Free…Free Bleeding, yeah

June 30, 2016
Free Bleeding? Is that what I’ve been doing all this time? I thought I was just being lazy/neglectful/a little bit sloppy and passive aggressive against a patriarchal framework of the female body that turns women against their own natural life-giving functions and makes them feel dirty and pay out of their own pocket to conceal and apologize for something that is already, let’s face it, pretty shitty to deal with. Turns out I’m part of the revolution. Hooray! That was easy.
Let’s start at the very beginning: I read The Red Tent, which if you’ve heard of it and you’re putting it off, just grab you a copy from the library or a thrift store or something and read the durn thing. It’s so great. (Female perspective on Old Testament stories about Jacob/Essau etc. So worth it.)
[Insider scoop: Oops! I just bled onto the tan armchair in the furnished room I’m renting and spent the last 20 minutes trying to get it out with my usual combination of dishwashing soap and my own spit. Works like a charm but only if you get there in time. Your own spit breaks down your own blood. Voila! Squeamish folks, begone. But also…maybe if you’re going to bleed onto stuff, you should invest in a bunch of red, brown and black blankets and towels and shit, to save yourself the inconvenience. Just spitballing here LOL get it?]
OK so the relevance of The Red Tent is that the womenfolk endlessly cook and clean and weave so the men can go out and be shepherds and whatnot. But they go into a red tent for 3 days every month while they menstruate so they can gossip and eat honeycakes and be around other people who are going through what they’re going through (that part’s important) and the men just have to eat leftovers and work it out.
I loved that book and I love that concept but after I read that, I was pissed. Why don’t we have that? Why do we have to just charge ahead with business as usual when we are Bleeding From The Vagina. Why? It ain’t right. This huge physical event is occurring, one that has a very significant effect on your mood, your state of being, your physical comfort…and you gotta just act like nothing’s different. And if you dare to mention it, it can and will be used against you.
Fast forward to 2009. I was living in New York City working full-time as an artist’s model. A NUDE artist’s model. (One of my most significant accomplishments, in the category of “if I mention this and it causes you to judge me in any way I know we can’t be friends or date.” I spent the last 3 years in art school, so it wasn’t a useful filter there ’cause people are pretty much on Team “Gets It” around that kind of stuff but I’m in the South now and I know it would be, like, a Thing for some of these people.)
Anyway. One Monday morning I’m in the middle of a 20-minute standing pose in front of a drawing class at FIT and I feel something tickle my leg. What’s that? Leave it alone for a minute. Nope, that’s definitely something. Look down. Blood! Ta dah! So, I break the pose and announce, “Happy Monday, y’all, I just started my period. Anybody have a tampon?” Stunned silence from the class. If you’ve never taken a drawing class with a nude model then you don’t know that the model generally does not move or speak except when absolutely necessary. Nobody moved for a long time and finally a shy girl handed me a tampon. I took it from her, thanked her, went to the bathroom to get situated and came right back.
The teacher, a dude in his 60’s, was like, “Do you need to go home?” So sweet to offer, but like, here’s the thing: we go through this ALL THE TIME. If a woman had the luxury to go home every time she got her period, then you know what? Maybe you could justify paying me .78 for every dollar my male counterparts make. But we just have to suffer through that shit, so cough up those extra 22 cents, mothafucka, please and thank you.
There were a few other times when the period thing came up while I was an art model. One time, I bled onto some fabric draped over the chair I was sitting on and this asshole teacher got a Tide pen and made me try to get it out. Another time, I tried to wear underwear just on my lower half because I was on my period and the female art teacher (post-menopausal, if that’s relevant to you) made me remove them.
Here’s my thing: If you want to draw the female body, if you want the curves and the tits and the grace and the femininity, then I do not feel I should have to apologize for or conceal the realities of that body. Female biological reality is inherently subtle and internal, and cyclical. In a patriarchy, the opposite is valued: the obvious, the external, the linear. If you want to make art inspired by this body, you damn well better confront some of what I go through in living in it.
The female body is glorified, glamorized, vilified, victimized, objectified, idealized, criticized and dissected more than anyone who does not own one can possibly understand. This is exacerbated for female bodies of color, and also female bodies that stray outside historically-held Western beauty standards in one way or another. But all women have some kind of relationship to their menstrual cycle and therefore their potential for giving life, be it to ignore or neglect it, to celebrate it, to experience pain or discomfort around it, to miss it or wonder if theirs is somehow wrong or different.
I’ve always felt ashamed for bleeding onto underwear or bedsheets because I feel like I’m supposed to be the kind woman who does her taxes, exercises at the gym and tracks her period on some kind of app or whatever so the reality of Blood Coming Out of my Vagina cannot offend, upset or defile anyone or anything around me. But guess what: Fuck That. This what my body does and it would be Impossible for Any Human on Earth to Exist without women’s bodies doing this. So for the moment I’m going to bleed freely. I’m going to sit here in black panties with a red and dark blue plaid blanket under me and let it come on out…except for tomorrow. When I will shove a cotton wad up inside my body and not mention it to anybody and be a fucking trooper like we always do.
Now give me the other 22 cents.
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Words, Words, Words.

January 26, 2010

I am a lady who likes words. I like the way they sound, I like the way they taste…actually, that’s not true. Some words, I do not like. But I feel pretty strongly in either direction about words, which is what it is.

Words are powerful things. Aside from the infinite poetic lyrical communicative rhythmic possibilities, words can Make. Shit. Happen. (They can also stop things from happening, which is the same thing.)

Back in the day, the pre-“written word” day, a word was a contract. There was no literal contract to sign: words were it. I say I am going to trade this cow for your daughter, that means I am going to do it. In Elizabethan England, culture as a whole was in the midst of the transition from oral to literate, and we can glean from Shakespeare’s characters just how weighty words were considered to be. If you swore something, if you cursed someone, that was for realsies, no take-backs. That particular culture linked a great heaping chunk of their verbal accountability to the idea of Hell, as in, “I curse you to hell”  or “I didn’t do what I swore I would do so i am going to hell,” but that was not always the case. In general, people just didn’t say things they didn’t mean, because there was no external, secondary means of  validating what was spoken.

Before that, the Greeks were arguing left and write (HAH) about the written word. Plato never wrote any of his ideas down; the only reason we can study him nowadays is because his followers recorded his teachings. (Makes me think of  people who write emails about how technology is ruining everything.)

Then you have the Thai language, which is structured without a subjunctive tense. There is no “I would have” or “Maybe I will” in Thai. You say it, you do it. Or, you don’t say it. Bam.

Now, we’ve got 2 layers seperating us from what we say. Used to be the said and the unsaid, then it was the written, the said but not written and the unsaid. But, along came the internet, and now the hierarchy goes like this:

4) (least vaild) the unspoken

3) the said

2) the written

1) the internetted!

Because now, accessibility is key and if your set of Encyclopedia Britannicas only share their knowledge with people in the room and do not also share it with someone across the planet, their power and validity is diminished. Oh, there are those who will say that Wikipedia’s validity is compromised by its flexibility and accessibility, but in fact the opposite is true. Who’s winning now, Encyclopedias on the shelf in a room? Hmmm? Who? Not you!

BUT. In all of this, all the layers and hierarchies and important things and unimportant ones, I think something is lost. And that is, the power of words. Words can harm, words can heal. A well-placed, well-timed set of words can get you laid, or just really really hurt someone you care about. Words hold such charge; they are still the number-one way to talk to people, outshining smoke signals and interpretive dance year after year at the Communication Olympics.

Spoken words carry tone and expression that the written word cannot compete with.  With the spoken word comes the presence of a person; it is a lot harder to invalidate something you have said out loud than something you have written, because what you say comes directly from you. There is no, “Oh, I wrote that when I was angry, just venting, had to get it out, didn’t mean it.” The written page and the internet are both media; they are intermediaries between our thoughts and the people we are communicating with. But what we say out loud is visceral, it is vibrational, it is connected to our bodies. And, despite the best efforts of mainstream Western culture, bodies are still the number-one place people live, outshining cryogenic freezing units and computerized robot avatars year after year at the Soul-Holding Olympics.

So, bodies hold meaning and emotions, and the sounds bodies make are a big deal. A well-placed sigh can, again, help you while getting laid or totally hurt someone’s feelings. Words are filtered through the emotions we hold in our bodies, and the sounds we make when we speak are a big part of why the spoken word holds so much charge.

Recently, in an almost cinematically (or Shakespearean) unrealistic turn of events, I was talking shit about someone I care about, and this person heard the whole thing.  I have known this person for a long time and consider her to be one of my closest friends, but something has happened earlier in the day that had triggered some really strong emotions for me, and I was talking. some. shit. I am realizing as I write this that part of what enables me to talk such elaborate, extensive shit is my close relationship to words. I can go on and on because I keep finding new ways to use my verbosity to re-explain the same thing. Sucks if the person overhears while that is happening. Because, while I didn’t really mean some of the things I said, I still said them.

And then again, when something hurtful is said, what do you do, say “sorry”? That’s just another word. Write a letter? Same issue.

I am going to return to the hierarchy I outlined, where “unspoken” was the lowest. Perhaps that hierarchy is wrong. Maybe “unspoken” is actually the highest, purest form of communication. I know that now, my unspoken (though now written, and internetted) message toward this person is one of contrition, and that is less immediate than saying it out loud but perhaps it is the most powerful. The unspoken lacks the immediacy of  something that is said, but it is what is Really Going On, no media, no translation.

That’s it. No more words.

Preggo-RAMA

September 4, 2008

“Drama. Drama for your mama. Drama for your pregnant teen, soon to be a mama, daughter of opponent to Obama, o-rama with a llama.”

The above quote was pulled from a recent New York Times article surrounding the underage-pussy debacle of 2008. Ahem. Just kidding. But seriously, folks, can SOMEONE ask a candidate about their policies, one of these times? That is instead of, say, about how old their mother was when she gave birth to them or what types of various maladies, retardations and deaths their children have gone through? I guess it is kind of pointless to ask a politician about their policies, because all they’re going to do is lie about that shit anyway. Or something. But I don’t think it is as advanced as all that… like some kind of ellaborate attempt to predict a candidate’s abilities based on an entirely unproven equation between natural likeability plus charisma, multiplied by personal suffering, minus any history of cocaine use, all over pi. I think that Americans just like their stories, and what better way to add drama to the story than to have our nation’s future leader hang in the balance?

But back to Sara What’s-Her-Face (what’s the name? O’Tool? Sarah Toolerton? Sarah McStepford-Robot Flannagan McGee?) and her poor knocked-up daughter. This whole thing is such a mess it makes me want to throw stuffed animals soaked with menstrual blood at John McCain and all his king’s horses and men. Where to begin? First of all, does McCain think women are RETARDED? Homeboy sure ain’t the most pro-female force on the block. But apparently he’s changed his tune. He was recently quoted as saying that Hilary Clinton has now proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a woman could lead in the White House. Reeeeeeally? And here I am, thinking that they don’t know how to command respect, and will send the country to war when it’s, you know, that time of the month, wink wink.

So now, War-Hero McGillicutty has got himself a female running mate just to prove to all of us that Right-Wing propaganda is for everyone, not just the white men who invented it. Well whoop de shit. ALSO: How long has Sarah Palin even been in politics? It seems to me that inexperience only makes you unqualified for office if you are a man, but if you are a woman then hooray for you ’cause it mean your titties don’t sag quite so bad just yet.

Now maybe it is unfair and dehumanizing to call Cindy McCain a “trophy wife” just because John-o was almost of legal voting age when she was born. (Actually, that all was so long ago I think the voting age might have been different, and some kind of rules about being a landowner? Get it? McCain is OLD.) Indeed, the idea of a “Trophy Wife” is up there with “slut” and “bitch” and “man-hater” in terms of language used to control women’s actions through fear. No one wants to be called these things, so they’ll keep their legs closed or refuse to defend their needs, rather than acting with the kind of autonomy freely awarded to McCain and his little cohorts. (Who is doing the awarding, you ask? Themselves. Doy.)

BUT…speaking of sluts. 17-year-old unmarried daughters of governors are not supposed to run around getting pregnant. It’s such bad form, wouldn’t you say? And it is also bad form to accept a nomination when you know that is what your daughter is going through, am I right?

Sorry, that last one was a trick question. The real answer is, who cares? Like, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, brass tacks and friggin the bottom of the barrel, who honestly gives a shit? Prego Tina here is not our concern. I am a little more worried that Mama Palin (sorry, now it is Grandma Palin) can’t seem to be convinced that global warming is, wait for it, caused by humans. What the fuck. Even McCain, who is likely to keel over and die before his old farty white ass has to endure the risk of any more climate-change-related sunburn, admits that we have to do something about this. What a silly ninny this woman is that she cannot recognize the obvious.

But in the meantime, somebody’s freaked-out teenage daughter has fallen into the spotlight and become the trainwreck that everyone can’t seem to tear their eyes away from. But guess what? An unplanned pregnancy is scary enough at any age, even worse as a teenager, even worse if your mother is some pro-life psychopath who has volunteered to the press that she would want you to have the baby if you were raped, and the only permissable circumstances for abortion are if your life were at stake.

Notwithstanding the pointlessness of this kind of hypothetical debate, what kind of fucked-up question is that? “What if your daughter were raped?” You people, you press people with your little games, you’re sick, is what you are! Guess what: Sarah Palin’s daughter’s body belongs to one person, and it ain’t Sarah goddamn Palin. If you are old enough to become pregnant, you are old enough to decide what to do about it. Cruel but true. This cultural malaise, in which we don’t consider girls to become women until they are, what, 25? Is a load of shit. There is such a severe disconnect between the reality that bleeding once a month means your body can do other things, too. Like make another human. Your sex life doesn’t start when you are married, it starts when you are born. Babies masturbate, 10-year-olds fantasize, teens have sex. It happens. Not all teens have sex, and that’s fine. But some of them do, and it is not all bad. Give them information, for pete’s sake, not condemnation! They need to know what’s up. I bet if New Mama Palin had been told about the CondomNation down in the pharmacy section at Longs (as opposed to the, you know, Condemnation of the Lord) then this whole thing would have been avoided in the first place. But as it is, this great male tradition has fallen to the old stand-by of sacrificing women’s bodies on a pike, out there in front of everyone, for all to see. There is more than one way to lose your innocence, and getting smeared all over the front page of you-name-it paper seems a pretty surefire way to do it.

Shhhhhhhhhh…

August 2, 2008

I have returned to the civilized world: the no farm-animals, yes shower every day, no naked skinny-dipping* in the moonlight world. But while I was away, I abused my voice and did not give it a chance to heal. (Talking and yelling and singing, oh my.) I consulted Dr. Wikipedia and he thinks I may have vocal nodes. So then I got a second opinion from my dear friend Google, and my decision is this: total voice rest for three weeks.

Not using your voice is a more difficult and complicated thing than you may realize. Some of the more obvious ways to not use the ol’ vox box include:

-not talking. doy.

-not singing. again, doy.

-not yelling. see above.

BUT. There are a few vocal traps, lying in wait to ensnare me and compromise my healing process. These include:

-Not clearing my throat. That may seem easy enough to avoid if I am never actually talking, but when you got that tickle goin’…oh man. It feels like the world is going to end without a little “Ahem.”

-Not talking when I am alone (por ejemplo, in the car.). Again, maybe it seems obvious but some part of my brain has a hard time conceptualizing that no talking also means “no cursing at the turkey in the beamer who just cut me off.”

-Not talking after a long period of silence. When I wake up, I kind of forget that I am being silent only partly because I am feeling surly but mostly because I won’t be talking for the rest of the day, either. Also, I slipped after yoga class and muttered a quick “namaste” before I realized my error. (I realize I am a douchebag. Mainly because I know how to spell “namaste.”)

But what about the greater lessons, you ask? What about the wisdom of learning to truly listen, and all that kind of hogwash? Well, you are partly right. I think that a chronic blabbermouth like me has a lot to learn from not being able to blurt out every little thing that comes to my head. I have found that when you are silent, you have to filter everything so much more because it is just too much of a pain in the ass to try to make yourself understood. If it is important, then you will make it clear somehow, writing it down or whatnot. But the little side comments, meant only to criticize a situation or to try to sound intelligent…those ones fall by the wayside.

I have also found, as a self-confessed know-it-all, that other people know things too. Sometimes everyone is sitting around trying to remember how the song went or what movie that guy was also in where he wore the little hat, or what Carla said, and did she mean that thing about the pineapple? Well I have an uncanny (and potentially irritating) memory, so I pretty much know the answer. BUt if I can’t talk, and the pad of paper is too far away, then that leaves just enough time for someone else to have a go at it, too. And probably be wrong.

It’s also kind of about deprivation, and self-discipline. I love to talk and sing and swear and hum. But I can’t do any of that right now. Self-discipline is one of those things that is always within your grasp, but unless you have a pretty compelling reason to grasp it, you’re really not going to bother. Right? Because you’re human. And humans like to feed our own hungers, but we don’t generally relish the experience of resisting our impulses just for the sake of resisting. Look at dieting, look at a few religions sometime. Look at “should.” Should isn’t that powerful a motivator, in the long run. Maybe part of maturity is letting “should” be a greater deciding factor than “could.” Maybe not. “Should” is kind of a threat, actually. If I don’t do what I should, then something bad will happen. Why didn’t you wear your seatbelt? You should have. Now look at yourself, you’re dead. Tsk tsk.

But really, folks, the silence thing is just a lens through which I can more clearly see some things I already knew. I already knew that one of my coping mechanisms in a stressful situation is to try to control it. But there is only so much control you can exert over a group of hyperactive 14-year-old girls too high on birthday cake and their own hormones to be even within a mile of reason…sorry that made no sense. The point is, my little sister had a birthday party tonight, and it was still stressful for me (oh my god. these little squacks are the living definition of global warming. If you have to ask what that means, you’ll never know.) But, to a certain extent, I just had to let go. I couldn’t yell at them to shut the hell up, I couldn’t try to force them to be polite to my mother. Losing battles on all fronts.

I am not sure if the no-voice thing is really that revealing or enlightening. Probably not, actually. But anyway, I am always excited to discover a new way to experience the world, and not talking is a pretty simple way to do that. Kind of makes me appreciate what I do have. And you can rest assured that once I get the ol’ pipes back in line, you’ll hear plenty from me.

*yes I know that’s redundant. shut up.

Goodnight moon

June 9, 2008

It was the last late-night drive home from Oakland. I did not have bridge toll because I am the type of procrastinator who can spend 2 months commuting from Marin to (pick a city that needs bridge toll to get there from here) without ever buying a Fastrak. It’s ok.

I sniffed out a good place to exit the freeway and find an ATM so I could get some cash. The U and the O were missing from the neon sign shouting “Liquor” underneath a canopy of some kind of Point Richmond greenery. My edges were feeling a bit fuzzy. I floated through the two aisles of packaged foods and alcohol, unnerved by some combination of the ending of my play, the ending of the day, and an unsettling cell phone conversation. One $2.00 ATM fee and a bag of Salt-and-Pepper chips later, I was back on the road, trailing some hopelessly lost old dude in a white coupe who had pulled over to ask for directions. Lucky for  him, this li’l midnight Subaru cowgirl was on her way to Marin, too. (He told me I was at risk for getting a merit badge in return for the kindness of letting him follow me, so watch out.) I turned the music up full blast and let Senor Iron and Wine gently rocka-my-soul all the way over the Richmond-San Rafael bridge and on home again.

There is something about saying goodbye at the end of the show. It is usually so disjointed, so anticlimactic. You are surrounded by the guts of the play you just breathed life into, the cables and wires and shirts and chairs and lights that somehow (we hope) had piled themselves all into a big twisted but organized mess of something that was Your Art.  Everyone seems so keen to Get The Fuck Outta Here, to pay tribute to the infamous gods of Go Home, for I must work in the morning, spoon with my already-sleeping boyfriend, make the long drive back tonight. Eat Salt-and-Pepper chips. (Because Salt-and Vinegar was just a little too intense for tonight and Mesquite BBQ seems like a daytime flavor.)

I cherish the goodbyes, though. There are so many of them in this life, and that pang of endings will die sad and alone behind your eyes if you don’t take an extra second to hug and kiss this moment goodbye. To try to imagine when we will see each other next. It is a big world out here, it isn’t college, which is one of the reasons this play was so fucking hard to pull off. And it is a lonely world too, because we will split off in our own directions and there is no all-governing University matrix to gently encase us and promise us a chance encounter. 

Part of the sadness I feel is because I will leave in 3 days to go off to my next adventure, and I will be isolated out there for a good 7 weeks, no email or whatnot.  And it has taken me until now to feel like I wasn’t just spinning my wheels here, not just biding my time and living rent-free with the parentals, but just Living, plain old regular.  I have people here who will miss me when I am gone, people whose walls I have just begun to crumble, and who have just started to be able to see me on the other side.  I kind of feel like this appreciation is impossible without leaving, but I don’t want to make this a habit.  People become addicted to this bittersweet feeling I have, the one right before you go, when nothing shitty seems important and all the good stuff rushes up and hugs you sweetly around the throat. 

I can’t leave just so I can enjoy goodbye, but I also can’t stay just because this make me sad.  When the next chapter wants a chance to begin, you just have let it.  New chapters only show up at the end of old ones, and if the old one didn’t seem quite finished yet, so be it.  God, it seems, is a modern novelist, somewhat unconcerned with continuity and more concerned with making this shit interesting. 

Beginnings hold such promise. Endings just hold you. There isn’t really a way to separate the two but sometimes we try anyway. Timing can play funny games with us, but I am past the point of resisting this.  I am grateful to Have Had, and I guess I am just going to have to put a little trust in the next thing, whatever that is. 

As I coasted over the last hill coming home, I saw a perfect storybook crescent moon, brighter than decency and gorgeous as can be.  The moon is so patient with us, never preaching, always just showing us by example that whatever it was (good or bad, half or whole or none at all) will come around again. 

Green Monster and all

June 1, 2008

This was a slow San Francisco morning; the kind of morning when 2PM seems like an absurdly early end to the farmer’s market, because it’s already 1PM and I just got out of the shower and by the time we get down to the ferry building they”ll be packing up anyway and all the good stuff will be gone. So never mind. But it was a very productive morning for Conversation, which is a fine activity when the sky is grey (just ask the Irish.) And we got to talking about envy, in one of its most insidious forms. 

 

Now I know all about envy, and I know it can surface in different ways. There is Apple Juice Envy, which is envy of the enjoyment of a thing but not the thing itself. (The origins of this term date back to daycare, when all the kids were served apple juice, and I was thirsty as hell, but I hated apple juice. I envied the enjoyment of the apple juice but I didn’t actually want any.)

 

There is Personality Envy, in which you look at someone else’s “determination” or “discipline” or “ability to have casual sex without feeling dirty, used, or regretful.”  Some of this stuff is just a matter of choices one makes, and perhaps one should quit one’s bitching and go after what one wants, rather than just wishing for some magical God-given personality trait. But some of this stuff is just in us, and it will never change, and you can alter your behavior all you want but you will never be able to fundamentally alter your emotional response to a given set of circumstances. 

 

There is Career/Life Path Envy. This one is becoming increasingly more popular in the grown-up world, and it looks like it is here to stay. How much does your job pay? Where is your apartment and how awesome is it on the inside? Pretty soon it is going to be…married? How many kids? How well do they do in school? Square footage of the house you just bought? Blah blah blah. 

 

An obvious place for envy to surface is Relationships, not just the SExy kind but the friendy ones too. Are all your best stories about her? And you talk about her all the time and hang up on me in the middle of our conversation when she calls? 

 

One hopes that in a romantic relationship, the level of trust will keep growing over time, so that the tendency towards feeling jealous will just go away. But both parties have to agree to this. You have to agree to look at yourself and really figure out what is making you feel fearful or threatened, but the person you are with also has to earn your trust, both by being fully present with you while you are together, and not compromising that trust when you are apart. 

 

BUT. There is another kind of envy that can be a little harder to shake, and that is Envy of the Past. Someone once told me that when you are starting something new with someone, mentioning an ex is just a bad idea because it plants a tree of questions in the other person’s mind. So true, right? Because we all now that the people we meet have stories and scars, because we have stories and scars. And these are good, because to be with someone whose life experience is much more limited than one’s own is not really a desirable prospect (for a number of reasons.)

 

So ok, we understand that they have stories, and that those stories are part of who they are, and we have come to love who they are, and so we love those stories too, in a way. But it is still pretty painful to admit that someone came before. It is this inexplicble envy of the past, that no matter what we do from today forward, no matter how many bullshit in-jokes and intimate moments and loud screaming dirty orgasms we share with this person, we will never have had what they had with..um. The Predecessor. Yes. 

 

But there is nothing you can do. You can’t go back in time and meet the person and intervene in the Scheme of the Universe and prevent them having what they had. Right? (Everybody remember that Simpson’s episode when they time-travel? And Homer steps on a prehistoric butterfly and changes the course of history?) And even if you could, it wouldn’t matter because the person they have become, this real-life person that you now know and love, is different from who they were before. Moot. Point. 

BUt envy is a destructive thing. It is cousins with Anger, for one thing, but it is so consuming! Or it can be. (If we don’t stop now, we will become those parents sitting at the edge of the sandbox, comparing the sifting skills of our respective two-year-olds. How sad. Life is too short.)

 

So, aside from just doing our best to figure out what we want, and then just doing our damndest to make that happen, there is something to remember, and watch out cause if you’re cynical this is going to read as cheesy: No one else is you. That is not to say that no one else is sexier than you, or richer, or smarter or stronger or more talented or any of that. Maybe they are. But no one else is you. And no matter what the ex did or said or was (gave great head, that thing about parents and pets that is inarguably true, taller than you), the ex was not, and will never be, you. Even if the person you are with ends up making some bullshit unadvised decision to dump you, let’s say, or just not appreciate you, it kinda doesn’t matter because you are a unique fucking human being and no one else could possibly be you better than you could. 

 

So, in the meantime, figure out who the hell that “you” person is and what he or she wants, and then start taking action to get that. Here’s hoping that gives the ol’ green-eyed monster a swift kick in the pants, cause lord knows we don’t need that noise around here. 

 

 

The Laws of Attraction

May 25, 2008

Alright, people. This one is going to get a bit autobiographical, but hang in there. I am going to make it worth your while.

Back when I was but a young, pimply, angst-filled youth of about fifteen, I felt like breaking the rules was pretty much the way to go. Almost any rule, for almost any reason. One of the rules to which I responded with particular distaste was the rules of dating. Primp yourself to death and be naturally endowed with the kinds of hormones than make your tits big (not the kinds that compromise your skin tone, let’s say…or make you burst out in tears during math class.) Then, let the whole affair unfold bit by bit, as he notices you, he decides to make a move, you flirt a little bit but not too much, and then eventually, you get the privilege of allowing him to pressure you into sex, preferably in the back of a car. (Your mother’s or his, doesn’t matter.)

I thought to myself, Hey! What a waste of time and energy! Life’s too short! So I developed a crush on a boy whose identity shall be protected (except to say that his name was Ray Martinez) and promptly told him, outright, that i liked him, no bullshit. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey, ahh, Ray…could I talk to you for a minute?

Ray: (takes a swig from his bottle of Mountain Dew) uh, sure..

Me: I just wanted to let you know that I think you’re pretty cool, and anyway I am attracted to you and..yeah, I guess that’s it.

Ray: uh.

Me: Ok, well, seeya later!

Ray: (silence.)

Now, I have no desire to blame Ray for the fact that a romance did not blossom from that exchange. I have since gone to the opposite extreme in my thinking, telling my (equally vocal, though perhaps not as forward) friends, ” The most attractive thing you can show a man is your back, as you walk away. Nothing is a more powerful aphrodisiac than rejection. Treat ’em like shit. They LOVE it.” This method, let’s call it the “Mean” Method (as opposed to the above “Open Method”) developed from the repeated experience that the ones I like never like me, and vice versa. I realized: it is not because I am only worthy of people to whom I am not attracted, but because everyone (not just men, now) is wired to want what they can’t have. This is one of the most trusted pop-psychology principles, but it is also simple economics.

So where does this leave us? Do we merely settle for those we don’t really like, because we know they like us? OR…Do We Play Games.

You may have guessed from my punctuation that I am leaning towards the second one. But Playing Games is NOT the same as “mind-fucking.” Mind-fucking is sadistically toying with someone because of the pleasure you gain from watching them writhe in desire. Games, on the other hand, are actually kind of fun. Games allow you to gain a better understanding of who the person is, and they allow you to develop a rapport, maybe even…a relationship? Games are a gentle way to build something, and to give it the time and space it needs to grow on its own. I would be the first to admit that it is a bit safer than just sticking your neck out there, or your cock out there or whatever but maybe that’s ok. Cause anyway, nothing worth having comes too easily (or quickly. heh. double-entendre that one all you want, baby.)

Friend-o-tainment

May 12, 2008

So when did friendships become an internet roleplaying game? It seems to me that social networking is not just another mode of communicating with people you know, or people who know the people you know, or people you would like to know. It is an outlet for boredom, and a weird points-system that is way freaking out of control.

Now, it is a tough call about all this, because there is no official rule-book and the rules keep changing. Remember when people used to write on their own facebook walls? Not anymore, Bucko, that would make you a type-1 LOSER and egomaniac, and plus it means you (sigh) kind of don’t know how it works.

What about friend numbers? This is also tricky, because if you have millions and millions of so-called “friends” on there, but most of the pictures on there are of you taking pictures of yourself on your macbook wearing lipgloss and trying to look cool, then it is just painful and you are trying too hard. On the other hand, if you have very few friends and very few pictures of yourself, but the ones on there are high quality good-time/drunken or artsy pictures (preferrably posted by someone else) then that means you are too cool to spend most of your time trying to use the internet to prove how cool you are. (This type of profile is becoming increasingly rare. Because even if you never post a picture of yourself–you dinosaur, get with the times–then everyone else still will, trust me.)

And Facebook is a really cool way to stay in touch with people you meet when you travel, or friends who you rarely get to see. But often this “keeping in touch” only surfaces in extremely shallow ways, like commenting on a PARTICULARLY hot picture, or writing “happy birthday” on somebody’s wall when the internet tells you it’s their birthday. (And, also, falling out of touch is kind of ok. Let’s leave something up to mystery, something up to chance sometime…can we? no?)

Which brings me to the phenomenon of The Wall. Remember when you would only write something on someone’s wall if you really didn’t mind if everyone else read it? Like, maybe a stupid in-joke, or the occasional gut-churning “i wuv you” from one end of the siamese-couple to the other. Writing on the wall was the equivalent of talking loudly, perhaps rudely, in a crowded room.

But now, everyone writes EVERYTHING on the wall. (for example: What time are we meeting? Friday? 3pm? At Dusty’s Pleasure Warehouse? Seeya then! ) Everything goes on the wall, because otherwise nobody will know how many people care to contact you. TRagic. Now, it seems, writnig a private message is like whispering conspiratorily to someone after pulling them aside…whatever is being said not is REALLY very private, not for anyone else to know.

I realize it is a bit hypocritical for me to use the internet to criticize…the internet. (Kinda like when they forst invented writing, and all these philosophers started writing essays about why writing was so bad.) I am not AGIN it, you understand. I do it too. But it scares me the extent to which these internet outlets are having more and more of an influence on the activities to which they are ostensibly separate. Some vapid tart in this magazine I was wasting my time reading said something about how if you are not on the internet, you do not exist. Vapid tartliness aside, the truth of that statement freaks me out.

If a tree falls in the forest with no one to digitally recapture it and put it on the internet, does it make a sound?

UC Santa-francisco

May 4, 2008

Did you know that the neighborhoods of San Francisco are based off the residential colleges at UCSC? Well they are. Read on and prepare to BE AMAZED.

Stevenson=The Richmond
Cowell=The Presidio
Kresge=The Haight
Porter=The Mission
Merill=Potrero/Potrero Hill
College 8=The Marina
College 9/10=The Financial District
Crown=meh
Oakes=Oakes

I have already experienced some ish with this flawless analogy. I think that anyone who questions this brilliance has been swilling down the hater-ade, and should please stop. Thank you.

Bicycool

May 1, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have just purchased a road bike. It is a bluish greenish gorgeous color, with stripy 70s designs on the seatpost and I must say that overall the thing is fucking RAD. I am not ashamed to admit that part of the reason I got it was because I thouught it looked cool, and I thought maybe it would make me look cool, wannabe-hipster in denial that I am.

BUt I got to thinking–is there anything wrong with that? As an amateur cyclist (I mainly bike to work and around town, working on my endurance for some longer treks) I am aware that the “car monoculture” makes cycling not just an act of rebellion but also a somewhat antagonistic one as well. The fact is, it is impossible for two such different forms of transportation to exist harmoniously without some small speck of irritation on either party’s side, the motorist’s or the cyclist’s. If you are in a car, you are thinking, jesus, can’t that idiot ride a little closer to the parked cars? Come on now, share the road applies to you, too, you helmetless bozo, don’t you know you are taking your life in your hands? Meantime, the cyclist is thinking, well, hey now, this is just a tad fucked, I am paying for your convenience by breathing your gas-fart into my pure little lungs, and hey look, city driver, I just passed your ass and now I am one, no, two stoplights ahead of you! I deserve to cut you off, you gas-consuming permission-slip for the “War on Terror!”

This antagonism is perpetuated and exacerbated by the lack of adequate bike lanes on city (and other) streets. (“Well if you want me not to be in your way, then build some bike lanes!”) Cars like to be the only thing on the road. They don’t relate well to other modes of transport; the aforementioned bikes, motorcycles, even other cars.
But the reality at the moment is that cars are the primary method of transport in this state, and in this country, and probably in plenty of other countries too. This has got to change. And promising people some general reward like “makes you healthy and strong” or “stops the planet from becoming inhospitable for human life” is apparently not a good enough incentive for many people. What would be, then? Let me suggest: Vanity.

Yep. People want to look cool, hip, sexy, whatever. Admit it. You do. I do. Whatever, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. And that is why it is a cyclist’s duty, a cyclist’s OBLIGATION to look cool while riding a bike. We gotta get people doing this, guys. Fight the national obesity epidemic and global warming at the same time. Sounds like a PLAN.

Which brings me to my original thought, me and my gorgeous new bike. Together, we are making a change. It is not just coolness by association for owning and riding this stunning piece of work, it benefits the cause as a whole. If you are riding your bike and looking like a class-A Dork, you are not helping ANYTHING. On the other hand, if you are like me, you are looking like a class-A sexpot, which you are. And good for you, because it is getting hot out here…