28 December 2009

Who I Am

There's this thing that sometimes happens. It's difficult to articulate. At least, until just recently.

For a good bit of time, I could feel it, sense its occurrence but not express it. It is a wonderful feeling for a few minutes, maybe more. But I had no name for it.

The first time I tried to explain it to someone, trying to find common ground, hoping for an "Oh yeah, that same things happens to me," type moment, I stumbled and struggled briefly in my explanation. Then the phrase 'rings true' came to me. Not that I invented the saying 'rings true,' although how sweet would that be?

It's a phrase that tends to be used quite literally. Rings true. An auditory phenomenon. Like when one hears something said that rings true. It just sounds 'right.' But I think you can get that 'ring' in a feeling as well. And this is more what I'm talking about. It's not something I hear in my ears but something I feel in my cells. A sense of truth. When something feels so right that it speaks to your soul. Your spirit emits a perfectly pitched tone within your self. Like radar set to pick up your universal truth.

A moment in time, an unexpected turn of phrase, a casual touch and suddenly there's perfect peace within you for a moment. And no one else in the area may even notice. Like a whistle that only a dog can hear.

I'm getting better at recognizing these moments. And I try to grab hold. A song will penetrate my everyday-life-induced coma and my heart will swell, my eyes will water. Someone will throw out a casual thought and an absolute tone rings in my head. I just know it's right. It's truth.

I know. My heart knows. My toes know.

A fine musical gossamer thread hums within. It resonates. 'Genius,' the tone says. Or 'Home,' it rings. Or 'Truth,' it sings. It can be a moment in a movie, a line from a book, a place, the look on a face.

I think when something ring true in my life, it's a part of me saying "This is who I am!" Something right here is who I am. In large part or in small part, "This is who I am!" When I am remotely near salt water, a small part of me sings "this is who I am." When I stand on the very edge of this continent with my bare feet in the sand and the Pacific ocean air against my face, seagulls calling above as they ride the wind, a very large part of me cries "THIS is who I am!"

When a chocolate truffle melts on my tongue, I know "This is who I am."
When my toddling grandson runs across the room toward me with his arms stretched wide, "This is who I am!"
When my eighteen year old daughter calls me from the middle of her day and wants to know what I think of this or that, I'm grateful that "This is who I am."
When someone says "Barbie, write a book!" I nod knowlingly and breathe deep, "Yes, this is who I am."

When something rings true for me, I experience a long moment of "all is right with my world." In a Barbie's Absolute Life Truth kind of way.

I love when that happens.

25 December 2009

Within My Head There Arose Such a Clatter

T'was the night before the day after Christmas and my daughter is getting a tattoo tomorrow. It's her second one in less than twelve months.

I'm sitting on the floor of a bathroom using the closed lid of the toilet for my writing surface. The notebook paper I scribble on is damp and soft from the humidity of the warm bath I just had.

When my three kids were growing up I tried to be careful about those boy/girl double standard things. The most glaring of which was the common cultural, yet old school thinking that girls should wait to have sex, but that for boys, having adolescent sex is a right of passage. The flaw of this thinking is so blatant that it's hard to state aloud with out chuckling. Such a laughable bias.

But I have an overt bias of my own, when it comes to tattoos. My sons can get as many tattoos as they wish and it doesn't seem to hurt my soul. It may perplex me but not in a sad way.

My oldest boy has three tattoos that I know of. I'm fine with this. In fact maybe part of me, appreciates his wanting to express himself in a relatively, kinda sorta artistic manner.

My middle offspring will probably never have a tattoo. Not because he feels strongly about the principle of the thing, but because he feels strongly about staying as far away from needles as possible. I'm good with that too. Do what's best for you, I say.

My daughter is my youngest. She will be nineteen in a few weeks. She got her first tattoo just a few hours after she turned eighteen. I went with her for the first thirty minutes or so. Then I left. Devastated might not be a strong enough word for what I felt.

The design of her first tattoo is pretty and I appreciate the symbolism it has for her. The thought she put behind it. But that doesn't mean I wanted it on her skin permanently...forever and ever and ever.

But over time I thought I had come to terms with it. Okay, she has a tattoo. Silently I hoped desperately that this one would be enough for her. A few months after her first one she started talking about another one. Where she would get it, what it would say or what it would look like. These details changed from one conversation to the next and so I just hoped, crossed my fingers and burned incense to the god of porcelain skin that it wouldn't happen. Please, please, please......

As the year went by it began to sound more certain. My stomach hurt more each time the topic came up. I told her on more than one occasion that in my opinion one tattoo for her was plenty. Something like "....IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HOLY...."

Tomorrow is the day. I don't like it. Before I crawled into my bed for the night, I went to her and said "Before you do this, would you do one thing for me?" "Yes, of course," she said. "DON'T DO IT!" I wailed.

Actually what I said is "Before you go to bed tonight, go stand in front of a mirror, pull your shirt off and look at the area of skin you're thinking of getting tattooed. Look at your beautiful perfect skin. Because if you do this, it will never be the same. Ever," I whimpered.

I began this post the night before....now we are a few days post tattoo. I was actually sick to my stomach about the whole thing. I thought if I started talking about it, I might throw up.

I can't figure this out. Why is this such a big deal to me? Why is there a difference between how I feel about my boys v. my girl getting a tattoo? I thought about this aloud and discovered maybe it's a vanity thing. I was so surprised by this possibility. Was I vain about her beauty? When I spoke of this, it felt like there might be something to it.

She is strikingly beautiful. Especially when she's not being a meany to her mom. She is tall and thin. Dark features, dark hair. Her skin is pale porcelain, like Nicole Kidman or Scarlett O'Hara. At a few different social functions over the years people have come up to me (and sadly her) and said that she should model. One woman tried to give her the card of someone who might know someone who might be an agent or something. I threw myself in front of that person, grabbed the card out of her hand and crammed it into my mouth, chewing furiously. (This is topic for another post, another day.)

I never thought of myself as a beautiful girl. I never carried myself as a beautiful girl. I was always the clever one, the witty, funny, smart (ass) one. I have always had a healthy capacity to make people laugh and smile and enjoy themselves. But I've never been the 'pretty' girl. I grew up wishing I were. Envying, hating those pretty girls. I always wanted to be a stunning beauty.

So when I had this gorgeous daughter born to me, I celebrated her beauty. I held it up in festive gratitude. Like somehow this beauty belonged to me, once removed.

I stood a little speechless as this concept occurred to me and as the words came out of my mouth, without premeditation. "Maybe," I said, "it's like the father who never got to finish high school because he had to go to work in the coal mines and his only dream is that his son graduate from college and become a doctor or lawyer. Anything but a coal miner." But instead of it being the son's dream, it's really only the father's.

Maybe this is me. Maybe I'm hanging onto a superficial, vain cosmetic rope where she's concerned. This feels terrible. I see her inner beauty, I see her magic side, her shiny heart. Why would I get so twisted up in her outward appearance?

Living vicariously. Not what it's cracked up to be.....

09 December 2009

I Beg to Dream and Differ*

Lyric from Green Day's Holiday.

I find it interesting that when I'm angry, I write better. Well 'better' is probably not the best word. When I am angry, I find it far easier to write freely, or as freely as I am capable of writing. It is not necessarily good writing, but it is more abundant writing. Longer words, thicker paragraphs. Weighty accusation. And to some, size indeed matters.

When I've posted a blog three days in a row, you can be sure that one of two things is true:
Either I'm being paid per word, or I'm pissed OFF!

This interesting phenomenon does not seem to be limited to my writing. My work, my play, my chores all seem to be stepped up in production, when I'm angry. Come to think of it, aside from the state of pure bliss, a state I rarely get to visit, anger and numbness are my two most high-functioning states.

As long as I am high on anger, or numb from numbness I can get a great deal accomplished.

I clean like crazy, I organize to a fault. I shop quick, drive quick, decide quick. Quick, intense. Move over.

Productivity-wise, it's when the D-words happen that I'm screwed:

  • Depressed,

  • Discouraged,

  • Deflated,

  • Despondent,

  • Dejected.

  • (Don't you love synonyms? The only book I'll ever need on a desert island is a good thesaurus.)

Yesterday I was humming along to Michael Buble. Today I'm screaming to Green Day and Nirvana. This can't be a good sign. Smells like post-pubescent Decomposition and Deterioration.

Righteous indignation energy is even better. The most stimulating anger is the justifiable type.
Can I get another Amen? AMEN! ~ Green Day

Since I'm not in the mood for Christmas music this year, do you think, if I listen to Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers instead, that would count?

07 December 2009

Stealing Stones

~ Bullet Points, my favorite ~

  • I'm changing my official blog font from Georgia to Times.
  • Everything written herein is relatively true. Give or take.

  • I last blog posted in September.
  • I blame Al Gore.
  • I no longer have Internet at home. Could someone please take care of this, pronto?!

  • I moderate book reviews for the organization for which I work.
  • Apparently some wanna-be book reviewers' keyboards didn't come with a shift key.
  • Nor the apostrophe key.
  • I spent a good deal of my morning correcting people's punctuation and basic grammar so that when their review shows up on our website, they will appear to be intelligent and literate.

  • I am having a crummy day. If that is not the way to spell 'crummy,' correct it yourself, I'm tapped out.
  • I'm afraid someone put my new, shiny used car under some magic spell so that it would appear to run well after it left the car lot until it crossed over some invisible force field and then began dropping mechanical parts essential to it's well running and my well being.
  • I blame all used car dealers. ALL!

  • I want credit for all the obscenities and swearing that you didn't have to read in this post. At least so far, huh? Shit.

  • What else, what else..... I know there's more. Hmmm.
  • I keep forgetting it's December. I ate two Thanksgiving dinners, I feel the chill, I see the twinkly lights, yet it still feels like September to me. Maybe no blogging makes one's time stand still.
  • I am without my Christmas spirit this year. This happens some years. I have previously been fine with this phenomenon but this year it just pisses me off.
  • My heart is not into the season: decorations, music, shopping, gifts, giving, cheer and goodwill to men. Not like I was ever leaning in that direction anyway.
  • God bless us, everyone. Some more than others.
  • Diane Keaton, Marg Helgenberger, Frances McDormand, Barbra Streisand: Some women grow into their beauty. Better year after year. I don't care if this post seems erratic to you. That's the whole point of bullet points.
  • "People call these things imperfections, but there not. That's the good stuff." ~ Good Will Hunting
  • Everything is wrong. I am not okay with this.
  • I had a dream last night that I was riding in a car with Kevin Kline. An old Rambler or Falcon. Kevin drove. I rode shot gun. We drove along a quiet residential road with quaint houses and pretty landscapes. Driving slow and easy down the street, he reached out his window and picked flowers for me. Sweet yellow ones with the roots still attached. I reached out of my window but there were no flowers. I reached out for a rock to give instead. But I didn't like the way the landscape looked without the rock. I put it back and grabbed a smaller rock. So instead of flowers I stole a rock to give him. The rock owners were not happy with me. Some folk seem to like their rocks exactly where they left them. I noticed that none of the flower owners seemed pissed. Stupid double standard. Men, they make all the rules. I am not okay with this.