kitchen_kink: (Default)
So I finally finished going through the confessional post this year; there went my week. ;) I'm still not entirely sure why I let myself get caught up in it every year. It has this incredibly compelling quality I can't define, even if I skip the parts that contain ugly drama.

The thing that struck me, though, was this. I'm usually mentioned in the confessional, if only once or twice, and so far, always favorably. But I notice that what people usually have to say is that I'm sexy (about which I cannot complain), and further, that I have some kind of untouchable/mysterious/sensual/powerful quality that makes them afraid to talk to me.

And all I can think is, really? Still? I know I don't spend as much time as I could in the company of the core group that tends to most participate in the confessional. But I feel like I am out there to a certain degree, I'm very public about who I am, and I try to be friendly when I'm not feeling too introverted or crazed. I guess it keeps surprising me that there are people who think I'm scary. The encouraging thing, I guess, is that I figure the people whom I find intimidating probably feel the same way about themselves: i.e., I shouldn't really be afraid to approach them. :)

But I guess I wish that if I were going to get mentioned, someone would say, "I love her writing," or "Her show was really good," or "She really helped me this one time." I mean, I know it's ultimately a crush meme, but somebody started this "fan letters" trend of suggesting people to say nice things about, and it was neat to see the kinds of nice things that people noticed about each other. It took such a long time in my life for me to feel as though I were seen at all; it's a very special gift to be seen accurately, and it's one of my favorite things when it happens.
kitchen_kink: (foreboding)
I was thrilled to get back to the gym yesterday after nearly two weeks' absence (though while I was at Omega I did do the dance class twice and intermediate yoga once), not just for the exercise, but for the opportunity it affords me to think. I was considering once again the function of this space, and what I've come to use it for versus what I used to use it for, and I once again found myself mulling over the position of journaling in my life.

I was reading a friend's journal recently, and one of the things he spoke of working on was trying to live more in the moment. He wanted to stop mulling so much over what had happened to him in the past, reading old correspondence and diaries, wallowing. I found myself moved by how much I could relate, though I hadn't thought about it at all in some time. I've always been an introspective person, and when very young I began to write stories - fantasies about visits to Heaven, punk-rock djinn that emerge from old pennies, boys shipwrecked at the North Pole (yes, I know that doesn't make sense; perhaps I was prescient about the polar ice melt?), and planets full of otherworldly creatures who save Earth from environmental destruction. As I entered teenagerhood, I began to write about my own life - for no one's eyes but my own. I filled gilt diaries and black-and-white composition books with my thoughts and feelings about every angstful moment: my isolation in a white suburban high school, my frustrated sexual desire for my gay best friend, song lyrics and poems I loved and teenage poetry I wrote myself. When something important happened I would try to capture it in minute detail. When something emotional happened I would process it not by talking to the people involved, but by writing.

By the time I discovered Livejournal in 2001, I had been through more journaling, playwriting and poetry in college, a hand at a novel at home, and half of a graduate program in fiction writing. I still wrote in a little book, but not nearly as obsessively as in my teen years; I had found people to communicate with. But the most salient part of the habit remained: if something significant happened, especially a love affair or interest, I would write down every detail of its unfolding, not wanting to lose a moment to obscurity.

Over time, Livejournal because a much less appropriate place to do that, as now I had an audience, and most of them were people I knew in real life. I took my most personal journaling back to my book and pen.

But more recently, I've found that I'm not journaling much at all, and I'm trying to decide how I feel about that. On the one hand, I like the idea that these days, I'm doing more living than recording or reflecting on my life; the degree to which I was doing that may have been, as in the case of my friend, unhealthy. But on the other I sometimes feel life slipping past at an alarming rate, especially as I approach 35 and the feeling that my life is half over.

As a writer, I feel that it is perhaps part of my duty to write down what I am doing from day to day. Doing so, I've found, hones observational skills, keeps language sharp, and, more mystically I suppose, helps me keep hold of the reins of my life. Keeping track of what happens to me makes me feel like I have my life more under control, like maybe I can even slow it down.

I don't want to go back to the me that obsessively worked out my emotional problems alone with my pen, or with strangers in cyberspace; I'm now a person who speaks when I feel, who finds ways to talk to people about it, who doesn't stew (okay, much). But I don't want to lose the part of me that reflects, that notices, that remembers.

I may start using this space again in that mundane way - either to make observations about my day, or just to catalogue it. Sometimes I'll mark them private, but sometimes I think the idea that someone might be reading will help me keep on going. If I ever find my damn paper journal (losing it is sort of what spurred this line of thinking), I might go back to it as well: keep it by my bed for dreams and reflections of magical practice. But even now, as I write this here, I feel the familiar warmth and comfort that comes to my body and mind when I know that I am keeping track of it all, that what I did today won't be forgotten - at least, not by me.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
This post has caused quite a stir; in fact, I discovered today that someone on my friends list linked to a comment thread within it in a negative fashion. This annoys me, but it also makes me want to continue the discussion.

I believe that the comment thread in question actually opens up a lot of good dialogue about these issues, and gets me closer to what I was trying to say in the first place. What I am especially interested in pointing out from this thread, though, is my last comment in it, which I think sums up a lot about how and why I write here, and why I often post protected rather than letting this be a completely public forum:

A lot of the initial post, so you know, was written in the heat of the moment - on purpose; I wanted to get my feelings out on the page - and wasn't really meant to be a coherent political statement. If anything, it was exposing some of the feelings I'm ashamed of at times: the mirror work of my own intolerance. I assembled a pastiche of my experiences [the night of July 4th] in order to build up to a larger emotional point about how I feel about the way the overculture operates to try and keep us compliant and stupid. In the process I know I come off sounding judgmental and intolerant, but at times it's important to me to get those things out, acknowledge and (partly thanks to [[ profile] hahathor]) examine those feelings.

It's part of my work to figure out how to walk the line as a freak in this world without becoming self-righteous and intolerant, without removing myself completely from the rest of the world. Part of my reaction was my own fear that I'm getting farther and farther from being able to enjoy time with people not in my social circle; that I'm getting so outside the mainstream that I feel like a space alien most of the time.

I've been doing a lot of work lately on being more permeable. Unfortunately, I've always been overly sensitive, and so I tend to swing between shielding too much and letting too much in. My goal is ultimately to have boundaries like a cell membrane: permeable to exactly the right things; decisively closed to those things that would harm me.

Other points from that thread I feel are relevant here... )

My apologies, in the meantime, to those who were so triggered by my use of the word "mundane," even though in the original post, I used it only to refer to mainstream friends of mine whom I like a lot. The subsequent ranting was more about mob mentality and government control (which I think go hand in hand), weird concepts of patriotism, and the lack of self-awareness and anger that I see around me.

I continue to be open to discussion.
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A man who is 'ill-adjusted' to the world is always on the verge of finding himself. One who is adjusted to the world never finds himself, but gets to be a cabinet minister.

-Hermann Hesse, novelist, poet, Nobel laureate
kitchen_kink: (magic)
From Joey at - the "news" section:

Today I hope that my collection agents take a break from tirelessly trying to track me down, and I hope someone touches them on the elbow and says, "God you have lovely eyes." I hope they come home tonight and they don't even get in the door before someone is ripping their clothes off and fucking them crazy. I hope they fall asleep exhausted and empty and full of senseless optimism for the future. I hope this for you, too. I hope that you are out shopping and, without knowing why, you have to run to the bathroom and touch yourself. I hope that you finish with your brow sweaty and you are short of breath and I hope you are embarrassed but strangely proud of yourself.
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Hamilton is the great jinxer of all skaters. I don't think I've ever seen him say something like, "Now, $Skater is known for being really effortless on these jumps, just beautiful height blah blah blah...His first combination tonight is a quad-triple..." and then have the guy not fuck it up. It's impossible. I think the Russian coaches are paying off Scott Hamilton to say good things about the other skaters' abilities RIGHT BEFORE they jump.


(Style of this post somehow stolen from [ profile] wurmwyd. Sorry, dear, I've known you a long time, and I've liked figure skating for at least that long. There must be a relationship there.)
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Still watching the figure skating stuff. I'll freely admit that my favorite thing in figure skating, bar none, is the men's skating. I love, love love to watch the athleticism and especially the artistry of these skaters. I'll never forget Brian Boitano in '88 and Paul Wylie in '92; tonight Viktor Petrenko was helping the judges out, and I was amused ot see how his incredibly bony face has filled out and he looks handsome.

Watching the short program I was struck by Johnny Weir, the rebellious young skater who simply seems sincere to me, and like the kind of kid I'd like to hang out with. But then there was Matt Savoie, who reminded me for all the world of Robin Cousins: introspection, grace, sophistication. His costume was simple and his expressiveness touched by an originality one doesn't see in skating very often, particularly not with the wacky new scoring system, which seems to be only about points.

My two favorite male skating types are the Scott Hamilton type and the Robin Cousins type: the first a spunky, somehat effeminate showman who gets the crowd going and isn't afraid to be silly; the second a tall, lean, serious dancer whose feet barely seem to touch the ice. Matt Savoie is definitely of the latter category; in the former, currently, is the adorable Jeffrey Buttle of Canada, who just kills me with how gay he is. It's very sweet.

I just wanted to make a note about Matt. He's one to watch; I hope to see him again.
kitchen_kink: (feathers)
I had very nearly forgotten how terribly much I enjoy watching figure skating.

It's one of those guilty pleasure things, I guess, but I adore it. I love the ridiculous costumes, I get caught up in the personal dramas, the falls make me gasp and the programs of perfect beauty, when they come, move me tremendously.

Last year, [ profile] trowa_barton was awesome enough to record the Winter Olympics of '06 in Torino onto DVDs and give them to me. It's only now that I'm getting around to watching them, while I'm sick with an ear infection. Tonight I have the added bonus of watching them while on Percoset.


My favorite dramas so far:

-The Chinese pair who tried a quadruple toe-loop throw that landed the woman on her knees on the ice at full speed, but went on to finish the program and get the silver medal, no less.

-The Italian ice dancing couple who came out of retirement to compete in their home country. After doing a perfect compulsory program and getting first place, he dropped her on the last lift of the original dance. The glare she gave him was unforgettable, and they didn't speak or touch until the free dance. The free dance was perfect, passionate and angry, and at the end she finally broke down and embraced him as the crowd went wild.

-The couple who came back to pairs competition after he fell during a complicated lift, landing her unconscious on the ice. They skated a beautiful program, if cautiously, and you could watch the bond of trust strengthen before your eyes.

-The U.S. ice dancing couple that almost wasn't, because she was Canadian. An act of Congress gave her citizenship 50 days before the Olympics. He turned down a chance to compete in the previous Olympics because he wanted to skate with her, and his patience paid off - they won the silver, only the second medal ever won by the US in ice dancing, the first of which was a bronze, 30 years ago.

I am such a nerd.
kitchen_kink: (snow)
Though the darkness and the grey days seem long even in their crushing brevity; though I've been known to complain about the winds that whip through the wide tunnel of Boylston Street, threatening to pluck me up with icy tongs and carry me into the Charles; though black ice, grey slush, chilled bones and heavy skies aren't exactly cheery subjects...

Gods dammit I want my SNOW.

If there's anything that feeds my depression, paranoia, irritation and misery more than short, dark days, it's short, dark, SIXTY-TWO DEGREE days. I mean seriously, what the hell?

I want to inhale that softly metallic, white smell of coming snowfall. I want the shock of frozen nosehairs, the clean clarity of ice as I step outside after the skies have cleared, a wan winter sun gleaming off of glittering drifts, my mind as pure as liquid nitrogen. I want that frozen knife to cleave the fog of my recumbent mind. I want the crunch, the squeak, the soft ssss of walking through fresh snow; I want the otherwise noiselessness of the streets as the weather mutes everything, silences animals, keeps people indoors, cars moored in their driveways, the only interrupting sound the joyous shouts of children, for whom snow creates a sovereign kingdom.

I have a down jacket, okay? Let's go.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Having good friends that love you and whom you love and can trust is one sign of a life being lived fully. But having no enemies may be a sign you are doing something wrong.


ETA: See comments for some clarification of the above.
kitchen_kink: (sparkly doubt)
If you read me with any regularity, you know that I believe in some things and engage in some practices that the atheists and skeptics among you tend to magnanimously chuckle at and call "woo-woo." For you guys, as well as for the more woo-woo-inclined on my friends list, I offer this interview of Rob Breszny, writer of the column called Free Will Astrology. I generally skip down to his horoscopes, which are usually funny and filled with good insight, but today I chose to read a little of his column, and this Q&A session sums up, to a great degree, the way I see the world. Do read and enjoy.


Q & A

QUESTION. How can an intelligent, educated person possibly believe astrology has any merit?

ROB. Many of the debunkers who're responsible for trying to discredit astrology have done no research on the subject. They haven't read smart astrological philosophers like Dane Rudhyar, don't know that seminal astronomer Johannes Kepler was a skilled astrologer, and aren't aware that eminent psychologist C.G. Jung cast horoscopes and believed that "astrology represents the summation of all the psychological knowledge
of antiquity." The closest approach the fraudulent "skeptics" usually make to the ancient art is to glance at a tabloid horoscope column. To match their carelessness, I might make a drive-by of a strip mall and declare that the profession of architecture is shallow and debased.

That's one reason why these ill-informed "skeptics" spread so many ignorant lies. For instance, they say that astrologers think the stars and planets emit invisible beams that affect people's lives. The truth is, most Western astrologers don't believe any such thing.

QUESTION. Because you pack your column with doses of humor and wild imagery, some people think you don't take astrology seriously.

ROB. On the contrary, I think this proves how much respect I have for astrology--I mean REAL astrology. Not astrology as a superstitious belief system that generates boring predictions in dead language about trivial events that only our neurotic egos are obsessed with; but rather astrology as a mytho-poetic symbol system that expands your
imagination about the big cycles of your life, liberates you from the literalistic trance that the daily grind tends to trap you in, and opens you up to the understanding that you're much more beautiful and full of potential than you've been taught to believe.

QUESTION. You have said that you believe in astrology "about 80 percent." What's up with the other 20 percent?

ROB. I use the same 80-20 approach with every belief system I love and benefit from: science, psychology, feminism, and various religious traditions like Buddhism and Christianity and paganism. I take what's useful from each, but am not so deluded as to think that any single system is the holy grail that the physicists call the "Theory of
Everything." Unconditional, unskeptical faith is the path of the fanatic and fundamentalist, and I aspire to be a rowdy philosophical anarchist, aflame with objectivity and committed to the truth that the truth is always mutating.

QUESTION. But don't you risk playing the same role the tabloid astrologers do: enticing people to take on a superstitious approach to life and seducing them into believing their fate is determined by supernatural forces beyond the influence of their willpower?

ROB. I call what I do predicting the present, not forecasting the future. My goal is to awaken my readers to the hidden agendas, unconscious forces, and long-term cycles at work in their lives so that they can respond to the totality of what's happening instead of to mere appearances. I want to be a friendly shocker who helps unleash their imaginations, giving them the power to create their destinies with the same liberated fertility that great artists summon to forge their masterpieces.

QUESTION. How do you write your column? Do you use actual astrological data, or just go into a trance and let your imagination run wild?

ROB. I draw up a weekly chart for the sun, moon, and major aspects of each sign. It's the framework within which I improvise. The artistic part of the work is harder to pin down. One of my guiding principles, though, is to treat each sign's horoscope as a personal love letter--to speak as intimately about the mysteries of the moment as if I were addressing a close friend.

Where do my inspirations come from? Dreams, letters from readers, overheard conversations, meditation, lots of reading in a wide variety of texts both sacred and profane, and the intensive cultivation of my own receptivity. I also rely on fact-finding missions I call whirlygigs. During these, I steep myself with the intention of attracting lessons I don't know I need, then meander through the world at random, going places I've never been and striking up conversations with strangers with whom I
apparently have nothing in common.

QUESTION. You confuse me in the way that you praise rational thought and the scientific method, yet reserve the right to believe in astrology, angels, miracles, and other woo-woo.

ROB. Thousands of amazing, inexplicable, and even supernatural events occur every day. And yet most are unreported by the media. The few that are cited are ridiculed. Why? Here's one possible reason: The people most likely to believe in wonders and marvels are superstitious, uneducated, and prone to having a blind, literalist faith in their religions' myths. Those who are least likely to believe in wonders and marvels are skilled at analytical thought, well-educated, and yet prone to having a blind,
literalist faith in the ideology of materialism, which dogmatically asserts
that the universe consists entirely of things that can be perceived by the five human senses or detected by instruments that scientists have thus far invented.

The media is largely composed of people from the second group. It's virtually impossible for them to admit to the possibility of events that elude the rational mind's explanations, let alone experience them. If anyone from this group manages to escape peer pressure and cultivate a receptivity to the miraculous, it's because they have successfully fought against being demoralized by the unsophisticated way wonders and
marvels are framed by the first group.

I try to be immune to the double-barreled ignorance. When I behold astonishing synchronicities and numinous breakthroughs that seem to violate natural law, I'm willing to consider the possibility that my understanding of natural law is too narrow. And yet I also refrain from lapsing into irrational gullibility; I actively seek mundane explanations for apparent miracles.

QUESTION. Can you sum up your approach to seeing the world?

ROB. My outlook combines the rigorous objectivity of a scientist, the "beginner's mind" of Zen Buddhism, and the compassionate friendliness of the Dalai Lama. I blend a scrupulously dispassionate curiosity with a skepticism driven by expansiveness, not spleen.

To pull this off, I have to be willing to regularly suspend my theories about the way the world works. I accept with good humor the possibility that what I've learned in the past may not be a reliable guide to understanding the fresh phenomenon that's right in front of me. I'm suspicious of my biases, even the rational and benevolent ones. I open my heart as I strip away the interpretations that my emotions might be inclined to impose.

"Before we can receive the unbiased truth about anything," wrote my teacher Ann Davies, "we have to be ready to ignore what we would like to be true."

At the same time, I don't want to turn into a hard-ass, poker-faced robot. I keep my feelings moist and receptive. I remember my natural affection for all of creation. I enjoy the power of tender sympathy as it drives me to probe for the unimaginable revelations of every new moment. "Before we can receive the entire truth about anything," said Ann Davies, "we have to love it."

kitchen_kink: (Default)
The buzzer rang yesterday at around 6:30 and I was surprised: our guests weren't due until 7:30 or 8, and [ profile] imlad wasn't yet home. As I trundled downstairs to answer it (our apartment has no way of buzzing people in), I heard the neighbor's buzzer sound as well, and though I could not yet see the visitor, I had some misgivings, though I hoped it would simply be the UPS man uncertain of which doorbell was which.

Instead, I was greeted by a smooth-cheeked, toothy young lady in a red shirt, bearing the DNC logo. She was brandishing a clipboard in my general direction, and was careful to get her entire enthusiastic speech out, all the time looking directly into my eyes, before I could interrupt or say a word other than "hello."

In spite of my natural desire to dismiss her out of hand and shut the door to return to my cooking, I simply couldn't do it. Not because the cause moves me particularly or doesn't - it does, in fact; I want Kerry elected more than I've wanted anything in politics since I wanted Bush not to declare war on Iraq two years ago. It's more because I'm particularly susceptible to young kids earnestly pushing their various fundraising campaigns door-to-door.

Sure, it's hard going up to individual people's houses and bothering them around dinnertime to beg for money, and I sympathize with that. But more to the point, I empathize with that - because I did it for a summer, and man, it's the hardest frickin' job in the world.

I'm not sure how most organizations work, but I know how PIRG and Clean Water Action - two of the most successful environment and other public interest fundraising organizations - operate in terms of their lowest level employees.

Ever see those signs that say, "Work for the Environment! Make $300-$500 a week!" Yeah, I answered that ad once. And ended up working for the New Jersey Environmental Federation, an inveterate group of young wiseguys and older, earnest types who spend their time between 4 pm and 9 pm going door-to-door in various neighborhoods, spreading the word about one disaster or another (poisonous insecticides on your kids' schoolgrounds, mercury in your fish) that we're attempting to pass a resolution or law to prevent, reverse or correct. All you have to do is give us some money.

If it matters to you, and if such people have come to your door in the past, you should know that half of that money (with taxes taken out first, of course) goes into that little college student's pocket, which, for the hot (or cold), potentially dangerous, humiliating, demoralizing nature of the work, seems to me to be far less than their fair share. The rest of it goes to fund their lobbying groups and keep operations up. The people who run these things are nonprofit warriors to a man or woman, dedicated, honest, and working in lousy office conditions. We drove to our locations in beat-up Econolines. We practiced our "raps" to each other, the enthusiastic speech I mentioned earlier, over the bumps in the road and the loud engine. We had a whole vocabulary, a parlance of door-to-door fundraising, starting with the word "canvassing." People in houses were known as "doors," as in, "I had this one door tonight that let me in the house and invited me to dinner!" Once you had your door's attention, you made sure to keep their eyes as you delivered your rap, and to clip them - get your clipboard into their hands - as early as possible, without letting them look at it until you were done talking. That attitude of sunny rapport, and the pushiness and lack of change in expression when you tell them, again and again, that you simply can't give right now, that you gave at the office, that you can't afford the $25 "membership" level donation - that's called "assuming support." "That's okay," you probably hear those kids say over and over when you insist that you can't afford it, "folks are just giving five or ten dollars." Assume support. Go to every door imagining that this person is already on your side, already reaching for their checkbook. In our case, we had weird numbers, to be fun and also to get checks instead of cash, to get addresses: $6, $12, $25, $60. A $60 giver was called a sustainer, and boy were they ever, in making up half of your quota for the night. The desperation with which the fundraiser will finally just ask if you can pitch in a couple bucks became known, thanks to a hilarious, extremely bright surfer boy called John Hogan, as the "buckertwo." Once he steamrolled over a door's noisy objections to his very presence by insistently chanting, "Buck-or-two-buck-or-two buckertwobuckertwobuckertwo buck - er - two!" He later became so disenchanted with the job that he replaced our field manager's common exhortation "Make it happen" with "Let it happen."

I had a lot of highs, a lot of failures, and a lot of stories from that job. Someday they'll become a short story, I think. In any case, now, whenever one of those people come to the door, whatever their cause, with their little clipboards and their hopeful faces and endless positivity, I smile back. I grade them on their technique. Sometimes I even give a contribution. Because that's their job, and I know what that job is like. It sucks. And if you don't make your quota, you get fired.

But yesterday, I didn't. I went back into my comfortable house, back to my cooking, after she insisted three times and I, like Peter, three times denied her. Maybe I'm getting a bit hard in my old age.


Mar. 5th, 2004 10:21 am
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Last night, I went with the denizens of Menage to see the lovely Anna Callahan sing jazz tunes at Ryles. A versatile, mobile soprano with airy lightness in the right places and belty sultritude in others, she worked her way up and down the scale with romantic melodies, scat flights, and soaring ending-notes that would make Ella proud. And she plays trumpet and horn, too.

I sat and enjoyed, moving unconsciously as I always do with live jazz, closing my eyes and seeing colors. A few numbers tugged at my emotions in almost uncomfortable ways. It was quite the electric performance.

But this wasn't where my envy came in. Except in her total lack of nervousness and grace, I knew the feeling of being on stage, creating music with my entire body, spellbinding an audience. For such things, I've begun to open up opportunities again, and I hope I can train my voice back into shape.

Where the envy came in was where it always does: the dancing. For three numbers, Anna invited a guest horn-player up and they did a few swing tunes. I initiated the dance by poking [ profile] ert and [ profile] fanw, encouraging them to dance. Soon other couples joined them, some of them amazing: light, fleet, their hips almost independent from their torsos, their feet flying, their faces glowing with grace and the athletic joy of dancing well.

From as far back as I can remember, nothing has filled me with such simultaneous joy and melancholy as watching good dancers dance. Whether it's Alvin Ailey in a large theatre where I'm in no way expected to participate, or that punk rock girl on the floor at Manray, tearing it up ten feet from me, I have always been denied that grace and agility. I have been clumsy and slow-moving my entire life, and have tried wherever I could to emphasize my strength, size, and carriage; I can make my good posture and the way I hold my head and hands come off as grace; I add deliberateness to my slowness, and thus avoid clumsiness and come off as unhurried, perhaps even catlike. But in my truest, oldest self, I am the girl picked last for kickball, the girl whom my cousin could always beat in a footrace, even if he gave me a ten-second head start, the girl who, eventually, didn't even try to be good at things in gym anymore, but adopted instead a kind of ironic smirk toward my own ineptitude - it made the teasing of my classmates hurt slightly less.

Here are the sports I will watch if they are on: women's gymnastics, figure skating. Both closer to dance than sport, yet both involving the grace, agility and balance that I have always lacked. I watch them in awe, with that pure kind of envy that borders on admiration, and vice versa. I enjoy it immensely, and at the same time in makes me suffer in a deep part of myself that I cannot change. I know. I've tried.

I do yoga now with some regularity, and since my early teen years, I've gotten less shy about getting on the dance floor, unpartnered, and just moving whatever way the music takes me. In yoga, I check my form in the mirror, partly because I want to be doing it properly, of course. But in no small part because I want to see if in my slow, controlled stretches (I have always had excellent flexibility), I am achieving any part of grace. I want to know if my arched back, my arms stretched overhead, my legs in warrior stance, inspire poetry in me the way those same movements do in the instructor.

I keep wanting to take swing dancing lessons with [ profile] ert. I want to go weekly; I want to learn one dance, and learn it well, and intricately, and be able to do it with little effort. Any lessons I take that involve grace always result in my becoming frustrated, asking the same questions over and over, apologizing constantly in the way I learned to when a pre-emptive apology, then giving up, was less painful than trying again and again and continuing to fail and be laughed at.

I know that among my friends now, there is no one who would laugh at my bad dancing, or mock me in any way intended to be cruel. But when I dance with someone who dances well, I can see their gentle patience waning as they try to shape my movements to their own, as they try to fling my ungainly body about and make it respond in the way they have been taught it should. And after a dance, those partners always smile, thank me, and move on to a partner who can match them. There is, deeply ingrained in me, a feeling that it's better to give up, to sit at the table in the jazz club and watch, to smile and admire and feel the ache, not of loss, but of something never gained.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
The question is not, "Can I succeed at this?"

The question is, "Do I want to?"

The question is not, "Do I do this because I can?"

The question is, "Do I do what my heart desires?"
kitchen_kink: (Default)
My friend [ profile] wabi is really cool. I've known him for 10 years (!) and now he's finally on livejournal. He also does really cool photography. Go look at him.

He also did this neat thing called

11 Things You Might Not Know About Me

1. At around age 13, I was really, REALLY into both Bon Jovi and The Phantom of the Opera.
2. I am allergic to both penicillin and sulfa drugs.
3. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an artist (visual) when I grew up.
4. I wear a size 12 shoe.
5. I was voted Best Vocalist of my senior high school class.
6. My mother, also a singer, sang "God Bless America" at my kindergarten graduation.
7. Up until about fourth grade, I can barely recall opening my mouth in school once.
8. My father's said I look like Goldie Hawn. [ profile] tafkar says Nicole Kidman. [ profile] wabi once told me Uma Thurman reminded him of me. (I think they're all nuts.)
9. I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was 10.
10. Before Emerson, I was applying to MFA programs in theatre directing.
11. I was born by emergency C-section and both my mother and I are lucky we're here.

Interestingly enough, none of them are about sex. What does that say about the usual content of my journal...?
kitchen_kink: (Default)
1. I am getting old. I now feel demonstrably worse during the day if I don't get to sleep before midnight. What the fuck am I, a pumpkin?

2. I don't seem to be getting nausea from the pill anymore. Yay! Instead, I occasionally get it for no reason, in the middle of the day. Boo!

3. I have a headache, dammit.

4. So far, all of these observations except this one have been a complaint. Dammit. Now this one is too.

5. Yesterday, I wrote two quick pages and they gave me such satisfaction that I decided that if nothing else, I would write two pages every day. If it goes further than that, cool. If not, in 150 days I've got a book-length manuscript.

6. Number five wasn't a complaint!

7. When I write a long, philosophical post that isn't especially great or controversial, I get hardly any comments. Yet when I post quiz results indicating that I am a siren, I get plenty. What is that??

8. Oh shit, I'm back to complaints again.
kitchen_kink: (Default)
Many of you have brought this up in recent months, but I am currently wrestling with privacy/discretion issues with regard to this medium. Thus, I will prosthelytize on the topic for a bit.

I have a desire, as [ profile] quinnclub has also expressed, to have my life be an open book. To me, one of the most damaging things people do to themselves is to hide themselves away, to repress their emotions and desires, in the name of prudence, or propriety, or tradition, or fear.

This behavior not only closes people off from one another, but perpetuates the keeping-in-the-shadows of what mainstream society deems "deviant" or "self-destructive" behaviors. I've always believed that the best work a single person can do to further visibility and acceptance is to be visible him or herself. Whether this means showing same-sex affection in public without fear, going to a romantic dinner with two other people, writing your life in an online journal or fiction that reflects the deep-seated truths of the author, it is fearless honesty that makes movements work. How else, after all, did homosexuality finally get removed from the DSM as a mental disorder? (It didn't happen all that long ago, folks.) Visibility forces acknowledgment; acknoledgment eventually forces tolerance.

How much air would have been let out of the tires of the impeachsarios of the Clinton administration, if Clinton had just said, "Yup. Me 'n' Monica were doin' the nasty. Sorry y'all had to find out this way"? Was not that entire witch-hunt built around the legal technicality that he had lied? It completely took the focus off the fact that what was happening was a bunch of fundamentalists moralizing over points of adultery, that Clinton was being character-assassinated, not for being a liar, but for getting a BJ under a desk. Many have theorized that Bill and Hillary had an open relationship, a marriage of convenience. All of his affairs would seem to bear this out: they were so obvious, and public, yet Hillary never divorced him, not even after they left the White House. What if this were true, and they had shared that fact with the world?

That point aside, what would happen if most people were open about the things they desire and do? If I present myself always as I am, and don't hide aspects that some might consider shameful, wrong, or even insane, then how can I be persecuted? If someone says to me, "You're too aggressive / queer / slutty / confused" or whatever, I say, "Yes. Yes. Yes, though I have a different definition of that word. And no, I think you are." Tolerance, and, later, acceptance, can only be built if people present themselves as they are.

And yes, I wrote an essay in my Northeastern application about this very issue, and got in in a flash.

There are caveats to this, of course. To bring it back to this medium: many have asked, "How do you decide to post something friends-only? Or keep it private? What do you reveal publicly, for anyone to read?"

I was looking through my public entries last night, for a particular reason I won't go into, except to say that I was looking for things certain people might find shocking or objectionable. Ordinarily I keep the nitty-gritty details friends-only, and try to keep the public entries less personal, more conversational and political.

But as someone said long ago, the personal is political, and if I'm not speaking my politics as the person I am, then what the hell am I talking about?

I noticed a pattern, though: my public entries tended to tell the general truth about my life. The fact that I'm bisexual and polyamorous; the fact that I'm sleeping with someone, what I do, what I plan to do, and how things are going with all that.

Friends-only is reserved when other people's privacy is being protected, or when I'm protecting my emotional privacy: the details, the characters, and the feelings that I may not want to reveal to the world just yet.

But the basic fundamentals of who I am and what I believe in are right out front, and that's the way I like it.

I know that I am blessed to live in one of the most liberal cities in this country, and that the love and acceptance I enjoy here is a great priviledge. But that doesn't mean I don't know the evil of the world, and the line of fire I place myself in by declaring myself, as myself.

But the other option is hiding, and that, I won't do.


Feb. 11th, 2003 04:22 pm
kitchen_kink: (Default)
I think it's an awfully long time since I've been really, properly bored.

This could be construed as a good thing. On the other hand, it seems to indicate that I've been busy for about 18 years.

I was an only child, and so being bored would have been deadly. My parents certainly weren't interested in entertaining me endlessly, so I had to do it myself. I'd bury myself in books, play with my awesome Fisher Price habitats (would that I still had the Farm, the Castle, and the Airport!), or make nests and forts out of sofa cushions and blankets.

I think the result of this is twofold and paradoxical: as an adult, I am far more extraverted than I was, and frequently seek out company. However, I also feel the need to be left alone quite often, to futz around with my books or writing or computer-noodling. These desires sometimes oppose one another, and I get less alone time than I'd like, or conversely, begin to feel stir crazy.

But it's especially useful at work, on a day like this. I have had almost no work given to me today, though I've pinged several people throughout the day.

I've been merging the needs electronically: spending my time online doing my taxes, balancing my checkbook, paying bills, writing; and sending/reading emails, chatting, and reading my friends list.

Still, I hope there's work tomorrow. All that stuff is more fun and feels more productive when I'm doing it interspersed with "real" work.

Whee, multitasking!


kitchen_kink: (Default)

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