WOMAN AS ART – (Unpublished March 20, 2020 5:09 pm)

Once, years ago I floated the idea to a boyfriend that I’d wear the same black cotton dress every day for a month.  I’d acquired three of the exact same dress, to rotate.  It happened to be his favorite dress to see me in, so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal.  Instead he whipped his head emphatically back and forth oh hell no, that’s just not okay!! “No!” he said.  “No way!!”  That was a surprise.  What’s the problem exactly?

I was simply just tired of thinking about outfits.  I desired a break from this waste of mental processing, of brain power.  Thirty days of freedom from thinking about dressing myself.  And makeup and whatever, even though I barely wear any anyway.  I just didn’t even want to look in the mirror at all.  I wanted to forget myself.  I wanted to forget I’m a woman.  I wanted to divert this energy into projects.  20 minutes, 30 minutes a day adds up.

Because if you want to make art, you want to be a writer, or even if you want to just get a whole lot of things done, or maybe you just want some more time to yourself to watch tv, you can’t be expected to also act like a walking work of art all the time.  It’s too much.  But this is what is expected and encouraged, to channel all this creativity into our appearance.  Be an art piece, instead of making art.  Just BE the art.  Much easier.

It’s also sad.  Not kind of sad, fully sad.  How much of our creativity is channeled in this way, squandered to billion-dollar industries, sacrificed to please someone else, or some internalized concept – someone’s else’s inane concept?  Inane concept of you that didn’t even come from you?  We can call it out for what it is.  Someone else’s fantasy.  What’s my own f*ckin fantasy?  What’s yours?  Is it even possible to know? 

It can’t last, carrying on like this.  Cause it gets tiring to do it all.  You can’t always be AND do.  So you make a choice.  Most of us would eventually give up on… the actual art, as in other creative enterprises beyond the body and face.  With our creativity and money used up already in being the art – and one has only so much energy and time.  Not everyone wants to hear about your brilliant intellectual or artistic creations.  But nearly everyone wants you to be pretty, and look good.  And you can sell that so much more easily in this life.  And as the pretty girl, ppl will be falling all over themselves to help you.  Right?

This is the world we live in, unless we absolutely f*cking stand the f*ck up and demand better.  So that is what I am here to do and the whole purpose of all of this.  I do not insult those of us who embrace beauty and fashion.  If you’re smart and realistic you know that physical beauty can get you somewhere, and you can and perhaps should trade on that if you can.  And, it’s fun.  And that’s great and it’s also cool.  AND frankly I, too, indulge.  However.  This shit – and I include the weight loss industry, the special diet industries, the exercise industry, and the supplements industries in all this btw – selling us the dream of our best self-improved self – this shit can not be allowed to OWN us.  And essentially run our damn lives, at times.  The industries as a whole are getting our most productive years from us, our youth and even our eventual seniority forfeited to their bottom line in all these different yet formulaic ways that steal our fire.  So can we, at least some of the time, be smarter than “basic” smart?  Or like, outside of smart, er…. outsider smart???  lol cringe but this whole blog project is cringe anyway so while we’re at it…..  whatever, let’s not waste our time. 

Have we ever noticed that calling ourselves smart in any kind of way is probably gonna ruffle some feathers?  Can’t have that LOL … unless you’re a dude, especially the demographic of dude who tends to run this country and most of the world.  Then 99 out of 100 times you can call yourself whatever you want and make outrageous claims, ppl just shrug and move on.  Honestly if you want to resist all of this, it doesn’t even take that much to freak people out.  I didn’t know that wearing the same outfit for 30 days could inspire such an impassioned and uncharacteristic reaction from an otherwise highly laid-back beau.  

Outsider smart – ie outside the super obvious and unoriginal thing of trading on our beauty – (not to mention all the other things we’re supposed to keep beautiful and perfect, like houses -) we can admit that investing so much in this type of beauty is just an immediate gratification with practically zero lasting and meaningful influence.  Physical beauty is so limited because it’s so… right now.  But what about later?  How much does this beauty affect our future, and in what ways, and how does that get super complicated, twisted around, and fucked up so that we end up on our backs in this life and forgotten in the next one? 

Our creativity channeled into any art, writing, etc. that is capable of actual meaningful influence, will still be here later.  A pretty face?  You can save it in all the photos of time periods that you outlive, but unless you are the one exception called Marilyn Monroe or maybe Greta Garbo then its impact fades right quick.  Of course it’s beyond exceptionally rare for a face to garner such lasting fame.  Even then, you were still nothing more than a face.  Which couldn’t have even existed like that anyway, without all those products and that equipment.  For everyone else, the next new face takes its place in the blink of an eye. Art, writing, music, artistic and intellectual pursuits of all kinds – as in the creativity beyond the beauty, fashion, and body control industries – is a little less brutal.  It typically has more meaning for us, for one thing.   Your face can go but you still have your brain, your imagination.  The arts will still always have the next big thing popping up, too – but that’s a good thing.  Cause all that other new art means a lot too.  And cause the new art can never really replace the art that came before it.  It all becomes a part of the history of consciousness, of culture; it is the trace we leave behind.  While the vast majority of faces, of outfits, are forgotten and discarded by history.  Or acknowledged merely as a nebulous blur of trends, defined and identified in terms of decades.  I don’t want us all to just become a f*ckin BLUR!

Again.  I am not going to say that I don’t like makeup, fashion and all that- I just said above that I absolutely do.  Does this make me hypocritical?  Absolutely not.  Two opposing things can both be true – I mean if we don’t believe this then we are just stupid (but thankfully we are not that stupid). Makeup and fashion are fun, sure.  I already said that.  But their significance is just so far overinflated and with the injections and the overselling of procedures and the diet/exercise propaganda and the Hollywood and the influencers making us feel like shit or at least like there is so much more to live up to and therefore consume, we are spending more and more.  Why do we give in day after day, letting all this punish and torture women and not even say a damn thing about it?  Setting aside what these pretty things give to us for a second – what do they take from us?  Yes take.  And why do they have to feel so obligatory in this life?  Why can’t they just be fun?  Why is there so much more to it, than that?  Could it be because of the time and money and creativity suck, could it be because it is a problem for us to be too intelligent, could it be because industry is getting so rich off of us, and/or because women are actually, even literally, dying for this?

I wanted to do this anti-fashion experiment where my entire wardrobe consists of the one same cotton dress every single day for 30 days because there is only so much creativity, only so many decisions you can make in one day.  Who can keep up with a full-time day job, an art and writing job on the side, all the chores and errands of life, AND the pressures and costs of being an art piece, too?  I’m curious what it would be like, to no longer waste such resources at all.  With beauty and fashion as a creative outlet eliminated.  What would shift?  It’s how I imagine the lives of so many men, and the comparatively basic standards that appear to make their lives so much simpler.  Free of the expected extra encumbrance of being a walking showpiece.  Why do we do it?  A lot of reasons duh.  Being pretty makes plenty of people wanna “listen” to you for one thing, or so it would seem.  Sure it helps anyone to be attractive in a superficial and materialistic culture, but the demand on us is… just different.  For us, being pretty often also has the the odd effect of, simultaneously, making plenty of folks not wanna listen to you, for all kinds of weird and power-dynamic-esque reasons.  You can get them in front of you, but will they actually be able to hear what you say?  It’s a crapshoot. 

What could it be like to gaze into the world without the self-conscious burden of the unbridled reverse gaze in our face?  To observe and experience without being so excessively observed?  I may not get to know all of that, by limiting myself to one outfit and no makeup for a month – but I desired the time, the energy, and the extra cash too, that this anti-fashion experiment will afford.  I would take myself out of that game, I would consciously and metaphorically bench the observer in my mind.  Can we temper this interminable feedback loop always in the shadows of our mind… of pressure, of self-consciousness?  -Not self-awareness, because that would be different.  True self-awareness, beyond the superficial – this is what I really wanted to reach.  And I needed all of my brain for that.  ALL of it.  For ME.  And for a meaningful PURPOSE.

It comes down to this.  Is our appearance the most essential and fundamental thing we have to say, so much that we give up so much else of ourselves?????  Is it part of basic survival for us?  Is this the most valuable thing we have to give to a partner, to the world?????  Do we need it?  How much more could we do with our creativity, if we didn’t funnel so much of our resources into this?  Does all this crap just make it easier to control us, and limit our innovative potential?  Our fascination with the beauty and fashion industries show what creative spirits we really are.  What if we didn’t have that, what would we do with all this energy instead?  

Isn’t all this crap designed around the male gaze, and how to support and maintain it?  What is our own gaze actually created by?  Can we find our own true gaze, which can literally be anything?  Why can’t our own natural beauty be enough, as it is for the men in our lives?  Why do we need to do so much?  And be so hard on ourselves?  Even when we do speak up about any of this, maybe even write some article about it, we can be so nice and so diplomatic and so polite and so charming as we talk about the ways we get screwed over. 

So anyway, back to the original case in point.  Here was this man, my boyfriend – as nice a guy as he was overall, as accepting, as progressive, (and as much as he allegedly admired my intelligence) – yet this minimalist fashion proposal of mine was just a step too far. My appearance was, like it or not, important.  It entertained him.  He didn’t want me to cut the crap.  He liked it.

It was SO disappointing.  

This “your beauty is your power” concept.  It might generate income and opportunity, but it doesn’t say anything.  It has no real opinion.  Not of any real consequence, anyway.  It doesn’t argue.  Like a devoted pet, it couldn’t be more agreeable.

It may be a bit of amusement for us all.  But you’re in your place, too.

I am okay with stepping out of my place. 

Let’s be truly original.  

One response to “WOMAN AS ART – (Unpublished March 20, 2020 5:09 pm)”

  1. Pooja G Avatar

    A lot of men, even the progressive ones put a lot of value in their partners looks. Whether they like to admit it or not. And of course it’s not just men, women do it too. And as for the makeup/fashion industries. I genuinely believe a large part of their existence is designed to waste our time and take up our energy. If we have too much free time and love ourselves as we are, we’re a threat to the norms that keep society going.

    Liked by 1 person

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hey. it’s me. and not me. popping in.

I started writing this stuff because I had to, in this blog.  It was a voice in my head that didn’t let go, ringing in my ears, nagging me, language singing the same refrains over and over.  So I did something about it.

It’s okay to find your own project unsettling.  Even unpleasant.  It’s okay that the truth or an aspect of the truth can be ugly as much as freeing.

I don’t know what the final destination of this project will be.  At the very least it needed a break.  I changed careers altogether and entered a brand new field, moved the studio and the bedroom, threw out and replaced furniture, purged and sold endless amounts of random crap, adopted pets, finished a degree, sustained an abrupt end to a longtime relationship, began another one by way of a completely chance encounter.  In under one year – about 9 months.  So yeah, I’ve been busy. And somewhat shell-shocked by stress and change. And I miss writing.

As ambivalent as I’ve felt before about putting this particular language out into the world, I think it matters.  The unfiltered stuff that gets closeted for the sake of polite company and keeping the peace, then by being in the closet creates new kinds of dysfunction.  I came here to give the stuff air time because I know I’m not the only one thinking these things.

But it is also an alternate version of me.  Or a part of me. As I said – a voice, speaking to the bigger me. A muse. It is not all of me. It’s a perspective.  And a persona, because this is writing. I’d even call it a character.

Still, I choose to be anonymous here because many would not understand this critical difference. Some who know me in real life might approach this blog rather reductively and take significant offense.  Or just be surprised.  But it’s important to do it anyway.  You must charge on. You must go with whatever the inspiration is often, questionable or not. Often, albeit not always (for don’t we know by now that the unsound internet needs limits in order to properly corral its current adolescent iteration).  If the goal is in service to the imagination of a less unenlightened, less mentally and emotionally lazy, less ignorant or judgmental or violent or complacent social climate, then yeah.  Do it. Even if people say oh well who the hell do you think you are, you’re such a hypocrite anyway yourself, well yes, I concede that that would be correct so I agree.  And I do it.

Maybe I’m a hypocrite because I write all this stuff and yet I wear makeup when I want to and sometimes that’s enjoyable and I buy expensive shoes. I live in an expensive apartment in an expensive ass area, where the going “floor” rate starts at expensive and ends at shameless. I do not make a whole lot of money. What money I do make, I too spend on non-essential things just as much as the next person. In many ways I feel I have to. And upon occasion this pisses me off. And I feel that something needs to be done about it. So I say it. But what right do I have? How far could/should I go? How extreme do I as a person really need to be, to make my points valid? At what point does being extreme stop making sense? What even counts as extreme?

It is true that because I grew up here and this is my home – despite the expense, despite my deeper values and objections to certain ideologies and marketing, I spring for things that are not financially necessary, yet are still somehow culturally necessary. And this is how I survive. No matter how short-term the rewards may be, or how questionable the future there is a certain standard of appearances. And there is even a standard of safety that not all members of society do not have to strive to afford, if they don’t feel like it.  But I do. I have to strive. In a sense, I can’t afford not to. Does any of this mean I shouldn’t say whatever the fuck I want to say, about how I feel about it at any given time?

The upkeep required, is especially problematic if you want to write or make art. Because finances aside, the upkeep is your time and energy. And time and energy are money too, and if you’re not just making money all the time then that’s a sacrifice, especially here.  To prioritize art, time and energy and money are very precious resources. They are also very precious for the person who prioritizes living life over the grind and the rat race, life over a type of glorified servitude where you work like a dog just to cover basic costs and student loans, on property necessarily owned by somebody else since you’re quite possibly, essentially, locked out of the housing market even on a middle class income. 

What if you didn’t buy any shoes, makeup, clothes, haircuts, or housewares for ten or even fifteen straight years, would you have enough to buy yourself a down payment on a home around here? Maybe. How actually realistic is this? Does anyone really respect a muppet? What kind of friends and lovers would take a muppet? I am wrong to say “muppet” – well fuck em if they can’t take a joke. What about books, coffee, date nights with friends or lovers, vacations, and art supplies too? Would it be worth it? There are no guarantees in life. What if I die before ten years is up? What if I regret wasting a decade of youth for this one purpose? What if I don’t even really have a fucking life cause all I cared about is the stupid shit that I had to have to make myself valid in the eyes of everyone else who is just as superficial as me?

What if you move away? But this place is my home. I grew up here. Why should I have to leave? The average rent is worth the average mortgage payment, yet somehow, so many who pay this price aren’t the ones with mortgages. Why am I even so worried about this? Is it the fact that a landlord can kick me out at their whim under certain circumstances, like if they sell? Is it the fact that I can’t alter this place however I want? Is it the fact that instead of gaining equity, I give half of every paycheck to someone else’s investment? Is it the fact that my rent could be increased to the point I’ll be forced out? Is it just the fact that this – isn’t actually mine? Is it the fact that if I only focus on making money for my whole life, then I can’t be an artist which I was born to fucking do? Who the fuck am I to waste my time and energy on anything other than the most practical, functional, utilitarian pursuits? How did we get here, that this is the best we can do?

How is it possible that a middle class income is now only good enough to make someone else other than you more rich? Am a spoiled for not wanting to work a second job on top of the full-time job I already have, just to keep up appearances and have more buying power and act like this shit is actually fine? Why even fucking complain? It’s about as futile a thing as you can possibly do. Why am I so stupid?

Yet, why would any members of the generation before mine expect me to do things that many of them didn’t have to, or need to? Why did they let this wage stagnation and cost of living situation happen? Why did they enjoy a relatively cheap education, then allow everyone after them to be abysmally price gouged to the profit of corporations and government? Why did they champion this wealth gap – however unwittingly – then scapegoat the youth for being so naive as to buy in to the dream? No one wants to go there…. so we don’t dare. But we should!

I continue to not give up, because I don’t want to. Some act like I will pay for this later, as if I don’t pay for it now. I choose to keep living my life. I choose to be an artist whether or not this means dealing with overpriced everything and judgmental assholes. Maybe I’ll carve out another way. Maybe instead of becoming a professional social media whore, dropping down to my panies and waving my tits everywhere, maybe I could become a professional crazy bitch, full-time. It could be very entertaining. It could sell. At best, others could even make money by making fun of crazy bitch, who finally rebelled against the concept that the fastest way to a “creative” woman’s paycheck is the inspiration of her own ass. They’d probably make even more money than she did. Eh. Whatever.

Things do need to change.  Things like, minds.  Minds need to fucking change about this outrageous crap we have to deal with.  Sold like you’ll be more free and have more opportunity if you just follow along, but actually you’re less free.

So say so.  Say something. That’s all I’ve got.  Not that it’s a small thing.  That’s why my name is still private on this shit – it’s a nickname.  Because it’s kinda scary, this shit.  It’s not nice.  But at least, to write truthfully means one can never be too trapped.  Nor too controlled by bullshit.  A friend of mine says, whatever you do, just don’t get stuck.

Another friend says, if you’re worried about what other people think then don’t forget that one day you’ll be dead.  And then nothing will matter anyway.  Nobody can say anything to you. And what they do say about you, won’t be worth a damn to you either.  You’ll be dead so who cares.

Comforting, innit.  It kinda works.

You’ll be dead, so who cares.

 

why didn’t i edit better

I couldve too the time and effort to quote th e article directly , make links and be professional but I can’t be bothered, oh well, I’m just tired not up for it and can’t deal

Well… oajaky I DID get myself together enough for a couple quotes

and the only reason this got written just now, is because I accepted that the best i could do tonight was a bit half-ass. and it’s real

and cause the voice inside said speak up speak up right away, however way it comes or it’ll just never get said,

and cause sometimes I just want to SUCK at my job / life / whatever and not care !!!! well kinda, maybe not really, hm. i kinda want to be a “hot mess” though and make it okay – cause it… IS???

SURE IS. But I’m starting to hate that phrase though. “hot mess,” ew so overplayed

omg gues why I’m tired, I was up all night writing and then I got up so early and worked all day. And I didn’t cook dinner cause it was too much more work , i paid for someone else to make it for me, yay.

This morning I almost wore makeup but I thought nah, too much work. I wore an attractive, classic outfit though and that was fuckin-a good enough for me. I looked nice.

I almost considered going on a dating site cause i almost felt a bit lonely and one of the men at work today was flirting with me and i almost could’ve entertained the thought of a man but i was so tired and I thought nahhhh, too much work.

And I almost hit up may actual lover or whatever status it is, whatever but I thought naaaaaahhhhhh, too much work cauyase then i might have to

worry about how i look and fuck it

Then when I got home from work I wanted to go to the cafe to write and I almost changed into another outfit but that would’ve required too much thought and I took my hair down and it’s super long since I made up my mind I can’t cut it till my $2500 credit card is paid off

and when i took it down it was all kinda wack, didn’t look that great to me

and i almost wanted to do something to make myself look more cute

but it was too much work so i said fuck it, and i left the house

just like that, fiuck it

Dear Girsl. Do your best to be lazy.

 

I’m exhausted and I so feel like an old ass broad. I can barely sit sup, barely type. Did I just say “sup”? Yeah. Oops. Up.

Too much work to back space.

Today I saw some lady online who has a blog and she’s got like at least 1000 words bitching about all these many many young women – and specifically, her own daughter – sporting “I can’t adult today” tees and posters and whatever.

I didn’t have the energy to post a comment… well I alsmot did but then half way through the tome she’s quoting and buch of patronizing crap from the bible and she lost me there. back button.

Spelling, yay.

Anyway her whole entire argument can be summed up as “girls need to get off their asses and get back to work, not lounge areound drinking wine on the couch all day. Dear girsl: BE AWESOME!! “

Suddenly I don’t regret neglecting to comment. There’s no point in arguing with somebody who is quoting scripture. They’ve already made up their mind and there is likely no debate.

“Wow be your awesome selves, look what you can do, girls, you can be/do ANYTHING !!!! “

Give me a break.

Women have been working their asses off for CENTURIES. Are you really this pissed that your daughter might consider taking… what is basically… a personal day???

After all, she does specify “today,” doesn’t it? Does she say, every day? No. Can’t adult today. didn’t think about that, did ya?

Here’s what I think “Can’t adult Today” really means. Because we’re not in the dark ages any more. We’re just not. And as this woman laments

“And I hear [I can’t adult today] loudest…

from women.” (direct quote)

Okay YEAH… loudest from women.

maybe there’s a really great reason for that.

Maybe these lazy ass insensible carefree wine-swilling women are telling us “you know what, how about somebody else do this shit. I don’t want to. I’m tired. You know what, I want to sit on the couch. Like my boyfriend, dad, brothers, etc. do without any question. I want to relax and not think about… taking care of everything and everyone. How’s that? Hm. I’m tired of being responsible for all the troubles and cares. I’m tired of doing all this labor. The emotional labor too. What if I don’t want labor running my damn life.

And why should I overachieve endlessly while nobody else complains when some guy, maybe my brother or whoever gets to… I don’t know… maybe play video games, hang out on the computer, smoke and do whatever he wants unchecked? You’re not writing articles about him. Girls are going to college more than ever, earning top grades, etc, and we still rarely get the best jobs. Why don’t you tell HIM what to do and what to be on a public platform, why don’t you tell him what you think he’s doing wrong???? I”m tired.

We’ve had enough of not being good enough for your standards. The whole world is demanding too many things from us, too much too much. What do you want from us now???

Make no mistake. The woman’s lament/blog post is something we’re quite familiar with: it’s a good old-fashioned GUILT TRIP. The author says we don’t need to be perfect, but it’s not believable. Cause she somehow misses the point that “I Can’t Adult Today” actually supports the freedom to be imperfect. But instead, mom interprets “I Can’t Adult Today” this way, in her own words:

“I want to grow up to Not be able to ADULT. or “My Life Goal is to lay around and drink wine all day…Im a HOT MESS.” with a cautionary “The hot mess you claim is the hot mess you become. It’s a fact.” (direct quote). Good Gawd.

Right. So basically she just lept straight from taking a personal day to…. a hot mess? life goals over? Yeah ,exactly. This is exactly the stuff that needs to go away. One false move, girls, and suddenly your a fuckin g failure. One flaw. Who knows, maybe one personal day is all it takes! you could be on the couch with wine for the rest of your life !!! one day and you’re out of the game, everybody will forget you, you’ll be left behind, your life will be over, everyone will blame you for everything that ever went wrong.

And you’ll never get a man. And your parents will reject you. And you won’t be … good. You won’t be a good girl. You’ll be a fuckin loser. And you’ll disappoint my expectations.

Right. If you don’t like “I can’t adult today”, well how about this. How about DON’T PUT THAT SHIT ON ME !!!!

Stop telling me to be the best everywhere I turn. I HATE having to be the best at everything !!! I’m not the best and that’s okay!!!

Just because we’ve been screwed over in history or whatever. It’s not my job to make up for that. NOT MY JOB

NOT MY DUTY

 

 

 

 

The burdens of success according to some tV guy

We were on the couch watching tv. Some kind of comedy roast with the vibe of an entertainment awards show.

I wasn’t paying much attention, I think I was drawing. Until somebody on the show said something that sounded, or felt, like putting out a cigarette on the skin of a baby.

One of the men, I think it was one of the actors — wealthy, famous, older, with a golden permanent tan, a bit weathered — typical – was asked a question about what unexpected challenges he has faced with his success. By way of response he joked,

“Try keeping a marriage together when 22 is still on the table.”

I look up and see his bright bleach-white grin flash as the entire audience allegedly cracks up. My lover chuckles too. It’s so easy to turn a deaf ear to asinine statements like these on the market value of women, and their particular replaceability to such men.

There’s a word for this person that comes to mind. Douchebag. A proper pejorative term, since it’s based on a product that probably shouldn’t exist anyway.

Months later, I’ve forgotten which program that was and the people on it. On purpose really, since it’s beyond irrelevant. But their laughter sticks with me, and my lover’s clueless accord, and that unsophisticated man’s totally oblivious, carefree smile.

 

 

Don’t stay quietly

This morning I went to a get-together where it turned out that the ratio of men to women was about 12:1. Not a big deal normally, except I felt a bit of a dodgy energy with this particular group. My creep radar went off. Super casual deal and I wasn’t anything special in jeans and tee, but some of the men were staring a bit much. I moved away, positioning myself more towards the women.

We’d only just arrived. I was engaged in a conversation with a fairly large group of people I didn’t know. One of the men in the group said he went for a hike with his friend the other day, and that he was experiencing envy.

Because, he said emphatically, “My friend has….

A REALLY YOUNG WIFE.”

Oh great, here it comes, I’m thinking. Same old shit.

He said that his friend was this many years younger than him, and his friend’s wife is THIS many years younger than his friend, and she is THIS!! many years younger than him …

I wasn’t following all of it as I darted through options in my mind about what to do next, but I think the number 10 came up, and definitely the number 20 did. I registered how impressed he was with the age difference of this couple in the tone of his voice.

And then, he actually said the following words to all of us,

“…And I was thinking, man, I WISH I could wake up next to someone WHO LOOKS LIKE THAT!”

After a brief pause, an awkward chuckle from the group perforated his next couple of sentences about his struggle to overcome envy. Hm. Surely it must be painful.

Everyone stood around just allowing it. Taking up this space.

Something got into me and I was not going to allow. So then the next noise was me, not by my words as it wouldn’t have been worth it, but by movement.  I just wasn’t in the mood for a few choice phrases and then a bad vibe on me, and then this poor dude being the victim which is 9/10 what it would’ve been. Bruskly – yes bruskly, because fuck this scene – scooping up my bags, coffee, and sweater from the floor by my feet as fast as I could and racing the fuck out of there on the spot, right past them all.   There’s no need to continue standing for this, for the sake of politeness and silently excusing such idiotic crap.  I didn’t say a word on my abrupt departure either and didn’t need to, as they all watched with question marks hanging out of their mouths. I could kinda feel some of them half open as if to speak, but I didn’t give it a chance.  

Just outside the front door, I was already in the car before anyone could react. Off to do something better with my day, hopefully in more enlightened company.

We don’t need to make the behavior okay, by pretending we don’t notice. But we also don’t need to waste our time and energy “training” if we don’t want to.

We can make whatever kind of a statement that we want. And we should. Because why not?

After all, that’s what they do, too.

And there seems to be no problem with that at all.

 

 

 

getting to unknow you

I burned my mouth so bad it stings with pain, really stings. Incidentally an interesting metaphor for what writing feels like when you drop the fear and just speak. I scarfed down a scalding hot udon veg soup so fast because I couldn’t wait to get back here and write. I literally have nothing better to do, as in nothing I’d rather be doing.

It’s a bit of a dramatic shift, from the poetic prose I do elsewhere to right now where it’s all about blurting out whatever I want and removing the filter and I guess being a bit of a punk ass. It was always there, this voice, but I couldn’t reconcile it with the diplomatic, tolerant and gracious person I was proud of at heart. Maybe I was too much of a lady, even as all the alarm bells went off in me constantly at stuff and I knew I just wanted to go off on shit the way I went off on shit in my head. Maybe nice girl was a persona, maybe this is one. I don’t know and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter.

Writing is not always about being gracious. Sometimes, nothing gets done that way. In writing, you have to take a position. That’s what it’s about, that’s the game. Of course there’s millions of other positions. But you just have to take a stand and go for it, otherwise you’ll get too caught up in all the opinions of the world and you’ll go round in circles and never end up saying anything, of any consequence.

Maybe I recoiled in the past because of those I met along the way who tried to shut me up as soon as I got going, and back then it kinda worked. Having nothing to lose in writing since I don’t have anyone to please anymore but myself and anyone who might want or need to read this, I have lost the ability to cordially give a fuck. On so many levels.

I’m so fine with it now. I realize this voice and all the rest of me don’t need to be reconciled. They will just coexist. The only person who has to worry about any of it adding up in any meaningful way is me, if that’s even something interesting to contemplate which it isn’t. Anybody else who’s got a bone to pick, well it’s not my fault if they’ve got their mind on somebody else’s business.

 

 

 

 

 

…but you’re thin and beautiful, why do you care?

Let’s not kid ourselves. Or should I say, let’s not let them kid us anymore. Try as we might to promote body positivity and wellness, there’s a deeper trouble: at the end of the day it hardly matters what type of body we have, what kind of face, it’s not going to be good enough. It’s not supposed to be good enough, because if it were, then we wouldn’t need to continue bankrupting all our resources to keep up. As in all the money, time, and energy spent on appearances in hopes our experience of this world might improve, that we might be judged more kindly, treated better, valued higher.

Let’s consider the energy expenditure. The precious resource of energy. The mental, the physical, the emotional. This stuff is such a drain. The amount of junk to process is a drain.

The fact is that there is always a manufactured problem with our bodies, no matter the size or type. Let’s just get through this somewhat banal point before we get to the juice, because it seems it still hasn’t sunk in. If you’re not skinny, then you’re overweight. Then you need to be on so many diets. Shamed in subtle ways if you’re average, or in obvious ways if you’re fat. If you’re thin, that’s another problem. Then you need bigger boobs, a bigger butt. Then you have to contend with “real women have curves” as if you’re not real when in fact women of all sizes have curves in all different proportions. But it’s like the only way for any body to exist and get its fifteen minutes is by devaluing another body. But that’s all just the tip of the iceberg. Size and shape are only the beginning of the problem.

Maybe you’re “not beautiful” because you’re “not healthy” enough and so you need to invest in fancy cleanses and fringe diets and unforgiving exercise regimes. Maybe your hair is too curly, too straight, too frizzy, too flat, too boring, too thin, too long or short, too blah. Your face is fading, sinking, shrinking, sagging. You’re too pale, too dark, too mixed. Too plain. Too spotty. Too short in this situation, too tall in another, too muscular or not buff enough. Too…. old. It’s all fucked up.

No matter what you do, you’re too much of one thing and therefore not enough of another. You can never win. And that’s why I have to question whether or not we are really so free as we think we are. If freedom is nothing more than being able to buy whatever appearance we want within our socioeconomic means to feel less inadequate and defective, well that’s a hole that can never be filled and I’d say it’s rather depressing and unacceptable.

I want us to be really free to not even have to think about this empty, over-hyped, overrated body competition circus and anti-aging nonsense, much less worry about it. At this time the plastic surgery and injections industry is probably the ultimate symbol of our second class citizenship, and it’s growing more than ever before.  We are not allowed to be as we are without a fight – I think, not without an all-out loud ass rebellion. We are not allowed to age as men do because aging women are not seen as beautiful as they are because we as a society do not allow aging women to exist as a form of beauty. Now it seems we don’t even want them to exist at all. When in actual fact we are very beautiful as we age in all our phases and evolutions – beautiful in a different way than we are when very young, a different way than when we were just a little bit younger than last year – and if we want to honor that kind of outer beauty in ourselves (maybe we don’t, maybe we do) then we ought to demand that this is seen by making it so. Provided that our creativity and intelligence don’t get totally wasted on all this other bullshit. But at this point, aging among women is so taboo that it’s damn near impossible to appreciate it. Just like being “fat” used to be the most totally taboo offense until we started to reject it, now they’ve moved on to another trap: now it is the wrinkle. It is the shadow. It is the sun spot.

The injections marketing is so effective you’d think that botox and fillers are cutting-edge, hip, and par for the course. Instead of what they really are, which is just another ball-and-chain. The procedures, along with the outrageously priced creams and all the rest, seem to become less and less elective. Which is to be expected, when your appearance is the primary marker of your worth and value. You could say that our culture has never been more superficial.

To a lesser extent men are also affected by these pressures, but let’s be honest about who are the real bread-and-butter consumers of the diet, anti-aging and cosmetic industries. For men at least, plastic surgery still remains largely elective. As for the rest of us, I question how much “personal choice” there really is to participate in the new standard. Just as we “advance” beyond the pay gap, basic rights, and sexual harassment issues — well we now also “advance” to a more sophisticated brand of mainstream misogeny and sexism. A closeted, yet increasingly normalized, brand of misogyny and sexism that’s less about the amount of money coming in, and more about the amount of money going out. All those outgoing expenditures required to keep up with the demands and the pressures. It’s a brand we can buy into. For now.

Is this freedom? This struggle to project the perfectly crafted, composed, polished, “fresh” specimens of ourselves? We are hardly encouraged to be truly and fully as we are in any kind of way, which is at the very heart of our manufactured impoverishment, and the crux of our updated role. And I argue that there is such a role. In the demand for youth and perfection on every level, we are asked to serve as a representation. We are asked to take on all of culture’s discomfort with the mortality, pain, and suffering endemic in real life. We are asked to take on its rejection of the full range of emotions, limiting our expressions to that which is most pleasant and pleasing. We are asked to blind ourselves and others to that which makes us all most human, including our vulnerabilities and our “flaws.” We are asked to use our own bodies and faces to uphold and validate cultural intolerances, asked to symbolize ever-changing cultural fantasies at every turn, asked to blithely ignore, dismiss, and bypass our own socioeconomic realities. How can we possibly celebrate our own lives in the truest and most authentic sense, without feeling invited to bring and assert our whole selves? All under the guise of “fun” and “self-expression,” we are asked to reject parts of ourselves, to micromanage what elements of life and of ourselves are seen, known, appreciated, and it’s at our own expense. And it’s so tiring. There’s always something to be done to become more desirable, but it is a losing battle.

Why not call this battle what it really is, because it sure isn’t progress. It’s a scam. Like all good scams, this one preys upon the most vulnerable. And like all good scams, it really doesn’t look like a scam, but it is, of the most insidious variety. You think you get what you pay for. But the real cost is so much more more than the sticker price.

Yes we are beautiful. But we don’t need all this stuff to be beautiful. We don’t need all this stuffing either. We don’t need anything.

I know this is the truth.