This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

When the Last Sentence is the One You Need

I'm scanning down the page unable to focus when his words come off it. I am rapturous then:
The wish to portray my own inner life has shoved every-thing else into the background; everything else is stunted, and continues to be stunted." "Often," he adds at another time, "I am seized by a melancholy though quite tranquil amazement at my own lack own feeling...that simply by consequence of my fixation upon letters I am everywhere else uninterested and in consequence heartless." This calm melancholy perception is actually, however, a source of much disquiet, and the disquiet is religious in its nature.
-Homage, by Thomas Mann for The Castle, by Franz Kafka

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

That Feeling is There for a Reason

Huh. Well, I am fairly blank.

Everything feels muted this week. So what is there?

On my walk to the train yesterday I obsessed over women's bellies and how I've come to notice and appreciate a wider range of them. Last night, one thing I did was the dishes. While washing I composed truthful sentences in my head for one, or another, of my online profiles:
"Doing the dishes sometimes brings me joy."
"I like to wear an apron, and nothing else, when I cook sometimes."
"This profile will never be complete. I am more truthful in person and more articulate on paper."
I'll never post those things. I do like to imagine "perfect" sentences though. I tend to think the things that occupy my mind are less worthy than the things that occupy the minds of other people. I tend to assume those "other people" are calculating or planning something "more useful".

I am immersed pretty deeply in the work of noticing what weeds I have been tending over the years when I unconsciously propelled around. I want lily of the valley to grow someday, and jasmine, and morning glories. I have already planted ivy vines, orchids, jade trees, african violets, basil, cacti, and umbrella plants.

I realized I was making assumptions again about the unknown motives of other peoples' actions. I felt relief for that realization and moved on. I watched the slide show of all my photos twice.

My goal in yoga yesterday, my intention, was to breathe until my insides felt light. I don't know if I got there. I might have been too busy trying not to force my breath, but to let it flow; or trying to remain in the crescent-twist pose that sometimes feels so damn challenging and other times so damn good. There is space. I have found space up under my breasts, right above my ribs. There are muscles developing there that hold me better than I've held me before.

How much of this is rambling and how much of this is absently attempting to get a thing done one piece at a time?

We spent a day zooming around Seattle. From 11 AM to 6 PM I saw all that I could see on foot, in arms, and in a blue geo metro. I wanted fresh fish of some kind, and had been craving sushi so Hadj took me to the place he eats at with his aunt, and we sat outside. The water tasted like plastic but the salmon was obviously fresher than anything I can get in Chicago. My beer was half price because happy hour wasn't yet over. We goggled at one another. We watched moms and kids walk by the upscale neighborhood where the hippies turned slowly to yuppies. Across the street was the Bostonian Barber Shop. Next to it was a fancy "fusion" restaurant, with minimal white decorating creating an "atmosphere of clean lines," or so I've heard it told before. I was glad we didn't go there, after we parked around the corner, where I ogled the window boxes and shutters on the nice houses. We drove up the steepest hill I'd seen all day to get there. It's the hill that gets shut down when it snows because no one can stop their cars from going down, and kids start in on it, sledding.

I find all sorts of creative metaphors for love when I'm in it. I am outdone this time. I speak of things like balloons in my chest. I can only cry "wheeeeeeee!!!!!" and run down hills to demonstrate the feelings inside of me. I pull faces, I rest my head, I touch as much as possible, and kiss wherever pauses occur.

I remain mostly silent when laments occur in my heart. The space inside me feels gaping, but I know it is not emptiness there. It is the same space that a bowl holds, making it useful. Waiting. I have had too much waiting in my life. I have waited for someone to tell me what to do (or not to do). I waited for someone to tell me the consequences. I have waited for someone to tell me the rules. I have waited for something to come along and rescue me. I have waited to understand why.

I am an airy person. I attach to things lightly most often because I know the only constant in life is change and I don't want to go down with a sinking ship. That is a lie. That is a half, or quarter - or better yet - a written truth and written truths can only be true some of the time. Because every thing will change in life. I attach to things lightly most often because I am afraid of picking the wrong path. I am afraid of missing out. I am afraid of failure.

Or, I used to be.

Now, if I feel muted what can I do but one thing at a time and hope that I'm nearing my goal, as mundane as the work I'm doing may be?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Carry It In My Heart

Yes, I'm back from the west and yes I'm glowing through jet-lag, which seems to have finally caught up to me. I can say with out a trace of sarcasm or embarrassment I had the time of my life (cue the music, Baby).

I wrote as much as I could down in my journal on Sunday night's flight home. I read it through tears last night to Hadj, who thanked me for my tendency to archive. I finally began bleeding on Sunday, after another "abnormally" long cycle, which caused me to be very emotionally wobbly yesterday. I thanked him on the phone. I needed to cry without getting sad and was able to.

So now I'm back. I'm here and there. I'm focusing on sitting up straight (the ever present office-worker battle in me) while also flitting around still with the giant Cedar trees in our yard. Ours. We and us. I am here and there.

I am not processing so much as I am imagining, building, and painting what is to come. There are times when every detail seems clear to me and times when I feel I'm plugging my nose before I plunge. I will talk to HR this week and give my notice soon. My family has been notified, for the most part, my going-away party will be planned. The next chapter will begin this fall. ShanaRose goes west for love and the future. How very fucking exciting.

I suppose I will begin writing some of those stories from trip soon. I keep thinking of it as my test drive week. Just so you know, I'm buying.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Authority Over Habit

I ordered tofu pad see ew and took it home. In the bag was one Chinese-style take out container, one container of Thai chili sauce, two chopsticks, and a napkin. I was beside myself with pleasure.

When I was young, and spent half of my free time eating in front of the television, I became lustful over the independent lives lived on-screen. An attractive young woman might eat Chinese food straight from the container, while sitting on her overstuffed couch. This seemed like a paragon of adulthood freedom to me. I once convinced my mom to let me eat our Chinese take-out directly from the container.

I was excited to have a moment's leisure, by myself, with my sweet fried noodles and some South Park reruns on-line. About half way through the container of food I was no longer hungry. I put the container down. A moment later I picked it back up. There was a voice, though quiet, in me directing me to put the food away for lunch the next day. There was another, perhaps several, voice(s) that were sort-of cruelly spurring me to keep eating.

I finished all the food even after stopping once more, three-quarters of the way through, knowing I was getting too full. Afterward I sat on my floor cushions and felt bad. I was beating myself up. I was telling myself old stories, very familiar, rut-worn stories, about how fat I am, how little self control I have.

Self control is a trigger word.

I figured this out for the first time last night.

It took self control to continue eating. I ate past being hungry. I ate past being full. I ate past comfort. I was in pain from all the food I ate, which had turned from a delicious treat of take-out Thai, to evil, temptuous, untrustworthy, too sweet, badness. Any nourishment to be found in the noodles, broccoli, tofu, and chilis was negated by the poison-arrow thoughts I was now shooting into body, from my brain.

It took self control to eat too much. Negative self-control, I thought. This form of subverted and subtle, even malicious, behavior had been sighted. I had been wondering why I "do this to myself" when I was feeling so bad, there on the floor, so full. I tempted myself into thinking I had "done this for the last time" just so I "could examine" my behavior in this area "once more," but I'll probably do it again - in part because I am a hedonist and in part because I love food and in part because old habits really, really do die hard. My best hope, right now, is that when I do eat way too much again I don't make myself feel emotionally worse for having done so.

I remember my childhood behavior very clearly. I remember being disappointed when the only granola bars in the house were honey granola (instead of my preferred chocolate chip, "chocolate" covered ones) and how I'd slather them in peanut butter or microwave them and eat at least two at at time. Or how I'd eat an entire packet of instant mashed potatoes with an entire can of corn in the two hours I had alone after school, before eating dinner.

I used to eat until I cried and then wish I were bulimic or anorexic. I don't know what feelings drove me to that behavior then. I can guess it was empty boredom and complete lack of direction. However, I do guess that I can heal those scars, knowing what I know now.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Untitled (Martyr and Astrology)

If asked,
I will deny the truth.
I will not
put my hand
on your heart
and swear to you what I see;
that would be blasphemy
to you.

I am no martyr.

Your bloody paw
your empty ring
Your tangled hair
your lost keys:
I will not swear your truth
to you.

Can you see what you're going to do yet? Do you have any idea?

I may disagree.

People praise my confidence,
and I cannot even see.
It is written here.
That is what it looks like:
I'll read it to you.
to be certain of a truth
coming from the heart
of the world's walking wounded.

The shadow you talked about,
can you let it go?
Do you need to let it go?

me: you're holding on to something
some angst over her and she wants you to let her go.

bunny fur
bloody foot
key ring
bye bye
your friend? your love?

I apologized socially
and heavily
for all the babies born, so soft,
She's doing it again
against the world
raised always in pain being pricked
by spikes
And I am powerless to stop her
of passersby who didn't see how
their heads were held just so.

Those babies hide and cry.
No mama,
no food,
no dry sheets comfort.
All they can do in this life
is hide and cry
And find a way out to the truth
with out pulling the shade down.
I feel their pain;
so acute
and raw and
I'm so sorry they hurt.

I am no martyr.

(Confidence is not
saying whatever you feel.
Confidence is feeling,
and hurting more to
lie against truth,
than to bear the consequence
of pain.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Every Moment Someone is Blessed

every moment
someone is blessed
a tree sprouts
an angel flies
even a monster
leaps with delight

stanza 3/5::Ghazal 2132::"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"::translated by Nader Khalili

I have been cultivating my belief muscles. I know of a button inside me that is green and has nicely designed lettering on it that reads, "I Believe." I have been cultivating many simple beliefs, which would before have lingered in the questions or hopes section of my mind had I not found this button. When I wonder if I'm feeling something I push the button and my wonder turns into something sure. When I wonder if I can do something I push the button and then I'm doing it, and having a helluva a lot of fun too. In this vein, I have been consciously believing that where I want to send energy I can, despite oceans, ignorance, or disbelief.

If you thought of me yesterday, and wondered if I was wishing you only the best from now until forever, you were right on. I was doing just that. Know it, and be at peace.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Opportunity Energy

I remember reading that Inga Muscio can spot a "self actualized person" a mile away. I remember thinking two things: me too and I'm self actualized. I was close then, but I'm closer now.

Last week contained multiple opportunities.

Wednesday night:
On Wednesday night I was prepared for a quiet night at home. I was in my favorite camisole and panty set, talking to Hadj on the phone. I received a text message from a lady who I refer to as Kelly Blue Line because I gave her my number on the blue line train months ago. I didn't hear from her until about two months later when she began texting me late at night, usually when drunk. I thought she might be looking for a booty call and I didn't too frequently respond with any speed. She texted me again this Wednesday night saying she had "4 beers and a bike" and wanting to know what I was doing.
me: "Nothing. What do you have in mind?"
her: "I'll bike over and we can drink these beers."
I decided to tell her the truth, I wasn't doing anything, to get dressed, and to let the booty come forth. Rather exciting, I thought. I didn't even have to go get the fish, she just jumped right into my waiting net. It turned out to be a much classier, honest, and clothed night than I'd anticipated. I was pleasantly surprised and giddy that I'd accepted the opportunity that had requested my attention.

Thursday night.
I'd been stringing Gabriel along for a week, being too busy and too hesitant to tell him the truth. The truth, in this situation, is that I'm only interested in him physically. I don't have any inclination to "date" right now, there's just too much other goodness going on that deserves my energy. But an interest in the dirtier side of life is ever present in me. I came up with a solution and he came over Thursday evening. About an hour into our "date" I finally pushed the giant pink elephant from the foreground of my mind into the room.

Hadj and I are working on a project (e-mail me for details) and the language I must use for it had been reluctant to come out of my mouth. I looked back on my explanation and dealings with the evening later in the week and realized I was feeling extremely pleased with myself while also somewhat in disbelief about what I had done. I expect this combination of feelings will continue in my future.

I don't think Gabriel, by the way, is going to take the bait. It's fine with me. My job was simply to tell him what was on the table.

Saturday night.
I had a house-wedding party to go to after having had a full day in Boystown. I didn't particularly want to leave my apartment and trek to the south side via transit, but I wanted to call my friend and tell her I wasn't coming even less. I had some nasty alarming thoughts of being assaulted in my head. I also had more fear pangs, from the alarmingly gruesome images that sometimes jump out and say "boo" from within my subconscious while bicycling the city, than I like, earlier that day. I was a bit tense and told Hadj I'd be letting him know my whereabouts all evening just in case. I told my tensions to take a hike too, and recalled that the city is not a scary place; yet again the scariest places I know of are in my mind.
I was hanging back, in no mood to mingle, make small talk, or drink. I stuck around with a primary, small group of people for most of the evening. By the time my alarm had rung to leave and catch the last bus back north, I'd decided to stay the night. I was having too much fun. There was the excitable Mexican group shouting Spanish at us from the balcony while we hula-hooped in the yard and the crass Russian showing us his thrusting skills from within the bright hoop. There was the lithe, speedy Thai girl, Gig, who astounded me with the rate at which she could be genuinely interested in Everything and the ever friendly boys visiting from Toronto.
As I leaned in to tell my friend's roommate about the crush I had on him, he leaned in spontaneously too, kissed me on the cheek; simultaneously I said, "thank you" as he said "yes".

I knew what it was to be completely in the flow of time. I felt like a rock star somehow. I felt loved, adored, held up, and possessing of the power to make happiness, to break everything down, for all. I also still, in case it sounds too ridiculous, felt just me; wanting to help and endear, being watchful over as many reactions and actions as possible in any given moment.

That night, for bed, I had to make a choice. I wanted to snuggle up between two handsome boys in a soft king-sized bed, but I followed through with my promise and spent the night instead in my friend's twin futon with her. I felt how the heat rose in her body to receive whatever touch came her way. I wanted to give her as much of what she wanted as I could. We laid talking, me rubbing her posterior smoothly, about relationships and sex. I made her an offer which she delayed and tried to listen more. I wanted to counter her truths with my own, not to convince or argue, but to share. I had to stop eventually, because a slut and celibate cannot meet across a divide sometimes - no matter the strength of the desire. She told me "it was easy" because "I've come to a place where I'm fearless". I told her she's not quite right about that.

I have ages of fear in me still. It's just that there is no fear where I live and where I'm going. I don't let it cross the threshold into my presence. I banished it somehow - for these recent days at least.

I practiced listening to my body. When my mind said, "I want ice cream" but my body said "I want water" I listened to her. My body did not have the energy to race traffic by bike and so I took her to the bus stop. She felt good. She accepted the eyes from the men on the corner who made me laugh. They eyed me, saying nothing (in English) to me, as I stood blond, white, skirted, and curvy in front of the barber shop they mill around, until I was climbing the bus steps. Then one spoke to me. He smiled at me as I sat next to the window. It is more fun to flirt when one is walking away.
I picked up my friend and we went to the beach. I called a man who gave me his number a few months ago for the first time. I began the dance of exchange again with him, all the while using the language Hadj has helped me grow. I savored the sun and wind and stillness inside me.

I have found access to my energy in new ways. I have taken responsibility for it's behavior. Parts of my muscle memory that would have developed when I was a child if I had played more, are now growing into their places. There is a stillness inside me. The worry part of me is far away from me today. She is up on a cliff. I can see her, but I'm in the parking lot. She is jumping up and down excitedly and I see her mouth opening dramatically. I cup my ear to her, but it is a purposefully comic gesture, I don't want to know what she is shouting about.