Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This Little Blog Of Mine

I want to let it shine...but I got nothing right now. There was a time when the words were just flowing. The scheduled posts a plentiful. Maybe it's the onset of summer, the amount of work on my plate, the excitement over the wedding, but I just have not felt that inspired lately. And certainly if I look around, there is plenty to write about: the conviction of Sandusky, the loss of a brilliant writer (Nora Ephron), the difficulty in finding bridal shoes in size 10.5 (WTF?), should I get off wheat (duh), me, me, me....but I guess part of the blogging distance is really needing to be offline. Something switched for me and while blogging online was never THAT comfortable, recently I just don't want to be. Maybe it's a manifestation of practicing boundaries in real life. Maybe it's just lack of inspiration or laziness. Maybe I miss being private. Maybe I think no one wants to read about my foray into spiritual questioning. If it was me from six months ago reading, I sure wouldn't. Maybe it's an expansion on the rule "if you have nothing nice to say (or anything interesting or useful to contribute) think about that instead of writing a blog post." I do not have any rants to spew or insights to share. I am just being me right now, trying to show up each day with a willingness to be open and accepting of what's in store. While writing can help me focus on myself, it can also help me lie to myself not that that is ever the intent. But, I can build stories around myself and my life that distract me from what is truth. I am someone who compulsively reacts which can make anything a drama. The more I focus being in the now...sitting here, at my desk, writing, scratching my face, pausing...the more I can resist the compulsion to focus on things outside of me, outside of my power. And while sometimes blogging keeps me in the present, the minute I hit "publish" it no longer is. And maybe I'm just tired of holding onto records of moments when all I want to be is here now.    

Thursday, June 21, 2012

25 Things About Me


1. I have two museum memberships and I have not visited either since last July.
2. I just signed up for a third museum membership.
3. The only satisfaction I get from a manicure is chipping away at the nail polish three days later.
4. I have four tattoos, only two of which I really like.
5. No food comforts me more than a basket of chips and salsa...and maybe mint chocolate chip ice cream.  
6. On that note, I can make a mean guacamole and I think I'm lactose intolerant.
7. I rarely brush my hair.
8. I cannot watch a movie in the theatre without a bag of popcorn.
9. If I could have any super power it would be to wake up in the morning actually feeling refreshed.
10. I wish my feet were just a half size smaller or that shoe companies made sizes and three quarters.
11. My first concert, which was in the 7th grade, was Primus, and yes, it was totally bad ass.
12. On that note, I hope to never grow out of wearing Converse.
13. Some of the people I respect most in this life have  no idea what they want to do with their lives. Why I remain so hard on myself for also not knowing remains a mystery.
14. I have worn rainboots for three years and only this month have let myself actually walk through puddles.
15. My favorite Halloween candies are Mounds.
16. I did not know what cellulite was until I regrettably pointed out to a friend of mine that she had "cute dimples" on her legs. For selfish reasons, I still wish I didn't know what it was.
17. Whenever I go to a bakery, I pretend like I will try something new, but I always get the almond croissant.
18. This summer I am working on jumping into water rather than taking twenty painful minutes to slowly inch my way into submersion. The stomach still is the worst part.
19. I dust way too infrequently to post and spend most of that time wondering why my allergies are so bad.
20. I only have one framed picture in my apartment and it's of my Dad at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
21.  If I could have any artistic talent it would be a rock star musician.
22. I truly believe the man I'm going to marry is the hottest thing around.
23. Two years ago I bought a pair of shoes and as a promotional deal got signed up for a weekly subscription to US magazine. Despite it going against all of my feminist and moral beliefs, I've never been able to cancel it.
24. The more time I spend on the East coast the more I miss the West and see how superior it really is. I was wrong about four seasons. It's totally overrated.
25. On that note, I didn't know what a "fleece" was until I was nineteen years old and freezing my ass off in cotton.
(inspired by 25 Things About Me  at www.wellandcheaply.blogspot.com)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sandusky: Why We Need To Redefine The Word Rape

The trial accusing former Penn State defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, of 51 counts of child sexual abuse has been more than a fiery automobile crash I can't look away from. The testimony of the ten victims brave enough to tell a court room full of people, including their alleged attacker, and rows of journalists recording their every word, has been something I feel compelled to read, compelled to feel, compelled to cringe along to. I read only as much as I can take and then jump to the end. I imagine these young men sharing their stories, voices cracking, anger shaking them, the tears as they relive a childhood that was violently taken from them. The articles will have little excerpts about how Sandusky's neighbors want "justice." Justice? There is no justice for these acts. There is no "make up" or "do over." There is no great equalizer. There is no punishment and no grace big enough. The defense alludes to some of the victims wanting monetary compensation as if the humiliation they feel in sharing these experiences could ever be compensated.

Today, Sandusky pointed to a case, that of Victim 9 who had some of the most harrowing testimony. He tried to say that the boy's grades in school had dropped after he had left Sandusky's outreach charity organization. He tried to use the victim's mother's testimony that her son just "stopped caring" as proof that the gentleman was doing great when he was "with him."

I can't imagine the rage.

There is nothing that can be given to these boys that will make any of this "okay." The best anyone can hope for is some healing by talking about their experiences, but no one can measure that, perhaps not even these young men just yet.

In 2000, I had to share my experience in a court room about my own assault. There were more men than women in that house, a couple rows of cops, my father, and then my attacker and his entire family except for his two sisters, one of them who had been my best friend through high school. It took me over ten years to finally use the word "rape." And even to this day, I am uncomfortable using that word, as if admitting it is still something shameful for me to admit. Somewhere, there is still the feeling that I should have been able to protect myself. I don't remember anything I said that day and in fact the only thing I do remember is from my Dad's speech who said what was one of the hardest things for him to witness was to watch his daughter, who was once the captain of her soccer team, a leader by birth, a woman who tore onto the field, now walk her days with her head down, her fearlessness replaced by doubt, shame, her curiosity in life lost to a sort of detachment, a numbing defeatist attitude, a woman who no longer cared.

When we talk about rape, we don't always talk about the silent effects. We don't talk about the soccer captain who then put on twenty five pounds and blocked out eight months of her freshman year of college. We don't talk about the young man who was rising above the challenges of his single parent home, surpassing his urban limitations and the world's expectations who "just deals with" repeatedly being raped in silence until one day there is no physical evidence to prove anything other than a young man who suddenly gives up caring, gives up on life.  We talk a little  about the shame involved with experiencing such an attack, but what about the shame involved when doing the one thing that is supposed to help heal, supposed to reclaim some of our power back, the shame of sharing? We talk about rape being an act of power, an act of dehumanization, an act that is ironically impersonal. But do we talk about how the act of "healing" can be just as dehumanizing and feel ironically personal? When we talk about rape are we talking about the right things? Are we talking about everything? Are we reading the entire testimony? And can somebody PLEASE tell me why the legal definition of rape still has not be changed. It is a disservice to our society to say things like "he was forced to have oral and anal sex."  To have suggests there was something given. There was nothing given here, only taken.

As of yet there is no verdict in the Sandusky trial. The defense is currently scrambling for something, anything, and while I like to try to keep an open mind to the whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing, I admit that with this case, I am overwhelmingly biased.

What I hope for most with this case is not necessarily some symbolic 100 year incarceration sentence for Sandusky. The idea of "justice" bewilders me. But what is truly inspiring about this case is how huge it is in terms of the Penn State connections. How not only is Sandusky guilty but so is Penn State who had enough people there who knew what was going on but chose to see glory and money and fame over a fucking football program than pay attention and do what was right. This case is David and Goliath and I want to see Goliath fall. I want Penn State to feel tainted. I want all the shame that these nine victims felt to be cast three fold on this institution and to rattle the bones of other institutions where the same shit is happening, where injustice is aloud to prevail under the guise of money, prestige, and  "honor." And before you crucify me I know, most of the University did not know. The students, the faculty, the alumni, the donors, they are not to blame. But enough people knew that chose to protect the name of this University over what was right and for that I have to question the ethical code that was practiced at Penn State.

In truth, what I want more than anything is for these boys to be alright in life.  I want to be able to tell them they will be. I want to be assured of the impossible. I want this trial to set a precedence. I want Sandusky's conviction and I want it to have the power to stop this kind of predatory situation from ever happening again. I want us to redefine the word rape. I want people to feel empowered to bring down the giants who do them wrong. I want them to stop using the word "justice." I want to know what it really takes to heal. I want to know that we will all be okay.

Let's Do This

To get us all started on the right side of Monday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Instincts Rampant


Sometimes I forget that I am hard-wired. I forget that my first instincts are to fight. The feeling of a closed fist so much more soothing than an open palm. I forget that it is not enough to try and quit bad behavior or I will come to find my instincts run rampant. It is not enough to say to the world, "now I am this." You must first wade through the shit, unearth the demons, take a good look at all of that hard-wiring and instead of trying to rip it all out, begin to appreciate its intricacies. Instead of cursing crossed wires, love that these wires have provided you with the energy to get you this far.

It is easy to throw your fists up in New York. It is easy to have a bad experience on the subway and say, "damn it all to hell." It is easier to close your heart after suffering a heart ache than to keep it open to the world - a scrape without a band aid. It is easier to let the people who harm us become our teachers rather than to process a lesson, a loss, a humiliation, and still keep an open mind. It is easier to break the mirror when we see something we don't like than to look inside and heal from within. It's not the acne scab that needs to be healed. It is the belief that I must force this blemish off my face when really it may be telling me to eat better, sleep longer, pay attention to whether or not I'm stressed. It is not the smaller size dress that I need to fit into, but the question I need to address that asks why I am not taking better care of my body? Why am I not paying more attention to my diet? Why am I eating foods that are not good for me? It is not the alarm clock that should be cursed for waking me up in time for a trip to the gym I will not take, but an understanding that if you go to sleep at midnight, you will sacrifice an early morning workout. The pursuit of balance. The eradication of the internal negative voice. The welcoming of space for trust and faith that there is something larger at work here. I am not the master of my universe though my instincts make me believe so. At the very best I'm a burning star among many hoping to allow myself to shine as brightly as I can through this life. When I think I am steering the ship, I must remember the winds. I am not unique and I hope to always remember this.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Burning Envy (Writing Challenge)

 So, I wrote another short story for this 600-words seven deadly sins contest and it did not get picked, but I thought I would share it here...

"A Burning Envy"

It was just past ten o’clock in the morning and already Rupert had suffered a bit lip, two stolen cars, and a face plant after the smelly derriere of his sister pinned him to the Cheerio-laden floor.  Rupert was hungry, tired, but most of all Rupert was fed up with his twin sister. She paraded her elder twin status around like the Queen of Sheba.  It wasn’t his fault that she had been born two minutes ahead of him. Even in the womb, she had dominated keeping him at the bottom until game time where she flipped her head down and pushed past her brother. It was no surprise to Rupert that as their first year and half of life had dawdled by, she had grown bigger and stronger than him, often usurping all of the good milk, leaving Rupert with remnants of her spittle to deal with. But this time Charlotte had gone too far. This time she would not get away with stealing another one of his goddamn toys even if his afternoon snack depended on it.

Thinking back, Rupert couldn’t remember the first time she had done it. It had just always been a part of their dynamic. If he had a binky, she wanted it. If he had a stuffy, she cried for it from her mound of stuffed bunnies and teddys. When they were young, these disputes were often diffused by a clever distraction from their mother, a toss up in the air from their father or a belly blaster kiss from Grammy. But as soon as those legs were up and moving, Charlotte was a force to be reckoned with. It didn’t help Rupert’s case that it took him a whole month later to learn to walk. But those four weeks afforded Rupert the gift of time, a greatly-appreciated lesson in strategy.

For Christmas, Santa had given Rupert two Hotwheels cars. Charlotte had gotten a doll she subsequently tortured. But whenever Rupert began to play with the cars, Charlotte, in her spongy diaper and head full of red curls, would come bounding over. She would rip the cars from his hands yelling, “Mine!” Rupert didn’t know why he cried. He didn’t know if they were tears of frustration, fear, or simply disappointment that he would have to go through life associated with this bitch.  Maybe they were tears of embarrassment at his mother’s reaction. “Don’t let your sister do that to you! Go and get your toy!” she would say all the while standing by teaching Rupert a lesson he did not appreciate. But Rupert knew he would have his revenge, and so, he waited and plotted until the day when the heat from the patio left a blurry horizon.

While Charlotte was singing along to some stupid puppet, Rupert pushed his car through the gate to the back yard. He watched its shiny metal coat bake in the sun turning into a well-disguised ember. When their mother began to heat their afternoon bottles, Rupert positioned himself close to the gate at the open door.  As their mother released the gate, Rupert ran to his Hotwheels grabbing the attention of Charlotte. Charlotte quickly dropped her naked doll chasing Rupert outside. As Rupert bent down to pick up the scalding toy, Charlotte muscled her way in front of him and grabbed the car with both hands, screaming, “Mine!” It was in that moment, with Charlotte’s first tears as she looked down at the deceitful toy burning her hand, that Rupert was able to enjoy being the smaller, but the brighter of a pair of twins.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

It's Been A Long Time

...since I've posted a playlist and to my surprise I can no longer embed it here! However, I still made one. So if you're looking for a nice little eclectic mix to do your Saturday / Sunday chores to, check it out.
(Bob Marley, Sublime, Kesha, Andrew Bord, Gotye, Band of Horses, Blondie, Beach Boys, The Doors...I mean, c'mon!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Catching The Big Fish

My relationship with writing is one of need, abuse, love, neglect, and redemption. Dramatic, I know. But it is not something I always love to do. In fact sometimes I hate it. Sitting in that chair in front of a blank screen, alone with my feelings, alone with that ache that I need to express something but knowing that words are so damn limiting, can be agonizing. The self doubt, the self will, all of the garbage that creeps up with writing is nothing short of a battle. My fears, my ego, my pride, my identity, all come to the table with different expectations when the truth is, my best stuff comes when I let go of any expectation at all. And to think, this whole time, my writing life could be teaching me about life in general. The best stuff truly does come when I let go. If I get my feelings hurt I now ask myself if I had an expectation. What was my part? And it doesn't mean I'm not allowed to be disappointed or hurt, but it allows me to let go of developing resentments when I can see my contribution. Right now, I am beginning to see my contribution to a life that has not met my expectations, a writing life that has fallen very short of my intended dreams. I beat myself up, I run away, I tell myself this blog, my memoir, my short stories are all for naught. I think I will never catch that big fish. I think, Fuck Hemingway. Then I breathe... I think Keep it Simple. Maybe I don't have to come up with a book. Maybe for today, I can come up with 100 words. Maybe I can write something just for fun, just to exercise my fingers. Maybe I can write a blog post and that can be enough for today. Maybe I don't need to catch a big fish at all, but instead enjoy wading around in the water.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mazel Tov!

Congratulations to my dear friend and her new Mister! May your cakes always rise. May your cup never empty. May your flowers always bloom. May your deck never splinter. May your children inherit her wicked sense of humor and his handiness, her passion for movement and his fancy feet and the same devotion you both share for family. And may the love between you two continue to grow and age like a fine wine! Mazel Tov!