On Tuesday I decided I needed to get out
of the house. The time I spent on the message boards
left me wanting to pull my eyes out of my head so that
I wouldn't be tempted to do that again. I figured a
walk might be a better solution.
went over to the Barnes and Nobel near my house. It
may be the only book store I can go to and not end up
with thirty books on my credit card. Strange but true.
I can't get past the first table in Green
Apple without picking up a few books but I can wander
around B &N for an hour and leave with a magazine.
And, given that I am unemployed, I thought it wise not
to put myself in a place where I'd be tempted to spend
money I don't really have.
remembered that I got my copy of Wasted
there and I lent it to someone who never gave it back.
So I got another one. Marya went to the same college
that I went to. We became pretty good friends. She's
really smart and it was so much fun to talk to her.
She moved and things happened and I haven't talked to
her for a few years. I bought a coffee in the B&N
coffee shop and read for a while.
did such a great job of showing how women
starving themselves becomes a loopy competition.
She quoted a friend who said that, for an anoretic, eating
lunch was a political act. In the first part of the
book she describes watching her mother push food away
while her father ate heartily. It really is a great
intended to go out for a walk yesterday but my morning
session with the want ads put me in a mood. I had a
bit of a break down. So I read about reading Chekhov
and read some Chekhov
and tried to calm down.
then I watched West Wing and the news and went
back on-line for awhile.
Oh. Oh. I know this is just a time. And I'll get through
it. And something else will be true. But this is just
Ya know, it's not that I don't find Arnold's
of women reprehensible. I do. Even on Oprah, when
they were making him out to be the best husband ever, he
made comments about not wanting to seem "whipped".
Whipped? No one even blinked. I also have no problem
believing that he admired
Hitler, or that he made racist comments. His apology
was disingenuous. He's a creep.
I hate the fact that American politics is played on
this field. I guess I could have a by-any-means- necessary
attitude. Because if I wake up on Wednesday morning
and he's the governor I'm going to be so freaked. But
where are the issues?
man has refused to attend all but one debate, which
is, at the least, bad faith. The other day when
he was asked a question in German he refused to answer
in German. His support
for English Only is, at the least, problematic.
His access to media has been atrocious. His use of rhetoric
profane. The things that he plans to do in the first
100 days are horrifying.
local news went into a Curves
and asked women what they thought about the groping.
I don't want to minimize the groping. But is this the
line on which political will for women is defined? Certainly
a man who is obviously capable of sexual harassment
should never be in a position of power. But what about
don't really buy the polls. No one asked me, or anyone
I know. But it is nerve wracking. And the money. There
is so much money being spent on this I want the recall
to fail. In a big way. Too bad I don't have a governor
that makes me want to work harder on his (or her) behalf.
This is just the most contemptible thing I've ever witnessed.
I roasted an eggplant, some cherry tomatoes,
garlic and a red bell pepper and sauteed some mushrooms.
Put all that together and added some artichoke hearts.
Piled it onto a spelt
pizza crust. Topped it with fresh
mozzarella and a bit of parm. It all felt very autumnal.
The smell of roasting vegetables. The comfort of the
warmth from the oven. The ingredients weren't specifically
autumnal. Just the feel of the day and smell of the
bowl of fruit in my kitchen has been full of perfumed
nectarines and peaches and plums all summer. Now it's
full of Jonagold
apples and pears. All the smells are different.
it's a little bit cold. I keep putting on a sweater
and taking it off and putting it back on. It's an old
sweater, so thread bare in places that my shirt shows
through. And the sleeves hang down almost to my fingers.
It's just warm enough.
Maybe it's because I've been reading Kadare
but suddenly yesterday I had to know where
the Ottoman Empire was. The geography. I
had to understand the geography. And then Byzantium.
And then the Mongols. Where were they from?
I'm still trying to
figure it all out. All this early history
of expanding and contracting empires is confused with
changing names and differing scholars.
Short History of Kosovo a few years
ago. I should read it again. I had it out
yesterday and I was on the Internet. Why? I dunno.
I just wanted to know. I felt like there
were things I was missing in the Kadare.
I still do.
stopped by. It was her birthday, which I
had remembered. But I was surprised and
happy to see her.
had the a fore mentioned butternut squash
roasting in the oven. And an onion and some
garlic. All of which is in a bowl in my
fridge waiting for me to make it into soup.
(And thanks to -cough- Dru's -cough- none
too subtle suggestion -cough- I may write about the
soup on the recipe
blog.)Because Lynn and I decided to go out
for dinner. We talked about life and missing
Renee. Which we do. SO much.
are so many birthdays. I was a little bit
late for April's
birthday. But since she celebrates for
a week I feel like I got there in time.
Today is Susan's
birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! Let's
just keep the party going. I am sipping my green tea
in a toast to all the lovely birthday grrrls.
wrote a poem in my head last night. That only happens
once a year. Or less. So I'm going to see if I can remember
it. Right now I'm listening to Larry
talk about the recall and trying to remain calm. But
it is so
scary. Maybe I'll just go back to my history lessons.
I woke up tense. Ready.
I am worried. Because no matter what happens the state
is divided. This is the first of three scary elections
for me. I can vote for mayor today. But I'm going to
wait. I'd like to vote for Matt.
But there's some duplicity in that, because I want Tom
to be the mayor. I do realize that I can't have it both
ways. I'm working on it. I probably will vote for Bustamante.
Which makes me a little bit sad. I would like to vote
I did the last
time. It was the Paul
Wellstone quote about politics being what we dare
to imagine that made me do it. But I am scared. Fear
is driving my imagination.
if I think about that too much I'll vote for Camejo.
And try to imagine a more interesting possibility.
and I are going to look at Chagall
and not think about what's going on at the polls. Or
try not to.
and I arrived at MOMA
to find a line around the building waiting to get in.
It was free day. And it is a popular exhibit. It took
quite a while before we could even get in and, once
we were in, there were four, or more, people in front
of every picture at all times.
see Chagall on posters and greetings cards. But when
you see the real work, the thickness of the paint, the
texture of the brush, so many details that flatten out
and disappear on a poster, it is very moving. Chagall
is all about relationship. There aren't many images of
individuals. Everyone is in relationship, to the partner,
the community the spirit. So my eyes were filled with
pleasure and expansive ideal.
then there was the people. People bumping into me, walking
in front of me, standing in front of me making it impossible
to get a deep view. Many had those tape things that
the museum does, which I think are cool, but it meant
that they would stand in front of a painting for five
minutes - not really looking at it (I mean really not
looking at it. Staring off into space.) - listening
to the tape. People were just not aware of each other.
There was one woman who walked in front of me so many
times I almost hit her.
it made me feel bad to hate them so much. I mean looking
at the great love pouring out of the paintings and feeling
the affection for humanity and then getting bumped and
bashed and pushed as if you don't exist. At one painting
there was a woman who had positioned herself in front
of a painting and was just ... there ... for a very
long time. No one else could really get a good look
at it. While I understood the desire to stand in front
of each painting for an hour or so, I was aware of the
six people pushing up behind me waiting for their minute.
So it just wasn't cool.
my awareness of the difference between the painting
and the posters (and in spite of my current economy,
or lack there of) I bought myself a small print of Lovers
in a Red Sky
There's something about the print that feels like an
affirmation to me. I need an affirmation.
being the overwhelmingly generous person that she is,
took me to lunch,
brought me a
book that she knew I wanted and shared my conflict
about the experience at the museum. I came home and
took a nap. Woke up. Listened to the news.
said something about "the communal possession of
the earth's surface." We are all in this together.
And I do love my fellow humans, despite my frustration
with them this morning.
is a victory for style over substance, empty rhetoric
and most of all money. Millions of dollars were spent.
People are homeless, hungry, uneducated, unemployed,
sick, in great need. And millions of dollars were spent
to elect a man with no articulation of the issues. And
I understand. I understand the frustration that people
feel. I understand how tired they are and how much they
want a strong leader who can make change happen. But
this is a toxic mimic of strength and leadership.
ballot looks pretty much like mine. Mine had a weird
arrow thing to fill-in. The Bay Area did not elect this
guy. But that's cold comfort. There is some comfort
in the no on 54.
looking at my little print of lovers in a red sky and
trying to hold onto my faith.
never used to have Fox Network and I wasn't feeling
the lack. Now all the news channels are in a cluster
and I have Fox. I can't really watch it. I've tried.
It's just too dumb. But I pass it going from MSNBC to
CNN. Ralph was on
yesterday. There's something about that. Ralph wasn't
on the other two news stations. So I guess Fox has it's
moments. But the news on all three stations was too
stupid yesterday. After I'd heard more than one man
say that because Arnold was a famous movie guy the women
who were assaulted by him probably had been flirting
and really wanted what they got. And more than one woman
say that even if it was true it wasn't a big deal, and
more than one person say that they voted for him because
they liked his movies, I turned off the radio and TV
and went for a walk.
home and put on music. Karen gave me a disc of Jubilant
Sykes and Kobi gave me a disc of
Johnson. Both very soothing. I made
tuna salad, blanched green beans, peeled
carrots. Tried not to think about it all.
have two friends, both namedTom
and I talked to them both yesterday. It's
been awhile. So it was funny to talk to
them both in one day. It felt like it should
mean something. I asked them to read Avoirdupois
and one of them did. I keep checking for new comments.
Being the praise junky that I am.
was watching the news last night. Arnold was talking
transition team. The news guys are talking about
how he's reaching out to the bay area. The list of folks
he tapped was a list of right wing, conservative cronies
and ... Willie
Brown. Willie may look like the guy who represents
the "other side" but if you've lived in SF
and watched him sell the city to development and big
business you know he's not that alternative.
got an e-mail from a friend asking the rhetorical question,
"when did I become the kind of person who cares
what goes on in the government?" And I remembered
the eight years of the Reagan administration during
which I ignored it all. It didn't have anything to do
with me. I looked for my world in guru books and rock-n-roll.
And maybe I need to find some of that distance.
you read the article about Arnold and his "team"
you will read him say that he knows what the people
of California want and that's the direction he will
go. It's the language of the abuser. I know what
you really want. It's difficult to have distance when
there is someone this frightening in office and when
he got there because people liked his movies. This is
not the benevolent father who want what is best for
is the weekend
every year during which the Blue
Angels buzz my apartment. The noise is nerve wracking.
I don't feel good. So. Not a cheery girl. No balance.
part because I'm struggling to fend off
depression and in part because I had some
bad physical juju the last few days, I slumped
in my chair, remote in hand and zoned. There
are so many shows about making things over.
Houses, gardens, wardrobes, attitudes, pretty much
everything. I watched a truly obscene amount
of these shows.
not that I don't have books to read and
I have three cool movies from Netflicks
just sittin here. But I just felt so washed
out emotionally and physically. All I could
do was stare while people painted and planted
and made things pretty.
not terribly critical of these shows. Some
of them are kind of cute. Whole
neighborhoods get together to make a
backyard beautiful for a family who didn't
get to have a honeymoon. Neighbors
do a room in each others homes. People
fix up places for their significant
others. There's a show called Monster
House in which five men form a construction
team of sorts and race to do some reconstruction.
also shows in which people get told how
to dress and act on dates and put on make
up. I can't watch those for too long.
always had this idea of improvement as an
inside job. I'm always trying to be more
aware, more informed, more able to hold
complexity. But I'm not immune to the way
external improvement makes a person feel.
The first thing I did yesterday, when I
could stand up, was to clean the bathroom.
And even when it comes to appearance I know
that a new haircut, or outfit, (or pierced
nose,) can make a person feel very cute.
can't really imagine letting someone else
decide how my apartment is going to look.
But once, for my birthday, some friends
of mine made me a little pot garden on the
back deck of a place where I lived. They
did my laundry and just cleaned up the place
while I was at work.
It was very sweet.
feel better today. Physically at least. Which is good
because I wouldn't want to be tempted to watch another
day of those shows. There's a turn around for me in
which I start to think about how we live in an uncertain
world and the media does all it can to keep us afraid
and uninformed and then they teach us to comfort ourselves
with consumerism and stay distracted and we elect action
figures to be the governor and ... well then I'm right
back in the depression that slumped me into the chair.
said all that, I wish there was a show where a group
of bloggers could show up at Dru's
house with paint and pizza and have fun making things
pretty. There are bloggers who really understand how
am kinda curious about this
show. I did have quite a crush on Micky
Dolenz back in the day.
a guest blogger at Ampersand.
Barry is working on his new house. We could all show
up at this house to help. I'm still under the influence
of my day of watching home decor shows.
thing that did move me on those shows was watching people
cry because they didn't think they would ever have
a beautiful home. There was one show on which they spent
fifty thousand dollars on one room. Most of the people
are just average folks who struggled to get their house
and they live well but they don't have the time and
money to make their homes look like pages from those
magazines. Not to mention that they live in their rooms.
I'd like some of the shows to go back and see what the
rooms look like after they've been lived in for a while.
And it all seems to come down to intentionality. Many
people put their homes together with no real intentionality.
wait. I wasn't going to post about all that. I was going
to post about something the guest blogger at Amp's place
article in which a woman talks about being fat.
Some of it is very good. I do like the paragraph that
is pulled out on Ampersand. She covers lots of stuff
in a relatively short article. It has the feel of someone
who knows that they aren't going to get very many chances
to tell their truth so they have to get it all out at
just need to say that I am a very fat woman. I do not
avoid looking in mirrors. Maybe I used to. I can't remember
because I've been doing the work of seeing my body differently
for quite a while. Sometimes when I look in the mirror
I think I'm a babe and sometimes I think I'm a monster.
Most of the women I know (and many of the men) have
the same experience. We are always being told who looks
beautiful and who does not. I don't see women who look
like me in the beautiful list. So I look in the mirror.
With intention. If I don't love what I see there I don't
know how I can expect anyone else to. And I think loving
what see comes from a choice that I make. I choose not
to measure my beauty against a media driven standard.
It bugs me when I read that fat women avoid mirrors.
Look in the mirror my sister. See the beautiful expression
of physicality that you are.
isn't as hard to buy clothes as it used to be. It is
still hard to find clothes that fit well and don't cost
a fortune. Because fat bodies are not all the same.
Some of us are short, some tall, some carry their weight
in their bellies, some in their butts, in their breasts,
in their thighs, in their arms. We are all a little
bit different. Fat women who were sick of not being
able to find clothes made their owngreatcompanies.
And the clothes are a bit more expensive but they are
well made and they last longer and they aren't made
in sweat shops. And the models in their catalogs are
fat. The truth is that even Lane
Bryant does a better job than they used to in terms
of having models that look like the women who wear the
catalog is still filled with thin women but there
are clothes that are relatively cheap and cool. Fat
women can and do dress well.
maybe I'm nitpicking.
do think this women did a great job with this article.
I think Paul blogged
it once. Over at Amp's there's the classic comment (although
it does seem to be from a spammer) about fat people
causing insurance rates to go up.
people don't raise insurance rates. Insurance companies
raise insurance rates. If you want to be mad about the
high cost of insurance be mad at them. They created
the BMI. In 2002, when the surgeon general decided to
change the definition of who was fat, much of the population
became fat over night. Who benefits from that definition?
Hmmm. Insurance companies? Could be.
of the fat people I know don't have insurance, pay more
for it when they do get it, and avoid doctors. Why?
Well. The reason is in the article. This woman was told
by her doctor that her stomach cramps were because she
was fat. A week later she was in the emergency room.
I've heard this story so many times. Is anyone worried
about the quality of health care for fat people? Or
are you just hoping their doctors get them to lose weight?
there's another truth in the article. This women has
low cholesterol, low blood pressure, low blood sugar
and a heathy heart and lungs. She's just not getting
the fat = unhealthy thing right.
I was reading the article I thought about Avoirdupois
and my hope that it will be published. I am doing things
to try and make that happen but I don't want to talk
about them. I feel superstitious. Like talking about
it will jinx it.
hope lots of fat people start to tell the truth about
their lives. And I hope that more of them stop apologizing.
In one paragraph this woman is accepting that her body
is just different and in the another one she is
crying about buying "fat lady" underwear.
And I understand. I've shed my share of tears.
now can we stop crying? And celebrate? Can we just do
a little booty shake and say - oh yeah! Enough with
the never ending and market driven sense of improvement.
went to bed feeling kinda snarky and woke up feeling
... well ... still snarky. Snarkier, in fact.
you want to talk to me about my health let's start with
the fact that Insurance
companies don't insure fat people. We're too much
of a health risk. And let's talk about the quality of
health care I get when doctors routinely begin with
telling me I'll feel better if I lose weight and may
not see past that assumption long enough to diagnose
a potentially life threatening illness. Let's talk about
the idea that many fat people don't go to doctors for
regular health care because they don't want to be treated
the way they
are treated by doctors. Let's talk about how safe
I am when I'm
in a car. After we have that conversation we can
talk about how much I eat and exercise. It might be
an interesting conversation.
this all sound like I'm abdicating responsibility for
my health? I should just eat less and exercise more
and then I'll lose weight and be healthy and that's
all it's gonna take. Big news the other day. Diets
may make kids fatter. Not news to anyone who is,
or was a fat kid. There was only a wink and a nod to
the metabolic changes that occur with dieting. Most
of the blame is placed on the kid who can't stay on
the diet. And the negative
health impact to a person's heart from weight cycling,
can we talk about that while we talk about my health?
the conversation isn't really about my health. It's
about my character. I haven't done what it takes. I
haven't gotten with the program. I am guilty of the
great sin of having an appetite.
talk about how your bad attitude about my body impacts
don't want to feel this snarky. But the health stuff
always puts me in a rant. People pretending that they
care about my heath when all they want to do is prop
up their bias bring out the snarky in me.
I saw a show on which people who had lived into their
hundreds were profiled. And there was a woman who smoked.
Would I use her to make a case that smoking isn't bad
for you? No that would be reductive, oversimplified
reasoning. But she does make me wonder. She had a group
of sisters and brothers who were all in their nineties.
Watching them laughing and talking with one another,
it seemed to me that being surrounded with love and
acceptance might have been good for them all.
intelligent people aren't interested in size acceptance.
Who knew? I would think that intelligent people might
think that the value of a positive attitude is a good
thing. But if you don't like the size acceptance people,
you're really gonna hate
Every year on Gay Pride weekend I like to
article based on the work that Peggy
Mc Intosh did on white privilege. For
a variety of reasons I thought about it
today. I'd like to read something like it
from my average sized friends. I'm not really
the person to write it. But I know that
for many of my averaged sized friends the
idea of fat as a political identity is new.
So I'm just going to write what I wish I
as an average sized person ...
can be sure that people aren't embarrassed
to be seen with me because of the size of
I pick up a magazine or watch T.V.
I will see bodies that look like mine that
aren't being lampooned, desexualized, or
used to signify laziness, ignorance, or
lack of self-control.
I talk about the size of my body I can be
certain that few other people will hope
they are never the same size.
do not have to be afraid that when I talk
to my friends or family they will mention
the size of my body in a critical manner,
or suggest unsolicited diet products and
will not be accused of being emotionally
troubled or in psychological denial because
of the size of my body.
can go home from meetings, classes, and
conversations and not feel excluded, fearful,
attacked, isolated, outnumbered, unheard,
held at a distance, stereotyped, or feared
because of the size of my body.
never have to speak for size acceptance
as a movement. My thoughts about my body
can be my own with no need for political
alliance relative to size.
can be sure that when I go to a class, or
movie, or restaurant that I will find a
place to sit in which I am relatively comfortable.
don't have to worry that if I am talking
about feeling of sexual attraction people
are repelled or disgusted by the size of
my body. People can imagine me in sexual
won't ask me why I don't change the size
of my body.
masculinity or femininity will not be challenged
because of the size of my body.
can be sure that if I need medical or legal
help my size will not work against me.
am not identified by the size of my body.
can walk in public with my significant other
and not have people double take or stare.
can go for months without thinking about
or being spoken to about the size of my
am not grouped because of the size of my
will never have to sit quietly and listen
while other people talk about the ways in
which they avoid being my size.
don't have to worry that won't be hired
for a job that I can do because of the size
of my body.
Yesterday I was thinking about my average
size friends and my list. It occurred to me that many
of the average sized people I know would have a hard
time identifying as average sized. People would say
things about the fact that they have to be careful with
their diet and they exercise because if they didn't
they would get fat.
got news for ya. You're never gonna be as fat as I am.
You don't have the DNA.. If you can skip desert and
walk around the block and maintain a size that is thought
of as average you are an average sized person.
then I thought about the notion of average sized in
a world where the cast of friends is portrayed as
could hear lots of "I'm not average sized. Look
at my hips."
I saw an infomercial the other day
for some thing that is guaranteed to give you a flat
stomach in two weeks. There were women who I would describe
as average sized complaining about "their pooch."
The little bit of belly that they had. One of them grabbed
her belly with a look of shame and contempt and said,
"I just can't get rid of this."
body. She grabbed a part of her body. With shame and
contempt. And said.
just can't get rid of this.
of me hoped that I'd see a pile of comments on my post
yesterday. Part of me was afraid to see any. Some people
will always hate fat people. Take out the word fat and
put in a word that describes an attribute of physicality
and see how it feels. Color of eyes. Size and shape
of nose. Color of skin. Height. Gap tooth. It shifts,
doesn't it. Some seem ridiculous. Some seem worthy of
a revolution. Why is that?
my list be used in an advertisement for Weight Watchers
or any diet product? I guess. Because that's where it
all pivots. I can lose weight. So if I'm discriminated
against I have to take some responsibility for it. Because
I have the power to change it.
I was writing as if I were an average sized person who
was noticing the ways they have a kind of privilege
in the world. That's a very specific kind of contemplation.
It isn't about what could be. It's about what is.
the yeah buts are equivocation. And I understand that.
When I take a moment to hold the ways I have privilege
in the world based on my skin color my heart aches.
I don't want that truth. I don't want it for me and
I don't want it in the world. I feel myself wanting
to lessen the pain of that awareness with a laundry
list of ways I am also oppressed. I am a woman, working
class and fat. See. We all got something.
We do. We all got something. It's a dog eat dog food
kind of world.
I'm talking about this specific kind of oppression.
And I'm talking about now.
I'm talking about me. Your fat friend.
been thinking that I need to stop writing about this.
I'll lose readers. I better write about the mayoral
debate, or my laundry, or how I cooked what I cooked,
or anything else. I imagine people clicking away thinking
- gee, I really like reading her but I hate when she
goes off on this fat revolution stuff. I really like
her but I do think she should lose the weight. And that
isn't about her appearance. I love her just the way
she is but I worry about her health.
that I don't value and appreciate the deft response
of my fat sister Kell. Shared rage is a relief. But
I know she can help me with my list. I just keep wondering
if any of my average sized friends can hold the idea.
The media isn't going to end discrimination. And I can
talk about weight based discrimination and fat hatred
and some people will nod and mumble about how it's a
shame. And others will tell me about how I can change.
Most will just click to the next more interesting thing.
This flurry of posts began with the Ampersand
post. I think I read a comment there once that Ampersand
was like a dorm room where all the kids hang out to
talk about everything. It's true. It's a really smart
blog. Radically feminist. And conversations in the comment
box can go on for days. Barry wrote one
of the best pieces on fat that I've ever read anywhere.
The discussion there on the
article seems to have wound down.
Ratched and Redheaddread
story that Richard
told me about. And Dru
blogged about them blogging. And April
added to my list. There has been this flutter of blogging
about fat politics. Some of which was on blogs that
don't normally talk about it.
that's the part that keeps bringing me back. There are
so many blogs devoted to progressive thought. And often
when I see this topic come up I see the reticence with
which people engage. The words
that are used hit me like ice. The line that is drawn
around how fat makes me cranky. Sooner or later someone
is going to start talking about the horror of the morbidly
obese. And the health issues. And the reasons.
think there are as many reasons for why people are fat
as there are fat people. Yes there is some crap food
in the world. We aren't as physically active as we might
outta be. And there all
the theories. But at a certain point the why of
being fat isn't the most important thing. The fact that
there is rampant bias and discrimination and hatred
directed toward fat people is clear. Fat progressives
need to look at their internalized oppression. Thin
and average sized people need to look at their attitudes.
Said passed there were a number of shows about him.
I was listening to one on KPFA.
He said something about a group of people. I don't remember
exactly who. But they were a leadership council of some
kind and he said, "all of them fat." And the
audience all began to laugh, as did he. This was a group
of progressive, lefty, intellectuals. And they laughed
about people being fat in the middle of an other wise
high minded discourse.
not going to stop writing about this because this is
my life. But it does sometimes fill me with dread.
other day I received a rejection letter from an agent
who was looking at Avoirdupois.
The rejection was full of compliments. "Your submission
was better than most we receive. You have a unique and
well-developed voice which is very rare in what we do."
But they can't muster the enthusiasm for the project.
It hit me the way all the conversations with men who
have reacted me felt. "I love you very much. Just
not that way."
know I can't go there. Rejection is part of the deal.
Writers are rejected. It happens. But there was something
in the way it was expressed, lot's of superlatives and
then ... no. I can't help but wonder if it's about the
subject matter. There's no way to know. Short of asking
them. And I will let it go. But it hit me hard. I've
look to the blog world for a lot of what gets me through
the day. These are hard days for me. And this was a
particularly hard week. So, as always, and maybe more
than at other times, I have really appreciated the supportive
comments. And I have been more than undone by the less
than supportive comments.
Depression is so tedious. There is a part
of me that is always watching. Watching while I slump
into the chair, remote in hand. Watching while I make
a peanut butter and banana sandwich for dinner, because
cooking is just too much to ask. This after four hours
of trying to talk myself into cooking. Watches while
I sit in front of the computer screen with all the links
to publishing houses from Kell's comment open, and stare.
Watches while I try to remember how to make tea. Watches
while I go on line to look for the sinks
that I just saw on TV. They're very nice aren't
am adrift. I can feel my eyes, bloodshot and dry from
bouts of crying. I can feel my skin, which seems tighter
somehow. I can feel my stomach struggling to digest
the peanut butter and banana sandwich.
to do. What to do. It's all so tedious.
a restaurant space that's empty right now. In a neighborhood
that I like. I spent hours the other day imagining the
kind of place I would have there. I would know what
to do ya see. I would know exactly what to do to make
a restaurant. I would work all day. I am so good at
it. I know what to do.
writer thing is harder.
the time I spend slumped in the chair now, all the time
I spent looking at the computer screen, all the time
I spend trying to remember how to do the simple things,
cook dinner, make tea, all that time is lost. I am not
writing. I am not even reading.
I can talk about it. And I can write this post. So I'm
still OK. Right? There is part of me always watching,
making notes about the how bad it is. But I'm still
OK if I can write it down. Right?
I ask myself, what can you do? It's almost noon. Maybe
a shower? Make the bed? Wash the dishes? Carry the trash
downstairs? Check the mail? Take a book to the
park and read?
said, "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his
self incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability
to use ones own understanding without the guidance of
a bit strident. But it makes me feel like I'm not fully
mature. Not in terms of writing. If you handed me some
money and said, "Go make that restaurant."
I would flip into hyper drive. I would know how to use
my own understanding of the business to take action.
And it seems like I have some understanding of the actions
I need to take action on the writing. (Send more
stuff out.) But I am not getting it done.
is a part of me that always thinks that if you aren't
a little bit depressed, you aren't paying attention.
I did start taking someherbs a year
ago. And I have my ways of pulling myself out of the
gloom. Watching television is not one of them.
particular thing that I'm going through seems classic.
Mid life crisis. Or something. I haven't felt this way
since I was in my twenties. I haven't felt this listless,
resistant, flat line quality in a while. I guess I felt
that way during the years that I was managing the big
tourist restaurant kitchen. But I was doing things
every day. And I was making good money. So it was different.
I have a philosophic attitude about it all. This is
just a thing to get through. And I will. One breath
at a time. Emotionally. Well. That's the
field of the Lord. I'm in it. So all I can do is
feel through it.
it helps to write about it. The blog world is full of
support. It's amazing really.
Adrienne took me to hear Cynthia
read at the Headlands.
It was good to get out the door, across
the bridge and so close to the ocean. It
was great to hear Cynthia's writing. I'd
heard the piece she read once before in
a class that we shared. I really miss that
part of school. Hearing the great writing of my classmates.
Cynthia's stuff is always a combination
of her very grounded, scientific reason
and the great delight she finds in the random
it was great to be with Adrienne. She brought
me flowers and some lotion. She's
going to be too far away for awhile, because
finding a job in the bay area is so hard. In my perfect
world she would never live farther away
than three houses.
came home and watched the Jamie's
Kitchen marathon. This guy puts Rocco
to shame. His commitment to the kids is
amazing. He gave some of them a last chance
at least three times. He faced all the pressures
that Rocco faced and he and his wife had
a baby while it was all going on. Rocco
had a extremely compressed time to do what
he did. Jamie put off the opening a few
times. Rocco's show focused on the front
of the house where Rocco could flirt and be seen. Jaime
is all about the food. The whole value system is different.
shows brought back memories for me. I remember
watching the way cooks touched food, the
way they used their knives. Cooking is a
craft. And people who do it professionally
can be beautiful to watch. And he is really
trying to convey a love of food to these
kids. He took them to a pig farm to talk
to a man about pork.
made this comment about how the kids he
picked knew less about food that the average
TV watching foody. It kinda made me smile.
I was struck by how disinterested they seemed
in the food. It's possible that none of
them would pursue a job in this industry if there weren't
cameras. Maybe they thought it was going to be the Real
World for chefs.
cooked for a few years before I started to really care
about the craft of cooking. Cooking wasn't what I wanted
to do. I wanted to be a rock n roll star. So I might
have signed up for that show and been horrified by the
work and pressure that is the restaurant business. I
spent many years trying to do rock and roll at
night and be a cook in the day.
if I was going to be a cook, I wanted to be a good cook.
And I read books and magazines and watched Julia
I read Brigade
de Cuisine. I tried to understand cooking as a craft.
people watch me make an omelette they ask how I can
do them so well. It's easy after the first three thousand.
And that's what I'm not sure the kids on this show understand.
They'll be making the same plate of food thousands of
times. It's repetitious, mundane work. It's also fun
and challenging and there is a great joy in doing the
work of feeding people. But it's like sand
painting. It's back breaking, detail oriented, muscle
aching work to produce something that may be a beautiful
work of art for a minute. But then it will be swallowed.
And gone. And there will be order for three more.
I am in a muse about the industry. Obviously. And I'd
rather think about it all than do what I need to do.
Which is to fire up the want ads, look for other agents,
try to figure out what's next. Because, although I agree
that it might be a good thing to just be, especially
after a long project, the truth is that I need to make
such a weird phrase, isn't it? Make a living.
like to work. Watching the restaurant shows makes me
sentimental for a time when I knew what my job was and
knew how to do it well. And who am I now?
I can't think about that for too long. Or I'll end up
back in the chair watching reruns of Trading
Spaces, feeling lost. And I may end up there anyway.
But I'm going to try to keep pushing.
privilege list has been linked
up in a few places. And it's interesting to notice the
comments relative to the blogs that linked it. April
it up right away and added her own thoughts. Kerri
was right there with some shared outrage in a
both linked it. No comments specific to the list. Paul
linked it. No comments yet. Not sure what that means.
linked it. And, so far ... wellllllll. It could be interesting.
not projecting any big meaning onto all this. I'm just
finding it interesting. There's a resistance to
the idea of average sized privilege. And there is a
part of me that gets it. Because holding privilege is
really uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable for me to hold
the ways in which I am privileged. But what it does is allow
for some deep consideration of how we are all complicit
in what happens. It's easy to blame the really mean
people. It's harder to think about the ways we gain
from a culture that wants to keep us thinking of the
ways in which we need to improve. A culture with so
many products to help us in that effort. And then there's
the way we feel about people who are not obedient to
that notion of improvement.
post on Amp's that got me so worked up last week
the conversation continued and took a turn to talking
about notions of beauty. I also noticed a post by Trish
on beauty, not specifically related to the Amp post.
Trish linked an article, the title of which gave me
a minute of brain freeze. When
Taller Equals Fatter.When is fatter better?
Well, when you have a fat wallet of course.
an intersection for me in the two conversations. My
thought is that beauty is a shape shifter. I
think beauty is realized. But there is no question that
we live in a world in which we are bombarded with images.
And that has an impact on how we see the world. Every
month when I get my issue of The
Sun my first thought is about how beautiful the
person on the cover is. And when I look at mainstream
magazines I see the same two or three acceptable bodies.
well. There is so much work to do when it comes to unraveling
the way we view each other. So why not indulge a bit
of contemplation about privilege? It's a generous thing.
are also some new comments on my post. I love Amy's
addition to my list.
There is something stunning about being
told - I don't read you regularly but I know how you
think. But because I've been accused twice recently
of citing one study and calling the rest junk science
(something I don't remember doing) I thought I'd post
about what I really do think about the studies.
don't think about the studies.
day I hear about studies. Studies that say being fat
causes everything from cancer to bad teeth. Studies
that talk about how diets don't work. Studies that say
eating more protein is good for you. Studies that say
eating too much protein is bad for you. It all speeds
are funded. Tell who paid for the study and I'll tell
you how I feel about it.
little page project is not about science or medicine.
Earlier today I was looking at Big
Fat Lies. I wanted to find some data on weight
and health. The minute I begin to read that book I am
overwhelmed. This is not my area. Glenn
takes on study after study and puts them in perspective.
I get it when I'm reading but it's not something I can
turn around and do.
do sometimes post a reaction to a specific study, or
article. But I don't think that much better of the studies
that support my ideas than I do the studies that want
to condemn me for the size of my ass. Everything happens
in a context. I'm not interested enough in the context
of science, or medicine, to feel like I can talk about
the studies. I'll leave that to the
people who are.
times when I was told I use one study to say the rest
are wrong the phrase "junk science" was used.
I guess that comes from Paul
Campos. I can't be sure. Make no mistake. I love
But Paul, like Glenn, are much better at debunking studies.
Szwarc great thinker. Great writer. I'm happy these
people are out there.
hasn't been that long since I wrote about the health
thing. And it makes me very cranky. Because people
who want to tell me that they know me and they know
how I think and know how I eat and how much I don't
exercise aren't really talking about my health, or the
health of their friends. They're measuring character.
Mine. And their own. They see being fat as a behavior.
They don't even want to think about who I really am.
It's sad. And it makes me a little mad. And a little
tired. And as the people who do read me regularly know,
I've been struggling to keep myself in balance. But
I feel OK right now. Because I really do know some amazing
people. Barry and Bean are over
there on Amptoons kicking some rhetorical butt.
Some very nice people have left me comments of support
when it's clear that a person doesn't want to take the
time to really engage with who I really am and talk
about what I'm actually talking about, I can only sigh.
And hope that their friends have support from people
who aren't so hell bent on making them wrong.
now. I think I'll call one of the dozens of friends
who wait by the phone in case I need a ride somewhere
and ask them to drive me around the block. Or. I dunno.
Maybe I'll just walk.
Someone criticised the use of privilege
lists as a rhetorical tool. I remember the
first time I read the Peggy McIntosh list.
It was the bandages in "flesh"
color that stuck with me. Writing that now
it seems like such small thing. But I had
such a visceral response. I could visualize
the Band-Aid box and see the words flesh
color. The cultural centrality that I was
afforded by those words hit me. If
my skin color was flesh color what did that
mean about all that other skin color? It
was a small thing. And it made something
real for me. Something that had been abstract.
I feel guilty? No. I don't feel guilty about
racism. I feel angry about racism. I feel
angry about a culture so myopic that a company
could make a Band-Aid and label it flesh
a small thing. Certainly not the most offensive
thing about racism. There was just something
about it. It had an impact on me.
than one of my friends have told me that,
after knowing me, they noticed the size
of public restrooms and wondered how I would
fit in to them. It was something that they
had never really thought of.
that's the thing about really getting to
know someone. My friend Sarah has hearing
loss. Knowing her has changed the way I
experience sound in public places. I know
Kell has problems with smells. Sometimes
when I'm on a bus and someone is wearing
a lot of perfume I think about Kell.
I feel guilty? No. In fact I still wear
some scent. I use scented products. I wouldn't
if I were working next to Kell in an
enclosed area. It would be discourteous.
than I knew about. Each one gives me some
insight into the things I assume about that
oblique thing called the norm. Each one
softens my heart and makes me a bit more
aware. That's what I was hoping my
list might do. Open some hearts. Inform
continued reading Big
Fat Lies last night. Glenn writes that autopsy
studies that were done on twenty-three thousand
people in fourteen different countries were published
in 1968 saying that obesity does not cause heart disease.
Well over half of the angiographic studies that
were done between 1976 and 1994 showed that being fat
had no relationship to arteriosclerosis or the progression
of the disease over time.
As I said. I'm not a studies kind of grrrl. My rhetorical
tool is my life.
the conversation continues. Shifts. Comes back. This
morning when I checked in someone had left a link to
page. Speaking of rhetorical tools. It's always
the same in these conversations. Size acceptance is
one thing but what about those really really fat people?
is about fear. This is about the puritanical believe
in self-control as a sign of righteousness. This is
about people needing to feel that they are superior
so that they can feel safe. There's a lot of that going
around these days.
page about the very fat people is intended to repulse.
Not by the people who host the page. And I'm not going
to talk about them, so don't go there. But by the people
who want to use their images as a cautionary devise.
See what will happen if we let fat people love their
bodies. Of course the truth is that not everyone can
be that fat. I'm not even sure that I would ever get
that fat. I do want to have a heart big enough to hold
have never said that there aren't health concerns for
people who have fat bodies. There certainly are. And
I would like a medical community who wants to give me
the best care and not just sell me risky surgeries,
bad drugs and self-loathing.
would like a political community that understands my
marginalization, my exclusion from the commons. I would
like my thin and average sized friends to think about
the ways in which they are not aware of my oppression.
not about rhetoric. It's about people's lives. It's
about my life.
Sonya came over for a late/lunch early/dinner
before she went to school.
had this idea based on something
I saw on Jamie's Kitchen. I had an acorn
squash and a butternut squash that I wanted
to cook. I cut up some of each, cooked some
pieces of chicken in olive oil, brown butter,
salt, pepper and chili flakes and added
the squash at the end. I cooked a bit of
whole wheat pasta and tossed that in. I
let it all cool down a bit. And I tossed
some mixed greens in balsamic, olive oil,
mustard and shallots. Put them on the plate
first and then put some of every thing else.
So there was cold and warm. Sweet and acid
and heat. Creamy and nutty. It pretty much
rocked. I meant to throw on some asiago but
I forgot. I have squash left over so I'll
be thinking up something else to do with
it. Maybe risotto.
talked about writing. She has such good
ideas about ways to pursue publishing.
was good for me to get away from the screen
for a while but I went on line after she
left to do some more job searching.
not sure I can focus myself for more job searching today.
It seems that I always begin Monday fired up and then
by Thursday I'm burnt out.
While obesity is a genuine national problem today, special interests and trial
lawyers have promoted hysteria about the issue in order to advance their own
political and financial interests. These efforts include frequent citation of
inflated health care costs and obesity-related deaths, according to testimony
today by The Center for Consumer Freedom at a public hearing of the Federal Drug
Administration's (FDA) Obesity Working Group. (more)
Special interests and trial
lawyers have promoted hysteria about the issue in order to advance their own
political and financial interests? Gee.
Da ya think?
You know. It is a "genuine national"
are average sized, you can take comfort in the fact that your ob/gyn is not
going complain about your fat as she's sewing your body back together after
delivering your child.
know why. But that just shocked me.
think I might have looked like a cat chasing
my own tail yesterday. I went from blogging
to cooking to job searching to cleaning,
never doing any one thing for more than
twenty minutes. I wish it had been filmed.
Then we could watch it speeded up. Heh.
After a while, you're looking at the same want
ads. And it's pointless. But I kept thinking I needed
to try. And I couldn't really stand it for too long.
I was a portrait of manic.
always a month of the year during which
I resent apples. The summer has been all
about peaches and nectarines and berries
and so much variety and then all there is apples. Well. Apples
and pears. And just for awhile, I feel resentful.
loopy. Because they are so good right now.
has been bringing me apples
and pears every week. I don't eat them fast
enough so I end up making some combination
of apple/pear sauce every Sunday. Which is very good.
This week's sauce is more pear than apple.
I love the fall backwards time change. When
I was working it always meant a much needed hour of
quite awhile I woke up at about 7:00 but lately I've
been having a hard time getting to sleep. I lay there
thinking about jobs and bills and everything I've ever
been through. And then I can't wake up in the morning.
I can't really sleep past 9:00 but I have been sleeping
later and later for a few weeks.
then today I was awake at 7:00 because I set my clock
back. I'm happy about this because when I sleep later
I feel like I'm succumbing to depression. That may not
be a useful way to think but it is how it feels. If
I wake up at 7:00 I feel like I'm open to the
sounds so arbitrary. For years I thought I was a night
person. I just felt better if I stayed up later, and
woke up later. I needed less sleep. When I had a job
in which I worked at night things were fine. But I worked
in the day often enough that my internal clock got rewired.
Or so it seems, since now I wake up at 7:00. Do we have
an internal clock? Is it about light?
is upset about the fact that the days are getting shorter.
She likes all that light. I like the light in the spring
and summer. But I also like this curling inward that
happens in the fall and winter.
morning when I walked into the living room and saw the
clock I felt this sense of calm. It was early. I was
awake. That must be a good sign. And even if being awake
at 7:00 means nothing, I'm going to pretend that
One of the things I've learned about myself
from playing with my SIMS is that I don't
play well. I drive them through their paces
to be smarter, better, more, more, more.
It's embarrassing. Now that I have the magic
mirror I don't need to push them. Most of
my SIMS playing now is about working in
the garden. It's like I use them to live
out my own Zen fantasy life.
yesterday I looked at the
site and saw a story that someone had
done in which they put a bunch of SIMS together
in a big fully furnished house and just
watched. I can't figure out how to link
to it but try this.
Her SIMS died in fires and starved to death
and her kids went to military school. See
now. I just did not think I could let that
happen. But I decided I had to try.
built the biggest, most bombin house ever
and moved in a group of eight. I couldn't
really understand why the other person didn't
put in a fire alarm. SIMS will just let
themselves burn up if the fire alarm doesn't
call the fireman. And I thought they ought
to have a butler because that way no one
would starve to death. And I couldn't resist
using the magic mirror to make them like
each other. But after all that, I left them
alone. I just watched.
was pretty fun for a while. But here's the thing. I
made everything too perfect. My SIMS get
enough to eat. They're in
bed by 11:00. They wake up with the sun.
They spend most of their time in the hot
tub. Or they're eating and sleeping. They're happy.
They actually do some self improvement.
One of them got on a painting jag; another
played chess for hours. They swim.
only casualty has been one of the kids.
She never went to school and she got sent
to military school.
just gone. Her face is gone. I keep wondering
if she'll come back. There have been fires
and one guy passed out after watering plants
otherwise they are so good. The house is
clean because the butler called in a maid.
Of course, they hardly ever get out of their pajamas.
They aren't paying their bills. The repoman came to
take some of their stuff.
guess sooner or later they will be evicted.
Or the repo man will keep taking things
until all their bills are paid. But gee. The whole idea was
to watch them mess things up. I know sooner
or later I'll cave and make someone pay the bills. Maybe
if I hadn't made them like each other I would have seen
more crazy social interactions. All they do is gossip
and tickle each other. They talk a lot in the hot tub.
I thought maybe they'd flirt, but no. They have kind
of paired off. Despite the fact that there are plenty
of beds they have paired up for sleep. they all chose
a bed that they liked and two of the women sleep together
and two of the men sleep together. One of the men sleeps
with the young boy. Which is mildly disturbing. And
one woman sleeps alone.
who I am, I keep thinking about what this all suggests.
They are happy and fed and rested but they aren't meeting
their neighbors. They aren't getting jobs. They are
oblivious to the forces (repo man) that will ultimately
destroy them. And after a week or so (in SIMS time)
it's pretty boring watching them.
know that people do things with their SIMS like get
them to slap each other. I've never been able to do
that. I can't set them up in a situation in which they'll
die. I was prepared to not do anything if one of them
did burn up. But I wasn't sure I could let them starve.
And I really want my little girl to come back from military
I had mixed feelings about Fat
Like Me before I watched it. Most
of the people I know were outraged. Beautiful
letters to ABC were written and
circulated on list serves. The minute I
hear that a person puts on a fat suit I'm
suspicious. I didn't like it when Anita
did it. I was pretty sure I wasn't going
to like it now. But
I wondered if they would be able to show
how fat people are treated in a way that
was helpful. I remember reading Black
Like Me. It felt like such an important
book. I'd have
to read it again but these days I feel like
a person who enters a life on a temporary
basis can't really reflect the actual experience
of that life. Still. I wanted to watch.
a night mare. From the minute it began it
was so hateful I thought I was going to
scream. A few more shows like this and we
will have record number of kids dead from
eating disorders. But at least they won't
complicated part is that I know that people
eat crap food. And I know that people have
compulsive overeating problems. If people
eat more veggies and walk more, then that's
all to the good. If people form a better
relationship to food then that's great. But some of those people
are just gonna be fatter. I just don't understand
why we can't make the eat better/move more
point without the fat phobia.
remember a story that a friend of mine who works at
the YMCA told me. She convinced a fat girl to take a fitness
test that was being given. The girl passed everything
except the BMI measurement. She was fit enough to do
all the activities that were in the test but she didn't
get her gold star because of a measurement.
me how it felt to watch this kid be so joy
about getting out of her fat suit. Think
about how it felt for a fat kid who can't climb out
of their body. It is
true that fat kids and adults are treated
pretty badly. But we aren't all the miserable
people that this show made us out to be.
We have friends. We have fun. We have lives.
On the one hand I was happy to see the kids
feel bad because of the way they treated
miss fat suit but I also wanted to say that
I weighed 175 pounds in high school. I didn't
look like she did. I was well liked. I was
active. And what good is it to point out
the way fat people are treated and then
blame them. Fat people are treated badly
so lets change THEM? It's maddening.
found the pictures of the thin boy with
fat girl written about in the article on
of having fat friends. Interesting discussion
going about that on BFB
as well. The boy looks pretty much the
same to me in both pictures.
one thing that the girl on the show said
that I related to was that she felt
like the experience made her a better person,
more aware of what other people go through.
When I say I wouldn't take the magic pill
that would make me thin this is what I'm
talking about. I have learned a lot about
myself and other people because I have been fat. Unlike
this girl my self esteem can't fall apart because I
am fat. Being fat is part of what
makes me who I am. Not something that I take off.
you think that means I work to stay fat
then you're just not getting it.
I had to eat up some spinach. Planet
Organics was bringing me more. And I
still had some butternut and acorn squash
from the other day. So I made this weird
concoction of ground beef, fresh tomatoes and
spinach and ate it with some of the squash.
It felt very retro. Like cafeteria food.
But it was good. I heated the squash up
in some chicken stock and I didn't do anything
in the way of seasoning other than salt
and pepper. While I was eating it I kept
thinking about how I could taste every part.
It wasn't all mucked together. It was a
meal cooked from the need to get rid of
left-overs and things that I needed to eat
before they went bad. I didn't have my culinary
hat on while I was making it and yet it
tasted good. And I'm glad because I'll be
eating it again today. Left over leftovers.
while I was eating it I had another thought.
I want people to know how to taste beautiful
well cooked food. I want kids to know about
this. But here's something I also know.
Some kids are going to be fat.
worried about their health. I'm worried
that by the time they survive all the hatred
that comes at them (if they survive) they'll
have health problems that no amount of weight
loss will fix.
know that by the end of that show my blood
pressure was up. My depression was deeper.
My fear and anxiety was off the chart. There
was a mother on the show who said that she stopped hugging
her daughter because she was so embarrassed to realize
that she had a fat daughter. She talked about how it
felt to hold her daughter's chubby hand. The camera
showed us that hand. That hand that is now connection
to a mother who found it so repulsive that she stopped
stopped hugging and touching her child.
hurt me to watch that. I know it had to hurt fat kids
who may have been watching. Since
I've been fat all my life I know how to
talk myself off that ledge but it hurt me.
Last night I had a dream in which I was having
trouble getting out of a cab because of the way the
driver had parked. There wasn't enough room. The driver
took off and was dragging me because I was wedged under
the door. So. Yeah. Watching that show hurt me.
kept thinking about Matthew
Shepard. I wondered if a fat kid were killed in
the same horrible way what would happen. There would
be some people talking about the hate that caused the
event and then they would talk about how to make the
fat kids thin without missing a beat. And they would
never see how all their concern for the health of
the kids, articulated in that manner, contributed to
the climate of fat hatred in which something like that
young girl, the beautiful young girl with the mother
who stopped touching her, is on a diet now. The whole
family is on a diet together. Of course the young girl
has been caught sneaking food.
somewhere in America there was a young person, probably
a girl, who watched that show last night. She hasn't
eaten more than a few hundred calories a day for months
and months. She no longer has a period. Her bones can
be seen pushing against her skin. Her bones are so brittle
from lack of calcium that if she falls they may shatter
inside her and she will bleed to death internally. Her
friends and family have been trying to get her to eat.
When she looks in the mirror all she sees is fat.
You guys pull me out of the fire. I'm not
sure I tell you how much I appreciate you
all often enough.
thought about it yesterday. Margaret found
my Amazon wish list and sent me a Dar
Williams disc because she knew I was
down. Margaret read my blog, left some comments
and we've exchanged a few e-mails. That's
how we know each other. It just strikes
me as such a generosity of spirit for her
to extend herself to me, first by commenting,
and then the e-mail and then a gift. I mean
I was listening to the disc, feeling all
the anger and hurt from watching that stupid
show. And Dar was singing.
And the best ones were the ones I got to keep as I grew strong, And the days
that opened up until my whole life could belong, And now I'm getting the
answers, when I don't need them anymore, I'm finding the pictures, and I
finally know what I kept them for, I remember, I can see them, see them
smiling, see them stuck, See them try, I wish them luck and all the
I cried a little and took a breath and was
filled with gratitude. Just to be in the
world with so many people, sharing their
friend of mine and I were talking about
our grief about not having children the
other day. I did
want kids. And I do have grief about not
having them. But I have Renee. From the
minute she came screaming into the world
she has blown my mind. Moments from her childhood
pass through my minds like the lyrics from a favorite
song. And a few months
ago we were sitting in a restaurant, eating
souffles and having the kind of conversation
I might have with any of my best friends.
How lucky am I to know this person and be
there to watch as she grew up?
have Dean and Sonya. I don't know if September
11th could have been worse but I do know
that I got through it because Dean was here.
I needed to believe in his future. And when
Sonya was here I kept looking at her and
remembering her smile when she was two,
her wild curls, listening to Baby
Beluga over and over and over and over.
sometimes I'm still sad about the kid thing.
And yesterday I was doing the blog roll and
I saw the mighty K-zilla.
My face about split from the smile that
spread across it. And then there was lunch
with Monk and Cole the other day. I
may not have a kid. But I have kids in my
life. And some of them are in my life because
of this crazy blog thing.
can't go through my whole blog roll and
talk about how I feel about everyone. I
stand in awe of Elayne'sefforts
to go through hers. My relationships in
the blog world are as complex as my relationships
off line. My feelings have been hurt. I've
hurt other's. No matter how well intended
these words are, things go wrong. Linking.
Delinking. Blogger breaks. Blogger returns.
Comments run amok. No comments at all.
just could not have told me about this.
I tiptoed into this following the trail
already broken by Willa
I remember the feeling when I stared. I
didn't know what I was doing. I wasn't sure what I was
doing it. You could not have told me how much I would
there was a point when I was feeling so
bad. I couldn't face the want ads. I couldn't
imagine how I was going to get through the
next minute. And I had the thought to post
something. Just a general ... HELP ... kind
of post. And just having the thought made
it possible to take the next breath. You
could not have told me about that. I would
not have believed you.
am blessed with many friends, on line
and off. If I started
writing about all the people in my life,
and the ways in which they extend themselves
into my life, the generosity, the care,
I would be writing for days. And it might
be a good thing to do. But all I could do
yesterday was think about people. And feel gratitude.
I'm not really OK. Much of the day is hard.
The nights are worse. I lay in bed listening
to all the negative voices in my head. Why
can't I find a job? What if I can't get my book published?
What have the last six years of my life been about?
try to imagine the barrage of worries as sheep and just count
them as they pass. But I don't sleep. And
then the morning comes and I'm exhausted.
I get out of bed and come to the computer
and I read for a while and then I begin
to type. And I get e-mails with pictures
of happy pumpkin faces and I have to smile.
pull me out of the fire. And some of you
who are reading this don't think I mean
you. But I do.
few weeks ago the fire alarm in my building went off.
I was in the bedroom on the phone and I thought it was
the alarm from the school across the street. My neighbor
knocked on my door to ask me if there was a fire in
my apartment. Everyone was milling about in the hall.
alarm is connected to another building. There are two,
small buildings that connect but have doors that open
on different streets. We share the backyard and the
laundry room and the fire alarm. I don't know if there
was a fire in the other building but after awhile the
alarm stopped. It's an old building and the alarm has gone off
before with no cause. I wasn't worried. And I've been
so mopey lately. I just couldn't even summon up the
emotion to be afraid.
happened once before when I was living in NYC. I'd been
working fourteen hour days to open the Time
Cafe. The chef was new and didn't really know how
to handle all the things that were happening. We had
been working long days for a few weeks and we were all
exhausted. And the chef and the sous chef were mean
in a very backhanded way. Nothing anyone did was ever
good enough. I was so unhappy. And tired.
was living in a residential hotel. One night I
woke from a deep sleep to lots of shouting and flickering
light. There was a fire across the air shaft. It was
a few floors higher than I was and pretty far away.
The silhouettes of the fireman on the roof stood in
contrast to a pale grey sky. Orange flames were still
shooting from the window and the fireman were using
flash lights to check for sparks that might be falling
into the litter strewn space below. It was eery and
beautiful. I watched for a minute and then I went
back to bed. I was too tired and too sad to care.
tell myself that I'm not attached to my things. If they
were gone I would be sad but life is impermanent. I've
let go of things before.
watching the film of people walking around the remains
of their homes I know that is just philosophy and distraction.
The loss is wrenching. And the loss is not just
"pull me out of the fire" metaphor came to
me while I was thinking about all this and watching
the news yesterday. I was thinking about how I am fighting
the urge to go back to sleep in a burning building.
And knowing that people are living through such devastating
loss shocks me into perspective.
Twice recently I've heard people described
as "always positive, never negative." What
does that mean?
would be easy to make a laundry list of things in both
columns but it seems like anger, sadness, and most difficult
emotions end up in the negative column. And that's like
saying that much of our humanity is something to avoid.
It took me a long time to understand my own emotions
and I still have a lot to learn. I'm not willing to
stop that learning in the name of an oblique thing called
days, when I am so full of difficult emotion, I tend
to stay away from my friends. I don't reach out. When
I do talk to people I feel like it's hard on them. There's
isn't much anyone can say about my situation. I just
need to keep looking for work and trying to write and
find a publisher and send out writing and that's what
it is. And it is hard. So I am not that happy. But.
Would anyone want me to lie about that?
friends are pretty good with emotion. If I really felt
like I needed to be with someone I would call. And people
do call me. But there is that moment when I feel like
I can't keep talking about how I am. It doesn't really
come from them. It comes from not wanting to dwell on
what isn't gonna shift in that moment. Does that make
me a positive person?
such a simplification of who we are.
Aunt Dolorus was one of those people that I'm sure would
be called positive. I would call her that. And it had
to do with the way she lived. She was happier with life
than I have ever been. It wasn't that she never got
angry, or sad. She just did what she needed to do. And
she was more private about her emotions than I am. And
she had a pretty great life.
always had this feeling of restless searching through
which I see the world.
times when I heard the words "always positive,
never negative" I had a mix of feelings. I wish
could be more simple. I really do. I strive for
simplicity. Which seems oxymoronic. And yet I felt suspicious.
used to have a hard rule to be afraid of the positive
people. They don't have the capacity to hold problems.
When things go wrong they want to get to the feel good
place again as soon as possible. But that was when I
was more committed to my own darkness. That was when
a glass of bourbon and a cigarette in a dark bar seemed
like facing reality. It was a reality. But it isn't whole.
maybe that's it. I want to be whole, more than I want
to be positive. It's a high wire kind of way to live
but I don't know what else to do.
is something about the notion of positive that feels
like silencing. When I hear those words I feel like
I'm being told to stop talking about the things that
are difficult. Be like so and so. Be positive. Well.
I'm just not like so and so.
and humor. Knowing that everyone struggles. Being willing
to tell the truth and be there through the hard stuff.
I'm just not sure people can be positive and not negative.
I think we need to be both.
Anyway.In the spirit of being positive. I wish you more
treats than tricks tonight.