain before the brain just shuts down. I'm relatively sure the same thing goes for stress.

I diffuse tangible stress by talking about it--and even my speech patterns are circular. A little thread of logical thought and analysis, starts to accumulate inside me, coiling around the amorphous form of my stress. This is a long process--like mummification? For instance, I might "vent" about something for five to ten to twenty minutes straight, feel like I've "gotten it out," but then half an hour later I've circled back to the same issue over again, and it feels just as urgent as the first twenty-five times I've talked about it. My mind becomes a satellite, bound by forces beyond its control into orbit. Endless, increasingly abstracted understanding of a topic.* And of course stress factors change--they expand and contract, their presence is not constant or controlled, and so sometimes a bit bursts out here or there, and the coil needs to be reworked. Eventually, once I've done it enough I am able to (kind of) move on. But the bugger's still there. Intact, but wound up.

Those of you who know me well know that I have a seriously one-track mind (see Fig. 1 below). What I don't realize at the time is, especially with endemic stresses, that this talking is slowly winding me up inside in such a way that I can start to tolerate that stress at a higher level. The way I've begun to think about it now is I am building a little cocoon around each stressor, and for the big ones, there's a lot of thread that goes into it.

Well when there is a clear end in sight, when the stressor breaks itself free from my life, I'm left with a lot of that winding, binding material, and it's awful. Because then, and only then, do I realize just how stressed I was the whole time. The meters, sometimes miles of winding thread gradually falls away, and, just as actively and painstakingly as before, I have to retract, unwind, and let the negative bits of whatever (or whomever) was stressing me out just seep slowly out of my pores, and away from me. Yet, I'm left with heaps of this stuff, this spent effort containing and managing in a knotted confused mess in my interior. (Illustrations to follow). Frankly, unwinding is way harder for me than winding, because it involves becoming a little vulnerable again, having to undo my fiction of control to return to some, slightly less stressful way of life.

Anyway, I hope those of you who bothered to read this aren't totally freaked out right now. I could actually be wrong, but I just felt a sproing in my back...yoga needs to happen asap.



Fig. 1: Distraction Test

Take it yourself here.

* My artwork also functions in this more obsessive fashion; I will examine something and "get into it" until it's hardly recognizable, representational, but abstracted through the intensity of a single, patient unrelenting perspective.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Are the kids asleep?

Today I made a bunch of calls that I've been putting off:
1) to the tax man (re: missing/unprocessed checks)
2) to the orthodontist (re: braces)
3) to the landlord (re: roof leaks)

I called my gallery director to set up an appointment, I paid my AmEx bill (YIPE!) and my rent bill, I answered my work email, and responded to three text messages. My room is messy, but it can wait.

I made sure that this pro-bono graphic design stint I've been working on was finished before the team took the booklet I created for them to India. I called in some birthday thank you's. I took some frames to be repaired for my show at the end of June. And I'm posting to my blog.

And then I turned on my AC unit in my studio (the only one in my house) and looked at the mess before me. Beneath the detritus of my everyday efficiencies, my partner, creative Lizzy, has been waiting here patiently all along, all hot and bothered, waiting for me to put the kids to bed. Efficient, bring-home-the-bacon Lizzy has been on a role, but she's been awfully lonely these days.

Well, the kids are finally in bed, and I'm ready to jump in and make some magic happen! She's fallen asleep, but I'll wake her gently, and maybe we can work something out.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You're 24



A new year, joy of joys!

Last year was hard, and I admit, I was ready to leave it be-hind. It felt kind of like this at times. Like this other times. This year, at least, will be a different year. It should be said that each year that goes by, I feel like I am learning a ton, and I really couldn't do it without my friends, who, each in their own way, really help me, like, not evaporate.

And I'm trying to learn from my mistakes, have a brighter perspective, and be better about my weaknesses (most shockingly, I have joined a gym--WHAT?!).

I wanted to share an awesome, grin-inducing song with you called "You're 24" by First Floor Power, this Swedish band that I've been bopping to for a while now. I have been dying to turn 24 JUST so I can hear it in a new light, but, I can't figure out how to work this internet thing to upload the mp3 onto this blog, and I can't find a link to it online.......Any help would be appreciated, ye internet buffs :)

If not, here's your homework: download it illegally online, on your own time, and report back here.

xoxoxo

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm lacking regularity...feeling a little sluggish...

I wish there was Artactivia. Something kind of creamy, pretty tasty that I could eat with a spoon once or twice a day to help "move" things along, you know, make me more regular. And who could we get as the spokesperson...Suggestions?

The truth is, I need to put my head to the grindstone and WORK. Harder, more frequently, and in a more focused way on my artwork. I'm trying, lord knows, but just not hard enough...I get lazy, I want to be 23 and run around and go away, go to parties, vegg out in front of some baaad TV (all important for my development, I assure you). And then I lose what little balance I have...

I think that most of my anxiety here is related to a total impatience with myself, and I'm trying to be more permissive of what I "need" in my life...but sometimes it's hard to tell.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

People doing fun things in the world - Life Dreams Part 2



Most of this is thanks to friends, but gosh, there's just a lot of stuff that makes me go YES, THAT IS IT! here's some...

____

Everybody in the world should have a Hi, or go to Barcelona. The future is human(e).



____

I want to live in a house like this. Big windows, green, lots of sun, 100% modern, 100% windows.





more pictures

Prefab weeHouse home


____

Cool art, inspiring me:



Article in NY Times Science

(Or, pictures!)



Other cool organic art...

____

And...



Design for the little japanese girl in my soul.

I like this one...evaporating chairs on ghost floors...

Are japanese babies just super tiny?

____

More to come. Lots of good ideas to inspire and drool over...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And because I love you, a fiction piece

I'm not totally happy with this/the color. But I thought I'd put it up for some feedback anyway. Look at that two posts back to back!

Memory Comic Preview

This strip is part of a small zine I'm hoping to print myself in the next few weeks. This will be the interior of a gate fold book. And yes, it's more to do with relationships...one in particular. Some of the images are not self-explanatory, but I'm going to work that into the pages before, so don't worry.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sorry I've Been Boring Lately. I Guess I Need a Little Dose of DRAMA!!!!

(As if!!!)

Well anyhow, I'm going to New York this weekend to visit la bella Nonna and see Tosca at the Met, in what has become our yearly tradition (this is our third year). Tosca is my grandmother's favorite opera, and I'm interested as ever to see what happens, and how this love story won't work out and how all of these characters will die miserable, inevitable, poetic deaths. I mean, I've been through every last hacking cough of La Boheme, and the live entombment of Aida, along with countless others, but Tosca, Tosca seems like drama-rama. I need some serious power lipstick, hello Nars, shade AMAZON!

I also found this creepy and kind of cool animation to "E Lucevan Le Stelle" (the smash-hit from the score--I've been jamming to it on my iPod as part of the Ultimate Puccini collection I downloaded). I'm basically super-excited. [And I know not everybody feels this way about the opera, but just try to think about some really big treat you like, and, well that's how I feel right now.] In any case, and even if you have to press mute, I hope in some way you like this video. Enjoy!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Things that I always have trouble with

- Buying new, aluminum free natural deodorant
- Buying new, natural, sensitivity toothpaste that actually tastes good, foams satisfactorily, and doesn't cost $7

It happens very infrequently (hm, about every 40 - 80 days, depending), but when it does, it gives me trouble.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Space Filler

Slow writing today, a lot going through my head. Read between the lines.

*

I understand that sometimes people need another person to fill some kind of lack.

Well it isn't always fun when you are the space filler,
that person,
who is only needed, wanted in

the interim.

I usually know when this is happening, and I let it happen because I like being around people who need a lean-to. But it's always with this

wholly benevolent, ultimately melancholy
understanding
that I am just what is needed rather than one who's needed.

*

Yesterday I posted a comment on facebook that I wished I was fifty.

I don't wish I were fifty.

But sometimes I get frustrated with all of the politics of figuring shit out when you're young. Tedious.

Or being the casualty of somebody else's process of figuring things out for themselves. Brutal.

I am happy to be young, eating peeps for breakfast, going out at night, wearing mini-skirts and sneakers, complaining about things like leg hair. And the newness of everything; the endless possibility.

But, you know, I've never felt like I fit in much with people my age. Either that or I have a natural propensity to feel lonely, even when there're people around me who are present, who care, whose insight I trust, need.

Despite this, how lucky I must be. I'm the girl at the other end of the lunch table, eating alone, thinking, doodling, daydreaming. Wondering if or when home will be.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Finishing Things

Last week a very close friend of mine moved away from me forever.

I've dealt with separation anxiety in some way shape or form for most of my life. I like people (as previous posts have mentioned) and I get awfully attached to them, to the point where I just can't let go, most often to my own detriment. Once a man started talking to me at a subway station on 176th street, and I rode all the way down to 14th Street with him as he went on about his life. He left and I never saw him again. Then I turned and rode back up to 120th where I was living at the time, but on the way I met up with a woman who started talking to me about her life story, and I rode all the way to 146th Street with her until I finally took the downtown train back to my apartment.

That said, it takes a while for me to make friends. Like, real friends. And more often than not, my "real" friends disappoint me and perhaps even participate in activities which inevitably lead to heartbreak. (Aren't I just a China doll...) In the past, when I am the one leaving, or when I know friend or family is about to leave I resort to desperate tactics, of which my favorite tendency has been fight-picking ('cause when you're fighting, it's always easier to be apart, and there are so many fights to pick!). Oh I've put a lot of relationships through fight-picking hell because I can't stand saying goodbye.

I've had the pleasure of being Real Friends with this particular individual for only about three months, truth be told. It was very nice, easy. He reminded me that there were relationships to be had outside of boyfriends, girlfriends. That even in a town where you grew up, where you thought you knew everyone and everything, there was still more to learn and know and meet and see. And there was a nice sense of humor about it and there was a genuine mutual interest in each others problems, however serious or absurd. Nice, right? And then he left because he had to, and I was pretty shook up about it. I saw it coming though, even as it began. For a long time I was disinterested in friendship with him because I knew this was coming. What was the point? But then, one way or another, the ease took over and tumbled into an inevitability which I tried on, at first with some eye-rolling, later with some reticence. And then, before I could convince myself otherwise It became comfortable and stretched out into a favorite shirt.

A favorite shirt that moved out of the country to find a clarity and a purpose that he couldn't do here. I knew, know it was necessary, blah blah. But, hey! I wasn't READY to say goodbye yet! Couldn't he've waited until, like, I dunno, I was ready, found new, other friends to ease the transition!? Or, like, I dunno, got my life completely in order?!!? Apparently not.

I did have some warning, which I'm grateful for, I guess. Indeed, with a month or two to go before the execution date I thought, well this time I can see this problem coming from a mile away. So I'll try to be a grown-up about it and I'm not going to pick a fight, I'll be good about it. Supportive.

Ok, folks. I don't try to repress things, I SUBLIMATE. I try to work through them or redirect them but then I fail at that and just end up repressing them, and then it all blows up in my face in some radical, messy explosion. So, well. Two days before we had to say goodbye, I dreamt we had a horrible fight and I woke up in a vile mood, still angry over the subconscious dispute over what I can't possibly remember (no matter!), and utterly sick to my stomach (and to boot I was feeling pretty out of it because I was under the weather as it was). And then the cat sneezed and it sounded a lot like, "REPRESSION, YOU FOOL!"

The next couple days I lazed around piteously, cried indulgently, declared that I was in a state of crisis, opted to move away forever and sell all my worldly possessions, and forged through with the defeatist resolve to eat wine and cake in the middle of the day.

Way to go, Liz.

With that, as usual, I plunged into the infinite caverns of self-reflection, whose intricate depths are occasionally illuminated by this measly rummage pile of diary-like blah-blah blog entries. Long story short, I thought about why the hell I do this to myself.

Turns out (after some thought), this clingyness extends waaay beyond my personal relationships with people, friends, Real Friends. It happens with things, projects, imaginary people. For instance, I realized I hadn't finished a book in two years (with one or two small exceptions), not because I couldn't find a book that I liked. Precisely the opposite: when I started really liking a book (and I've at this point compiled a list of all the books I've started and not finished), I compulsively put it down because some part of me is unable to deal with the fact that it will all come to an end--sometimes in a mere one to two hundred pages. I've been reading A Little Princess since 1993, Jane Eyre since god knows when. As a kid, I'd pick up the biggest books I could find. Starting in fourth grade, for a solid year and a half to two years I read all of Les Miserables, not because I was so invested in Hugo's writing style, but because I could sit and watch little Cosette's entire life happen, it wouldn't just, you know, cut off. What's more, the level of diffuculty was such that I knew it would be a long time before it all had to come to an end. I was riding off my inability to understand certain vocabulary, not as a gesture towards self-betterment, but as a protective mechanism.

Yes, I'm convinced of this. I developed a fervent, successive line of crushes on all four brothers Karamazov one summer, and had my heart broken four times over in the final pages of that wretched translation. Likewise, I simultaneously rejoiced and lamented on the day when Elizabeth finally got to go off with Darcy...it just got to be too much when I got to the Secret Garden, Mrs. Dalloway, etc, etc...I just started shutting them before the first pangs of heartbreak would sink in. PSYCHOSIS ANYONE?!?! I mean, these are like fake people!

So, yeah. Projects, the same. So many projects, papers started, in stages, drafts, nothing final. I'm working on this, this I'm at this stage, but I want to do eight more things. Once in college I took an A+ paper to my professor to ask how best to start editing it. She was utterly flabberghasted. Frankly, who the hell did I think I was. I mean--honestly!?

And this blog (while I seem to be on a role of pathologizing every element of my life). It's always going, completely un-finish-able. Even if I abandon it for months on end, it will still be here. Unfinished. Just a pile of thoughts that I can excuse away as personal or informal.

Ultimately it's not about saying good-bye, separation. It's about a problem with the notion of finality.

You know what Mr. Real Friend said to me before he left? Essentially: Do some work. Finish it. Send it to some publishers, outside of Pittsburgh. Your stuff is good and more people need to see it.

The simplicity of this statement blew me away, and I realized why I was glad that we had what we did, even though we were saying goodbye. And I think I'm ready to believe this.

The proof? I said good-bye to him on Monday. By Thursday I'd finished reading one book (Coehlo's The Alchemist, a fable). By the following Monday I'd finished another (Robinson's Home, a novel--Robinson is my favorite author, very, very hard to finish when each sentence is just that good.). It's ok. I lived. They'll be there when I need them again, if I need them again. I'm sure I will. And you never know--who wouldn't want to know how Jane Eyre ends up? She's safe where she is, but she's better off getting to know me, and me her. And there's so much, so much out there--why let a little thing like an all-consuming lifelong psychological affliction get in my way?

In many ways books are like friendships. They never really end, because your relationship still evolves, even after one chapter, or one volume is finished. They change because you change; you see them differently as time passes, and you need them for different reasons at different times. As a wise friend said, they're still there. They stay with you forever--even if you can't see them.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Word to the wise...

Yesterday and the day before I felt like total crap, was sleeping a lot, couldn't accomplish anything. Finally yesterday I broke down while I was laying on the couch in my living room, arms and body heavy, 4:00 pm and still in my pyjamas.

My roommate J was the only one at home. I crawled upstairs in tears, (aren't I utterly pitiful) and started railing on the one thing that I could conclude was absolutely wrong--"I need to get out of this city! I don't know where to go! I have no reason to BE here."

At this point he was already half way up the stairs to his room on the third floor. He slowly backed down, probably wondering why he agreed to live with two basket-case women, wondering also what was for lunch. He goes, "You know what I learned? Don't make important life decisions when you feel like shit."

He took me on a walk and then I got some wine and cake which seemed appealing after a day of non-eating and non-being. It didn't help my grim perspective on anything. I couldn't imagine not feeling exhausted and useless ever again, and this lack of potential energy had seeped its way into my perspective on life, friends, love, existence in general. My life, everything I did, everyone I knew, seemed as flimsy and impotent as I felt.

Well, today I feel better (virus?). I had a hearty breakfast of pasta and chocolate chips and coffee, and I listened to a radio show about the comics festival in Angouleme, which really made me feel better. (The guys put MY interview before Crumb's interview, so it's almost like we're sitting next to each other in some kind of audio-cyberspace, for ALWAYS!!!!!!!!.....siiiigh...I love my little English friends). And I don't think such bleak thoughts anymore. And I don't feel like crawling around weeping anymore that matter. But I'm going to remember J's advice, because everything really is different today and it ain't that bad.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Muscle Memory

Last week, my yoga teacher quit unexpectedly. She was less than six months pregnant, but in less than two weeks she'd ballooned out and she was physically unable to do most of the poses for basic yoga. She informed us after the class that she'd expected to make it to eight months, as she'd done with her first child, but this one was a different story.

I overheard her speaking to one of my fellow yoga-goers after class, and she was saying that she'd asked her doctor why she'd swollen so much during the second pregnancy, how she got just so big so fast. The explanation? "Muscle memory." Her body remembered what it was like to be pregnant, so it just went to that place where it had remembered being, before her mind could adjust.

Really, it was her mind, having trained her muscles to stretch and accommodate, to move and react in a certain way that was calling physical manifestations into actuality--but her conscious mind was still telling her that she'd be able to do yoga, just as before. All this stuff was happening in her head and body, and she wasn't ready to admit it until it all was just like, "Oh no you don't do those twists no more! You're having a BABY, remember NOW?!"

Muscles and subconscious jumped the gun, and now I'm out a yoga teacher.

I was thinking about this idea. About how our bodies can remember things, and can force us to action long before our conscious selves catch up.

Something triggered a reaction in me, so that the last six months, I've gotten by on about two to four hours of sleep per night, waking up each day, hardly groggy, full of energy, will power to clean, dance, do, watch, etc, etc, etc. I think my body was automatically over-compensating based on what my past mind had experienced. It was powering me through some kind of secondary experience of trauma, but it totally jumped the gun. Too much. I think that time is over now. My mind has quieted, I am finding more clarity, and with it, unexplainable, uninterrupted sleep.

Last weekend I met up with my ex-boyfriend. He'd moved back to the city, and seeing as it is a very small city, there was no point practicing some wholly contrived avoidance (avoid-dance). I had a picture of us rotating around each other for months like one of those science project solar systems. There's a whole universe around us, and our orbits are totally dinky, spit out with some help the night before. Why not have coffee or something? The worst is over.

Except then, muscle memory. Open door, put water on, pour tea, drink, laugh. We were sitting and talking and it all felt so normal, until my mind caught up (this time way faster than before) and said--hey, this isn't normal, you don't know what to feel about this! But it was ok. I wasn't sure what to feel about it, and I was ok with that. I knew I didn't need closure, need to see him, need to "get something off my chest." It was just, like, ok, I'm going with this. You hurt me, we know that, there's no point in avoiding it or dwelling on it for that matter. I'm not bitter, and I don't think you're a bad person. This is just a Saturday in my living room, talking to you, whomever you are now.

Hug, hug again. Door open, door shut, door lock. Rinse out some mugs, answer the phone. Talk. Lay.

My mind will catch up eventually, or maybe it's already there.

Screen Door



This is an image I took with *gasp* real film several years ago. This is my Aunt behind her screen door. The image was taken only months after she divorced her husband of 20 years. I found it in a box in my studio.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Le Franche Leep (Panel 1)


This is the first of two panels of the French Lip comic I made FIVE YEARS AGO (yikes!). I just resurrected it from an old sketchbook and colored it in for your enjoyment!

Le Franche Leep (Panel 2)



Saturday, March 6, 2010

I am slowly coming to understand that my life will essentially be a long line of mortifying scenarios, which I will probably endure with horror

That is, until I accept that I have no control over anything anyway, and that people will think what they will and so screw it! Yeah, I DID just pick a wedgie, Mr. Dalai Lama, sir! Don't YOU ever do that?! Fuck off!

Well, last night, a real hang-banger. Totally tried to make out with my gay friend when we were dancing. I was having fun, but I pity the poor soul, and frankly thank god that he's the sweet, understanding, gentlemanly guy he is. In gayspeak, I am just an uncontrollable breeder, and I have shamed post-high-school-aged fruit flies like myself. I'm sorry if I am an under-evolved sex-crazed drunken maniac...I can't help it! Maybe?

I am, needless to say, deeply embarrassed by the whole affair.

Really, it's not so much this event which disturbs me, but rather the bigger issue: I just wish I would stop finding new and creative ways to make a total fool of myself in public.

Stop stealing sherry from fancy people's parties! Stop trying to make out with your male homosexual friends! Stop eating oreos before the school picture!* And for godssake, CHECK before you leave the bathroom to make sure you don't have toilet paper sticking out of your pants!

What'll it be next week? Hmmmmm.....I'll leave it up to--myself.


*That one actually didn't happen, but it would, wouldn't it??!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I've been rocking the urban fem-dyke aesthetic for a while now, and it's been working for me

Last week, on a whim, I got my hair cut. It didn't need to be cut, in fact it looked rather nice. But I'd just returned from Paris, and I was feeling like I needed to ease the transition with a little hairdresser hotness booster shot.

I have a very special relationship with my hairdresser. He's tall, black, straight, wears pants that fit ~just so~ and a smile that could convert a convent in seconds.

He allows me to pay him to cut my hair, and to gaze at him for an hour or so. Plus he does a great job--usually.

I wanted something short, flirty, fun. He cut it perfectly, asked me if I liked it, and when I confirmed that I indeed did, he took a phone call on his iPhone and hacked off another inch and a half.

Of course, this is what I get for going to a straight hairdresser! Oh snap. I'm staring at my little brother in the mirror.

Here's your $45. Great, at least I got to look at an attractive man's reflection for an hour--it'll be the last one for a while (well, with the exception of my own...).

One day passes. I see the ex-boyfriend at a bar after five months of nada. I adopt a clever Michelle-Shocked-style hat the next day. On Monday, nobody commented AT ALL at work. And you know how middle-aged women are; the more they are shocked by something the less they say above a certain decibel level. Even the copy machine was hush-hush.

Then my skin decided to give a breakout performance of "Revolt Against the Face." Zit mania. And my stomach has been compensating for all of the lost time pre-France. I've been wolfing down bread and chocolate all week, as if I needed to remind myself that it was still there (the bread, the chocolate) even though I was no longer...I'm just getting hotter and more available by the minute.

The long and short: I've lost all self control and I look like a pubescent boy with an unfortunate gland problem in his chest.

I was relaying all this via cellphone to a friend in New York as I walked down a long avenue here in Pittsburgh. She made an attempt to comfort me saying that I was much prettier than my brothers and that I could pull it off and anyway it would grow. Maybe there was hope after all--gee, friends are the best!

At that precise moment, a van was driving by and a man yelled out his window "HEY BABYYY!"

Yesss, oh divine presence!!!! I think I just got a cat call, and for once I was thrilled! Sexy street me on the prowl with a sassy new haircut. Yeah, I can totally pull this off! I turned to see who it was, just as the van passed me, and the man hanging out the window (the caller of the cat) drops his jaw and turns to his friend in the drivers seat, clapping, laughing and shouting to his friend in disbelief: "Oh SHIT!!!!! DUUUUDE THAT WAS A MAN!!!!"

* * * * *

Peeling myself off the pavement (I did actually have a great laugh, if only to properly acknowledge the impeccable timing), I said goodbye to friend before cellphone died, walked to Whole Foods, bought some applesauce and a toothbrush, went home and ate five chocolate truffle hearts in a row and watched a girl fall on her ass on the Olympics.

I feel ya.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I've been finding white hairs growing on my head.


I always wanted to dye my hair, but never could because it is so dark. The other girls can change their hair, and I'm stuck with this dark brown mess! And so, being who I am I came to a psychological resolution which has appeased me for a long while. I thought: well, if I go white then I'll dye it pink or red or blonde or something fun like that. Oh I can't wait til my hair loses its color naturally! (How refreshingly liberated I am!).

However, happily ensconced in this self-placation, what I failed to realize was that my "liberation" required as a prerequisite a wholehearted acceptance of the dark-as-night hair on my head, an acceptance which may have developed, like many things we accept do, into love. Like an arranged marriage. I didn't choose it, but after living with it for a while I have come to love it. I love my dark, dark hair.

And so, as life tends to do just when you get into a certain rhythm that you find pleasant enough, that rhythm changes. Little white bits are now emerging from my right temple and it's only really a matter of time before my hairs are all wiry and I am like Cher in Moonstruck, with the barber shop ladies begging me to let them take away those "nasty grays" (roll the r, they're Italian). I mean, once again we are encountered with that prolific question: What the hell I was thinking anyway??? Who wants to dye their hair pink!?! Or at all--what a hassle, what chains with which we bind ourselves! Ohhhh vanitas...

I can tell you what I'm thinking, how do I only inherit the bad genes from the family (mom started to go white in high school, I'm too young for this!). Yeah, blame the family.

Sigh. Oh well--easy come, easy go. I might as well just start eating jelly donuts all day if we're all going to the same place anyway. Right?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Inventory: France Trip

So, my writing's been kind of crappy lately--thanks for sticking with me. I thought I'd try to simplify things, in a pleasant sort of way.

The Breakdown:

Total Seats to Myself on Direct Flights To/From Paris CDG: 5
Number of Shooting Stars Seen on Flight To Paris CDG: 8
Boys I Ran Into In Paris That Were On Both Flights To/From Paris Who Also Chose To Sit In My Row: 1
Plastic Cups of Free Boxed Red Wine Consumed on Flights, Am I Really That Girl? Yes: 7
Suitcases Brought: 1
Suitcases Brought Back: 2.5

Days in France: 16.41667
Patisseries Visited: 11
Patisseries Visited on Multiple Occasions: 5
Total Patisseries (Pastries) Consumed: 36

Crumb: 1

Price in Euro of Most Expensive Mille Feuille on Earth: 10
Price in Dollars of Most Expensive Mille Feuille on Earth: 976,000

Kinder Products Consumed: 5
Toys: 3
Kinder Toys: 1

Crêperies Visited: 4
Crêpes Consumed: 11

Camembert: 1
Chevre: 2
Blanc: 5
Nameless, Faceless Cheeses That Stole My Heart: 7

Ducks: 1

Floating Islands: 1
Macaroons: 9
Sangrias: 7
Champagnes: 5
Cidres: 7
Beers: ...

Arondissments Walked: 17
Gothic Cathedrals Visited: 0 (Sadly)
Total works of art in Louvre: 35,000
Total works of art owned by Khalili: 25,000
Visits to Louvre: 5
Visits to Khalili: 1
Attempts of Reflective Self-Portrait taken at Louvre: 12
Total Exhibitions Visited: 14
Films: 5
Marionette Shows: 1
Ice Skating Outings: 1/8

Excellent Dresses Purchased: 5
Excellent Bargains: 4
Excellent Rainbow Dresses Purchased: 1
Number of Colors in Excellent Rainbow Dress: 6
Excellent Rainbow Dresses Broken: 1
Excellent Umbrellas Purchased: 1
Excellent Umbrellas Broken: 1

Comics Obtained in Four Days in Angoulême: 22
Drinks Consumed in Four Days in Angoulême: 31
Drinks Purchased in Angoulême: 2
(Number of Drinks it Takes for Me to Feel Tipsy: 2)
Hours Slept in Four Days in Angouleme: 16
People From Pittsburgh Met in Angouleme Who Weren't Me: 1

Englishmen: 4
Frenchmen: 3
Swiss: 1
Crêpemakers (International Citizens of My Heart): 1
Digits Obtained: 2
Number of Parisian Pimps Whose Digits I Did Not Make Use of Once Obtained: 1
Number of Parisian Fashion Designers' Digits I Regretted Using Once Obtained: 1
Number of Belgians Who Saw Me Naked: 1 and 3/8
Total Propositions of Love Given by Drunken Swissmen: 1
Duration of Proposition (in Hours): 3
Total Swissmen Who Loved Me Enough to Walk me Home at 5 am: 0

(Happily) Neutral Parties: 1

Instances of Internet Use: 2
Instances of French-English Dictionary Use: 0
Instances of Acceptance of American Express Card: 3
Instances of Verbal Confirmation That I Was Being Mistaken for an Uncharacteristically Tall and Meaty French Girl: 1
Instances of Surprise Appearance of Greek Best Friend: 1
Instances of Tears (Joy): 1
Instances of Tears (Other): 0

1: Great Trip.