Saturday, January 31, 2009

So I bought some wide leg jeans today. I was out buying trousers for work and I found some cute wide leg jeans that I just had to buy. I have to admit, they do kind of take me one step closer to being a tried and true hippie, but they are really comfortable. As they are wide leg, they don't pull around the thighs or anything. I think I might have to make this my new style.
So as I'm getting a CD together to send to Belgium, I'm listening to it and remembering that I have no idea how to play some of these song anymore. But one of them is kind of a cool female empowerment song that I almost think I should take to my band, just 'cuz it could be a fun rock anthem. The really weird part about this song in particular is that I remember thinking before that it was just kind of meh and I felt a little silly including it on The Hamburg Demos, but now I'm kind of glad it's there.
Someone in Belgium bought my CD. I'm kind of geeking out at how cool that is. I'm officially international.

Tee hee. Dank u wel, Belguim!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


For years, I've been saying that I'm horrible at relationships, but I think that requires some revision. Yes, I have broken a couple of hearts and I feel awful about that. And I've had my heart broken a couple of times, which is largely why I feel awful about doing that to other people - I know how bad it hurts. But the word "relationship" encompasses so much more than either a) romantic relationships or b) the aftermath. So let's look closer, shall we?

I have an honorary sister who I have known since I was approximately 8 months old, and while we don't talk as often as we used to, we still love each other very much. I don't know what I would do if I didn't know her. And hopefully we're going to have a play date soon.

I have an honorary brother who I have know since I was about eight? Ish. There have been a couple of times in our history where we haven't talked for extended periods of time, but somehow we always make it back to being friends.

I have an AMAZING relationship with my mother. She is...there isn't even a word for it. We talk about everything and both come away from it feeling better or grounded or something. I don't know what I would do without her.

I have a friend in Texas unlike any other friend I have ever had. We share everything, and neither one of us judges the other, so we know that it's okay to share everything. Sure, we'll present different viewpoints and whatnot, but it is a completely open, accepting, loving friendship. You don't find that very often, if at all.

I have a guy friend in Chicago who just gets it. We're not super emotional with each other, but we both know that the other one will always have our back.

So I have these great, strong, lasting relationships in my life. How can I say I suck at relationships? I must be doing something right for these to last. So then I start thinking, "Well, I'm an introvert; it takes me a while to get to know someone." But I'm not even sure that that's true anymore. For example, when I went to my first Mensa meeting over the weekend, within minutes, I was playing games with other people, chatting, having fun. Or when I go to parties with my friends, or when I meet new people, I can keep the conversation going, even if it seems rather inane. I'm good at talking to people. I'm good at listening to people. I think, for the most part, I make a pretty good first impression.

So all that's left, really, is the romantic relationship part of things. And while I have broken a couple of hearts, I have to think about those relationships and when I do, I have to give myself credit for being a decent girlfriend. I'm thoughtful. I'm giving. No, I don't like 7 phone calls in one day, but I will go over to visit my guy on a night I really want to be by myself because I know he wants to see me. I understand compromise and I understand communication. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I think I need to stop saying that my relationship skills are inadequate.

That being said, I'm in this really weird relationship place at the moment. I like being single. I don't like being in a romantic relationship. I honestly don't. I don't like who I turn into. I know a lot of people are happier when they have that person that they can come home to and who they get all giddy about and whatnot, but looking back on the relationships I have had, I'm usually just unhappy in them and relieved when I'm out. But I'm also starting to realize that I'm not really a spring chicken any more and if I ever want to have my own biological children, I either need to find a man in the next year or two, or I need to start making enough money that artificial insemination becomes an option. The process of looking for a guy is so unappetizing, though. My one friend says I haven't found my guy because he's not ready to find me yet. Which is sweet. I just hope he's ready sometime before I hit menopause.

I'm not desperate to have a kid. That's not my point. I'm just being realistic. If I wait too long, it won't happen at all.

So to sum up, my relationship skills are not inadequate.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

So that was really nice. To just play games for a little while with some other like-minded people. To be able to be unapologetically me for a bit. And probably my favorite part was that when someone asked me what I did and I said I'm a musician and a customer service rep, they asked, "In what order?"

I scared some people with my laugh, but it's probably better that they know about it from the get-go. It could be really scary later on.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And now for something completely different.

So, according to the rumors, it's harder to get a woman to achieve orgasm than it is to get a man there. So why are most adult-themed things aimed at making the woman look sexier? Shouldn't there be more stuff out there to make men sexier for the sake of the women who take longer in the first place?

Just a thought.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I don't know if it is because I haven't paid attention to inaugurations in the past, or if it is because this one is such an historic event, but I don't remember this much pomp and circumstance before.  Or at least not this much general interest.  There are people there of every color, every age, every gender, and I can only assume every religious background, waiting outside to see Mr. Obama speak.  Which, as beautiful as this day is with the swearing in of our first African American President, makes it that much sweeter in that he has already inspired so many people from so many different backgrounds.  He's bringing us all together to work towards a brighter future.

What a fantastic day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

So tomorrow might be the biggest historical event I get to live through. The inauguration of the first African American president of the United States. The inauguration of my generation's Kennedy. It's funny - I never really cared about politics before, but every time I read something about Obama, or hear him speak, I just want to cry with relief. In a really strange way, I'm angry with George W. Bush for making the last 8 years of my life so crappy. I know it isn't really his fault, but he flushed this country down the toilet right as I was in what should have been the peak of my young life of adventure and experimentation. Right before September 11, 2001, I joined a theater company in Chicago. After September 11, nobody was going to the theater, and the company folded before I got to do a single show with them. And I don't know that the storefront theater world has recovered. What if all of that hadn't happened? What would have happened to my theatrical career, and my musical career and my social life? I'm not saying that everything that has happned in the last 8 years was awful or a waste, but what if we had had a good economy? Would I have traveled more if the dollar wasn't so weak against the Euro?

And then tomorrow, it all changes. A new regime begins. A man will step up to lead this country who has already figured out a way to inspire our generally disenfranchised youth and get them to take action to make the world a better place. I feel like we're all being freed. Our voices will be heard now. Our opinions will count. Maybe the rest of the world will stop hating us so much. Maybe my friends will all be able to find jobs. Maybe we can all learn to have faith in something again.

There is a part of me that really wishes I could be in Washington DC for it, just to feel the electricity in the air. To be in a sea of people who also just can't help but cry with relief and shout with joy at the prospect of what the future might hold. But I can't get away from my life at the moment, so I'll have to watch from home. And cry my tears of joy knowing that the world is about to change.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. And Happy Inauguration Eve. Welcome to a whole new world.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I rode the train to the grocery store today because I didn't want to dig my car out of the snow and then have to find a place to put it again when I got home. I took the train to the sammich shop yesterday, too, for the same reason. I'm not big on battling snow. And the funny thing about it is it made me feel very urban and environmentally aware. Which brings me to my next long-winded self-analysis.

I sometimes feel like I'm not doing enough to be socially or environmentally aware. I feel guilty for leaving the little Christmas tree lights on around my windows. I feel like a hack because I don't ride a bicycle everywhere. I feel like I'm not a good vegan because I bought a thing of Comet to clean my kitchen sink when it was backed up with black goo for four days. I feel guilty every time I don't bring my own bags to the grocery store and I have to get a new one.

The thing that I know about vegans is this - you do the best you can. I don't think anyone can be 100% vegan. Hell, you go walking outside and you step on an ant without seeing it and poof! The best you can be is 99%. Being vegan, to me, is about not subjecting animals to human desires - it's about just letting animals be themselves and letting them do their own thing. Which is why my cat is not vegan. Yes, he loves Tofurkey, but he also loves fish and this braised beef canned food which seems to be the only canned food I can get him to eat at the moment and since my vet told me that he should be eating more canned food, I'm inclined to give it to him. I'm not going to make him be vegan if he doesn't want to be. But I also feel bad because if he was a cat in another household, he could lick the milk out of the cereal bowls after breakfast, or sneak scraps of chicken under the dinner table. At my house, he doesn't get to do those things. I think he's happy here, though. He does seem to think that my lap is just about the best place in the world to be. But I am the best vegan I know how to be. I buy vegan products when I can and if there isn't a vegan alternative for something I think I need, I reconsider why I even need such a thing in the first place. I don't eat honey (which gains me major points in most vegan circles). I don't pull the cheese off a pizza and eat the crust. But every now and again, I have to take a pain killer that might be in a gelcap because I'm in serious pain and nothing else is available. So I do what I can. And while I will never tell someone else that they should be vegan, I do sort of have this wish that people would consider vegetarian or vegan cuisine just another type of food, like Italian or Chinese or fried. If everyone ate one vegetarian meal a week, it would have a huge impact on the well-being of our planet (not to mention the health of each individual bringing more soy and whole grains and fresh vegetables into their own lives). So if that's the standard I'm going to hold other people to, I'm doing 21 times better than that (give or take - I will skip a meal from time to time on weekends, what with the sleeping late and all). Meaning I need to stop beating myself up when I forget to bring my own bags to the grocery store.

Social consciousness. I'm not even sure how to go about being more socially aware than I already am. On the small scale, I'm nice to the people around me. I don't judge people (or at least I try not to), and I kind of let them do their own thing - just like the animals. I read the news from time to time so I know what's going on in the world, and I try to seek out the least biased news sources possible so I'm not reading about someone else's perception of the situation, just the factual matters so I can develop my own perception.

On the slightly larger scale, I sponsor a girl in the Phillippines. I give money to charities that actually use that money to do good things. I did the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer twice to raise money and awareness. I wish I could do more, but I think that for someone living inside her own means, I'm doing pretty well.

And the environmental stuff. I met a woman about a year ago who was one of those people who stop you on the street and try to get you to give money to Greenpeace or some other similar organization by asking you what you do for the environment. My primary answer would have to be, I'm vegan. In addition to which, I recycle, I bring my own bags to the grocery store as often as I can, I've cut back on my driving by about 75%, I buy organic wherever possible, and I donate used clothes and things instead of throwing them away. I've done those "What's your carbon footprint" things and found that yes, while there are areas where I could improve, in general, my carbon footprint is on the lower end of things. Below average.

So I guess it's good to always want to do more, but I have to keep in mind that me, as I am right now, I am not inadequate when it comes to social and environmental consciousness.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I have the full explanation elsewhere, but

My intelligence is not inadequate.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

So just because I air most of my dirty laundry here, I'm going to continue doing so in my efforts to clean some of it up.

It has come to our attention lately that I suffer from feelings of inadequacy. Today we're going to talk about my physical inadequacies. Please know that I'm not doing this so that people will reassure me that I look fine. I know plenty of people who think I look fine, and even a handful who think I look better than fine. This is something that is entirely in my head and it's not going to go away until I come to terms with it myself, and I'm going to try to do so here. Or at least start.

We all also know that I've been trying to get my eating under control as of late. I'm down about 10 pounds from when I started, which is actually a fine place to be. Over the holidays, I've gone up and down a pound or two - nothing drastic. And while my original plan included further weight loss, I'm starting to wonder if that's really such a good idea. I have to remember that I am who I am - it is entirely possible that my body just won't looks like an emaciated teenager no matter what I do because I am a fully developed woman over the age of 25. I have a slow metabolism as evidenced by my naturally low body temperature. If I try to get too skinny, I could end up causing serious damage to myself. And if I do get really skinny, how long is it going to last? I'm not going to spend the rest of my life eating 7 calories a day so I can look good in a bikini. I don't like swimming, for one thing, and I don't sit out to tan for another. Why should I care about looking good in a bikini?

Lately, when I've been looking in the mirror, I've been seeing pretty. I've been able to appreciate the aesthetics of my own face. I'm not sure what has brought this on, but it's there and it's nice. And it's making me think even less that I need to lose weight. It's making me think even less that I should beat myself up if I splurge and have too much ice cream after dinner one night. Though there is still the societal thing - little white girls should be little. Truth is, for the most part, I am.

Except for my butt. Today on the train, I was smushed in between seated people and some lady with a very large, very ugly green suede purse. And this particular very large, very ugly green suede purse was resting against my ass. Somehow, it was the last thing I could deal with. So in my head, I ranted at her. "Look, I realize this is a crowded train and your purse has to go somewhere, but it has been resting on my ass since you got on this train. Now, I've been trying for I don't even remember how many years to make my ass smaller, but that ain't gonna happen. At least not in the fifteen minutes we're on this train together. But you could very easily move your purse to somewhere where it isn't resting on my ass. Hell, put it on the ground between your feet. Or if it's too precious to sit on the ground for fifteen minutes, you probably shouldn't bring it on the train in the first place." And then it hit me. I've spent so much time and energy hating my butt and it's not getting any smaller. Why bother to hate it anymore? Is it really worth obsessing about? Is there a single person in my life who would love me more if I had a smaller butt or who loves me less because I'm not a size 2? And in all honesty, it's only big if you look at it straight on. From the side...I don't have a bubble butt or anything. From the side, it looks like I have a really nice figure. I'm just kind of wide in the middle if you look at me from the back. Why the hell have I been letting this dictate how I feel about myself and my worth as a human being for so long? It's so not worth it!

So I ate a thing of ice cream for dinner and I'm not going to feel in the least bit guilty about it.

I have a tumor behind my ear. It's benign and hasn't grown at all (that I know of) since it first developed, probably in high school. It's not real pretty to look at, and it makes my ears stick out and from time to time, it hurts. Only for about five seconds, like a mini headache, to remind me that it's still there. It makes wearing glasses and headbands uncomfortable, and those little ear bud earphones get annoying after a while. And there is part of me that has become self-conscious about putting my hair up since the tumor was discovered because I know people can see it and they think it's gross. But I have now had two people in my life, two people who have never met each other, tell me that my ears are really cute. My tumor makes me look elvish.

I have bad skin. Or, had bad skin. I went on these really killer pills for a while that cleared most of it up, but I still have some scarring. I think most people think they're freckles, but they're not. My skin problems were not the result of not washing my face enough, or eating too many fried foods or anything like that. I think a lot of it was genetic - both of my parents had skin problems in their teens. Thing is, my skin is, for the most part, clear now. It has a nice porcelain creaminess to it. And it's really soft. And I totally don't look my age.

I have spent the majority of my life not just thinking, but knowing, that my emotional and intellectual qualities, my brain, is what gives me worth as a human being - not my physical attributes. I spent a lot of time thinking that if I was uglier than I am, it might be easier because I wouldn't have this feeling of "if only I was a little thinner" or "if only I was a little taller" or "if only I had better skin/bigger boobs/fuller lips/etc then I would be worth more." I've spent a lot of time looking forward to my old age, thinking that when I'm wrinkled and have gray hair and liver spots, then I'll be beautiful. People will see my soul through my eyes then and I'll be beautiful. And I spent all of this time hating my physicality, when really, I've got a pretty damn good body. I'm strong. I'm a good dancer. I have a good sense of myself in space. I have big, beautiful, loving eyes. I have beautiful hands with delicate fingers that are pretty darn good at sewing and cooking and playing the guitar and typing and scritching my cat and holding onto my friends and family. I have, as my mother says, one of the world's great heads of hair. There are so many people out there, who look so different from one another, yet they are all beautiful in their own way. I think I'm finally starting to learn that I am, too. Both from a physical and a non-physical perspective. In other words,

My physical appearance is not inadequate.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Every once in a while, when I think about what sort of people I would like to have in my life, I think that I would like to know a man who loves to make music AND who will sing with me on occasion because there are a couple of male/female duets I would like to sing with someone before I die. Not necessarily professionally, or even out in public. I'd just like to sit down with a guy, pull out our guitars, and play a couple of songs.

"Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues
"Falling Slowly" by Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova
"When Your Mind's Made Up" by Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova
"Madeline and Nine" by Mike Doughty (this isn't really a duet, but the female harmony with the male lead vocal is so frickin' lovely)

I think there was another one, but I'm not remembering it at the moment.

So yeah, if you know a guy who really loves music and who wouldn't mind sitting down in one of our living rooms with me to sing some tunes with beautiful harmonies, please point him in my direction. I'm a little too chicken to ask the male musicians I already know.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

So I watched this reality show yesterday that supposedly judges its contestants on their inner and outer beauty. The contestants think it's all about outer beauty, though - the inner stuff is captured on hidden cameras an stuff so we can see just how bitchy they are in real life. And as much as it was a "train wreck" show (you just can't look away), it did make me think about a couple of things.

1. Each contestant's outer beauty was scientifically measured by a cosmetic surgery/beauty expert. I'm guessing that the measurements and assessments taken were based on the studies wherein, for example, they showed babies a series of faces to see how they reacted, or they showed women pictures of various men and asked them who they'd want to marry and who they'd want to just boink and stuff like that. I know they have done studies also that show that in general, the more symmetrical a face is, the more attractive it is deemed. My main question about his whole beauty scoring system is, does it account for cultural bias? This may be a shot in the dark, but I'm guessing that the beauty ideals we subscribe to in the United States are different from those in, say, Nigeria or India or Japan or Poland. Some cultures value curvaceous women. Some cultures like long necks. Some cultures think small feet are the bee's knees. Others don't. So while I'm not disputing someone's ability to numerically quantify how physically attractive a person is, I'm just wondering how accurate the quantification system in such a multi-cultural environment. Does that make sense?

2. I found myself wondering what my beauty score would be. I will admit that recently, when I've been looking in the mirror, I'm seeing "pretty." It's a bit odd for me, but kind of nice. I hope I can hold onto that.

3. Based on the beauty scores, I was able to identify the "most" beautiful people in the bunch, as well as the "least" beautiful ones.

4. As much as the show is about pointing out that real beauty comes from within, I have to ask (and please keep in mind that I'm mostly playing devil's advocate here and I realize how potentially hypocritical this question is), how "beautiful" is it to point out the shortcomings of others and to shame them for being themselves, even if they're not the nicest people in the world? The woman who was eliminated was shown video of her own behavior as proof of how ugly her personality is, and the first bit of footage shown was of her expressing her displeasure with being deemed one of the two least attractive people in the bunch. She was being real. She was being honest. She was being herself. And she was shamed for that behavior. Is that beautiful?

I guess my thing is this - beauty is relative. For every "ugly" action, there is a flip side that may make it at least understandable. For every "beautiful" action, there is the potential for selfishness. I don't think there are any absolutes when it comes to beauty. And the sad thing is that I'll probably continue to watch the show to see who is deemed most beautiful. Personally, I'm rooting for the "really old" guy - he's 31.

Monday, January 05, 2009

So it's a little late, but happy new year. And happy 2200 posts. Wow. And I thought I hadn't been writing in here much.

I feel like I should reflect on what happened in 2008 so that I can look forward to 2009 and make resolutions and things. Thing is, 2008 really wasn't a good year for me. I lost my theater company. I lost two band members. I spent the majority of the year wondering who I am and what I want to do with my life. Probably a good thing to do, but not a whole hell of a lot of fun.

So resolutions. I don't know that I believe in resolutions so much, but I have given myself some homework assignments. I'm going to figure out what it is about me that I consider to be so inadequate so that I can then figure out a way to stop feeling like that. I'm going to dedicate more time to taking care of my health - cooking for me, working out regularly. I'm going to find a group of people to help push me to be more than who I am - I'm hoping this is where Mensa will come in. and I'm going to try to not be so angry all of the time. I've been angry a lot about things that really don't matter, probably either just so I can be passionate about something or it's displaced anger about the other things in my life and really, I just need to let it go. I want to start being healthy again. And happy. And me. I want to get back to that place where I see amazing in the mirror, where I feel my light radiating out and making the world a better place. Sorry if I sound pompous, but sometimes, one has to toot one's own horn to remember who one really is, yes?