Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Whole again...

Whenever I'm feeling lonely, or bored, or sad, or triumphant, or dejected, or restless (or...) I go to Whole Foods.

Ahhh, Whole Foods.

Whole Foods is a big store that lives a block away from my new house. It has neatly packaged, generally environmentally copacetic food items neatly arranged in little rows on little shelves on long aisles marked with fun little signs that tell you what might be there, but always leaves room for possibility.

Ahh, possibility. For some, possibility is the first step on the Appalachian trail, a one-way ticket to China, a baseline job in a great business. For me, possibility is the smell of a hardware store. Or the endless rows of self-care ditties in a drug store. Or Whole Foods.

Somehow, the neatness, the endlessness of ingredients for any number of items--the lighting--the samples--makes me feel safe, but also invigorates me to no end. I don't even need to actually purchase anything. Just knowing that it's all still there, tirelessly maintained by its staff of tatooed and dread-locked twenty-somethings, is comforting to me.

In a way it puts things in perspective--that somewhere (or just around the corner) there is endless potential, all packaged and ready for your Whole Paycheck.

Thank you, Whole Foods. [And, no, I don't even care that your jerk owner is a Libertarian and anti-healthcare reform. Cause I don't even need you, it's just nice to stroll the aisles once in a while, is all.]

Whole Foods, this one's for you:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hard Knocks

This fall has been full of transition for me. Out with a lot of old, in with a lot of new. The big ones* were: I moved to a new house, I broke off a long-term relationship on bad terms, I switched jobs four and a half times. To boot, I've developed a healthy case of insomnia, which has probably changed my ability to deal with the constant flow of transitions ("In short, I'm TIRED!").

I'd say that the relationship bit threw everything else rather wildly out of control, especially after finding some particularly hurtful information, which put me solidly out for two full days. It probably triggered, or contributed to the insomnia, which in turn affected everything else. What might have been a fall of re-adjustment became a rather tumultuous exploration of what it means to be a grown-up.

Around the time when I wrote the Nonna/Nanny post, I also wrote two letters, one to each of my grandmothers, thanking them for being themselves, and expressing my admiration for them. My father's mother called me and asked about the break up**, and asked how I was. I said (as I've been saying, with relative noncommitment to the now tired subject) "The break up was hard. It's been a hard fall."

She told me that she thought all her grandchildren were "too pampered" and that we needed some good "hard knocks" once in a while to keep us in check. Typical Nonna mentality. Nonetheless, I felt I should respond with relative honesty. I told her I didn't think it was bad for kids to be pampered, and that sometimes hard knocks can make us "grow" and "learn," but we shouldn't go on encouraging them. She actually agreed, but still asserted that I'd be ok and that a hard knock still wasn't bad once in a while.

I've said this before and I'll say it again--this isn't the first or the last time I'll be feeling this way, dealing with all sorts of things like this. There have been two other times in my life that I can already remember feeling like everything was shifting below me, and that all I could do was kind of hold on and try to get through it. One was in the middle of high school. One was when I began my relationship with this recent ex-boyfriend. And one is now.

And while I already feel like a different person, I'm more aware of myself, and I'm acting with increasing resolve. That said, I still wish there were an easier way to get from point A to point Q.

*In between there's been a bunch of stuff, but it ain't worth getting into right now.
**Nonna it should be said, is fascinated with break ups. She can't hear enough about my friends' parents' divorces...She still wears her wedding band, though she's been divorced for forty years or so. More on that later.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Start watching the following clip at 4:50 to understand my current state of mind...

Did you do it? Good. Fittingly, Barbara Stanwyck's character is named Elizabeth--"identifying" doesn't quite describe this....

Hmmm, if only my tall, hot soldier would remember his cue!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Fear

A lot of my artwork deals with trying to understand vulnerability. I think part of understanding what it means to be vulnerable is admitting what you are afraid of. I've tried my best to list these things below. But this is only a very small part of finding what it means to be vulnerable (which, ya know, we all are).

Vulnerability is the capability of being wounded. Understanding that means understanding that there are a lot of things that could hurt you very badly at any time for no reason at all.

I'm not there--I don't understand and I'm not fully able to let go of my invincible, endless, bodiless self. Articulating things that I'm afraid of can only do so much. I still don't actually realize just how wound-able I am. In other words, doing what I'm doing now isn't actually allowing myself be vulnerable, it's saying things that make me feel vulnerable, or, better, remind me that I am vulnerable when I think about them. Admitting that I have dreams that maybe won't come true, actually loving somebody a lot who then breaks my heart--now those are real fears, and it comes closer to accepting one's vulnerability. Pursuing those things without knowing, without caring about being pulverized by the world--that's scary. As far as I'm concerned, I think that may be the closest thing to truly coming into one's own vulnerability.

In other words, letting myself be what I am, un-armoured and unassuming, loving things that or people that I love regardless of the potential consequences, now that's accepting my own vulnerability. (Do you understand where I'm going here? I'm trying to understand how fear is different from vulnerability; how understanding fear is different than understanding vulnerability, though they aren't un-connected).

Ok? Ok, good.

As I was kind of saying, in many ways, my greatest fear is allowing myself to experience glimmers of real true hope, letting my soft body "love what it loves," and opening myself to this possibility of being trampled in the process. But you know what? Without trying for those things, without allowing myself the opportunity to really lose everything, then I'm not sure I'd be really allowing myself to live.

And I want to. I want to live and feel things and be hurt and try, and fail, and maybe be squished like a bug in the process. Bring it on, cause this is it. And I mean that exactly how I say it.

Food for thought.

Below, I've listed some of my fears (I'm sure there are more that I haven't thought of yet, but here's a quick taste.) Again, things that make me feel vulnerable, or that I think would make me feel vulnerable are different than understanding that I just am vulnerable. That said, I don't think it's is un-interesting to think about, and gather into a tidy little list on one's blog.


- spiders
- the dark
- basements (I still run up the stairs)
- being home alone/being alone in general*
- skiing
- sharks and big fish (they are quiet and have very big teeth).
- the ocean at night (one, solid black, black plane; thick, oily ocean; things below silently eating other things)

- becoming crippled (really--my feet and back hurt all the time)
- being really fat
- getting disfigured
- not being able to have babies if I want to
- being deaf (no dancing?)
- developing halitosis (it would be terrible)
- locked-in syndrome (also, terrible)

- being bitter or not enjoying myself because I'm very poor or in debt (which should be distinguished from debt or poverty, because I'm not afraid of those things--I am afraid of being a bitter, miserly jerk because I'm poor or in debt)

- getting really depressed again (the lethargic kind, not the kind I probably have now that keeps me awake too much. the kind i'm afraid of is the kind that keeps you in bed, and makes waking up feel like trudging through thick muddy swamps, and sucks the joy out of the things that give you joy--)
- being too serious/not enjoying myself in the moment
- the death of somebody close to me, or seeing/hearing a person who is close to me die (this I fear more than my own death; I've had many horrible dreams in this regard)
- not saying something important to somebody when I need to, and then never being able to (you know, like big things, like "I love you, you mean so much to me, I miss you, I need you" and then the person who I needed to say it to can't hear it anymore--because they die, because they marry somebody else, because they move away, because they have alzheimers and forget who you are)
- not allowing myself to love somebody 100% (romantically--I feel like I could do the 100% love thing, no problem, to most important people in my life --family [biological and surrogate], friends, unborn children, etc. everybody except somebody who I love and want to be with forever and ever and ever; maybe they hurt me, abuse my trust and then I can't bring myself to love them the same way again...or maybe I just can't let myself admit to them or to myself just how much I love them. That kind of thing, that's scary.)
- marrying somebody and then realizing that I'm in love with somebody else (I could never, ever be unfaithful; it isn't in my nature. But I can feel real unrequited love; and I can want things that I can't have--bad combo when it comes to already being married or something)

- waking up one day and realizing that I gave up on the one thing or person that I shouldn't have (e.g. the big ones: regret & failure).
- dementia / decreased cognitive functioning (not memory loss--I don't think I'd mind that--I would mind always just not understanding things--like, if everything felt like college calculus, every day...that would be awful).
- loss of integrity (having people not believe me, not trust things that I say or do)
- being totally delusional--not seeing things clearly; I like to see things as they are (even though I have a vivid imagination)

Well, that's all for now; hope to balance out the rant about unwanted hair with some things I've been tossing around in my head for a while now. What do you fear?

* it should be distinguished that I don't fear loneliness or "ending up alone," which is different from being alone in the present sense. I just get scared when I'm by myself sometimes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ninety percent of my life is spent removing unwanted body hair

I think of all the other things I could do if I didn't care about removing unwanted body hair--like, translate Dostoyevsky's complete works to Arabic (no, I don't speak Arabic or read Russian, and I'm not wild about Dostoyevsky).

That said, believe you me, I ain't as diligent as I used to be (in high school, where it seemed as though my very life depended on artificial hairlessness). Even so, it's a real life-sucker. Yes, I am the dark-Irish, dark-Italian mix, and I am also a girl (which makes it not ok, somehow). I have hair, dark, thick hair, on body parts that you probably didn't even know existed. Yep. Everywhere. I could give Frodo Baggins a run for his money. Chewey--I could eat for breakfast. (Hey, there's a reason why I identify with our hero, el sasquatch).

And as I get older, it's only getting worse. I should be losing hair, but it keeps growing back, thicker than ever and in even more bizarre locales. On my last birthday I discovered some "stray" hairs on my eyelid (EYELID!). Later came a discovery on my chinny chin-chin...


And what luck. That I, more than anything, hate removing my body hair. Let's be real. Does any one out there like it? If so, what are you taking? I want some!

For me, it's always been a physically and emotionally straining activity, not to mention a huge waste of time, energy and money. I don't get why we can't all just live with the smells and the hairs we were given. Honestly. Think of the waste WASTE of all those little tools, products, all made of plastic or metal or paper or wax, made in factories using tons of energy and shipped using our precious fossil fuels. So that I can BUY it to torture myself and waste my own time, so that, what? Remind me?

And yet, despite all this, about every third week I take a little trip to the bathroom, and emerge, wholly primped and primed, smooth and hairless as a baby's you-know-what.

In the last two years, I've resorted to using these little wax strips which seem utterly sophisticated, undeniably European and generally in good, clean taste. That said, after I do the big pull, I have to circumambulate the tiny room at least four times before I'm able to bring myself to sit down once more. Why do I do this? Well, for one, to avoid the god-awful task of shaving, a ritual from which I've never emerged unscathed (usually there are about fourteen classic nicks in all the troublesome areas...knees are cumbersome, aren't they?)

I don't even mind it that much under my arms, on my legs, stomach, back, ears, forehead, teeth, whatever. I don't mind having hair. (I'd make a kickass Frida on Halloween, not to mention, I could make friends with the local sasquatch community). I have on more than one occasion gone on strike (for anywhere between two weeks and seven months), only to be shot down by peer pressure. The kind of peer pressure that is all breadth--seventeen people at different points in time, each 1) "noticing" and then 2) asking "hey, what's going on?" or "what's up with that?" or, even better, "WHOAA!" There's only so much a girl can take before she feels like she's a sideshow attraction.

Well, folks, I don't know what to do or say but to continue on this awful cycle of inflicting pain, getting indignant, striking, feeling like a freak, and then inflicting pain and wasting a ton of time so that--what? I can say I'm never EVER doing this again, and then within a month I'm back in socially normative purgatory.

Maybe, someday, I'll come to terms with whatever caveman castoff genes have made it through the evolutionary food chain up to my eyelids. Maybe I'll just lose all my hair and be sad because I look like a shiny, tall Q-tip, and mist up when I see the rusty, cob-webbed remnants of my razor.

But today, the struggle lives on. Daily. I notice new growth, and not the (emotional, intellectual) kind I need. And I try not to mind what people say, thinking about how nice it is that I have long eyelashes and big eyebrows (even though if it weren't for my relative diligence, I'd have big eyebrow)*.

And, heck, now I'm even writing a blog entry about it, so I'll cut my losses and leave you with this:

*Henson cast me before Burt came on board. The pressure was just too much and I had to move on.