Of course I have nothing to say

10 Dec

Why is it that when I’m brimming with things to say, it seems that I have no forum?  Between this post and the last post, I’ve probably attempted to blog no fewer than a dozen times.  To no avail.  Buffering, buffering, buffering.  You’d swear I was on dial up.  Out of the force of habit, I attempted again today.  Lo and behold my mind is blank.

The depth of my current low is such that I’m not even willing to acknowledge it.  My “reasons” seem embarrassingly trivial.   And so, I have the lingering dull ache of unacknowledged pain.  It doesn’t command your attention, per se, it just drains your energy to the point where nothing can command your attention.

I’m listless.  And so goddamned inexplicably tired.

That, and I just found out that I receive wifi in my room.  As if the temptation to stay in bed all day, as it were, weren’t strong enough already.

In the spirit of NOT self-sabotaging, however, I’m going to finish this ginger-almond dark chocolate bar, finish watching the pilot of “GIRLS”, then get off my ass- go for a run, shower, and head back to school for a little forced studying (at home it’s too easier to get distracted by other things.)  Here’s to integrating a little R&R with, well, integrals.

Such is my sex life

4 Sep

The other night I had a dream that I engaged in some solo lovin’.  Apparently, my subconscious libido is in full gear, but it’s memory couldn’t stretch back far enough to use anything else as a point of reference. 

Positivity mongers- put on your big kid pants

11 Aug

Several months back, a friend sent me an email on facebook, stating, in so many words, that my posts have been too negative lately, and that I should try to keep things more upbeat and positive.  The email was replete with a warning that I would “drive people away” if I kept posting negative status updates.  The annoyance that I felt was so great, that it still hasn’t diminished.  

The thing is, is that I was kind of proud of some of my status updates.  Sure, they weren’t the kind where I brag about getting a new a new job, a new car, my new shopping acquisitions, how awesome my boyfriend/friends/family are or pictures of me getting married, traveling, or popping out babies (but aren’t those kind of obnoxious in their own right?)  Instead, they were wry musings on the goings-on of my life.  Some good, some bad, but I was never an Eeyore about it.  When I was sick, I wouldn’t just whine about being sick, I would work in a pun or otherwise crack a joke.  Likewise, when I was stressing about school, work, or pet peeves.  I pretty much always made an attempt to be clever.  And people “liked”, laughed at, and commented on my status updates, so it really didn’t seem to be a problem, save for a select few (I’m assuming that there are more silent dissenters among my facebook friends, I’ve only heard from the one).  

So why did I let it get under my skin?  Probably because it felt like a rejection of me, not just my status updates.  The truth of the matter is that I’m not all that stoked about my life right now.  And it is largely circumstantial.  I, ironically, don’t feel like getting into the details right now, about the things that make my life so difficult, but suffice it to say that it is.  Really, truly, effin’ difflicult.  And so I vent.  And I tend to vent in the form of tongue-in-cheek quips and sardonic musings.  It doesn’t help me at all to wish problems away and fake being happy about things that I’m not.  And frankly, there’s a growing body of evidence on my side.  Pretending to be okay when you’re not doesn’t do a damn thing, but create tension and feelings of dissonance.  More so, it’s phony.  I don’t believe in hell, and all that other mystical garbage… but phony people alone are almost enough to make me want to believe in it… so that I can hold out hope that they’ll end up in the deep recesses of it.  Ha!  I kid.  There’s a taste of that sardonic humor for you.  

Those that know me well are better able to laugh at such jokes, because it’s clear to them that it’s very much tongue-in-cheek.  After all, I’m firmly against the death penalty (this is a very nuanced thing, so let’s NOT delve into that issue today).  If I can find it in my heart to want compassion for the committers of truly heinous acts, surely I wouldn’t wish a horrendous future on people who are merely phony.  And, I don’t.  It’s just that saying “boy, phony people sure are annoying” isn’t as colorful and lively.  

But, I digress… I’m not someone who smiles all the time, nor do I care to be.  Sometimes I’m a rather serious person, sometimes I’m a lovable sarcastic ass, and sometimes, I’m just plain happy (of course, there are many layers in between, and sometimes the aforementioned come together in various permutations).  I don’t want to pretend to be the latter all the time.  To ask that of me, is to ask me to conceal my personality a great deal of the time, and to deny myself of my benign coping mechanisms.  It’s asking me to be disingenuous and it’s asking me not to be me.

Sometimes we need to make fun of the douche bags who make life tough and laugh about crappy life events.  Sometimes we need to put heavy stuff on the table and really address it, dissect it and trouble shoot.  All of these things are valid and all are, at times necessary.  To “focus on the positive” all the damn time means that everything else gets brushed to the wayside, left to grow into something much worse.  So, positivity mongers, how about you put on your big kid pants, and deal with life?

NY Times had a worthwhile article not too long ago along these same lines:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/opinion/sunday/the-positive-power-of-negative-thinking.html

“Eh, that’s good enough.” (or… areas of improvement pt. 3)

9 Aug

During certain stages of my life, you would never guess that I’m a perfectionist.  When we think of perfectionists, we tend to think about über-productive busy bees, dashing from one activity to the next, never wasting a second.  We think of people who never see anything less than an A in school, and grow up to be powerful, hair-spitting workaholics.  We forget about the other kind of perfectionist; the slacker perfectionist.

The great paradigm of perfectionism, is that in its truest form, it can be paralyzing.  If a person’s internal quality control approves 0% of the production, nothing gets accomplished, leaving the person as far as possible from perfection.  When nothing is good enough, frustration is the inevitable result.  In my case, frustration became associated with trying to do things and lead me to feeling extremely anxious whenever I had things to do.  In other words, my perfection left me in a near constant state of anxiety.  

Anxiety is one of the worst feelings.  It feels like someone is rattling around in your brain, and carving holes in your viscera.  And so, I got in the habit of avoiding many of the things that made me feel anxious.  Thus began my transition in the world of slackerdom.  No one would think to call me a perfectionist, as I spent the greater part of several years collecting cobwebs in front of the computer screen, surfing the web, but that’s what I was.

Cleaning meant spring cleaning, regardless of the season.  I constantly found myself too short on time and energy to dedicate an entire day or two to cleaning.  Doing homework meant trying to write an essay that precisely expressed my thoughts, creating something that would blow my professors away, getting the brackets on an equation just so; symmetric and aesthetically pleasing.  Working out meant going all out with a work-out that would leave me sore and depleted.  Etc., etc., etc.  Needless to say, dishes piled up, laundry went unfolded, homework went undone, and work-outs were missed.

For several years I knew that my perfectionism only led to procrastination, but it took me awhile to start combatting it.  My combat weapon of choice was to start throwing up my shoulders and proclaiming things good enough.  Cleaning can mean just folding a few articles of clothing at a time, putting them away another time, and tidying for little stretches of time throughout the week.  Writing an essay can mean simply communicating to my professor that I’m familiar with the material and doing some lightweight proofreading.  Working out can mean just going on a half hour walk.

Good enough gets things done, demanding perfection doesn’t.  Life is about triaging and slowly moving ahead, as best you can.  Doing things forces anxiety to melt away.  Avoiding them only makes it fester beneath the surface.  

On that note, this blog post is good enough.  I have a lot of errands to run, so I will publish this, and start ticking items off my to-do list.

Temperance (or areas of improvement, pt. 2)

30 Jul

From my mac dictionary:

temperance |ˈtemp(ə)rəns|noun abstinence from alcoholic drink : [as adj. ] the temperance movement. See note at abstinence .• moderation or self-restraint, esp. in eating and drinking.ORIGIN Middle English : from Anglo-Norman French temperaunce, from Latin temperantia ‘moderation,’ from temperare ‘restrain.’

FYI, I’m working off of the second (bolded) definition.

From an early age, I had a voracious appetite.  The depth of my appetite often extended far beyond my physical hunger cues.

The competitive atmosphere of growing up in a household with 4 siblings brought out a kind of primal greed.  I wanted my share, and I wanted it that instant.

Furthermore, the stress and all around unpleasantness of dealing with xenophobic peers at school day in day out (and the teachers, staff and parents who were often just as bad… or worse!) brought about strong cravings for the tactile, olfactory, all around sensuous experience of eating.  What other activity demands the attention of all 5 of our senses, gives us energy, and has the capacity to tweak our moods for the better?  Grocery stores are lined with packaged comfort.  But, duh!  We all know all of this.  Most of us know it all too well.

That I was super active as a kid only gave me more reasons to eat (and reasons to eat more!)  The above factors combined with my (then) roaring metabolism and my frequent shortage of time as I rushed between school, home, and extracurriculars meant that I learned to stuff a lot of food in my face, and to do it fast.  I was no stranger to the upset stomach.  I was super active.  Almost as soon as I could walk, I’m told, I would randomly break into wild sprints.  Before my school days, I would split my time between playing dolls and playing outside- climbing trees, rolling down hills, playing tag, etc.  I started playing soccer in 1st grade, and not too long after, added swimming, basketball, softball, and track to my repertoire.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to leave one sports practice only to attend another.  This is my overwrought way of saying; I grew up eating a ton, but for awhile, I got away with it.

In my preteens, I started to become interested in fringe cultures, and my identity metamorphosed accordingly.  I increasingly found the milieu of the athletic word alienating, limiting and lackluster.  By the time that I was 16, I finally quit swimming, the sport that I had become most serious about.  Being a “jock” didn’t go well with my developing ethos of socio-polico awareness, anti-authoritarianism, DIY and anti-consumerism, or so I thought at the time.  I would do some workouts, mostly at home, but far less rigorous, far less lengthy, and far less often.

I didn’t match my activity level adjustment with an adjustment to my diet.  I kept right on shoving food in my face, at the same rate and magnitude.  Lethargy, low-grade malaise and chub became standard elements to my life.

For some people, eating only as much as you need is a given.  To me, it’s taken years of diligent monitoring, and a few crazy swings of the symbolic pendulum to achieve this.  I certainly don’t eat in moderation at all times, but I now do most of the time.  I eat some of the foods that I want, some of the time, I eat some of the foods that I need most of the time, and I rarely fill myself to the gull.  I listen to my bodily cues; let ghrelin and leptin do their jobs.

I actually like (most) of the guys that I’ve dated (or, areas of improvement, pt.1)

30 Jul

We interrupt the usual program of Self-Depreciation for a ground breaking, slightly self-aggrandizing, report on the state of my life…

If I were going to write about my shortcomings and failures, my main struggle would be attempting to somewhat honor brevity.  Instead, as I seek to enumerate areas of improvement, and subsequently, my fingers, have been starting and stopping, herky-jerky like a stick-shift drivers-ed car.  This is probably two parts self-loathing, two parts lack of societally (and thus, easily) recognizable accomplishments, and one part modesty.  Yes, just a mere one part modesty, as modesty is not something that I possess in abundance, nor is it something that I aspire to.  In fact, I dislike modesty… at its root, it’s either about “shrinking” so that others may feel large, or truly feeling bad about oneself (my unfortunate case at present)… or simply being disingenuous.

But, I will try nonetheless.

Area 1:

Dating (kinda)

I had some reservations about listing this first, as I take exception with women (especially myself) defining themselves by their romantic relationships.  However, the impetus of this blog post lies in my reflection of my dating life.

Over X-mas vacation, my brother was throwing in his two cents about the kind of guy that I should be dating. I laughed a little on the inside when he said that the guy should have ‘a job… or better yet an occupation.’  I thought “Duh!”, and was momentarily a little bristled that he found it necessary to tell me something so obvious.  As I contemplated my both my own life, and my dating history, I had to concede that the advice was not unwarranted.

After all, my resume already reads much longer than what some people will “achieve” in a lifetime.  I’ve quit jobs because they were too far away, too boring, because I wanted to or needed to move, because I was starting school or a new job, because I felt disrespected (which sounds more flimsy than it is, I could, but won’t, at present, expound upon this), because I wanted more time to hang out with friends, etc.  Actually, more on this later.  So my point here is that, people tend to keep company with those like themselves.  If my own occupational and corresponding financial histories are kinda spotty, it’s a somewhat reasonable assumption that I would surround myself with similarly… unpredictably employed people.  And indeed, I do, or at least used to.

My first kiss was a guy that I met at a dance club of all places.  We danced for several songs in a row, before we stepped off the dance floor to cool off.  We grabbed some water (this was in my pre-alcohol days; I was both underage, at 19, and straight edge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straight_edge) and headed to the patio, where we preceded to talk for hours; sharing our life plans (grandiose and naive, for the both of us), beliefs, values, favorite movies, etc.  Our conversation meandered and went on for hours, while our respective friends continued to sweat it out on the dance floor.  I was young, eager for connection, giddied by my impending relocation, and, again, naive.  In short, I was well primed for a romantic encounter.

Eventually, our parties trailed in out by one, exhausted from hours of dancing, and growing increasingly impatient; impatient at everyone that wasn’t ready to go, keeping them out long after they’d had their fill of the nightlife.  All the impatience eventually became focused on us, the lingering two, (to them probably) seemingly unceasingly chatty duo.  Eventually, we said (prolonged goodbyes), making promises of visits, phone calls and emails.  We ended things with a very unsexy, sloppy kiss.  He was much taller than me, and my back cracked as he pulled me in close.  Nothing like a little chiropractic simulation to set the mood.  I had no idea what I was doing, and it seemed to be the case that he didn’t either.

Those visits, phone calls and emails never happened.  I tried calling him a few times, to no avail.  He was never home (this was back in the days before the cell phone’s ubiquity).  I found out through the grapevine that he was in jail!  Apparently, he had a son (which he neglected to tell me about), and had failed to pay child support.  In retrospect, I’m not sure that was the whole story, even.  Do people go to jail for that?  I’m not sure.  At any rate, it was either bad, or worse.

So my first kiss was a soon to be jailhouse inductee.  I really wasn’t all that shaken up about the whole ordeal.  I was soon to get the hell out of my deplorable hometown, and on to an actual city, full of possibility, opportunity, sunshine, and surf.

My dating choices became poorer before they became better.  My relative poverty (both financial, and of dating experience) played a big role in this.  Free dinners?  A break from my bare bones diet of undressed Boca Burger patties, cheap spaghetti, bananas and oatmeal was quite welcome.  In those days, the sole necessary trait for me taking a guy seriously, was that I found him to be ¨uber attractive and/or that he took me to good restaurants.  Back then, to me, men seemed to be silly creatures at their core, and stupidly, bumblingly insidious, if you let them be.  So, when I just wrote “taking a guy seriously”, I only mean relatively so, more accurately meaning my attitude toward them was slightly less flippant than usual.  All and all, men seemed to be sources of free meals and vapid entertainment.

We tend to find what we expect.  And so, I dated a disproportionate stream of under-employed and often, altogether unemployed degenerate men.  Directionless sloths, milking some kind of system or other.

Eventually, though, I had to come to terms with the  incongruity of how I regarded men in general, and how I regarded the many platonic men in my life.  The men in my family, my friends, my coaches, etc.  My male relatives who so lovingly took the time to teach me practical skills and life lessons,  not because they were mighty men, and I was a silly girl, but rather, because I was the youngest (both in my nuclear and extended families) and had less life experience.  Au contraire, these were some of the same men who helped form my strength and independence.  They were people who had my best interests in mind, people who offered words of support and encouragement.  They were people who have been hurt.  They had depth, and they were human.

And, eventually, I tired of shallow dates and shallow relationships.  There isn’t a single meal in the world delicious enough to ease the discomfort of swallowing dim wit and unchallenged, pop media-fed ideas.  I divorced myself from my reductive, pseudo-misandrous views, and started becoming a more discerning dater.  The mere decision to seek a genuine relationship was almost enough alone to bring more genuine men my way.

Rather than meeting guys in random places like the beach, and in stores, I began dating men that I met through places of mutual interest, such as art galleries, bookstores, music events, etc.  It’s now been several years since I’ve dated an unemployed or under-employed guy.  *Btw, I don’t want to make unemployed people feel bad… it happens to the best of us, but when it’s chronic, and the person’s complacent… it’s not a good thing in and of itself, and it says a lot beyond the obvious.*

The men that I’ve dated in more recent years include: artists (working artists, read: receive actual paychecks), a psychologist, an illustrator, a musician (again, an actual paid musician, classically trained and broadly skilled), a personal trainer, conservation biologists, a librarian, a social worker, a professor, a non-profit founder, etc.

And for the most part, I wouldn’t mind running into any of the guys that I’ve dated in recent years.   They’re all good guys, many of them even interesting and ambitious.  One of the conservation biologists even went on to become a TED speaker (who shall obviously remain nameless, like all other people from my personal life) .  Kinda cool.  I went from almost dating a jailbird to dating a TED speaker.

Areas of improvement: I’ve become a more discerning person, moved away from reductive thinking, and though I didn’t get into it above; I’ve become more assertive, realistic, judicial, and communicative with people, both inside of and outside of relationships.

Because this post isn’t long enough already, 😉 as a final note, I’d like to note that my use of the word dating merely means going out with a potential romantic interest.  I’ve been known to end dates with a wave, a high five, fist bump or brisk hug.  So if it sounds like I’ve dated a lot of people, I have, but I haven’t “dated” a lot of people, in the sense that you may, perhaps, be thinking.

While, conceptually, I agree with Naomi Klein and many other feminist theorists, that women should share their “slut” stories to help destigmatize true representations of female sexuality (and consensual, healthy sexuality in general), in practice, I’m unwilling.  I feel like I have enough crosses to bear, by simply being a Black person, a woman, a biracial person, a black person, a poor person, an atheist, a childless (early) middle-aged person, an often single woman, a feminist, a true liberal (at a time when American politics, considered as part of the whole of industrialized nations, we, as a nation, are pretty conservative, even the majority of democrats, and, notably, the democratic party has been sliding the the wrong *ahem* I mean toward the so-called right, conservative side of things, being a true leftist liberal is to be  a minority) without stacking on ones that don’t even accurately belong.  Being far from a sexual libertine, I don’t want to paint the picture of myself as being one, and suffer the subsequent backlash.  Prudent?  Certainly.  Cowardly, perhaps.

Now, back in theme with this programs self-aggrandizing; yay self for no longer dating douchey men!

Who the Hell is Janet Varney? (and other thoughts)

16 Apr

Well, apparently you can’t use italics in the title here.  So, just know that having a floating parenthetical phrase was not my first choice either.

I have a ton of stuff to do today.  And tomorrow.  And basically, for at least the next two and a half months.  Though, when I think about it, I have a ton of stuff to do for the next 8 months.  Yeah, for the rest of 2012, I have stuff to do.  A lot of it.  Then I can take a short break, but then, I’ll have even more stuff to do… for the rest of my life.  Although, I’m purposefully being dramatic, it is quite overwhelming, really.  

And so, I’m dealing with it my favorite way; by not doing any of it.  Hence, here I am, writing about nothing in particular.  

But, am I really ‘not doing anything’?  If I take a moment and stop self flagellating, I have to admit that  I’m engaging in productive, rather than unproductive procrastination.  There really is a difference.  When hulu is my procrastination tool de choix, I find myself slumped over in front of the computer; inert, stunned and stupefied, for hours on end.  One inane show bleeds into the next.  In the moment, I don’t even care about the inanity.  In fact, the more inane, the better, for procrastination purposes.

When I’m in peak (read: unproductive) procrastination mode, I don’t want to think about problems that at all resemble mine.  I want to stare at impossibly good looking people and get lost in their vacant eyes and tawdry (and imaginary) lives.  I want to put my mind on ‘sleep’ mode, shovel food and my mouth, and just sit.  

But, this (blogging) is different from that.  As I previously implied, or rather, blatantly stated without further explanation, blogging is active.  I’m forced to keep my mind ‘on’ as I attempt to transpose my thoughts into written language.  In doing so, I must first introspect.  

Scene break.  I just spent 2 hours searching for a quote that I once posted on my facebook wall.  Speaking of passivity!  Ugh.  I want those 2 hours back.  I just kept getting the feeling that I was almost there.  I’m simply struck by two things- 1) I used to post a ridiculous amount of status updates, and 2) my friends are really interesting and funny.  I blame them for the 2 hours lost!

Seriously, though, I’m really frustrated right now.  I’m becoming increasingly aware of my memory quirks.  Maybe they’re far more universal than I realize?  One of them is that I often remember things that I’ve read in a spacial manner.  E.g., I might think of a particular work of art, but can’t remember the artist’s name.  Instead, I’ll remember something like that there’s a short biography about said artist toward the end of the chapter on Byzantine art in my pre-renaissance art history book, on a right hand page, in the left inset column.  Mind you, I took this course years ago, and actually lent the book to my friend for several years.  Imagine my relief when she finally returned it!  I just regained a huge part of “my memory”.

In my current situation, I’m trying to remember a quote.  I remember it being relatively pithy (I have an otherwise nondescript image of it as being around 9-13 words or so, enough to fill one line and the beginning of the next, when posted as a facebook status) , written by a (transcendentalist, I think) philosopher.  I remember the sentiment, and I think that I remember a few key words.  Other than that, I’m at a loss.  It’s hard to do a google search when you’re not even totally sure what you’re searching for.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  Hence, the 2 hours on facebook.  I figured that I might have more luck finding it on my wall than google.  To no avail.  I remember that I posted it the same day that I posted a song by the band Neighborhood Council.  I remember that it was around the holidays a year and a half ago.  After scrolling through the past 14 months, facebook decided to pull a filibuster.  Loading.  Loading.  Loading.  Infinite loading.  

Maybe one day I will stumble upon it, and simply make the quote stand on its own as a blog post.  Victory will be had, even if extremely delayed.

 Return to scene.

Introspection also has a way of getting me back in touch with what I want.  It takes me away from the immediate, and serves as a warm up for my executive functions.  ‘If you want A, you must do B.  Doing C will, instead only get you D (where D is an unfavorable effect).  C cannot get you A, so time spent doing C must, therefore, be limited, and time spent doing B must be increased.”

So, when I’m done with my “productive  procrastination”, I’m already in the mindset of doing.  I’ve created momentum, so I can just segue that into pure productivity.  It’s like active rest for my brain.  

But, I digress.  A thousand times over.   

So, I was listening to The Nerdist podcast the other day, and I heard Chris Hardwick say something about Janet Varney and “her” schtick about  “adultessence”.  And it just made me livid.  Who the hell is this chick, and why is she using my stuff?  Of course, just as soon as I thought the thought, I had to grapple with its irrationality.  After all, thus far, only one person has looked at my blog.  Before you start to pity me, and wonder why you’re wasting your time reading some low rent blog, just know that this is more or less the way that I want it, for now.  

I’m attempting to write from a place of vulnerability and honesty… and that’s just hard to do for an audience. I have had blogs in the past, some of them with plenty of followers.  It’s just that I don’t want people to read my writing because they like how I dress (one of my old blogs was a fashion blog), like my work outs, recipes and/or advice (yet another blog was a fitness and nutrition blog), because I commented on their blog, or because they are interested in me as a person (as in friends, family, and/or frenemies).  Nope.  I want people here because they want to be here for what is here.  Because they relate, are interested in or entertained by what and how I am currently writing.  If the above has not convinced you to stop pitying me, know that I have done no “marketing” for this blog.  I post comments from a completely separate account.  I have not posted the blog’s link anywhere, etc.  Furthermore, the one person who read my blog “starred” it.  Which means that my blog has a likeability of 100%.  😉

At any rate, unless that one person was Janet Varney, which I don’t think it is, her thought just emerged from the zeitgeist, just as mine did.  And, one reader, if you are Janet Varney; you really ought to credit your sources.

Excuse my free form structure, but I want to jump back to the subject of my (decidedly not pitifully) unread blog.  I may at some point, start giving people the link to this.  Some posts that I will eventually write will feel very dear and very fragile to me.  And so, I like the idea of leaving some time between writing it and allowing people that I know to read it.  This way, I can always discount it.  “Wow, I was so dramatic and naive 3 years ago.  And let’s not even get started on my horrible syntax and meandering spiels!” Even in attempting to be vulnerable, I have to employ defense mechanisms!  Ha.  But, better than that, I’m hoping to, in time, become more comfortable with vulnerability and just be able to take ownership of my ideas, whole heartedly.