Sunday, February 27, 2011

Every Penny Pithy Thing

And I promise it will feel like this,
no matter how bad things seem,
I can promise you this:

That when it rains at the end of February, you will feel the life churning in the grass below you.
You will taste the water, and you will know Better is on its way.
That when you work with your own body, and get very quiet, and sit very still,
it will tell you what it needs.
Maybe even a bag of sea salt potato chips at 11:30 PM.
That when you pinch other people's comfort with your OCD tendencies,
if they love you, they will calm down enough to listen and to try to understand,
and to say It's Okay and not let it spoil the Sunday goat cheese crepes.
That love is blind, and work gets done, and you can eat twenty-five cookies
in one night
and you don't have to feel sick.

And no matter how good things seem,
I can promise you this:

That there is too much butter in the bowl.
That you might have to rush some things.
That you won't really ever know if it's "working out" the way you intended it to "work out."
That people don't always say Goodbye.
That you're always going to be an idiot about something.

But, still, I'll accept it all--every penny pithy thing--
for the wind outside, threatening to become a tornado.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jersey Shore & Teen Mommas

Japanese homestay momma with grandkids, 2008

Today I ran 20 miles. Officially the longest run I am doing before the actual marathon. I really hope I can do it. I definitely feel optimistic--but not exceedingly so. Either way--finishing or not--I get to spend the weekend at a nice little beach resort with Nac. Not bad.

While running (at the gym--it was cold) I watched most of a pretty bad movie: Deliver Us From Eva. Wow--L.L. Cool J at his worst! When a Tyler Perry movie came on, I switched to Jersey Shore and Teen Mom 2. Man, the people on these shows are kinda bonkers.

Mainly, I am interested in the very dramatic romances. The teen couple with a baby who constantly argue about nothing. Sammi Sweetheart and Ronnie who continually bring up all the horrible things they have done to each other then suddenly get all weepy and apologetic.

What's weird is that often adults have dramatic stories about past lovers. And it's kind of vague, "Well, your dad wasn't treating us right. So I left him." And the kid assumes it was very adult and severe. But the kids of these clowns are going to see, "Okay...actually y'all were just emotional and nuts." Isn't that interesting? That those little babies in Teen Mom 2 are going to be sixteen and watch this show all about their mommas at the same age and be like, "Mom. You crazy."

Incidentally: THIS WEEK is eating disorder awareness week! (See previous post.)

Girls become lovers who turn into mothers,
so mothers, be good to your daughters too.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Secrets Shared

Library books 2011

Last night I went to my improv group's weekly open shortform jam. I haven't been in a while. I had a good time--even though I was a tad rusty. I met Gie, a young woman who has been doing improv in St. Louis for years and years but who now has a busy life and thus, only comes around from time to time.

So we chat, chat, chat, and something we chat, chat is body beauty womanhood. That conversation. She's trying to lose weight, how do you lose weight? What works? Isn't that annoying! Not eating fried food! What about exercise? Oh, yeah? What kind? Chat chat. It's really hard when you grow up and get a job isn't it? Metabolism chat.

And then she casually mentions, "And then I had my bout with anorexia--" and this statement is not shocking or awkward at all. And that makes me very sad. The anti-shock is inherent because if you're a girl who has ever seen TV, a magazine, or been in a mall, you've probably considered anorexia. It's impossible not to. It's like, "Here's the standard. DIE TRYING TO REACH IT! JUMP, GIRLS! JUMP!"

And seriously, what is anorexia anyway?
"Not eating?" Hmm. What does that mean?
-Last night when I didn't eat the M&Ms in my purse...was that anorexia? No, because I wasn't hungry.
-But what if I were hungry? Then? Just one time not eating M&Ms?
-Is there a some kind of bottom line to anorexia? How many times can you not eat before it's a problem?
-How hungry must you be for it to count as starvation?
-I can almost never tell when I am actually hungry. So, how do we expect little girls to always get it?

I really don't mean to rant about unfair standards of beauty because that's a dead horse. Never mind the fact that at last week's debate tournament I had to give my own 1A construction speech about how unfairly we judge our bodies to two girls who had written "NOTE TO SELF: DON'T EAT" on their hands.

Never mind, never mind!


It's good to be open and honest about our problems. It makes us real and reminds others that having problems is okay. In fact, it's just life. HOWEVER, isn't talking about some problems just, like, making it worse? Instead of tossing our seeds of past secrets like grains over soil, can't we toss out love for ourselves, our bodies, women in general? And then won't that other problem, like, go away?

I really don't know.

I DO know that in high school someone asked me to buy a ribbon to wear to support "Eating Disorder Awareness." And I DO know that I said, "Are you crazy? I don't want to support that!"
And this very busy, highly motivated, award winning student said, "Well, of course you don't support eating disorders. This is about promoting awareness."
And I said, "Gotcha girlfriend. I think it's a bad idea."
And she darn near chucked her bucket of change into the air and throttled me. But, instead, class started.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

May Not Be Cool, But It's So Where I Live

Cast Party, December 2KX

Dusty: Don't worry, I appreciate the Sanctity of Life
Dusty: know
Dusty: all that...stuff
Me: Uh huh.
Dusty: F'real!
Dusty: Gaia is my homegirl.
Me: Who is Gaia?
Dusty: I thought it was one of the names for the spirit of the earth
...or that may have just been on Captain Planet

See us, winter walking after a storm.
It's chill in the wind but it's warm in your arms.
We stop all snow blind, may not be true.
We've all got our junk.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cherry Lane

Slou and Me--Starved Rock Lodge, IL, December 2010

It has been exhilarating to answer "Good!" anytime someone asks me how I am/ have been. I have been "Good!" for a solid two months now. I eat up "Good!" with a wooden ladle, mixing it in with the brown sugar and berries. I trot on gravel "Good!" leading to the front door of the library. I type "Good!" on the blinking screen. I respond "Good!" when a humble kid says, "Thanks."

Everything feels put together. Reading about comedy writing on an exercise bike, jalepeno poppers, discussing pumpkins at my desk, getting a letter from an unexpected friend. I band it all together with an orange rubber bracelet, and I feel the spittle of rain, and I think, "Good!"

Things are making sense. I'm beginning something new, and I am a fool! A fool! Giggling like mad at Will Smith's portrayal of Hitch! Thinking about doing things I thought were impossible just a few months ago. Realizing the sincere largeness of everything. Unafraid with the grandest silliest dreams.

The basketball player jumps into the air with full force and slams the ball onto the rim. The teammate scoops it up, places it gently inside. The net expands and retracts. Game. Home: 2. Visitors: 0.

Think no one can read you, but I can.
Well we move into a house down on Cherry Lane,
and watch the world go by,
am I'm missing a page.

I wanna be the one who walks you home,
who walks you home tonight.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why Training for a Marathon Is Good for Me

1. Accepting myself as "athletic" teaches me about Possibility. Although I don't know anyone who would use the word "athletic" to describe me in ten words or less, I am athletic. It is a one of a million qualities I and all people possess. There is no need to block certain good qualities out of our perceptions of ourselves. It is not healthy for our growth to state, point-blank, "I am not creative or graceful or patient." Of course you are. In your way.

2. Understanding what "athletic" means to me helps me destroy the unnecessary world belief of Polarization. Almost anytime we say, "You're either _______, or you're not," we accept horrible strict and unlivable standards. Polarization ruins things from people's willingness to accept music or moves outside of of their taste ranges ( "I do/don't like romantic comedies") to making people who are widowed/single as though they are inherently left out of a clearly-drawn club. Are you or are you not athletic? It is not really answerable. I am a reflection of the things I do which can be categorized as "athletic" to me.

3. I am challenging myself to conquer fear every time my weekly mileage increases.

4. I get to work towards accomplishing a concrete goal and support myself mentally and spiritually throughout the process.

5. Food is no longer solely an emotional friend and a physical enemy. Food is a partner in crime, fueling me for the things I must do.

6. By keeping myself/mind occupied during these long runs, I am learning a new Patience. This new patience is helping me feel clear and calm more frequently.

7. Sometimes I fall short of my training goals. I am learning when to give in to the right thing and overcome my will to shove through arbitrary goals.

8. Setting aside time to train teaches me Organization and Prioritization--two things I know well--but it's a different story when a priority outside my jobs and key hobbies demands more and more time every week.

I wrote this to help myself feel good about my 18-miler today. Tapering begins in March! I'm almost there.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mulan Desu!

The Pookster--two days ago

Via Text, 10 AM

Pookie: Forgot to change my Netflix! Guess what I got? (Picture of a bowl of rice and the Japanese flag)
Me: Spirited Away Again?
Pookie: Mulan!
Pookie: Let's watch it!

Via iChat, 2 PM

Me: You know, as a future potential employee of the Japanese embassy, I resent that you used a Japanese flag to describe Mulan.
Pookie: What?
Pookie: Is she Chinese?
Me: Yeah!
Me: "Let's get down to business to defeat the huns"?
Pookie: I don't know history!
Me: ...that big scene on The Great Wall...?
Pookie: I FORGOT!

We must be swift as the coursing river,
with all the force of a great typhoon,
with all the strength of a raging fire,
mysterious as the dark side of the moon!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mile Wide Smile

Today has been such a good day. You know why? I willed it to be. Yes, it works. I have been smiling, smiling, smiling. My friend Clara smiled so much all the time that she had so see someone and the someone had to jot notes in a pad and say, "Cut out the pearly whites, Missy. Your brain is feeling hoodwinked." But, this smile on my face has not been a smile that ties saddness down with an anchor. This smile has been a smile of sincerity. Alllll the live long day.

Today's game was beating frustration. Seriously! And instead of lying here like a tense block of grey matter, I am light and happy because I beat frustration fair and square.

Today seriously knocked me on my butt with disappointments and mistakes, but I smiled and was grateful. Side cramps on a run? Oh, it's a lovely day. Lost in the city? Enjoy all these people living their lives. Misunderstood a schedule? You know, it probably worked out. In conclusion, I feel wonderful after a day of virtually all things collapsing.

Just Say No to Frustration! I promise you, you'll feel so many goods.

LC & Me, Gradj 2010

We're so happy you're so happy!
Just as long as you stay happy,
we'll stay happy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's Hard for More People Than You Think

Beautiful people. October 2010.

I think it's really important that people understand It's Hard for More People Than You Think. I think frequently we look at our vices and say, "I really can't help it. I realize not everyone struggles with this, but it's probably easier for them." Well, probably not true. Or, probably at one point wasn't true.

I was talking with someone about drug addiction the other day, and this came up. It's hard to reason with someone addicted to substances because often they think, "Yeah, but you can't understand. You're not attracted to this!" When really...lots of people who don't do drugs are attracted to them. Hoards really. They just abstain because they are also attracted to other things. Like maintaining their health and safety, for example.

I used to think "Yeah, but it's not hard for you" when it came to exercise. I just didn't get it, and it was really hard for me to do it. Then, I nibbled away at the concept of physical activity, and now I love it. And I think some people could look at me running my little legs off and say, "Yeah, but its not hard for you." But, 1. Sometimes it still is. If I push myself, or if I'm tired, or if I'm bored. And, 2. It's only not as hard because it used to be. And I worked on it.

It's just a small example, but this is a concept we can all be more aware of. When we see a super peppy hostess--don't think, "But it's easy for her." When we see talented musicians, informed politicians, all the good grains of the earth, know it is all there for us under the surface of our "Yeah, but it's easy for you"s and "But you don't get it"s.

I haven't finished a thing since I started my life. Don't feel much like starting now.
Walking out lonely has worked like a charm--I'm the only one I have to let down.
watching you
makes me think that that is wrong.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ol' Man River

The Mississippi at sunset, 2011

The musical Showboat: So. Flippin. Adored. (By moi.) In third grade, I knew every single line to every single song thanks to a cassette tape I mailed away for right after seeing it downtown. (It is so crazy how much technology has changed in fifteen years.)

I would re-enact the entire show by playing every character. During "Ol' Man River" I sat in a little chair with a knife and piece of scrap wood, pretending to widdle while dropping my voice two octaves. I'd furrow my brow, chip away at the wooden block angrily and sing

Color folks work on the Mississippi, color folks work while the while folks play,
Pullin' dose boats from de dawn 'til sunset, gettin' no rest 'til de judgement day.

and at the end I would throw the little block down and stand from the chair and belt


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Candy Hearts

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I LOVE VALENTINE'S DAY. I know it's super consumerist bananaland holiday, but I still love it to bitty pieces. Itty bitty pink chocolate heart-shaped pieces.

I know single people tend to feel glum on February 14th, but I kind of just like the theme of the I don't really care that I am teaching a Revising and Editing class tomorrow night instead of overspending on rich food with a bf. But needing an other is such an aggressive thought isn't it?

In Target today I was joyously running my hands along all the themed boxed of Nerds and bags of red Three Musketeers, and I felt for just one millisecond a little sad. I saw something I would have bought for my dear little ex-bueff, and I sighed a tiny sigh.

But it's okay. There are a lot of people I love and will love, and I do and will know just the things they love too. And I moved on, and then...oh. Just a little something I saw that I wanted. Usually, I just like to see all the cards and treats--I don't actually want any of them. But there was this one small thing. Just a little something that I did want. Oh.

But then I had to remember that even if I were dating someone right now, he would probably not have gone to Target and found this exact thing that I found myself limply staring at today, Sunday, February 13th, 3:30 PM. So, why be blue?

My favorite Valentine's Day of all time so far was my senior year of high school. I was making a new friend, Wall, and she and I were both single sitting at a table of girls planning their beau-licious dates. So, she and I made plans to have thai food in the loop! And we did! And we had the most fun! And then we got coffee! And we laughed a lot. And I wore a black bow in my hair.

The book of love is long and boring and written very long ago. It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes, and things we're all too young to know.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Black Swan

Saw Black Swan with Dusty last week. So, while there a lot of cool parts in the movie--I wasn't the biggest fan. I mean, everyone knows Natalie Portman goes crazy, so, then it happens. And that's kinda it. Anyway, there's blood and stuff, and we all know how that goes for me:

I spent about 60% of the movie curled up in a ball on the seat kicking my legs up in the air squealing "Nooo" quietly. Dusty kept peeking down. "I think...I think there's no more blood." But then, two minutes later--BLOOD.

I was very tense the entire time. And right in the middle of some crazy psycho stuff my phone started blaring! My sister was calling. Yes, I was the doofus who forgot to turn the phone off. No big right? Except my sister's ringtone is "We Go Together" from Grease. Which I'm pretty sure is actually the worst possible song to compliment a ballerina gouging out her cheeks with a nail file. Dusty and I came up with Hinder's "Lips of an Angel" as a close second. But still second.

We'll always be together.
We'll always be together.
We'll always be together.
We'll always be together.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Japanese T-Shirts

Floating Tori Gate. 2008.

My friend Mrs. Blitzkrieg hosted a Japanese exchange student during my sophomore year of high school. One night there was a big party in Mrs. Blitzkrieg's basement with music and dancing and bunches of fun. The exchange student wore a shirt she had made herself with press-on letters. It was blue and said


on the front. And


on the back.

And I always really enjoy thinking about that. Because that happens all the time right? Where you totally love someone, but instead of showing it, you're just crazy.

My beloved, oh my sweet, all the gifts you have given me--
the patience and the peace, cherry blossoms, and the candy.
I am yours. I am yours for as long, for as long as you will have me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Who Will Tie It Up with a Ribbon and Put It in a Box for Me?

One time in Japan, Grinz and Yatchface and I were jumping around our tatami room being happy and looking out the big old window, and I was explaining that when I was a child for a good year I used to wake up and sing "Who Will Buy" from Oliver! out my bedroom window. It just seemed appropriate. Then we were laughing and dancing and Yatchface was like "DO IT! DO IT TOMORROW!" And I was like "HAHA OKAY!" And eventually the night slowed down and we passed out on the floor. In the morning I clawed out of my blankets, drew back the curtains, and started squawking "Who Will Buy." Yatchface tossed about, shielding her eyes from sunlight, saying "Noooooooooo..."

Gradj, the roomies

But what was normal in the evening, by the morning seems insane.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Birthdays: Part II

In response to my birthday's post, my friend Wizzy sent me this e-mail:

"i guess this is her get out of jail free card for the rest rest of her life.

MARCH 5!!!!! IF YOU FORGET MINE I'LL FORGET YOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I love that girl like a fat kid loves...


You thought I was going to say "cake"! Well, come off it! A. That's a cliche, and while not all cliches are inherently poison, this one is as it is offensive. B. Not all fat people love cake. In fact, some fat people don't love sweets at all. IT COULD BE GLANDULAR. Whatevs. Point is: I love the girl hella, and I won't forget her birthday.

In a brand new city got my whole team wit me tonight, tonight. I do it how I wanna do.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Things I Miss about Summer Camp

-the smell of the dining room, especially at breakfast, ESPECIALLY when croissants have been made
-when the kids sing the song about the creepy butcher who cuts up pets for his sausages
-the sound of the waves as I am falling asleep
-admiring a fire at least once a week
-misty mornings on the stretch of road I run
-seeing sailboats on the lake
-when kids really commit to the lip sync competition
-wearing trashy running shorts 24/7
-being in the buzzing kitchen after hours
-the green rocking chairs on the deck
-teaching Sunday School
-one piece of mail feeling like a huge gulp of air
-names of campers past written with Sharpies on the walls
-Sunday morning donuts
-singing as the sun sets
-remembering all the wonderful women who stood where I stood, prayed where I prayed
-remembering years of Alice past, and all the wonderful girls who stood with me, laughed where I laughed

On on your lovely woody banks, we dream beneath the shade
and offer up again our thanks. Your memories ne'er will fade.

Summer 2010, Traverse City

Sunday, February 6, 2011

There You Stayed 'Til Morning Came

You gave your life to Jesus Christ, and eased the people's pain after that.

Today I found out that a dear friend of mine's ex-boyfriend passed away. They have been broken up for a year, but they were still on amicable terms. In fact, at ACTF I saw a production of Once on This Island, and there was an actor who looked exactly like him! I e-mailed my friend to tell her how funny it was to see this ghost of boyfriend past singing and jumping about in poofy white pants. She was amused and told me he was actually in Thailand right now, so poofy pants were a real possibility!

I didn't love this guy. However, I did like him. I spent a good amount of time with the kid: a night at an Irish pub, a black and white film downtown, a kickball tournament--to name a few.

So, he was hiking with friends and veered away from the group and ended up dying in a waterfall. It is unfortunate? I guess that's a pretty good way to go. Also, this guy had been out of college for a few years now, and he was always a totally happy dude...except when it came to figuring out his career. He was smart and capable, but no working life seemed to appeal to him. At least not enough to get him pumped about it, and he was the kid of guy who wanted to be motivated about big choices.

But, now, it turns out, he really didn't have to worry. His number was up before he even got past the chill-out and travel lifestyle. In this case, to me, it actually does feel like "his time."

I've never been afraid of death. Just not a concern of mine. I guess because it seems like...yeah, if you'll be why would you worry about that? I guess I don't believe in hell. If I did, maybe I'd fret more. But today while I was on my run, I felt especially unafraid of death.

A. (This has happened before) I saw right through it as a significant element to life.
B. I felt overwhelmed with this gaping idea, swallowing me whole: You've got a lot to do. And while I often don't know exactly what that IS, I've got some leads, and, apparently, I've got a lot to do.

'Til someone died on the waterslide, and you were not the same after that.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Birthday Idea

Pookie eatin' a brownie. Last month.

Something I do miss about Facebook: knowing when the heck people's birthdays are!

My peers' brains have mutated to cut out the "Remembering Birthdays" wrinkle. For real. I can't remember birthdays for the LIFE of me. I used to be able to! Like in middle school! Now? Heck no. Facebook was super helpful in that regard. So, now I'm just a forgetful trashbucket friend. I was feeling guilty about this today when suddenly I conceived a FABULOUS idea!

On your birthday, you should celebrate other people you love! Think about it! Instead of remembering swarms of arbitrary dates, you just remember one--yours--and give all the people you're currently diggin' gifts. Also! You can still have a big birthday party, but it's in celebration of others instead of you--but they are the others in YOUR life, so, super fun guest list picking! Also, instead of one pukeload of gifts and love per year, you get little reminders all year!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Inspiration Comes in Funny Places

P-San, Nara, Japan, 2008

In the temple housing the biggest wooden Buddha in the world, there is a pole with a hole at the bottom the size of Buddha's nostril. If you can fit through, you are supposed to find enlightenment. So basically, if you're a certain body shape, you will be enlightened, and if not, forget it. Lame. But, I really liked it. It's kinda scary--shoving yourself through this little tuna can and coming out the other end supposedly closer to happiness, but really just on the ground.

"Honey, your odds go up when you file an application."
-Angelica, the bartender in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Attack It Now

Tokyo, 2008

Today was another snow day here, but I still had work to do. I shoved on my boots and trekked to the office. No one else had come in. I was alone at my desk--half nose to the grindstone, half a child jumping on her bed, or, in my case, playing a video of the slide theme song from Mario 64 Vince sent me.

And suddenly, the heart heave was back. But today it was a heart pop. A little POP.

OW, I said. What's going on in there?

Wizzy was on GChat, so, being alone in the office and all, I started talking with her. I didn't have a direction at first, but after a few minutes of chatting around the problem, I was able to figure out what was bugging me, and she, of course, gave me some great ideas to help squelch the POP.

Done. I'm glad I attacked right then. Right at the first POP I said, "Halt. Somethin' ain't right, and that ain't right. REINFORCEMENTS!"

It's like what Hilmo told her camper who claimed she always gets homesick at the end of the first week of the summer. Hilmo was like, "You better take care of that now, lady friend! If you saw a monster one-hundred miles away, but coming towards you, would you just wait until it was right in front of your face to do something, or start figuring out resolution immediately?"

Well, dur! Why do we ever wait!?


I am the road leading to no return--secret of life nobody want to learn.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Running in the Dark

This morning I woke up with a heavy chest. It was difficult to get out of bed to work out. My body was saying, "Everyone has a snow day. It's silly you're still going to class." The class I am auditing for my department research met despite the rest of the college shutting down. Too much to do and a professor who lives on campus.

The class is at eight, so I was sliding down to the gym at 6:30. Slowly clomping and skidding. The sky, overcast, offered not light. There were no cars passing. I got the gym to find it open but deserted. No lights. I pecked around for switches. I found a couple--not the big ones apparently. Just some little spots on the corner. I hopped on a treadmill anyway.

It was the first time in a long time I felt myself running away anger, hurt, stress, sadness. All the little monsters. They came up from an unknown soil and manifested inside my legs. I felt alone. I was.

In the dark I ran, and really with each step I looked forward with hope. The frosted cars in the lot, half a Mojo bar I remembered in my Hello Kitty lunch box.

In class, I felt the vicious internal jabbings get quiet. And then farther. And then they were in Tallahassee, and I was sitting in my little class discussing methods for tutoring writing. And my chest wasn't heavy, and I don't know why that was. I don't know why that was.

Jamin, Fukoi, 2008

And I know you have a heavy heart. I can feel it when we kiss.
Sop many men stronger than me have thrown their backs out trying to lift it.