You know when you take a look at your life and are pretty sure you can identify the area that needs the most shoring-up? And then you get a chance to do something about that problem area and realize you we're completely right about it being the problem area? That sense of relief when you get a break from the problem area?
And then knowing that the problem area will be coming back for an undetermined length of time before something long-term can be done about it?
I have probably mentioned before that I dream one day of having a porch where I can sit outside and share lemonade with the neighborhood kids while I tell them the amazing stories of my life and watch their eyes glow with wonder. I sometimes forget that things like that can happen now.
It is funny to me that people don't instantly know everything about me when we first meet. I think in a lot of ways, I am just very me all of the time, or most of the time. When you add in my online presence, it just seems like there are certain things that people should just know when I say, "Hi, I'm Kitty." Like the fact that I am an actress and a musician and I broke my ankle on stage last year and I have two amazing nieces and I'm really close to my mother and my best guy friend and I are total geeks and I want to be the Doctor someday. I feel like those things are implied by the phrase "I'm Kitty," and it catches me off guard when people don't know those things and I have to tell them separately.
It makes complete sense that they wouldn't, though. I have also said many times in this blog that it's not all about me and I know that. Why would these people have taken time out of their lives to learn about mine?
So I get to have those moments, when I meet someone new, when I get to see them turn me from a blank slate into some sort of presumed archetype. And then the brilliant ensuing moment when I get to blow that archetype apart with the story of when one of my songs was played on WXRT or how I'm a member of American Mensa or how I'm gearing up to play Hamlet or how I did a play about the roller derby. It's fun to see people try to reconcile these stories with the image of the quiet little redhead standing in front of them. As if, if they placed me wrong, who else might they have misjudged?
It might not be the most humble of past times, but shattering preconceived notions is a guilty pleasure of mine. Sorry about that.
It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the flying from one activity to the next, filling in the in-between moments as best one can. I find that cooking is usually the first thing to go when I get busy. Going to the store for fresh veggies, doing all of the prep, waiting for dinner to be finished all seems like such a chore when I've been on my feet or on the move all day. It is easy to pop something in the microwave or get take-out Thai food.
But when I get the chance to get back to "my life" and my routine of cooking for myself, my body wants to weep with gratitude for flooding it with wholesome goodness. Fresh vegetables, whole grains, healthy oils. They have a calming and soothing effect. They bring balance back to my everyday life. I know I shouldn't let cooking go when I get busy because I feel my best and most grounded when I'm eating wholesome foods, but I do. The nice thing is, the damage is easily corrected by picking it up again.
I drove through a not-very-nice area of Chicago today where I am going to have to spend some time over the next couple of weeks for a project I am working on. I wanted to go and sort of scout out the area so when I have to go there for real, I know where I'm going and how to get there. And I have to say, my little-white-girl-safety flag went up. There were houses with boarded up windows, abandoned buildings where rocks had been thrown through every window, and a woman trying to get into a car with a door that just wouldn't shut. This is a low-income neighborhood, and there seemed to be sort of an aura of "take what you can get because nobody is going to help you but you."
And I found myself very angry and disappointed in myself for being uncomfortable and scared in this neighborhood. Why was I scared? I did not see crimes taking place. I did not see drugs being sold on every corner. I saw a group of men and boys ranging in age from probably about 7 to 25 or 30 all playing basketball together. I saw people talking on cell phones and walking down the street eating snacks. I saw people hanging out on their front porches laughing with friends and having barbecues. I dream of one day having a house with a front porch where I can sit outside and swap stories with my friends. So why was I scared? Was it because most of the people I saw were African American? Does that make me a racist? I don't think I'm a racist. I'd like to think that I judge people on their individual merits, regardless of skin color or religion or sexual orientation or any of that. I don't think I'm racist, but driving through this neighborhood scared me, so does that make me one?
So I had to have a little chat with myself on the way home. I reminded myself that most of the things that have terrified me the most in my life have turned out to be the best experiences of my life. I was terrified when I went to college, but I learned so much about myself while I was there. I was terrified to travel to Australia and Europe on my own, but I got to see and do so much. I was terrified of the city when I was a kid and am now proud to call the city my home. I have eaten alone in restaurants all over the world, I have walked around cities where I don't speak the language and I always manage to make it back home safely. If I didn't do these things that terrify me so completely, I would not have half of the friends I have now who I hold so dear.
So I'm going to choose to look at the next couple of weeks as an adventure. I'm going to do my best to treasure my time in this neighborhood that is so far removed from the safe little world I'm used to. I am going to meet and interact with new people on a completely human level, knowing that one of those men out playing basketball on a Sunday afternoon has the potential to be my soul mate, and one of those kids has the potential to write an Academy Award winning screenplay that I will star in someday. I think it's good to go out and face your fears every now and again. It's good to get outside of your own comfort zone. Because if all you're ever exposed to is that which you already know, how do you ever expect to learn anything?
I'm getting nervous about being Hamlet, now that we're getting closer and closer to the shoot dates. What if I do it wrong?
I think with a character like Hamlet, I have to remember that everyone has played her. Every scenario has been tried. Every variation, every nuance, every magic thing you think you found in the text, someone has found before you. And the best you can do is be the best Hamlet you can be and that's it.
I want my Hamlet to be accessible. I want her to be empathetic. I want her to have all of the feelings, even if she can't express them (or can't express them well) all of the time. I want her lunacy to be terrifying and sad. I want to make sure there is method in her madness. I want to feel each and every one of her betrayals and loves and hates and fears. And I think most of all, I want the audience to be able to feel all of those things with me. She is a beautiful character, stretched to the end of her rope, her every last nerve completely fried, forced into an impossible situation. I am honored that I will get to be her over the next coming months.
Last week, while I was waiting for my flight which had been delayed, I texted my good friend Sir Fancy du Pantaloons and asked him to entertain me while I waited. The following is the text message story that ensued.
There once was a dragon in a marshmallow kingdom. Everyone was scared of the dragon because he set all the marshmallows on fire. "Don't burn me!" screamed all the marshmallow people in nearby Marshmallow town.
But what the marshmallowians didn't know was that the dragon was just lonely and trying to make friends, but his social anxiety made him snort fire. See, the dragon was originally from 'Smoresville, where snorting fire actually came in handy. But since they were not cannibals by nature, the marshmallows did not know their full yummy toasted potential.
And so, the brave marshmallowians took their chocolate swords and graham cracker shields and went to confront the dragon.
"We're tired of being set ablaze!" they shouted. "Leave us at once!"
And the dragon, in his socially awkward way, tried to politely explain why he had come to their town, but unfortunately, his aversion to uncooked marshmallow smell was just too much for him to take. He began to sweat, trying to control himself, and he could feel the flames of anxiety welling up in his nose. And then, while reaching for a Kleenex, the marshmallowians screamed in fear and tossed the nets made of licorice to ensnare the dragon.
"Noooooo!" cried the dragon. "I'm allergic to licorice! Ah...ahh...AAAHHH-CHOOOOOO!"
And he set forth a massive jet of flame over the brave, but foolish, marshmallowians. And as the flames basked over them, they found the chocolate melt over their body and their bodies began to melt toward their shields.
The dragon felt horrible about what he had done, but the smell of freshly baked 's'mores made him feel at home in a way he'd not felt in a long time. "I'm so sorry!" he shouted. "But I have an idea. I know a magical land where you can learn to live happily as marshmallow-graham-cracker-chocolatarians." And so the dragon fashioned a boat made of gumdrops and wishes and filled it with the marshmallow-graham-cracker-chocolatarians and flew them off to their new home of Camp Milktown.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Until the evil conglomeration of dessert town showed up and enslaved the locals.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blurb about a dad who stopped to pick up a piece of trash and throw it away to "make Mother Nature happy." I thought it was extraordinarily sweet and I kind of fell in love with that family that day.
Today, I saw that same family again, the spunky little girl in pink sneakers and a pink coat, the quiet little boy walking a step behind, and the tall, bald dad, carrying a hot pink umbrella with a hook-shaped handle. As they crossed the street, the girl got a little too far ahead, so the dad reached out with the hook of the umbrella and snagged the loop on the top of her backpack so he could slow her down and steer her in the right direction. It was a simple, playful gesture that brought a smile to his face and a giggle to the lips of the little girl.
I hope that if I ever have children, their father has as much fun with them as this man has with his kids.
It's always an odd experience to consciously take note of how you have changed and in what timeframe.
First of all, let me say that I do think people can change. Maybe not fundamentally - I will always be a Chicagoan, I will always have artistic tendencies - but in a lot of other ways, people can change. They're not always huge, life-altering changes, and often, they happen over time so that you can't quite remember the changes happening, you only know you are different now.
I can tell you the date that I became vegan - June 26, 2002. I can tell you that I made the choice to not wear shorts anymore during the summer of 1997. But I can't tell you when my entire wardrobe shifted from technicolor to grayscale. Some of these things that I hold so dear as such an integral part of my personality and how I present myself to the world were such gradual changes. I remember I used to wear crazy colors and fabrics. I know now I don't. So sometime between then and now, that changed. The part of me that didn't freak out at the thought of wearing a shirt that screams, "HI! I'M ORANGE!" was silenced by the part of me that just wanted to disappear into the background and not draw attention to herself.
What is really odd, though, is when I find myself in the middle of one of these changes as it is happening. For years, longer than I can remember, maybe for my whole life, I have been the sort who likes to wear socks and shoes. I'm not big on sandals, I'm not big on running around barefoot, even in my own house. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I'm cold all the time and socks help fight that. Part of it probably has to do with the innocent teasing of other children, telling me my toes were too small when I was a kid. In any case, I like wearing shoes and socks.
Until about a week ago. Now I look forward to going home and taking off my shoes and socks. Not just look forward to, I get antsy for the opportunity to take off my socks and enjoy having bare feet. No idea what started that, no idea why something I have abhorred for years is something I now crave. But I'm going with it. It's fun to change. I think sometimes that I am secure and set in my ways, and it is kind of a nice wake up call to see that even my set ways can change on a whim. Makes me wonder who I am yet to become. I'm kind of excited to meet her.
Pardon me while I borrow a tired cliche, but I live two lives, really. Sometimes three. Much of the time, I don't really notice - I'm aware of them, I'm aware that lines between my day job life, my artistic life and my friend/family life exist, but they're just kind of there. They don't usually blind me like a neon sign. Every once in a while, though, two or more of the worlds are forced into this strange juxtaposition and I can't look away no matter how much I might want to.
I spent this past weekend at a convention with a bunch of artists - writers, mostly, but there were other artistic disciplines represented as well, from musical to culinary to design. It was a weekend of discussions about hopes and dreams and project ideas and creation. I had a wonderful time and met some truly inspirational people who I hope I will know and continue to get to know for years to come.
Today, I was back at my day job, working the floor of a trade show. There were discussions about technology and how things work and value propositions and what makes our equipment better than that of other companies. There were some familiar faces, plenty of smiles, lots of handshaking. Everywhere I looked, I saw faces that I hoped were the ones I had met over the weekend, coming to greet me with an eight-second hug that would bond us for life. Sadly, they were not there.
And I couldn't help but notice the difference between an artistic conference and a technological conference. I don't mean to say that one is bad and one is good, or that I enjoyed one and not the other. Both have their merits, both provided stimulation and a little break from the norm that was much needed. But while one is good, the other is the reason I exist. One makes me feel like I did something productive; the other makes me feel like I contributed to the human race. One filled me with wonder for what people can build; the other gave me faith in who people are.
As I continue on in my life, I hope I can balance the amount of time I spend at each of these activities a little better. Having faith in humanity allows me to present the technology better. Knowing the technology helps me connect with humans better. But in either case, in either pursuit, I want to always feel like I am contributing something positive to the human race.
Thank you to my friends, old and new, who I met at the artistic conference over the weekend, for reminding me what a brilliant species we are and just how amazing we all have the potential to be. I love your faces and hope to see you all again very soon.
We flew home through a thunderstorm today. Well, maybe not through, but next to. We were at about the same altitude as the storm clouds, but they were...over there. And oh my goodness, the lightening show was brilliant. It must have been a fantastic storm, possibly even a scary storm for those on whom it was storming. And my thought process while watching the lightening flashes went something like this:
"There's your God, Mr. Shannon!"
"The spirit that I have seen may be the devil as the devil has the power to assume a pleasing shape, yay, and perhaps out of my weakness and my melancholy, as he is very potent with such spirits, abuses me to damn me."
I saw the new Star Trek movie today and really had a lovely time. Most of the actors I adore are in it, or a lot of them are, anyway. To the point where I found myself squealing with glee and clapping my hands together when they appeared on screen. And I had to ask myself afterward, "Why?" What is it about these particular actors that reduces me to such childishness? Not that I mind that childishness, but if I knew what it was, maybe I could figure out how to make myself have it, or make sure I project that when I perform. Is it an energy level? A degree of investedness in the project? A respect for their talent level? I will admit that a lot of the actors I squee over have accents - is it as simple as the accent?
What actors fill you with an overwhelming sense of joy, no matter the character they play? Do you have any idea why they excite you so? I wish it was something simple, tangible, and learnable. I hope it is so maybe someday, I can get it.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people there are. They're everywhere. And every one of them is as complex as I am. It reminds me of how insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things, which is an oddly comforting thought. If nobody is paying attention to what I'm doing, I can do what I need to without worrying about what they think.
I think most bathroom designers must be men. What else could explain the extremely inconvenient placement of so many toilet paper roll holders? It's not that big of a deal for most men - they only use toilet paper once or twice a day when using the toilet, so if they have to twist and contort to reach it, no biggie. Women use toilet paper every time they use the toilet. Which often times occurs with greater frequency than men using the toilet. So to have to sit down and turn around almost 180 degrees to reach the precious loo roll, well, it's not my favorite.
So ladies, let's get a few more of us into architecture and interior design so we can stop this plague of inconveniently placed toilet paper roll holders in bathrooms. Awareness is the first step to prevention. Doing something about it is the second.
There are certain pieces of music of certain movies I can't imagine people haven't experienced, largely because they were a large part of my formative years. When I meet someone younger than me who has never seen, say, The Breakfast Club or The Princess Bride, a little part of me dies. What has your life been like that you haven't seen those films? Did you have better things to do? Like what? How can you not know what "As you wish" means or what a neomaxzoomdweebie is?
Pieces of music, too, like Baba O'Riley or The Boxer. I have to wonder how people managed to miss out on this music and it makes me sad for this whole generation of kids growing up not knowing Zepplin or Dylan or Simon and Garfunkel.
But then I saw a kid on the train today, maybe fifteen or sixteen years old, and on his iPod, I could see the cover of a David Bowie album. A classic David Bowie album, not the new one. And it made me think that maybe everything is okay. Good art will persist and prevail and there will always be a new generation of kids to discover classic music and films for the first time. I think we'll all be okay.
I know I don't always say it, but it's always there. I love Chicago. I think it is one of the great cities of the world, and I say that having been to London, New York, Sydney, Madrid, Amsterdam, Las Vegas, Milan, Paris, Los Angeles, Houston, and a bunch of other places. Chicago is my home, and I absolutely adore her.
It's funny, though, because I grew up afraid of the city. I grew up in the suburbs and the city was painted as this place where you would get mugged or kidnapped or mugged and kidnapped as soon as you set foot within the city limits. Our school field trips to the museums were full of "Everybody stay together; nobody wander off" and that sort of thing. Which makes sense for kids, but still. I guess I grew up sort of sheltered and absolutely terrified of the city. I remember when my mother started talking about moving into the city when I was in high school, I told her I would not go visit her there. Wow. I think it's time I apologize for that one.
Mom, thank you for moving into the city. I think that, in large part, it is what encouraged me to move to the city and explore the brilliant, wonderful, crazy neighborhoods she contains. I can't imagine myself not living in a city anymore - I love it here that much. So thank you for helping broaden my horizons.
I say this today because I took a walk on my lunch break from work to run an errand and I had forgotten how much fun it can be to walk through downtown in the middle of the day, amidst the hustle and bustle of the city streets. There are so many people, and all of them are going somewhere for some reason. They're all thinking about how they should have worn more comfortable shoes or how they're already running late but really need to stop for coffee or what they're going to make for dinner that night or if that cute guy at the bar over the weekend is really going to call or if this kid is going to make it to nap time or should we go home now. It's this brilliant, chaotic dance of humanity where we all try to feel important and productive and we all feel alone and connected and confident and terrified all at the same time. It's a place I can walk along the street singing along with my iPod, tapping my fingers to the beat of the drums and I am no crazier or no more sane than any other person walking down the street - most people don't even notice. And for all of the fear that was instilled in me as a child about how I would get mugged and kidnapped in the city, I feel completely safe walking amongst so many people. I love it.
Side note: the trick to navigating any city without incident is to walk looking like you know where you're going. If you keep a healthy pace and walk confidently, people start to assume you're from there and you know where you're going so they don't mess with you. It helps to carry a cross-body bag, too, as they're harder to snatch off your shoulder. Though walking with confidence means you might get asked for directions, so be prepared for that.
I think it is also amazing to live in such a diverse city. It's a nice reminder that there is more going on in the world that the drama in my own life, and that all of it is more important and less important than my drama all at the same time. It's a reminder that it's not all about me. I think it's good to get smacked in the face with that from time to time - keeps me grounded.
So I love Chicago. I know that for my career, I'll probably have to leave someday. For the time being, though, I'm going to love every moment I get to spend in one of the greatest cities on Earth. My sweet home, Chicago.
Moms are pretty great. They give us life, they clean up after us until we're old enough to do it ourselves (and sometimes even after that), they cheer us on, they laugh with us, and they always have a sympathetic ear and a Kleenex when we're sad. The magical healing powers of Mom hugs and Mom kisses have baffled scientists for years. They love us, in the purest sense of the word.
Thank you, Moms of the world, for everything you do. We wouldn't be who we are without you. Literally.
And especially a very happy Mother's Day to my mom specifically. I hate to break it to the rest of you, but I won the Mom lottery when I got her.
I have to admit, it's kind of fun to objectify men from time to time. I realize that this admission probably makes me a terrible person, but it's true. It's fun to objectify men.
Now, I don't want to make this sound like I am a constant victim of objectification and I enjoy the revenge or anything like that. We have discovered recently, though, that I'm not painful to look at and I think, in general, women are objectified with alarming frequency. I don't think this is something that men have to deal with very often - how often is a man reduced to his chest or his penis or his arms? John Hamm has been getting a taste of it recently and is apparently not a fan - it is not fun to be objectified. Which is why it makes me feel like I'm probably a horrible person for enjoying objectifying men from time to time.
But it's fun. It's fun to even the playing field for a few minutes, even if the men don't feel the full extent of what it is like to be reduced to body parts all of the time. Maybe I'm secretly hoping that if more men knew what it felt like they'd stop treating women that way.
I have to wonder, as I'm guessing most parents do, whether or not my cat is living the best life he can live. Is he happy here? Is he fulfilled and challenged? Is there something else he wishes he could have done with his life, or somewhere else he wishes he could have gone?
I don't know. I don't think there is a way for me to know. And unlike parents of human children, I can't really ask him. I try, but he doesn't answer. Or, if he does, I don't understand what he is saying. And I'm pretty sure that's on me because he understands certain words that I say ("food"), but I don't know the meanings behind many of his meows.
So sometimes I just have to remind myself that as in any relationship, showing up is half the battle. I know he likes to sleep on my lap, so I make a lap for him to lie on. I slow down and take a bit of a break from my day and my to-do list so he can have a lovely nap because I don't know how else to make sure he is living his best life. I hope it is enough.
Now, if only there was some way to find out where he stands in the "should we get a bunny" debate...
So I'm doing some traveling the next couple of weekends and I have to admit, it is filling me with incredible anxiety. I've been trying to figure out why for the longest time and I think I figured it out.
There are going to be other people there.
People who I know.
I've traveled a lot in the past, I don't know, ten years? Twelve? But a lot of that traveling has been on my own and/or for work. I show up somewhere, set up a trade show booth, man the trade show booth, take down the trade show booth, and go home. I have a hotel room to myself, I often fly solo on the plane. As an introvert, this is the way to do it - I get to see places without the pressure of moving at someone else's pace or worrying about using all of the hot water in the shower or anything like that. It's nice.
This weekend, I'll be staying in a house with eight of my girl friends. The weekend after that, I'm traveling as part of a group of 68 people. Sixty-eight. I don't know all sixty-eight, but I know some, and I will be sharing a room with a woman I've never met. I've known it was coming for a while, too, but just in the last couple of days, this thought has begun to terrify me. Absolutely terrify me. Not that I'm not going to go, but I'm currently terrified.
What if I bring too much stuff? What if I don't bring enough stuff? What if the stuff I bring isn't as cool as everyone else's stuff? What if the stories I have to share aren't as good as everyone else's stories? What if I have an introvert freak-out while I'm there and can't be around anyone? What if I planned to bring stuff and then forget that stuff? What if I planned on doing something and then forget about it or don't do it? What if someone expects something of me and I'm not aware of it so I end up letting them down? Like these people I've never met in person before - what if it's a total disappointment to them that I'm not a "Woo! girl" all of the time? Or even most of the time? What if the stuff I want to bring with me doesn't all fit in my suitcase?
I know in my logical brain that these are all completely irrational fears. Who cares what stuff I bring? So what if I take up space somewhere? If I need some time to myself, I'll find somewhere to be by myself for an hour. None of it is a big deal. All of the people I'm going to be hanging out with are kind, understanding, caring people. And if there are any who aren't, I'm not really concerned with forging lifelong bonds of friendship with them because I know we wouldn't work in the long run.
Nevertheless, I'm feeling pressure about these excursions. And stress. Which is making my skin go bonkers. And probably means I should lay off the caffeine for a while.
I know I will have enough time to do the things I want to do. I will make enough space to bring the things I want to bring. I will treasure the time spent with people I love. All will be well.
I still wish the trips would just hurry up and get here already so I can stop worrying about them.
Is there anyone out there who doesn't go into convulsions when they hear the Menards commercial jingle? Is there anyone who hears it and thinks, "Hey, I'd like to shop there because the jingle is so welcoming and friendly?" Is there anyone on whom that jingle is an effective marketing tool?
No offense to the person who wrote it, but I think that jingle's time has passed. Most of the time, I would rather scratch my eyeballs with a nail than listen to that jingle, be it on television or the radio. I don't often find myself in need of home improvement supplies, but when I do, I find myself actively avoiding Menards because I don't want to support a company with such an annoying jingle. Yes, it is petty of me. Yes, I am setting myself up for any of you, my dear readers, to drive me batty on a whim. But I just can't. I just can't take that jingle anymore. I just can't.
A man walks down the street with his two young children. His son wears a light jacket and carries a red and yellow backpack over both shoulders. His daughter skips along in a pink parka with turquoise flowers on it and sparkly pink shoes with rainbows on the toes. Both are too distracted with the wonders of the city to notice their father pick something up off of the ground and detour slightly to dispose of it.
"What was that, Daddy?" asks the spunky little girl.
"Just some garbage that was on the ground," replies her father.
"Because we want to make Mother Nature happy, right, Daddy?"
The girl walking by in a black trench coat and hat cannot help but smile as her heart fills with love for this unknown family. There is hope for the future after all.
I wish I wish I wish I wish I wish physical appearance was a non-issue. Specifically mine.
I would like to think that in my life and my interactions with other people, a lot of the things that were once, I dunno, taboo? are now non-issues. I don't really care what your sexual orientation is or your religion or your skin color or your gender, if you are a kind person, we're going to get along just fine. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my friend's sexual orientations because frankly, it doesn't matter to me who they choose to sleep with and who they want to spend their lives with. I don't care who my friends pray to, or if they choose not to pray at all. And I don't mean that to sound crass or dismissive or uncaring - I know that for a lot of people, these things are integral parts of their identities and these things are important to them. What is important to me in human interaction is communication and respect and kindness. If those things are taken care of, the rest of it is just the sprinkles on top of the sundae.
But somehow, I still find myself totally hung up on my own physical appearance. I realize that this blog is probably coming off very vain and self-centered, but apparently, I have some issues to work out at the moment. I'm sorry about that. But at the same time, maybe somebody else is having issues, too, and my talking about it might be useful to them.
I'm tired of having to think about what I look like, and what my clothes say about me, and how I'm being judged as I walk down the street for...whatever. For my pants being too lose or too tight. For my tattoo showing or not. For my preference for dark colors. I'm tired of it. I'm so freaking tired of it.
Side note for all the geeks out there: I tried to type "freaking" just now, but what showed up on the screen was "fraking," which I almost kept.
I tried to buy clothing today. I went to a bunch of stores I never go to and I went to one store I always go to and by the time everything was said and done, I walked out with pieces I think might work but I'm not really crazy about and an overwhelming need to go have a cry. Wait, let me back up a minute.
I read this blog post last week and fell in love with the author just a little bit. I think it is partially because I read that post that when I had to shoot myself in a video for work, I didn't cringe at the footage and pick it apart in my head, saying I should have worn different jeans or styled my hair differently or anything. I actually looked at that footage and thought to myself, "Hey, I'm actually pretty cute." It was a strange moment for me, but one that I felt meant I was making progress. And today, in rehearsal, I was standing on a platform on the stage and the guy understudying the lead was standing on the floor and he came over and picked me up in a fireman's carry. And I let him. I didn't grunt or groan or struggle or shriek, I let him pick me up over his shoulder and set me down elsewhere. He didn't break a bone or pull a muscle or anything. He just picked me up and set me down. So I was feeling good about myself. Comfortable. Somewhere along the way, I also decided that I don't like using the word "fat" to describe myself because I am not fat. I am not a size two, but I am also not morbidly obese. So I want to stop using the word fat to describe myself, even if it's in the context of a comment that never leaves my own head.
But then I went shopping. I needed a bathing suit, and something fancy and white. Honestly, trying to find a white outfit was more depressing than finding a bathing suit. I went to five or six stores, stores aimed at teens and twenty-somethings, stores aimed at the whole family, stores aimed at 30+. And in every single store, I had to grab just about the largest size on the rack. In some cases, those sizes were still too small. The pieces that did fit were not designed with a curvy girl in mind - the hem landed in the least flattering spot, or the waistband bulged in the back, or whatever. These clothes were designed for women with a very specific set of measurements - measurements I'm pretty sure most women don't have. Hell, even some of the sales people would obviously not fit into the clothes they were selling. One woman greeted me and it occurred to me after the fact that if I was buying the extra large bathing suit bottom, she wouldn't even be able to shop in the store where she worked. This poor girl probably never gets to take advantage of her employee store discount because none of the clothes they carry allow women to be any larger than a size 8 or 10. How fucked up is that? Seriously.
Now, I'm not advocating obesity. I'm not saying people with potentially life threatening medical conditions shouldn't seek help. But it has also been shown that overweight does not always mean unhealthy. Often times, yes, it does. But not always. And even for the overweight people who are unhealthy - they have to be able to wear clothes, too, right? Wouldn't it be nice if they could wear clothes that were comfortable and flattering?
The kicker for me in all of this is that I am not fat. I am not unhealthy. I am not a size four. And I can barely find an outfit in an entire mall full of women's clothing stores that is comfortable and flattering.
I know the fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that provides jobs for thousands of people and a creative artistic outlet for a select few. But I wish it was a non-issue. I wish physical appearance was a non-issue. It shouldn't matter if I'm wearing this season's jeans or last season's jeans, and to many people it doesn't, but there are still enough people out there to whom it does matter that one afternoon spent in a mall can completely destroy the self-esteem of a woman like me. A member of Mensa. A musician. A brilliant actress. A kind and loving friend, sister, and daughter. And I can't be the only one who feels this frustration. I can't be. Which would seem to indicate that the issue is not that there is something wrong with me or the way I look or how I am built, but that there is something wrong with the clothing designers and the general belief that women shouldn't have breasts and hips because they are too hard to design around. Fuck that. Breasts and hips are amazing. My badonkadonk ass is glorious and deserves a pair of trousers that do it justice.
Or, the simpler answer, is to make physical appearance a non-issue. I don't care what you look like, or what you're wearing, or whether you have "gym hair" today or what. Let's just agree that we're both human beings and see where the conversation goes from there, shall we?
Today is May the Fourth, a big day for Star Wars fans (May the Fourth be with you), and in honor of said day, I watched "A New Hope" with a friend of mine. I have always loved Star Wars - it is possible that it was the first movie I saw in a theater, though I was too young to remember it. A couple of weeks old at best. What struck me about watching it today is that it is still good. It doesn't look dated or old or irrelevant. The attempt to "modernize it" with CGI elements makes it look a little silly in places, but the original work done with puppetry and models and miniatures helped create this amazing wonderful world. It's no wonder the film has such a loyal following - they made something amazing with the technology available to them at the time. Something that stands the test of time. Hell, some of the puppetry and miniature effects look better than some of the CGI effects plaguing current day action movies.
I know CGI has it's advantages, and I know it is another art form that requires just as much talent and skill as building models. Call me old school, but I like the reality of optical illusions created on film better than computer generated images. Most of the time.
And yes, I know how odd that second to last sentence sounds. Hush.
I only have the one brother, so it's kind of a big deal. He is the only person, save my parents, who has literally known me my entire life. That's saying something, I think. And he's not the super-sappy sort, so I'm not going to get overly emotional here, but I would like to point out that he's a pretty awesome guy. He's ridiculously intelligent, very funny, extremely kind and generous, and he is a brilliant, loving, fun father to his two adorable daughters.
Happy birthday, Andy! The world is a richer place for having you in it, and I am so glad you are my brother. I love you!
I had nothing really interesting to say today. I'm mostly hung up on this dream of mine that someday, hopefully soon, I'll just get to be nice to people all the time. And maybe play with animals more regularly. Or more animals regularly. The sound of my cat purring may be the best thing ever.
Why do we, as a culture, insist on eating grains with forks? Rice, quinoa, couscous, even small pastas like orzo, we insist on eating them with a fork. The least small-item-friendly utensil in the general American utensil set. Granted, there are other cultures that like to eat these things with chopsticks, which are even less small-item-friendly, and I myself enjoy using chopsticks whenever I can (especially my light saber chopsticks that I got at Comic Con), but really, this makes no sense. We are so addicted to eating things with forks in the United States that often times, spoons are not even included with the set of silverware laid out at the restaurant table. If your server deems your order worthy of a spoon (i.e. soup), then he or she will bring one when he or she brings the food. Otherwise, no spoon for you! You must eat these tiny grains of rice by stabbing them with the tine of a fork!
I recently decided that I was going to eat small grains with a spoon instead of a fork. It makes me feel like I am three years old, but it is a lot less messy and much more efficient. I don't have to stick my face in the bowl and scoop the remaining grains in like one of those arcade machines where you try to get the arm to push quarters over the edge. I can eat my food like a grown-up. Who uses a spoon to eat small grains.
And suddenly, there is ukulele music in the background which has completely distracted me from my forks vs. spoons rant. Now I feel tropical.
Yay nice weather! Happy May, everybody! And hooray for eating small food items with a spoon!