An honest body.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Longest Con

I think, or I thought, that I had to approach myself from a real and hard frame of mind. I've always been super tough to myself, in my own head. I'm the first to feel stupid. I'm the sweatiest. I'm the stutteringest. I realize now that even as I'm saying something aloud that is so true to me, making a point I find very distinct, I still go up at the end, making that statement sound a question.
This is all fine, except, I'm not 24 anymore. You realize, in some dark moment when you're drunk again and things are flat and blank, that no one will validate you they way you need them to. No one will. It's not even sad. It's a relief. Thank god. But you're just you. You're your own entity. And by god, you better find some way to feel right about that.
It's this journey people take. Not like, a yoga-esque journey, but it could also be that. Journey is a really trite way to say it, but it's true, because you just keep going there and going there and sometimes you freak out and get lost and sometimes you forget to remember and it's what's going on as you go.
It was a mistake for me to think, I can force myself to be something different everyday. I don't like these things about myself so I'm going to drag those parts out onto the carpet and crush them. I have to find a new way to spend my time and live my life. My boyfriend, who is very smart, thinks everyone would behave pretty much the same way, given the same set of circumstances. Maybe he finds this comforting. I find it infuriorating. Even though he has rationalized this point of everyone being a similar creature, he still feels really troubled when I talk about race and white privilege. It's not his fault, everyone does it and everyone would do it, especially according to him, but it's about personal responsibility then.
It's just that it's important to be aware that nothing is going to make being me ok but me. I have to do things to make it ok. I have to work. And one way I have to work is not to be mean to myself and to invest in things that make me like myself more. It's a trick that gets more tenuous as I get older. It isn't about being pretty. It isn't about making everything around me beautiful.
This can feel like a con I'm playing on myself. When I'm at my most destructive, I feel like I'm deluding myself and everything is shitty and I'm pretending like I'm good when I'm not and I get so, so angry that I don't have the stick-to-it-iveness to be, just different, in an all around sort of way. And before I got a different perspective on this thinking, I would invest in that angry internal dialogue, talking back to black moods, trying to figure it out for once. It changed when I saw that I couldn't ever talk myself out of it. Instead, I try to simply curtsey at the gnarled, ancient process and turn away and try, try, try to buy into the new propaganda I'm selling of being fine and happy and peaceful.
This hardly applies but I make it:
In the morning there is meaning, in the evening there is feeling.
-Gertrude Stein

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Accepting Ourselves As We Are

I read this quote this morning:
I think when you're young you should be a lot with yourself and your sufferings. Then one day you get out where the sun shines and rain rains and the snow snows and it all comes together.
- Diana Vreeland
I loved this very much because it resonates with how I think about growing up and what it was like for me. As I near the end of my 20s, I spend so much time deciding what is truly adult. What looks adult? What feels adult? What looks adult from the outside? I don't want to spend time listening to music that breaks me open or reading books that hammer at my heart right now. I want to write a grocery list and do something nice for my sister who hurt her leg. I want to appreciate the sunny fall afternoon in an appropriate way.
Not that you have to be grown up to appreciate the sun and snow. There were plenty of Sundays in my earlier years where I sat in a park all afternoon and drank up the sun, but, maybe, I felt alone or sad. That was probably because I was hung over and also because I can't seem to get over myself. It should be just as Diana describes it, then one day. Just, one day, it's all different.
Hopefully it's still to come. No more sitting in the stink of woe-is-me, but not at home in the way of the world all the time either. Somewhere in the middle.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Act of Submission

Before leaving for our quick road trip on Thursday, I submitted some poems to Wicked Alice. I was excited. The idea of being counted as a writer and having a few poems on display with other writers was super special to me.
Unfortunately, I haven't heard anything back. This isn't weird or sad. Writers often speak to the process of submitting work and then receiving the inevitable rejections and how this is all a part of what creates a real writer. I'm not really a real writer though. I just wanted to hear some good news and carry on my merry way.
It felt so benign at first, just sending some things I'd been working on off to a random email address. Then I was embarrassed. Now I'm stuck on the idea that so much, such an essential component to so many things in life, is submission. Not in the gross S&M way. (Not judging if anyone who is in to S&M ever happens across this blog, but I'm not, so it seems gross from the outside.)
The course my life has taken over my 20s has led my to believe that there's little a person can actually physically control. I can control my car, for the most part. But I can't control what happens to me on the road. This is probably why people become obsessive about some of the more manageable things in life like eating and home decor (and sex).
I want to be able to let it all go. To adopt the mantra of a tiny leaf on the water or some shit like that, but I don't want to shatter the allusion of control. I work very hard at maintaining that network of tiny lies for myself, knowing it's a false sense of security, but still hanging on to it all the same. And somehow I feel like the effort of the allusion points me in the right direction or keeps me sane enough to get through difficult times and these are important things.
Submitting in some way, means recognizing that you're part of a process or condition. So perhaps I'm not reeling wildly through the wind, but I am part of the randomness of life. I am subject to the strange way life throws things together and in this juxtapose, there's often some of the most outrageous beauty of profound hilarity. Not to get too schmaltzy, but I'm sometimes so glad for the wonder of it all. It makes it easier to shrug and say, I have no idea.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Marriage Plot

First, I think I should re-read The Marriage Plot. Jeffrey Eugenides is amazing. I should also re-read Middlesex. I find books I love, devour them and then just walk away, like thanks for the good read. Peace out. I should read them again. Many times. I feel like that's what good, responsible readers do. I'm actually not sure what a 'responsible reader' is. (Someone who wears a condom while they read?) Probably someone who reads for the sake of some academic endeavor, which I am not. I should for sure make more notes in the margins, though. I love notes in the margins.
Anyway, I loved The Marriage Plot and I read it last summer while eating tons of raspberries that grew in our backyard. The two sensations are totally enmeshed. Taking in the wonderful, well-crafted writing of Jeffrey and loads of super sweet and sometimes sour fruits with little seeds for texture and literally tasting the sunshine in the berry flesh. There's an analogy deep in there, for all the characters in Jeff's book and aspects of the fruit, but I won't get into that today, because it would probably be pretty dumb.
I was actually just trying to talk about marriage. We're driving to a wedding in Missouri this weekend. It's a friend of Caleb, my boyfriend, that's getting married. My best friend is getting married in September. We have another wedding in September, too. I'm filling in an RSVP right now (declining). But this is small potatoes. Three summers ago we went to 8 weddings or something weird like that. There were a lot. I'm trying to point out that a lot of people get married. It's a thing, I guess.
Fine, never mind. I have nothing insightful to say about marriage today. Other than, of course, I should put re-reading The Marriage Plot on my list.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

She said, "I'll never be famous."

I have a really wonderful friend I found through teaching. She's dealt with a severe amount of trauma in her life and has managed to remain romantic and soft and kind. She's older than I am, in her fifties, and the idea for creating summer goals came through her. She uses many well-developed self-care routines to help keep her stable mentally. Using goals and routines is essential for Pam and I love hearing about the intricacies of these practices.
When we were last hanging out on her porch, she was explaining that her goal for this summer was to become more spiritual and at peace in the present moment. She said she has a nice life and she wants to appreciate it instead of listening to her head spin constantly. She said, "I'll never be famous. I just want to be happy and really see the trees and the lake."
I was struck by the recognition that at a certain point, there are things you can't hope for anymore. My boyfriend told me a long time ago that he realized before going to sleep one night that he would never dunk a basketball and I could tell that this crushed a part of his soul. I remember feeling flooded with dread when I found out I was no longer eligible to try out to be on The Real World on MTV.
It's sad, maybe, when there's a finality about the way our lives turned out. My first reaction is to tell my boyfriend to get a mini-trampoline under the hoop and work that shit out or suggest that Pam write a best seller. I think the point of allowing yourself to say, this thing isn't going to happen for me, is still lost on me. I bet there's calm in it somewhere. To me, it seems like a huge, sad loss to say anything is fully out of the cards. Like, maybe I will still join the circus or figure out how to drop in on a skateboard.
Again, I won't ever do these things, and a part of me knows this, but I sort of refuse to accept it. I still own a skateboard. I still watch reality TV shows on PBS about circus families. I still allow myself to dream about any little thing that amuses me. Maybe the point for me is that, once it's a foregone conclusion in reality, it's less exciting to daydream about and I refuse to limit my daydreams. Or maybe I will move to Italy and learn to walk the tight rope.
What I'm trying to say is, until I'm deep in the ground or a soft mound of ash, I prefer to imagine that there's room for me in many different scenarios of life. I prefer to think that the road ahead is still limitless and mysterious and filled with stuff that will fulfill some part of some daydreams, if not all of them in their entirety.

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's Summer

Summer, for teachers, is very important. We have the unique opportunity to live completely different lives for a few months. We can read books, clean our houses, do crafts, make dinners, travel. These are things that I find very difficult to do while teaching. I find, I'm very tired when I come home at the end of the day and most things I want to do remain on a list in my head or in a small notebook in my purse for weeks and months are are eventually forgotten.
Summer is wonderful. This is my second official summer as a teacher and I want to have some goals. I want to learn to play the drums. You heard me world. I've always known I had a drummer buried inside me, waiting to bash her way out. My boyfriend gave me a drum kit for my birthday. I'm ready.
I also want to organize everything in my house. No small feat. I think I love being very, very organized. It's hard to be organized. But I want to be.
The other things I like doing, like sleeping and reading and riding my bike seem to find their way naturally into my routine. The rest becomes sort of mysterious.
So my schedule will be as follows:
Wake up
Drink coffee
Play the drums
I'm such a lucky bitch!