Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Second Coming

I have been, for a good portion of my life, enamored by that amazing Yeats poem "The Second Coming". Maybe it was my upbringing in an apocalyptic cult that drives my fascination with this work, and particulary the identity of his "rough beast that slouches towards Bethlehem to be born", a monster that Yeats himself describes thusly: "a brazen winged beast which I associated with laughing, ecstatic destruction". It wasn't until lately that the face of this beast was revealed to me. And although this revelation is going to make me a nemesis of many, many people, I feel it is my civic responsibility to reveal this truth to you, no matter what the consequences. Read the first portion of the poem, and see if you can't figure it out.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity

I'm sorry but it's true. Even you can't deny it any longer. "Twilight" is the anarchy loosed upon the world, a dime novel masquerading as valid literature; a creepy, doomed relationship fiction pretending to be a love story. I try so hard to decipher it's sly power, it's thick and unyielding hold on the vulnerable minds of girls and women everywhere. Yes, I am a book snob. I will readily admit this fact. But my words here are not draped in pretentious judgement. I read and enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada. I own a copy of The DaVinci Code. I have been known to read a romance novel here and there (okay maybe just the dirty parts). The point is, even though my definition of "book" or "reading" might differ slightly from some others, I am speaking now with a full, pure heart. I am well intentioned. We need to stop this madness now, before somebody really gets hurt.

Out of pure curiousity spurred on by the mania I have witnessed around me, most disturbingly which are comments overheard and read online that were made by grown women who readily admit to getting wet at the thought of a teenage vampire, I discovered the following forum. Folks, the "blood-dimmed tide is loosed" and truly the "ceremony of innocence is drowned" while the worst are full of passionate intensity.Under the thread tile "What would you do if twilight never existed?

Exhibit A (sad beyond belief)Miss L Lady: what would you do if twilight never existed?!?! omg i think i would maybe cry.....well i dunno prob cry then die lolomg....well i guess i wouldnt even know the difference, but now that i do if they would like take it away i think i would lose it

Exhibit B (Douchebag)Eric: If twilight didn't exist then I wouldn't be able to say "Yeah I saw the movie and I actually like twilight" and girls go awwwww that's so sweet, thereby making me more attractive to them. I would have to find other means of accomplishing that

Exhibit C, your honor (Oh that our youth would know that more than two book series exist in the world)Edwards Bro: If Twilight didn't exist I'd be rereading Harry Potter for the 1000th time. Oh, and what Eric said.

Exhibit D Bella Bella Bella: If Twilight didn't exist I would not have an unhealthy addictionAnd I would be rereading Harry Potter too, probably trying to read it in Spanish or Catalan. That's what I was doing right before I discovered Twilight, haha

Exhibit E OxSherrybaby:if it never existed i wouldn't have anything to look forward to

Exhibit F MissLWord:lol glad you admit that...but your right, i do think it would attract women....loli would be so sad...i think i would be reading anne rice......since i was going to anyway .....but i wouldnt know better bcause i wouldnt know what it is.....too bad edward doesnt exist in real life.....

Exhibit G Cullen Kid: if twilight diddnt exist then i wouldnt be madly in love with fictional characters... like...EDWARD!!!!!!! =)

Exhibit H Bella Swan Forever: I would definitely cry and die as well. And if twilight never exsisted i wouldn't have a life.If twilight never ever ever existed i would kill myself if it didn't ever get published. It is one of the best book/movie ever.

Exhibit I IheartEdward Cullen: If Twilight was never made... I would be a completely different person!Seriously.. 1. I would be re-reading Harry Potter for the 10,00th time! lol2. I wouldn't be obsessed over fictional characters like Edward!3. Edward wouldn't exist 4. I would be sad5. I wouldn't be dreaming about Edward Cullen all the time!6. I wouldn't like vampires!7. I wouldn't be boring my family with my constant Twilight talk!8. I would have no reason to live!It would be a sad... boring.. world

Objection! This witness is clearly insane! Overruled.

Exhibit J MissLWord (again):pretty much life would suck as we know it if twilight didnt exist..

Exhibit K AliceX: I'd probably have spent more time rereading HP for the millionth time, instead of taking time out to read the Twilight books. Same thing with discussing stuff and all that time spent on Skype reading Twilight. I'd have just spent that time discussing HP.

Exhibit L itswhitney: hahah well i mean i guess i wouldn't know about it so i wouldn't really know the difference..but i honestly don't think i would be as happy hahah not even kidding.since i started reading twilight i have been a happier person.and i wouldn't be friends with some of the people im friends with now.i wouldn't have the most AMAZING obsession ever.and i wouldn't know about rob pattinson.ahh now that would be a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE thing.ohh and im SURE i would have a little more time on my hands that i now occupy with my obsession (:

New thread: You know you're obsessed with Twilight when...

Exhibit M TwilightLover:1)sit on the computer from 0:00am to the next day 1:00am looking at twilight vids and pics 2)talk about twilight non-stop when your supposed to be drawing a complicated table in maths3)planning to watch the movie 5 times in a row4)converting everyone i know into a twilight fanatic5)join every twilight forum that looks remotely good6)compare twilight characters to friends7)use twilight quotes in normal conversation8)burst out in giggles when someone unconsciously says something to do with twilight

Exhibit NZengrenouille: 14.) Your boyfriends keep breaking up with you, because they are sick of waking up to find that you rubbed glitter lotion on them while they slept. 15.) You know through trial and error that stripper glitter products are better than any other glitter products, because they stay on you boyfriend's skin the longest.16.) You actually wrote a paper on Twilight in you religions class.

I HATE you Zengrenouille. Objection, Counsel is badgering the witness! Sustained.

Exhibit O Orchid Springs: You know you're obsessed with Twilight when...17)When you know the exact number of days, hours, and seconds till the movie comes out18) When everything on your Christmas list is somehow related to Twilight19) When you buy a keyboard so that you can learn to play Bella's Lullaby20) When you try to find something Twilight related in every song you hear21) When Edward Cullen is on your Christmas list22) When you've read Twilight more than five times23) When you strained your eyes due to reading the books too much and now you need reading glasses (True story)I could go on, but I think this is enough. xD

I hate you too Orchard Springs. You're the worst person...Object...Withdrawn.

Exhibit P Choco-cream-puffz:24.) when you watch the movie trailer 10 times a day25.) when you memorized the movie trailer 25.) when you watch sponge bob and thinks it would be better if all of them were underwater vampires

Exhibit Qjillian 27:26.) when everytime it rains you wish edward will come to your school27.) when everytime you talk to your friends you talk about how perfect edward is28.) when you spend 12 hours a day rereading the twlight series

I can't go on. The prosecution rests. I am afraid for our youth. I am afraid for the world. This beast is mad powerful, the likes the world has never seen before.

The poem concludes:

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all around it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The Second Coming is a perfect way of describing the anticipation for the Twilight movie and the insanity over this sparkly Edward Cullen blood sucking undead goth kid. Is this the new ideal man? Is it not enough for our men to be strong and kind? They now need to Sparkle in the Sun? If Todd started sparkling in the sun I'd beat him to death with a golf club. Seriously, I would freak the fuck out.

I am so tired, but rest eludes me. I am praying for "twenty centuries of stony sleep", because I don't know if I can go on living in a Twilight world. Which is truly what this is: endless dusk. A murky reality where people are lulled into believing something is tantamount to the Second Coming, when in reality its the brainchild of a bored Mormen housewife whose laughing her ass off all the way to fucking bank. God, I'll settle for one night of slumber, so for now I'm just going to treat my insomnia with a couple of sleeping pills and hope that in the morning Stephanie Meyer and all her damned sparkly, whiny creatures were just a bad, creepy dream.

P.S. I am not saying that reading or watching Twilight is in and of itself a bad thing. So please don't send me angry emails like "You're a bitch. I read Twilight and it's the greatest book ever!" I am merely commenting on the social phenomena that has unraveled before my very eyes, a phenomena that I frankly find weird and destructive.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

ScholASStic Scrimmage

Todd and I watch this show every weekend called Scholastic Scrimmage. The premise is a bunch of high school nerds sit in two teams of 4 and answer questions on various topics like math, science, literature, etc. Todd and I like to play along and mercilessly mock the kids. Anyway, today we were watching it and the funniest thing I've ever seen happened. The one group of high school guys weren't quite as nerdy. Like they seemed to realize how corny the whole thing was. They ended up with a total point score of like 10 and the other team had 140, so either they weren't that smart or just weren't trying.

In the middle of the competition, the lady who reads the questions always stops and asks all the kids individually to say a couple of things about themselves. The first kid usually sets the tone for what the rest of the kids say (Bear with me here, it's worth it). For instance, the first kid will say "I'm 16 years old and I play in the marching band and I like to read" and then each kid that follows models his/her answer after what the first kid said. Like he'll say, "I'm 17 years old and I am in the math club and I also like to read". Anyway, today the most glorious thing happened. I was rolling on the floor (I really was) with peals of laughter. I am going to transcribe the entire thing for you along with descriptions of the people.

ScholASStic Scrimmage
A Play In One Act

Question Lady: Blonde, late middle-aged lady with a hairstyle reminiscent of Rose Niland from The Golden Girls, and a cat butt mouth
Ryan F.: Normal sized white kid with an afro
Tony B.: Tall guy with skin like an albino's
Ryan Y. :Teenage boy who looks like he's 40 and still playing in a garage band at his parent's house. Also, he looks like Bo Bice from American Idol
Chris: Jack Osbourne look-alive only with worse hair (yes it's possible)
Chris R.: Bespectacled kid with dumbo like ears with an effeminate quality
Frank "Jay" H. - Unfortunate looking kid with pock marks the size of craters all over his mug
Blake C. - Horribly mop-topped guy who has never been laid and probably never will be
Robert - A bespectacled mutant with hair like darth vader's helmet

Question Lady: In the first round we ask the students to tell us something about their families or about themselves. Let's begin with Northampton [high school]...Ryan?

Ryan F.: Uh...I'm Ryan and my favorite animal is a cat.

QL: [A little taken aback by the student thinking it's relevant to mention his pet] And you have a cat, or many cats?

RF: Uh I have 7, actually

QL: And are your parents happy about that?

RF: Uh mom is anyway

QL: (Talking over his last word) Terrific. Thank you. Tony?

Tony B.: (Said as a run on) Hi I'm Tony I live with my parents and my two older brothers and...I have 3 cats

QL: 3 cats? Any dogs?

Tony B.: No...just the cats. (looks away with smirk on face)

QL: Thank you. Ryan...

Ryan Y.: I'm Ryan Y. and I live with my parents and I have a brother and a sister and 2 dogs.

QL: Ok. [increasingly perplexed] And Chris?

Chris: Hello I'm Chris. I live with my mom and dad I have a brother I have 5 dogs, uh...2 emus, and some other birds and stuff (nods head a few times)

QL: (Shocked expression) The emus are outside...?

C: Yes they are (unintelligible)

QL: (Talking over) ...all the time? Even in the snow? [Disbelieving tone]

C: Yes.

QL: Uh huh. Alright. That's a very unusual...(searching for words) menagerie...Yes. Over to Palmerton [High School] ...Chris.

Now I'm going to interject here to let you know that the kids who just spoke were all stifling laughter the whole time they were talking, which led me to believe that they were making all that shit up or at least saying it to be snarky. The next team doesn't appear to be in on the joke. But it's funny, because they keep the same model for their answers. It continues:

Chris R.: Um, I live with my parents. I have a brother, Kyle, and a sister, Carrie Anna, and I have a dog...named Brindle.

QL: (sort of nasally suggestive of irritation) Thaaank you. And Jay?

Frank "Jay" Hall: Ummm...I'm Jay. I live with my parents and my little brother, Sean. Um..and I have one dog named Stormy. (Satisfied smile)

QL: Thank you. Blake?

Blake C.: Um, I'm Blake and I live with my parents and my younger sister. (Deep breath) I have two dogs (eyes roll up like he's thinking hard and he starts counting off on his hand), two cats, a pig, a couple chickens, a rabbit, and a snake...and...I think that's it (He has a completely serious expression on his face)

QL: Alright. I..I..I think you win. [Her tone indicates she believes otherwise]

BC: (giggles like a schoolgirl in his pride)

QL: And is this pig a traditional pig or is this a perhaps potbelly pig or...?

BC: (He interrupts) Potbelly

QL: Is it really...I mean er...did...were you told it was and then it grew to be a big pig or is it really stay little?

BC: We got her when she was nine so...

QL: so she is a little pig...

BC: Yeah. She's...

QL: I'm told their highly intelligent.

BC: mmm hmmm.

QL: Thank you. Robert.

Robert: (talking like he has a mouth full of marbles) namesRobertIlivewithmyparents and I have 2 dogs, a cat, and a turtle.

QL: And the...what turtle?

Robert: Turtle. (He nods his head definitively)

QL: Turtle. And the turtle's name is..?

R: Albus.

QL: Thank you. (Smiles indulgently) Let's go on toss up in Chemistry.

and Scene.

How fucking awesome is that? I am going to try and get this little clip taped and put it up on here for all your viewing pleasure if at all possible. I'm lying. I'm way too lazy for that. So I won't get your hopes up. If you want to see it that desperately you could always come over to my house. It's on my DVR and I'm pretty much planning on keeping it forever.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I had the wonderful luck while driving home today to end up behind one of those weirdos that try to tell you their life stories via bumper magnets on the back of their cars. What goes wrong in the brains of these people that results in this particular brand of dysfunction? Do you think it find its genesis in early childhood trauma or is it a genetic thing? I don't think science is advanced enough to find the answers. Yet. Either way, I had to sit behind her at a light and was therefore forced to get to know all about her and her pathetic life, and it kills me, too, because this was her diabolical plan all along. She wins. She also has a personalized license plate that reads "Momee Go". The knowledge that this license plate exists is like a virus infecting my soul. And now I know so much about this lady, this lady who I've only ever seen her mini-van and the back of her stupid head. And now I will tell you... because if I have to know, then you have to know. She's a christian, she vacations at Bethany Beach Delaware, her kid goes to The Quaker School, she owns a great dane, she loves somebody with Asperger's, her daughter takes gymnastics, and her personal child rearing philosophy is this: "Children don't care what you know, they...." I couldn't read the rest because I had snow and iceballs accumulating at the bottom of my windshield. Plus I wasn't about to get in a car accident by trying to finagle my position to see the whole statement. Which brings me to my next point.

Shouldn't there be a law against some of this? Where do we draw the line between "cutesy" and "road hazard"? It's one thing to put one magnet on your car to promote some issue or cause that you're passionate about. But this level of advertisment is clearly pathological and potentially dangerous when you consider how much time I spent looking at the back of her car and NOT looking at the road activity around me. Don't do you dare even think about blaming me. Don't you fucking dare. I'm the victim here.

Here's another disturbing "car trend" that almost got me killed. The first time I saw one, it was on this truck. I had noticed there were some kind of letter appliques on the back window. I saw a first name and then some dates underneath and it hit me: That's a memorial of sorts. I had to see the name and dates. I figured the person being memorialized must be a pretty big deal. I was morbidly curious enough to try to move into the lane next to me to see it. I don't know what happened to me but I was like hypnotized. I had to SEE it. And the deceased person being memorialized was just some random lady who was like 60 or something. Sad and all, but I didn't even know her. I almost got in an accident for THAT. I know, I'm an idiot. But it's like reading the obituaries. I don't know why I do it because I usually don't know anyone who dies. But sometimes I'll recognize a mean lunch lady or a crotchety elderly neighbor in them, so it's worth it to be able to call someone and say, "Remember Mrs. Richie? Yeah, well the bitch is dead. You heard it from me first."

I guess I'm just baffled by this phenomen of people turning their rear car window into what is basically a tombstone. Why do they do it? Why do I read it? They win.

I refuse to put anything on my car. Not even a pink breast cancer ribbon, even though I have every right to do that, all things considered. I just don't see the point of it. I think everyone that matters already knows that breast cancer is a shitty disease. And if someone doesn't know that, then I doubt a pink ribbon on the back of my car is going to change that. Seriously, the people who know what a pink ribbon symbolizes already know about breast cancer. And people who don't know a damn thing about breast cancer probably don't know what a pink ribbon even means. So I'm pretty much just preaching to the choir. Or maybe if I were to put that breast cancer magnet on my car I'm telling everyone to feel sorry for me because my sister died of breast cancer. I'd rather just have a magnet that says that. At least it's honest.

What's also distracting and downright depressing are those makeshift roadside memorials. On the Bristol ramp to 95 a little 4 year old girl named Jasta was killed by a drunk driver about 7 or 8 years ago. It really is a sad story. So now they have a giant picture of this cute, smiling little girl who's, you know, DEAD now. And every time I drive by it I have a little bit of a panic attack. And sadly, somebody keeps putting plastic flowers and stuffed animals underneath it like it's a shrine, only its actually the side of a HIGHWAY. What ends up happening is the flowers get all bent and mangled looking from the wind and rain and the teddy bears get splashed with mud by the giant wheels of tractor trailers driving by. What kind of tribute is that? Poor Jasta.

You want to hear something else I hate? When people put those stupid baseballs on their car windshields. You know the ones...the ones that look like someone threw them through the window and cracked it? It's really a sticker with half a fake baseball protuding from the side. What the fuck is the point of that? First of all nobody thinks it's real. And if anyone does think it's real, their next thought is probably "Why does this asshole drive around with a baseball stuck in the windshield?" I don't know. Is it supposed to be funny? Who's laughing? In my opinion, it's worse than when people used to stick those stupid scared Garfield dolls in their windows. But at least Garfield appealed to the children. Or better yet, terrified them.

Last but not least, let's not forget the ever-precious "Baby on Board". Although the use of this disgusting sign peaked in the 80's and mercifully seemed to fade by the 90's, I've had a few recent sightings of it. This is alarming. I don't know if I can go on living if people start hanging this shit in their cars again. I guess what annoys me about it the most is that the sign implies that people get in car accidents on purpose. Like "I was going to ram my car into the side of you at that intersection but since I see you have a baby on board I won't". It also implies that the driver and particularly the passengers of the car are more important than the drivers and passengers in other cars. But isn't every human life precious cargo? Why is the fact that you're driving around a baby supposed to change how I feel about you and your damn car? I'll be careful no matter who is in the vehicle, because your stupid baby isn't any more important than somebody's 80 year old grandmother.

After the Baby on Board phenomenom, a whole host of other similar signs started appearing. The one I remember is "Bitch on Board". See, that's actually good to know. Seeing that sign, I would be less inclined to pass this driver aggressively. Or I might be more inclined to do that just to piss her off. A sign like that is basically an invitation to fuck with somebody.

Honestly, I try to drive carefully and respectully because I value the lives of others and sometimes my own. And I really do believe that if people stopped putting their memoirs on their vehicles there might be fewer accidents on our nation's roadways. If they really want to talk about themselves and their pathetic lives and opinions in a confessional, self indulgent way to an indifferent audience, they should just write a blog. That's what I do.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm A Good Person

I’m a Good Person
I am. I know you don't believe me because half of the shit I write about is basically complaining about everything in the entire world and how much I hate all of the people in it. But yesterday I realized that I have the capacity to be nice even to ugly, old people with dried paint all over their dried, cracked hands.

I was at the ATM in Wawa, which is where I always go to get money because they have no fee and I refuse to pay $3 to get my own damn money. Like why do the banks charge so much when they don't even have to do anything? It's an automated machine, and yes I know they have to refill it now and again, but its just ridiculous and I'm so cheap that I will actually walk away from an ATM if it charges more than $1.50 to dispense cash. Actually, it's not that I'm cheap. I'm principled.

So anyway, I finish at the ATM and this old, mangy looking man comes up to me. At first I thought he was going to stab me or cough on me or do some other foul deed, because he looked like the type. But he's like "Can you do me a favor? I have a splinter in my hand and I can't get it out." So I stood there in the middle of Wawa trying to get the splinter out of this guy's finger. It was really creepy and gross. At first I tried to do it without touching his flesh in any way. Like I had my ring finger and thumb like a pincer or a lobster claw and was trying to tweeze it out. But it then became apparent that if I were to get out of this horrible situation ever then I would have to TOUCH his hand. There was dried paint all over it. Like drips of paint as if he were painting a house a year ago and never bothered to wash his hands afterwards. So I had to hold his hand steady while I targeted the splinter and had my face all close to it and finally got it out. He wasn't even that grateful. I don't know what I expected. Maybe the whole store to be secretly watching like on TV when people get engaged and think no one is watching and then all these people break out in to applause. Yeah, I was expecting all the Wawa customers to start clapping and telling me that I was a hero and then maybe a priest to tell me that I never have to do another good deed for the rest of my life now because I just paid for my ticket to heaven. But the opposite of that happened. The guy just mumbled, "Thanks" and then went and bought a pack of cigarettes.

I guess its good to do nice things once in a while. I should do them to make up for a lot of the not good thoughts that populate my mind most of the time. For instance, the other night I was watching this show on like TLC or something about a girl who has sirenomelia, which is a genetic condition that causes a person's legs to be fused together at birth. Also, this is called Mermaid Syndrome. Anyway, this sweet little girl is a mermaid who can barely swim. Her dad and mom kept saying, "She has such a positive attitude. She's so happy despite her condition." And then her dad says "Well if she can be happy the way she is, then anybody can." And I started thinking, "You know what? I'd be pretty damn happy too if I had somebody cater to my every whim, buy me shit all the time, tell me how wonderful I was, all the while never having to worry about cleaning, paying bills, going to work, or walking around." This chick doesn't even have to walk, her dad just carts her around and she tells him "take me in the jewelry store, I want a new necklace" and then he does it. What a fucking life.

Yes, I'm terrible. But hear me out. The doctors wanted her to get her legs separated, but she said "No. This is the way I am and I want to stay this way." See, she doesn't want to walk. I don't blame her. She's only 8, but she fucking knows how awesome her life is right now. Her dad annoys me to no end. Like, who are you to say that anybody can be happy if your kid can be happy as a spoiled mermaid? What about somebody with a gun pointed at his head? What about a person who just lost her life savings at the track? What about a child starving in a crack den? What about me?

So anyway, you can think I'm going straight to a fiery hell for all I care. That's what I think. And if you ever have to take a splinter out of the body of a gross stranger in a Wawa then go ahead and judge me. But until you know how it feels to know that there isn't enough antiseptic solution in the world to make your hands clean again, leave me alone. Love!!!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shut the Hell Up, French Guy

I read this article and, honestly, it sort of made me sick: "Suddenly it may be cool to be an American again". (I'll post the link to my page if you're a masochist and want to read the entire thing). The gist of it is this: Now that Obama's been elected president, Europeans et al have decided to stop treating individual Americans like shit. How very generous of them. The writer of the article describes the following incidents:

Last spring, after the Bush administration recognized Kosovo's independence, a Serb who overheard my American-accented English lobbed a beer can at me in central Vienna. He missed, but spat out an unflattering "Amerikanac" and told me where to go.

On another occasion, an Austrian who heard my teenage daughter chatting with a friend pursued her, screaming, "Go Home!"

The Hell? This behavior is seriously fucked up. Even if you admit to the fact that the American government is imperfect, and that some heinous acts have been committed by individuals under the direction of that government, why take it out on a teenage girl, who has zero voice when it comes to the election of that government?

I had my own experience with anti American sentiment when I went to Mexico in March 2003. Obviously, there was an unpopular war just getting underway at that time. I was having fun spending my American dollars, money that everyone was very eager to receive. When I was approached by a deaf boy selling pencils on the streets of Cancun, I agreed to buy one but only had a couple of dollars cash. The boy got angry because he expected the "rich American" to give him more for his cheap ass pencils. So he drew his finger across his throat and said "Death to Americans". Creepy. And also very eye opening for a 26 year old woman on her first trip out of the country. I never realized how much we were hated.

And yet, everyone I know is honest, hardworking, big hearted. And they are all Americans. From what I can tell, Americans are always among the countries offering aid to those in need. Aid that no country experiencing crisis has ever refused. I can't imagine anyone ever telling an American ready to assist with money or manpower to "Go Home". Many people around the globe clamor to emigrate to this country, to either attend our schools, escape persecution, or pursue their own happiness, otherwise known as "The American Dream". And how many Americans have given their lives on foreign soil to preserve the freedoms of men and women who they have never even met? The waters on Omaha Beach were colored red by the blood of servicemen on June 6, 1944. Why is all the good that American does or has ever done discounted or forgotten?

The writer of the article stated that at times he felt the need to lie about his nationality, to deny being American, in order to avoid a nasty confrontation. I find it extremely sad that anyone should have to feel shame about who they are or where they come from. I, for one, am tired of feeling like I am somehow innately selfish or ignorant because I am American. But I guess now that Obama's president elect, I don't have to feel that way anymore. Obama's the saint that saved America...from what I don't know.

The writer ends the article this way:

I'm a marathon runner, and I have a red, white and blue singlet that I've seldom dared to wear on the Continent. Marathons are difficult enough without enduring catcalls and jeers from spectators.

But my best friend and training partner — who is French — just gave me his stamp of approval.

"Will you wear your Stars and Stripes shirt now? You're allowed!" he told me.

Thank you so much Mr. Douchebag Frenchman for giving this man permission to express his national pride. Yes, pride in a country who sacrificed so many young men's lives to rescue France from the clutches of Nazi Germany. But I guess this French man has the benefit of living in a perfect country, under a perfect government, where every citizen is completely enlightened, and only does good and angelic deeds (except, of course, for the occasional jeering at American marathon runners)

So it seems overnight, the international opinion of Americans and their government has taken a complete Uturn. Well, if there is any truth to this article, then my opinion of the rest of the world has taken a pretty sharp turn too. Guess what, rest of the world? I don't need your fucking permission to feel good about myself or my country. I voted for Obama, and I hope he does everything he promised to do. But HE HASN'T EVEN TAKEN OFFICE YET and people are already acting like he is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I guess my point is, why did it take the election of Obama for the world to start seeing that America is not a land of demons? Why was it okay for someone to throw a beer can at someone last Spring just for being an American, and all of a sudden this:

"She was a stranger, and she kissed me. Just for being an American.It happened on the bus on my way to work Wednesday morning, a few hours after compatriots clamoring for change swept Barack Obama to his historic victory. I was on the phone, and the 20-something Austrian woman seated in front of me overheard me speaking English.Without a word, she turned, pecked me on the cheek and stepped off at the next stop."

I can't wrap my brain around this. Hopefully, this article isn't representative of what is really happening around the globe. I know that you can't believe everything you read. But it disturbed me, nonetheless, and I just had to share the feelings it stirred up in me with all of you. I'm damn proud of being an American. And now the guy that threw the beer can, the Austrian who screamed at a teenager on the street, and most of all the arrogant French asshole who is conceited enough to believe we need his fucking blessing to wear our national colors with pride, are all on my shit list. They all suck beyond words and yet somehow they believe they are better than the Americans they crap all over. They better not ever step foot on this soil. Because, as Eminem says "When I fucking see you dog, I'm swinging on you". That is all.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tot the Vote

A few days ago, Liv and I were watching TV and an Obama campaign ad was running on-screen. She turned to me and said, "I like Bawack Obama, mommy. I like his face." When even a toddler has an opinion about the political candidates, you know that the candidates have really done their job and done it well. In my opinion, toddlers and children are a disenfranchised group in our society and I for one am not going to remain silent about it any longer. Olivia has as much a right to vote as anyone, especially when you consider the fact that a lot of adults vote or don't vote for a particular candidate based on wrong information, physical appearance, or just political affiliation.

Personally, I try to plow through all the information out there - from canvassers, magazine articles, news shows, debates. But at the end of the day, its all so overwhelming. Who do you trust? Who's telling the truth? Who's manipulating truth? What really is the best plan for the trajectory of this country? I'll be the first to admit, I'm a political simpleton. I've always been more interested in historical political climates, rather than current ones. So take what I'm about to say for what it's worth in light of that.

I've been bursting with rage lately about one particular issue. Here it is: I can not tell you how many people I've talked to or read about who have said they would not vote for Barack Obama based on the following reasons:
1. His middle name is Hussein and therefore he must be a terrorist.
2. His father was a Muslim, and therefore he is a Muslim, so he must be a terrorist.
3. I got an email that said Barack Obama was a terrorist, so he must be a terrorist.

Honestly, when I hear these things come out of people's mouths it really does fill me with the incendiary rage of a million suns that my daughter, who is 3 years old, cannot cast her vote come election day. Because in her itty bitty toddler head, there has to exist more sense and reason than in the adult minds whose two brain cells gave birth to such irrational ideas.

To address the first issue: Guess what? My middle name is Alison. And Stanley Allison Baker shot Wayne Walters in the back of the head for $50. (He's also ugly and ate a disgustingly gluttonous last meal, but that's a whole other story). So in applying the theory that Obama is a terrorist loving Muslim because of his middle name, then I must be a gluttonous, ugly, murderer. Seriously, that whole way of thinking is THAT stupid and THAT fucked up.

Second issue: Let's just assume for a second that Barack Obama's father was a Muslim. And for fun, let's also assume that Barack Obama is, himself, a practicing Muslim. So. Fucking. What? There are millions of hard-working, good hearted, peace-loving people who practice this religion in this country and throughout the globe. To paint an entire religious group with one brush based on the acts of a small proportion of that group is the height of ignorance, in my humble opinion. To say that all Muslims are terrorists is like saying that all Christians are polygamists and pedophiles because a small CHRISTIAN group called the FLDS thinks that marrying 14 year olds to grown men is A-Okay.

3rd issue - I got an email about 40 times that told me that my deodorant was giving me cancer. At the time, I thought: I'd rather get cancer than smell like body odor. And it looks like I made the right choice, too, because I smell good and I don't have cancer yet. I also got an email that told me if I didn't pass on some shitty chain letter to 10 people that I was going to die within 7 days. I deleted it and guess what? I'm still alive. The Gap was supposed to send me a $20 gift certificate for forwarding an email, and I'm i(red) because I think I was decei(ved). The point here is: Just because somebody wrote an email saying "Please pass this On, It's of urgent national security" or some other bullshit intended to make you feel like a fucking super spy, it doesn't mean that it's true. People send lots of horrible things via email, like viruses and fluffy, dancing kitty cats telling you how much you are loved. And if people don't stop believing all that shit, I'm going to go all "Stanley Allison Baker" on their asses. Because I have to. Because Alison is my middle name, you all.

I don't have a political agenda here. I really don't. I don't have the answers to anything. I honestly don't give a rat's ass who you or anyone is voting for. I do respect all opinions, so long as they are based on truth and logic and if a person has a credible reason for holding them. I mean if someone said to me, "I won't vote for Obama because I don't believe he has the ability to fix our economy", I can totally get that.

I'm voting for Obama, personally, but it really pissed me off when I heard that Madonna put up some video at her concert comparing McCain to Adolf Hitler. To me, that was an abuse of her celebrity status. But someone concluding that McCain is just like Hitler because of seeing that would be the same as believing Obama is a terrorist because of a damn email. The smears go both ways in this campaign.

I think my daughter is smart and I really respect her instincts. Her opinion is obviously not the only reason I'm casting my vote in Obama's direction, but I have to admit it makes me feel happy to know that she likes his face. I say let's start the toddler suffrage movement! Tot the Vote in 2012!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Suicide is Painless

I've been thinking a lot lately about morbid things. And also about things that I hate. It's been a while since I've written anything for you all to suffer through. Mostly because I've been having difficulty putting my thoughts into any cohesive order, but also because most of what I think is none of anybody's damn business. Oh, but I kid. I really do believe thoughts are meant to be shared, no matter how random or scary or bizarre. We live in a fucked up universe full of fucked up people. Doesn't it help to feel less alone in all that fucked-up-ness?

You want to know what I hate right now? I want to say this right, because its important to me, but I'm not sure I can really put into words exactly what it is and why I am so annoyed. You know the montage of images that are always shown in the beginning of television shows? Along with the theme song there is this onslaught of smiling faces of all the characters. Smiling face. Smiling face. Smiling face. Oooh sad face followed by a hug. Smiling face. Silly antic. Smiling face. After a while, I get nauseous. This is the beginning of the process. Eventually my nausea gives way to an overwhelming desire to destroy things. And the final stage is a complete loss of all will to live.

The worst opening montage of all is for The Hills. Especially the one snippet where you see models getting dressed for a fashion show and THEIR BONES ARE STICKING OUT all over the place and I guess I'm supposed to feel all inspired by these Halloween skeletons to "feel the rain on my skin" when honestly I think that would be pretty painful when you have no fatty tissue whatsoever to cushion the fall of said raindrops. La La La - No one else can do it for you, only you can let it in. You know what else no one can do for you? Eat food. And also stop dating that asshat Justin Bobby guy with the weird hats and even weirder tics. Jesus Christ. Okay, we all had one of them, I guess. And they are young. And I was just as stupid about Keith as any of them are about all their jerks. But it doesn't stop me from wanting to wring their scrawny little necks when they whine about how bad they're being treated whilst chewing tiny bites of food. It would be okay with me if they just fucking admitted that they liked being treated like shit. The one that really grates is Heidi with her one billion tons of make up and her emotionally abusive fiance and her extraterrestrial ability to morph into an entirely different person within the span of a single year. She looks like a mannequin. I hate her guts.

And theme music in general is downright insidious (the dictionary so perfectly defines this word as harmful but enticing). I haven't seen Family Ties in about 20 years but that Sha La La La at the end of it's theme song still works it's way into my mind eating valuable brain cells like a tape worm at regular intervals. And Full House. God. Full House. "What ever happend to predictability?" What ever happened to song lyrics that made sense and didn't make we want to invent a time machine, go back to the dawn of man's cultural awareness, and murder the neanderthal who liked the sound of two sticks tapping together before he could go share it with the rest of the clan? Honestly, there is some music that makes me wish there was never music. But there are some theme songs that I absolutely adore. Silver Spoons. Here we are, face to face, a couple of silver spooons... Love it. So I bought Tina a CD one year for Christmas that had a bunch of TV theme songs on it. One of the songs was called "Suicide is Painless" and I thought what kind of fucked up show was that the theme song of? Turns out its that doo doo doooo doo doo doo song from MASH. That show definitely makes me want to commit suicide if I ever see it for a few minutes by accident, with that frizzy haired lady and Hawkeye trying to be funny around makeshift operating room tables. Compared to watching that show, suicide IS painless. But I think it really depends on the suicide.

Yeah, I know. Totally heavy subject. Here's the thing. I saw this episode of Dr. Phil called "The Bridge" and it was about this guy who did a documentary where he taped footage of people jumping off the Golden Gate bridge. It is seriously one of the creepiest things. You'll be happy to know (I'm assuming) that I could never jump off of a bridge. I don't know why anyone would pick that as the way to go. Like, hey moron, how about an overdose of opiates so you can go out feeling momentary, albeit artificial, pleasure? Yeah, your life sucks but does that mean you have to end it in such a craptastic way? But I guess you can't be thinking too straight if you're offing yourself anyway.

So then I start thinking about the note: that final note that most people write to explain or apologize to the loved ones left behind. What does one say? I think I would die of old age before I could ever decide what my final words would be. I would seriously obsess about the grammar, the content, the eloquence. I would spend so much time on that damn note that I would probably end up forgetting why I wanted to commit suicide in the first place. I wonder if anybody ever just wrote "You should have treated me better". Heh. There was this couple on the show whose daughter committed suicide after they got in a fight and her mom said "You should start being more grateful. Because with all the money we're going to be spending on your college tuition, me and your father could be taking a trip around the world every year". And then they grounded her. And then she jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. I think she over-reacted just a tad. But I really wonder what her note said. Maybe she wrote: "Mom and Dad, Have fun on your trip around the world! Love, Megan" That would have been awesome. I mean the whole thing is a fucking tragedy. I feel super sad for all involved, but I can also be a little objective about it because I don't know these folks. The moral of this little story is, if you're going to go all bat-shit crazy and kill yourself at least try and find a way to be cool about it.

So now is the serious portion, where I have to go all PC and say "Suicide - Don't Do It" ala Heathers. Seriously, you all. There is nothing cool about slit wrists, OD's, or nooses. But sometimes when I hear about things so terrible, I have to find a way to laugh about it. Otherwise, I would start crying and just never stop. You'd find me in a fetal position in a dark room working on my "Note" by way of candlelight. So let me laugh about suicide, and crappy theme songs, and don't go all after-school special on me. Okey dokey?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Necies Pieces

Did you ever meet a character? I mean not in the stupid "He's a character" way, but in the way that makes you think you are actually in a sitcom right now conversing with the wacky foil and there's a laugh track playing in all the stupid glory of the moment? There's a woman who works in the office next door. Denise is her name. She drives a blue SUV with a vanity license plate that reads: NECIES. She's always baking things that don't really taste good. One time she gave me a piece of banana bread and I ended up wrapping it in a napkin and putting it in my purse because I was afraid to leave it in the trash where she might see it and then get her feelings all hurt and whatnot. And then I forgot about it and it ended up drying out and and I had all these disgusting crumbs and little pieces of walnut at the bottom of my purse mingled with the buttons, coins, safety pins, candy wrappers that had been gathering in there for many months. It made me want to throw up a little bit.

And she talks. A lot. "So many non sequiturs, so little time" seems to be her standard operating procedure on any given day. If I so much as say "Good morning" to her, or "God Bless You" when she sneezes, she's standing at the door of my office telling me about how she went shoe shopping at Value City and bought a pair of sneakers for $5.99. And right after that she yammers on about her boyfriend's terrible car accident, complete with head trauma that left him on disability. I know. I KNOW. That's a sad story. But now they're engaged and getting married! And no doubt having the tackiest wedding since this one:

Do we all know this type of person or is it just me? Does anybody else know someone who seems to exist only to fascinate and annoy you in a million different ways? It's like how I felt about teachers in elementary school: like they didn't exist outside of that context. I know on a rational level that Denise is a real, alive type of person with complex feelings and hopes and dreams and all that shit. But there is a part of me that can't accept that she has a soul.
What stuns me is the fact that I am weirdly drawn to her. I engage her in conversation. I tell her that her food tastes great. I even told her to bring in her photo album from her first wedding where she made head pieces for all her bridemaids out of tulle and glue and fake pearls. I want to see it. It's like this THING. I need to see that photo album and experience the monstrosity in all its plastic floral centerpiece splendor. Maybe I'm more of a masochist than I thought. I mean I know that I have the capacity to inflict pain on myself in a lot of intense and strange ways, but this is beyond that. And now I'm thinking about Saturday Night Live. Remember the skits about Pat? Well maybe Denise is Pat.
You know the truth is that she seems like a really nice lady. So I don't mean to sound like a bitch, even though I kind of am. I'm just starting to think about my own damn self, and what I look like to the people around me. What character am I playing in this fucked up universe? I see that 90210 "what character are you" app floating around, so I know that I'm not the only person who wonders about this type of thing. Maybe I don't really want to know the answer to that question. It's just all too meta, I guess. Like if I knew what insignificant stupid role I really played in this world I'd collapse into myself and turn into this black hole, or be like two mirrors falling on one another into infinity.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What is Left

When I die, my friends and family are going to have an interesting time. I mean after they get over all the blah blah cry cry griefcakes, they are going to have about 20 years worth of my writings (journals, emails, poetry,love letters) to keep them busy reading for another 20 years. It'll almost be as good as me being alive. Maybe better as then they could put me back in the ratty old manila folder when they get sick of my incessant bullshit.

Lately, I've been thinking that my time is nigh. Whether or not I'll meet Jesus or Beelzebub when I go is a toss up. I'm sort of keen on meeting either one. Of course the Satan I picture is more the Al Pacino version from the Devil's advocate than the Dante's inferno clever psycho. Don't get me wrong, they're both equally entertaining. I just don't feel like burning alive or having my head put on backwards or having to swim in human excrement for all eternity. That would get old real quick. know what would be cool? The Christopher Moltisanti version of Hell, what with all the Irish guys playing Poker. I wouldn't mind losing every hand. I lose every hand now when I play Poker and I'm still alive and not yet cursed to eternal damnation. And they were all smoking and drinking up a storm. How much would that rock?

I highly doubt there's even hangovers in Hell. God should have made Hell an eternal raging hangover. I think that would be more of a deterrent than fire and brimstone even. Is God even the one that picks the tortures or is it Satan? You know how Dante's Satan made the condition of hell fit the particular sin of the damned? I wonder what clever punishment he'd come up with for the likes of me. I don't have one particular sin that I do. I just do a bunch of tall to grande ones. Sin 1: I spend lots of money at Starbucks that should be spent helping starving children. Other sins include hating people and objects for no reason, misspelling a word on a photo book I made, and swearing, like, a whole fucking lot.

Anyway, I've been wondering lately why I have kept all of those writings. I'm not arrogant enough to consider it a "body of work" nor am I naive enough to think I'd receive any post-humus accolades for a bunch of crap poems and a creepy, self-indulgent journal that might as well bear the glitter words "My Secret Diary" and be locked up with an ineffective, tiny padlock. It makes me sad to think that when I bite it, THIS will be the legacy. Piles of words, descriptive of angst, sophomoric stabs at sonnets, lewd limericks for a lover, lamenting the agony of eating, lamenting the agony of not eating, alone, alone, alone, so very alone as brought to you by my strange, cryptic style where sometimes the sounds of words are more important than their meaning.

There is a small part of me that hopes there isn't an afterlife. Admitting that is terribly hard for me because I have a sister's soul out there depending on the reality of that concept. But truth be told, I think by the time I go I'll be more than ready for the end of Gwen. And while I'm on the truth train, here's a little factoid for you: I'm so much better at writing about life than I am at actually living it. So unless they have laptops or notebooks and writing utensils in heaven or hell, I'm not so sure my life would retain any value in those venues. Also, it really creeps me out to think about having the ability to pop down and visit the living. There are some things I just don't want to see - like people I know having sex for example. Wouldn't that be horrible to come down to check on someone and have a terrible surprise like that? What can the dead see? Are there limits to where they can go? Think about all the invisible, dead people that might be swarming around you the next time you're on the toilet. Or peeking at dirty pictures on the internet. Or lighting up your crack pipe. I shudder to think.

At the very least I have immortality in what I've left behind. Well maybe not immortality, per se. But maybe 100 years at least, no doubt a good portion of which will be spent yellowing and forgotten in a wooden trunk in a poorly ventilated attic. But for Liv's sake, should I die young especially, it does mean a lot for me to know that there will remain a window into my weird and twisted soul: A window that she can peer into when she's old enough to meet her mother, raw and unfiltered.

Whatever the end, I keep writing the story. And I hold onto the pages like heartbeats and sustenance. I write the story for me. I write the story for Olivia. My lame little story.

We only get one, and we mess up a lot.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Bitter, Early

I see the bitter, early. It is a brutal inheritance I am unhappy to bestow. In the face of an angel, eyes sharp as razors, cheerio mouth howling long and full of anguish. Feet clad in princess sneakers, the kind with the blinking lights, kicking harder and stronger than I ever thought they could. This is nothing, I say. This is only an adult sized anger, teeming like a million fishes in a tiny bowl, over a question about apple juice. If she could access the words in her little brain - No I don't want fucking apple juice, you annoying bitch.

Then the other day. "I hate you." Calm and eerie, unsheathing a new sword.

"Why would you say such a thing, Liv?"

"I hate you."

"Silly girl."

It is hard not to react...hard. But there is nothing about hate that she can possibly understand. Is there? Do any of us really understand it, or are we conditioned by the reaction? All my "hates" are really only sadness, regret. It's easier to say I hate something, because it makes it other than myself. It separates me from the source of that particular pain. It's a detour, but it gets me where I'm going so much easier.

I have to say that I love the truth in my daughter. Everything is raw in her world. Every emotion is okay. When she says, "You made me mad", I get a chill of delight. For me its not about the "Why", but the expression of the feeling, so plain and entitled. So I say, "Let's draw your mad."

Picture after picture of the same face, each eye a sharp line, the mouth an "O", drawn by the unsteady hand of an angry toddler. Eventually the faces become happy ones, and she bounds away saying "My mad feels better, mom." I love this new ritual. I hope she can always "draw her mad" in healthy expression of unhealthy rage.

Otherwise, what will she do with it? The years of false injustices, unexplainable annoyances, petty disgusts, will amount to a bitter existence. And eventually all those pointy daggers will have no where to go, turning inwards, stabbing her own soul. No Outlet. It is an end I couldn't bear for my Olivia, my olive branch, my peace offering, my sculpted, tender avenging angel. Draw your mad, baby. Fill your notebooks. Kill a million trees with every harsh thought and despair. Damn, I hate trees. Always falling down on my dad's house and shit. The other day, another tree fell on his swingset. Now trees are trying to murder children. When I see those tree shredder trucks, it makes my toes tingle. Even in Lord of the Rings, I wanted all those tree people to get killed by the Orcs. Or whatever the fuck those creepy, hybrid beasts were called. Christmas is the best...tree after murdered tree. And then we decorate them with little balls and top them with angels and stars. Arbor Day is the worst. The trees have everybody fooled. But I know better.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

FreeCreditReport.Com Commercials

I have a new favorite asshole. Free Credit Report.Com is just about the worst thing to come out of the internet since on-line predators. I hate the concept of being manipulated into thinking I'm getting something for free, when in reality I have to pay to "enroll" in their stupid program to qualify for the "free" credit report. I hate the jingle...Freeee credit com. Incendiary, that song is. I used to hate that big-teethed, poor man's Prince William who sat in that chair looking smug about knowing what was on his credit report. If I was in third grade and seeing that for the first time, I would say, "If you love your credit report so much, then why don't you marry it?" Seriously that guy acts like he would fuck his credit score if only he could. Hate him and his bleach teeth and his outfit and his smug "do you know your credit score?" I thought I could never hate another human being as much as I hated this smarmy fool.

I couldn't be more wrong. Because now at regular intervals on my television screen comes an even worse asshole to plug this sham of a business. Why did they pick this squirrely, horrible man out of the people who auditioned? Surely this is truly the worst person you could ever select to represent your product. His presence on my screen makes me wish for death. His death. First of all I hate his shaggy hair. Second of all, I despise his plucky music. In the first commercial, he is working as a waiter in a restaurant, and he proceeds to play a creepily upbeat number about how he wouldn't be working there if he had known his credit score. What? It's downright offensive to insinuate that nobody would work as a waiter unless someone stole their identity and messed up their credit report and pushed them into the sad, sad life of waiting tables. Boo Hoo, you have to wear a pirate costume. There are worse things in this life - like people are STARVING to death in Africa, and being methodically murdered in Darfur. Get some fucking perspective. If I were those nice couples eating in that restaurant, I wouldn't let that vile man go within 20 feet of any of my food.

If that weren't bad enough, in the next commercial the same guy gets married and then proceeds to sing a despicable little tune about how if he had known her credit was so bad he would never have married her and had to live in her father's basement. What an ungrateful douchebag. Seriously, if you are that cramped for space and its so horrible living there, then why do you have your crappy "band" hanging out there? While your poor wife is stuck trying to do the laundry all around your dumbass friends lounging around and leering at her? Why don't you just leave if it's so horrible? Oh right...she's the girl of your dreams. You just regret marrying her because you didn't illegally obtain her credit report score prior to the wedding. How romantic, you tool. He should be grateful just to have such a nice, pretty wife as to not only completely divorce him on the spot for singing a little ditty about how much he can't stand being married to her RIGHT IN FRONT of her face, but still does the wash and puts up with all your douchebag friends taking up room in her already cramped living space. What a complete asshole is this guy to basically express that a person's value can be defined by a credit score. Is that supposed to be funny? Because its gross. And if they have to constantly peddle their dubious wares on my TV screen, bring back bleach teach. He's the lesser of two evils.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fire and Ice

I'm beginning to think that the people I already know are the only people worth knowing in this world. Everywhere I turn I see individuals that bolster my inward desire to develop a bad case of agoraphobia, hunker down in front of my TV or a good novel, make some popcorn, and prepare to watch the greatest show ever - The Apocalypse, otherwise known as the destruction of all humankind (including myself) via fireballs and nifty explosions.

Of course, I know that the end of humankind won't be that simple. According to all the "green" people that have been annoying the shit out of me lately with their incessant whining about off-shore drilling and polar ice caps and paper plates, our world will probably end in ice as a result of our own arrogance and greed. Remember that Robert Frost poem?

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also greatAnd would suffice.

I can't (or don't want to) picture Robert Frost "tast[ing] of desire", but the man makes a brilliant point. Well, well, well... he's somebody I never met who was probably worth knowing. I have to concede that I just might be wrong a lot of the time. Of course, its hard to make any sense when my mind is so cluttered with angry and cynical sentiments. It's like this boiling rage bubbling underneath the surface of my docile demeanor and it's very distracting. I know that this anger is mostly about stupid things of little consequence. It doesn't take a whole lot to set off the fireworks in my skull. It could be a dumbass actor telling a tired joke on my television screen and all of the sudden I want to have a comedian bonfire. I might have bought a one-way ticket to Hell this morning, because I said "Jesus Christ" about 1,000 times when the woman driving in front of me was being bipolar with the speed limit (old lady on a Sunday drive one minute, Speedracer the next),. Yesterday, I broke a pen right in half because Livy was trying to take it from me when I was writing. I've taken enough basic Psychology classes to know that what I'm really mad about is something else entirely. I guess it's easier to be angry at the little things, then face the truth about my own failings and disappointments in myself.

I guess it is good that I've retreated these past few months. I have made an art of isolation. I am a mason, working hard at the fortress, using every annoyance as an excuse to lay down another brick. It's an ugly wall, but it serves a beautiful purpose. It's protects both you and I from facing the consequences of uneven tempers and the impatient, whirring storms of discontent. And for the record, I also hold with those who favor fire, but only in this life and not beyond.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Carousel

Current Mood: The girls in circles and circles and circles again

Here I am. I know how hard my absence has been on all of you. I'm like the blog-writing equivalent of a dead-beat dad. And I'm showing up now out of the blue with tickets to the carnival and a million, shiny excuses. I come bearing gifts. And you just can't stay mad at me, no matter how hard you try, because....because....just because.

I know it's not because of love. Well maybe for some of you it is. This is always amazing to me: discovering that I am loved, even a little bit. It can't be an easy thing to do, loving a person with such a heart, so full of hate, a mind weighed down with leaden bullets of despair, ceasingly complaining, ever moaning, begrudging every single smile.

To some of you I matter for different reasons, I suppose. It feels good to matter at all. To figure in the equation. To curl up in my niche in the universe like a psycho fetus hacking away at the cord. I'm fucked up bad in a good way. And you like that about me. Because you're fucked up too.

Don't be offended by my assumptions. Consider the source. Maybe I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. You are the pristine picture of mental health. There is not a single item in the the DSM-V that applies to you. Your Rorschach inkblot interpretations are all puppy dogs and rainbows. You would have punched Milgram right in his smug face for asking you to shock someone just for messing up fucking word pairs. I'm Not Okay, You're okay.

But I believe that we all got on a bloody carousel the day we were born. We came out of our mother's bodies (upside down) screaming at the top of our lungs. Why were we screaming? Because we knew something bad was coming up, innately, deep in the pit of our bellies. Round and round the horses go, as we sit on their uncomfortable saddles, with smiles plastered on our faces, nausea brewing in our sick souls, and holding on until our fingers bleed, praying for it all to stop. But at the same time knowing that the end of the ride will mean the end of us.

I don't mean to discount the pleasures that living affords us. But even pleasure has its price, as my expanding hips and waistline surely attest to. The author of that book, The Power of Now, tells me to stop considering the past and contemplating the future so intensely. To experience each moment as a gift, no matter how painful, annoying, uncomfortable it may be. He asks me to live each moment as if I chose the experience, the sensation, the feeling and to not judge any part of it. Which is a lie I will tell myself. He is asking me to stop the carousel with my own mind. That is the hardest thing anyone has ever asked me to do.

This is the only way to be healthy, he asserts. To stop abusing the gift of thought, which I do by using my thoughts to torment my soul so horribly. This makes perfect sense when I consider it honestly.

I'm leaving for the shore tomorrow, so again I will be absent. That is a good excuse. I'm sort of miserable about the beach sometimes, with all the sand and the seagulls and having to wear a garment that pretty much lets every eyeball know that I've been eating too much the past six months. Fuck it. I've been to a special kind of hell the past six months too. Sometimes a bowl of ice cream with painkiller sprinkles was the only thing that made me feel better. I don't have to prove shit to anyone. Anyway you all know that I can starve if I wanted to; you've seen me do it. I just don't care to use that particular "super power" anymore. Because it's moronic.

You know what else is moronic? The following two phrases:

I'm scared of clowns.

I hate hospitals.

I know this is completely off topic. Although there really isn't a topic to this blog when I stop to think about it. But it really makes me want to pull out my own eardrums with a pair of tweezers when I hear either of these phrases come out of any mouth at any time.

When people say they are scared of clowns, they always say it as if that is going to be surprising somehow. Like, isn't it weird that I'm so afraid of weird men with paint all over their face, big red noses, and synthetic hair the color of which is never found in nature? And if that wasn't bad enough, the shoes which are too big, which is supposed to be funny but really just comes off looking like a really pitiful birth defect. My point is, there is nothing about a clown that isn't scary. Everyone knows this. And ever since Pennywise, with his sharp, bloodstained teeth, said "They all float down here" and scooted around on that unicycle in the antique photograph, isn't everyone creeped out by the whole lot of clowns? The only person I have ever met that isn't effected by clowns is my granny, who actually paints pictures of clowns and hangs them on her wall. I knew she was in league with the devil ever since I first saw that. So I'm not disputing the fact that the idea of clowns is one spawned from the bowels of hell. I just think that some of the men who dress as clowns for birthdays and such are really just trying to make a bleak living and don't warrant our fear. So when I hear someone say, "I'm so scared of clowns - I have to leave this birthday party", I call bull shit because unless the guy has blood dripping off of his teeth he is just a man in a creepy suit. And I really hate when people think they are saying something so unique, when a billion stupid people before them have said that very same stupid thing.

As for anyone who says "I hate hospitals". Show me a person who LOVES hospitals and I won't punch you in the face.

And on that delightful note, I say goodbye. I know you will wait with bated breath for the next installment of Gwen's random thoughts. Or maybe you couldn't care less. I don't know. I don't care because I'm going on vacation and will be drinking cocktails at 11 am. And you are jealous.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ramblings for Rainbows

The woman in the kayak is wet with raindrops. So is the man. We are adrift in these waters, two people let loose under the beauty of a pink Florida sunset. Nothing matters out here. Except maybe a family of birds mysteriously ignoring our stale breadcrumbs dissipating in the brackish water. I think of my favorite poem of all time, "Wild Geese", by Mary Oliver.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Everytime I read it, I get chills. Kayaking in the rain with the person you love most in the world for me is like a movie moment. It's like when you have this overwhelming feeling that you are playing out a story, and this is the romantic scene. You listen for the music, for it to swell loud as a soundtrack, but all you hear are the crickets chirping, the swish of the oars, the soft breathing of your lover.

I'm fully aware of my movie moment, everything in me is alive and full of the world. The world is not too much with us, as Wordsworth so narrow-mindedly opined. It is not with us enough most of the time. We have to go out and find it. And when nature opens her arms to me, I am eager to accept this embrace. Except if bugs are involved. I'm sort of sick of bugs and their landing whereever they want, biting whoever they want, crawling around on food at any given opportunity and having the audacity to alight on me when I was on the train yesterday. Bugs have some balls when you really stop and think about it. I'm more than ready for their extinction, no matter what ecologic consequences their absence might assign.

Anyway, the real movie moment when in my kayak on this rainy evening, transpired when for no apparent reason God saw fit to send me a peace offering...this rainbow clear across the sky, like a combination of dewy jewels, or a box of crayons dripping with tears. It's a small consolation prize for all the shit God's allowed to befall me the past few years, not to mention the existence of bugs that he still has to answer for. But it's something, and my forgiveness is easily bought, especially when the currency is rainbows.

You do not have the monopoly on adoring rainbows Lindsey . And as we have previously discussed, this affection does not make us lesbians. As for me, whenever I start to wonder if I have leanings in the Sapphic direction, I just have to have sex one time and I'm back to loving men all over again. I love so many things about them - things I will not detail here because I'm a really private person. Did your beverage come flying out of your nose from laughing too? Privacy is for cowards. Or for the mentally sane. I haven't decided yet. But either way, if no one was willing to lay it all out there and take a risk the world would be a pretty boring, Stepford place.

I used to conspire to take back the rainbow. Afterall, it was commandeered by the homosexual community without even asking the rest of humanity if that was okay. Not cool, gay people. Not cool. I've had some arguments with my gay friends about this issue, but in the end we agreed to disagree. And in the scheme of things, it is a small concession to not begrudge a battered and brave population such glorious representation. And I don't think my opinion matters much anyway. I'm like an army of one. And my only weapon is words. "The pen is mightier than the sword" is a phrase oft-quoted but really void of meaning. I get the spirit of it, and the idea of words being more powerful than violence is quaint and all. But in reality if you literally tried to fight off a sword with words, you'd probably end up with a stab wound through the skull. The guy who wrote that is an idiot, and the idiot, according to Wikipedia is a guy named Edward Bulver-Lytton. And get this:

From Wikipedia: Despite his popularity in his heyday, today his name is known as a byword for bad writing. San Jose State University's annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for bad writing is named after him.

Isn't that hilarious? That little snippet gave me more joy than seeing a thousand rainbows could ever bring. That's what he gets for having two last names.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Who is this crazy bitch?

Hi. I'm bitter. I'm also 33 with no notable or worthwhile accomplishments to report. I'm in love with autumn, my husband Todd, my bratty toddler, starvation and gluttony at intervals, and raw and dirty writing. My sister, Amy, died a year ago of breast cancer at the age of 34. And I'm still pretty pissed off about that. I had my boobs cut off last year because they were plotting my demise with a BRCA2 mutation. I grew up in the doomsday religious group known as the Jehovah's Witnesses, aka "the doorknockers". If I ever knocked on your door at 8 am trying to sell you a Watchtower while wearing a prairie dress, let me extend my sincerest apologies. I spend my time trying to comprehend the insanity I see around me, undoing the damage wrought by my religious upbringing, bitching and moaning about inconsequential things, and attempting to find some sort of meaning in my life. This blog is my lame attempt to record my experiences, thoughts, and ideas. It helps to write. It keeps the rage at bay.

If you want to yell at me, praise me, proposition me, send me a note at

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Numbers

Current Mood: Living Recovery in an Eating Disordered World

"You're big. I'm small" Liv chirps from her car seat. "That's right," I say encouragingly. Then she comes out with this, "Why don't you be small and I get big."

I had to laugh because even though she has no idea about anything, her statement was pretty meaningful. Think about it. Don't we ladies spend our entire childhoods trying to be bigger than we are? And then when we finally get big, we focus a lot of our energies on trying to be small. I've spent a good portion of my 32 years on a diet, planning a diet, starving, exercising too much, or immersed in a binge/purge cycle. I'd like to believe that my experience is singular, but I know that it is not. We take to a diet like a holy calling. And it all boils down to The Numbers.

I spent a rather disturbing afternoon in the year 2000 walking 7 long and lonely miles on a graveled track. I had not eaten in 5 days and I had not had anything to drink in 12 hours. I didn't know at the time why I was driven to do this...and I still don't know. If I had a Delorian and a flux capacitator, I'd go back in time and slap the shit out of myself. Old me was scary crazy. New me is normal crazy. I diet and I exercise, but I don't take things too far the way I used to do. But I'm still sad about the state of things, about the way that my mind is a ceasing calculator of numbers.

120 calories in 2 tablespoons of dressing
3.5 miles ran
45 minutes spent walking
110 pounds of weight
6 oz water
20 almonds

Some people listen to music when they run. I look at The Numbers. I watch intently as they creep on their intense journey zero. I can't be distracted away from The Numbers. They are my guide. And while I have no intentions of walking 7 miles on an empty stomach ever, ever again, I can't help but see parallels in old me and new me. When does this focus on The Numbers end? When will I stop needing to quantify every bit of every experience? Sometimes when I really decide to examine myself, I realize that the more I change, the more I stay the same. I just find new rituals with which to torment myself.

It doesn't mean that what I do is inherently harmful. There is nothing wrong with being conscious of our bodies, of our accomplishments, of our intake. But I just don't understand when that conscientousness stops being helpful and starts being pathological. This is hard to decipher in such a culture as this that we live in. Everywhere I look there is something or someone telling me I'm not good enough, that I have to try harder, that I have to eat less, that this will give me cancer, that this will lower my cholesterol, that I am not doing what I'm supposed to do. Why can't I just fucking live? Living is too much work. I guess I have a horrible work ethic.

What do we lose when we focus so much on The Numbers? Do we sacrifice quality in our lives? Do we discount joy? I don't know if it's possible to be happy and not be allowed to eat ice cream. But there are moments when I'm eating that and really feeling the love for cold, creamy goodness and I can't help but feel empty. Like something is missing...and then that something hits me like a shovel to the back of the head: Guilt. The Numbers kicking me in my fucking skull. How many miles do I have to run to burn off this indulgence? How many crunches do I have to do to make up for this "moment on the lips", so it doesn't end up "a lifetime on the hips?"

I look everywhere for sanity. I can't seem to find it. I learned during the therapeutic treatment of my anorexia what put the "disorder" in my eating. I just never learned what was normal. I can't help but feel this country is in the throes of a raging eating disorder. It's really hard to live recovery in such an environment. It's like being an alcoholic and forced to live in a bar 24 hours a day.

I heard that in some elementary schools they send home BMI reports to parents of the kids now. If they ever send one home to me I will tear it to shreds and then put the shreds in the kitty litter box and let my cat shit all over them. If a child is having a weight problem, pay attention to it by all means. But why determine BMIs of children who do not appear to be unhealthy or overweight? What is the fucking point of that? We are sending a message to these children that The Number is very important. And we marvel over the fact that about 80% of 7 year old girls are dissatisfied with their physical appearance. These children are inheriting our national disease. And it makes me sick to my stomach.

Obesity in children is on the uprise. Why? Is it because we weren't paying enough attention to The Numbers? I personally believe it's on the uprise because we are. I remember when I was little, playing outside was a gift. We'd play freeze tag and kick ball and dodge ball and jump rope and it was FUN. Now we mandate physical activity like a fucking spelling test. Kids start looking at softball like a punishment. The more we focus on The Number of calories they're burning vs. The Number of calories they're eating, the more they stop listening to their internal cues about hunger and satiety, about pleasure and punishment. Kids, for the most part, have an innate sense of when they're hungry and when they're full. Don't fuck with that. It's perfect just the way it is. Anyone with a toddler can attest to the fact that they are bundles of limitless energy. Maybe most kids would maintain that energy if we weren't saddling them with tons of homework after school or allowing them to sit in front of a computer for hours on end instead of sending them to play outside. I'm not saying I have the answers...I'm just thinking out loud because I'm worried.

Will Liv escape the curse of The Numbers? I'm going to do everything in my power to facilitate that. Right after I get back from running off this pizza I just ate. And thusly I join the Hypocrite of the Month Club. Member Number 1.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Van, Van Go Away

I was just driving home yesterday, listening to some good music, enjoying the sunlight making its way into my heart via the sunroof. I was feeling happy and content, a really rare moment. But the universe always sees fit to punish me for having anything good. So here was my punishment this time: I saw the most horrifying thing. There was an old white van that had one of those rusty ladders on top; you know the ones that look like they haven't been used in three decades? Like why have a ladder on the top of the roof if you aren't going to use it, asshole? I've known people to have ski racks too and never ever went skiing a day in their whole life. I hate them. Well this van is right next to me at a light and then got in front of me, which, of course, put me in prime position to witness a thing that no eyes should ever have to gaze upon. On the back of this atrocious box of rust was affixed a bumper sticker. Horrible, right? But it gets even worse. It said:


What in the name of all that wakes me up in the middle of the night sweating, nervous, and cursing the day I was ever born? That right there is an example of everything that is wrong with America. Butchering the English language is a fucking shame. Butchering the English language on purpose is a crime against humanity. The person who drove the van and the person who put the bumper sticker on the van are complicit, no doubt. But they are also victims in a way of a much larger terror. Even more culpable are the ones who manufactured the bumper sticker in the first place. Even the people who made the sticky stuff on the back of the bumper sticker have some accountability. But the person who needs to die is the one who woke up one morning and said "I have an idea. Why don't I misspell words and put them on a sticker so that people can advertise how ignorant they are and I can make a shitload of money?" If I saw that person get pinned under a van that was a blazing inferno fueled by gasoline and decaying ladders, it would be the happiest day of my life. If the person offered me all the money that was made from the bumper sticker business venture to help him out, I'd take all his money and then throw it onto the flames to fuel the fire instead.

I hate vans. I hate people who drive vans only a little bit less than I hate stepping in dog crap. So to see a van, a driver of a van, and then a fucking bumper sticker all at the same time was really traumatizing to me. Here is an updated list of things that I hate because I know that some people like to keep track and that isn't an easy thing to do when it comes to me:

7. Computer programs that try and "help" you when you're typing and only end up fucking everything up.
6. Me
5. Robin Williams
4. People who drive vans
3. Stepping in dog crap
2. Vans
1. Bumper stickers that slaughter the English language

I hate so much stuff but these things in particular angry up the blood like nothing else right now. I don't understand and I never want to understand why spelling things wrong and being grammatically incorrect became so acceptable, even fucking quaint. People need to start getting punished for some of this shit. Take for instance, me. I made these beautiful photo books with pictures of my dead sister for my parents, but I didn't proof-read the back cover of the book. That's why I am 6 on the "things I hate" list at the moment. Because as it turns out, I made a grammatical error and now they are ruined through and through. So I did the only right thing to make it better; I cut myself a few times with a knife on my arm.

I'm just kidding. I don't do that anymore. But I wanted to and that's the whole point. If more people were like me and wanted to murder themselves or at the very least inflict a lot of pain on their own bodies when they did horrible things like misspell words, or make despicable bumper stickers, or put them on their vehicles, or drove vans then maybe they wouldn't do those things anymore. And I wouldn't toss and turn at night and have terrible dreams about oversized vans causing an imbalance in the beauty aesthetic of the world and destroying all the roads leading to heaven or the alphabet slitting its own throat rather than suffer any more abuse and choking to death on its own blood. I'd eventually run out of things to hate and then maybe I could focus on being a better person and helping people, which was my original plan that went all awry when I saw that business sign "Caribbean Tanz" a while back. I haven't been the same since I saw that sign with my bare eyes and everyday that it continues to exist my soul dies a little bit more. That store is on Old Lincoln Highway by the Oxford Valley Mall. If you ever see the sign, look away immediately or it will fuck you up too.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Few Small Nips

Sometimes I feel like I live my life teetering on the edge. Of what, I have no idea. I have something to say but maybe I don't have the courage to cut it out of me or vomit it out of me, or whatever other disgusting metaphor I can conjure up. Did you ever wonder what it would feel like to have a metal rod penetrate you from your stomach to your pelvis?

Neither did I. Until Friday night when I saw some things, some raw unfiltered things hanging on the wall of the art museum. Except those paintings and pictures weren't just hanging there, they were opening mouths and screaming obscenities at me. They were making out with me. We were having an angry dialogue. And then we were having make up sex. Looking at the work of Frida Kahlo was like understanding all that was ugly and all that was beautiful in the world at the same time.

Truth be told, I may not know what it feels like to be pierced by a metal rod, but I do know what it feels like to be penetrated. We women spend our whole lives being penetrated. The fate of the human species depends on our willingness to be penetrated. Isn't that insane?

I love having sex, so don't start thinking I'm some puritanical, frigid prude. It's just that sometimes when I think too deeply about things that happen every day and I whittle and whittle and whittle away at them I come up with a realization that makes me cry. Not in a sobbing, sad way. But in that futile sense where tears come into your eyes but never fall. When I think about sex, I realize that the act removes all the trappings of civility, it reveals what we are at our most base level. At the risk of being crude, when we're getting fucked, ladies, we're being conquered. In those moments, you are somebody's property. It is difficult not to feel a sadness about that. And it makes me think about the limitations we have as humans...about myself as a woman and all the women who came before me doing the exact same things and feeling the exact same feelings. I shudder to think about the way evolution has made us vulnerable. No matter how hard we work, no matter how much we educate ourselves, no matter how much we pretend that men and women are the same, it doesn't matter. We, as a gender, will never be stronger. Submission is innate. It is necessary for the proliferation of our species. And I am very ambivalent about that fact. I don't know how I'm supposed to feel about my place "in the family of things".

There is the goddess pose in yoga - Lay on your back, bend your knees, touch your feet together and spread your legs. This is goddess. Opening myself to the universe...letting go. And even though I hate this about myself, I am very comfortable in this asana.

Part of me is appalled that I put these words down for your consumption. But it is all just ideas. I think about Frida Kahlo and her beautiful, strong, winged eyebrows. I think about her lonely art, sitting side by side with herself, heart outside of chest, holding her own hand. I think about Diego Rivera, the husband never faithful, but in the end the only suckling child she would ever embrace as her own. I imagine her lying in traction, like a pained statue, still, except for her hand ever painting her pictures. Without hope, sin esperanza. So vulnerable, open mouth, funnel in, force fed meat. I am sick for her empty-wombed soul.

It is amazing to me that out of all that misery, her only progeny was born: Art. Art so lovely it took my breath away. It is in this way ugly becomes beautiful, surrender becomes power, the ephemeral becomes tangible, death becomes immortality. In a small way, I am part of that life cycle. Not just because I am a mother, but because I am a writer. Writing for me is like being penetrated - it is letting something foreign into the most sacred part of me. It is being brave enough to tell the truth about things, about my thoughts, even if they are horrible, even if they are sick or violent or obscene. You can't create anything beautiful if you lie. And you can't learn anything either.

I guess that's why I have this desire to strip everything down to its bare bones. I want to learn what I am, what my purpose is, before it's too late. I have to believe that I have something more to contribute than this...this miserable existence. And maybe you think I'm strange and maybe you think I'm gross and maybe you think I'm pathetic, but at the very least I let you in ...and I never lie to you.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Yoga Bear

In keeping with my transformation to Joy, I returned to my yoga practice yesterday. And as I sit here with my soreness, I am infused with a delicious sense of calm. This is my drug better than all the drugs. Except maybe demerol, which is my absolute favorite. But otherwise, if I could put yoga on a little spoon, put a lighter underneath it, melt it into a liquid, put it in a syringe and inject it directly into my veins, I totally would. But yoga isn't that easy. You have to do this work, this great but challenging work.

People scoff about yoga. People say it isn't really exercise, that you don't burn a lot of calories doing it. And while that may be true, that's not really the point. For all my fellow yogis and yoginis out there, I know I'm preaching to the chanters. But to the scoffers, I have to say, the only time I ever felt that yoga was easy was when I wasn't doing it correctly. The first time I took a class with a hands-on, real yoga teacher it was a disheartening experience. Prior to that I thought I was something of a goddess; I must be a goddess to take to this practice so easily, I said to myself. Na-uh.

This teacher kept coming back to me, readjusting, pushing, pulling, making me feel like the most idiotic idiot that ever idioted. And once she put me in a pose correctly, well let's just say, it was fucking difficult to hold it. And I realized then why it had been so easy. Everything I thought was right, was wrong.

I hate the word "pose". It sort of has a lot of bad connotations, what with models and people trying to be what they are not. So maybe it is fitting here, because me thinking I was a goddess of some sort made me a total poser. I prefer the word "asana", which is the sanskrit word roughly translated to "pose". It has a beautiful sound, don't you think? So all of the "poses" in yoga end with that word "asana". Uttanasana, Savasana, Balasana, Virabhadrasana, and the list goes on. The words are like honey dripping off a spoon. Here is my favorite: Ardha Matsyendrasana. It means Half Lord of the Fishes pose. I've never done that asana. But I'm totally psyched about it. I want to feel like a lord of the fishes. Because each and every time I am in an "asana" one of my goals is to embody the essence of the pose. Like when I'm in Bhujangasana (cobra pose), I try to feel sinister and when I am in Kapotasana (pigeon pose) I try to feel like I'm bugging people at the beach. The asana I am best at is Merudandasana (balancing bear).

When I am in this pose I feel as if I am open to all possibility or maybe just waiting around for a piece of fruit to fall off of a tree or for a lord of the fishes to get cocky and crawl out of the sea so I could have an easy breakfast. I really don't know that much about bears.

It was hard going back after four months of inactivity. It felt like starting over - but that it how I am feeling with everything these days. I have to embrace the beginning of a Gwen without grief. Last night, with each asana I felt a growing hatred for myself, a disgust at my lack of grace, my inability to "perform" the way I used to. Annemieke, the beautiful Swedish woman who was teaching the class, sensed my frustration. I was in the middle of locust pose and about to assume bow pose, which, for me, is very challenging. She came over and said to me in a whisper, "You have nothing to prove in this room. You do a beautiful practice. Just let yourself be and do not worry. Breathe." And there it was. Just breathe. I opened myself up to strength, I opened myself to bow pose. And even though I only held the pose a few seconds, it was a victory. I know that next time it will get easier. And the next and the next...

I know this is a metaphor for life. And that it why yoga is so good for me. I have to tell myself everyday, "You have nothing to prove. You do a beautiful practice. Just be and don't worry. Breathe". I have born so much tragedy...What is yet to come I can bear, with grace and strength.