Servitude

8 Dec

I can hear progress carrying on as I sit on the front porch and absorb indirect sunlight from the cloudy southern sky. Sipping on afternoon espresso, I watch the Walmart trailers as they nest on the tracks only to be dragged away by a truck; one by one they migrate to small towns bringing bulk paper products and cheap snacks.
God bless America and Walmart. Oh Holy McDonald’s, free us from our kitchens. Blessed is the service industry, because we can’t do things for ourselves. I am not opposed to service or the service industry. I am opposed to the service industry growing, as it has been and is predicted to continue. The nature of the service industry growing means more to serve, and more servers. I think of a system based on haves and have nots, those who serve and those who are served. There seems to be less room to navigate one’s own path if there is such a rift.
We are not separate, we are not based on caste systems here. The treachery of the divide between people can make one think one is an island. The way I have found through that is to provide compassion and love to others, even in a very abstract way. When I feel like I am an individual with no real need for others, I have merely to think of how socialization in the right context is very rewarding. I am not alone, ever.
This is a great time to drop a line from Deepak Chopra:
“When the Universe is your home, you are never lost.”

December Comes Quickly. Sometimes.

1 Dec

There’s something to the rays of morning sunlight that makes me feel quite optimistic. I am fortunate enough to see the sun, thank goodness. Here I am in my first world flat, sipping espresso, thinking about other parts of the world. I am thinking about when I lived in New Mexico and when I would travel to El Paso. A stretch of interstate that carried vehicular traffic through the city and it’s mountains was always perplexing to me because I saw El Paso on my left, all modern homes and businesses built with new and clean materials. On my right, I saw Juarez. The contrast between the two sides hurt my eyes. Ciudad Juarez, with the factory girls and single level dwellings, and the occasional metal roof nestled in them glinted in my eyes as I drove. The colors were different, the roads were different, even the air hanging above the simple homes was different. It was all less polished, less new, less first world fancy. Without knowing anything about the two cities one would be able to discern the that there were in fact two cities. It looked like a large metropolitan area from a distance, but it soon became apparent that there was a separateness. The highway that ran through divided the first world from the third world. I felt uncomfortable. I still do when I think of it. Only a line on a map, a highway in the desert, was what kept some people from having and others from not having. It kept some poor and sick while others wealthy and healthy. It seems so arbitrary, for a line on a piece of paper to determine how much opportunity to which a person has access.
The entire time I was looking at the separation I felt confused and deeply troubled. I never felt so bad about having so much. It is purely accidental that I am born on this side of the line. What makes me more deserving? I was forever changed. I thought I was sensitive to ethnic discrimination before, but I had never seen it before my own eyes like that. I felt like I had been hit by a bus. What was further troubling was seeing how people went about their business as if things were uneventful. The culture of the border is a very peculiar one. I was told that I had nothing to worry about if I wanted to go to Ciudad Juarez, because the Americans are treated well (because they have money). I wasn’t a factory girl, I was a tall, blue eyed, white woman who would be missed if she never returned. I was told this almost verbatim, aside from my comment about being a tall, blue eyed white woman, by men and women from Juarez. I was shocked at how blasé they were. I soon began to understand the harsh reality of living in a place like Juarez could not be pondered by those in the midst of it. To do so would be to tempt insanity. To function for a long time under duress successfully, one cannot dwell on the horror of the obvious. Only that which is imperative can be considered.
Today is World AIDS Day. When I see people up in arms lately about Ebola, I am disappointed in the shallow, short memories of the populus. It wasn’t that long ago when AIDS was considered a death sentence and was also stigmatized as a disease. Ebola has been around, in fact it never went away. We just stopped listening until it hit home. I am not here to cast judgement or critique. I include myself amongst the masses. My overarching point is that we are all so interconnected, and if there is a doubt about that, then why do we feel such fear about a virus? If we are separate, autonomous beings, there should be no real fear (theoretically). There is fear. There is interconnectedness. We are empathetic creatures. I had no choice in how I manifested physically in this world (that I am aware of), so why should I get preferential treatment based on my physical manifestation? What makes me more deserving?
We have grown tremendously as a species, and I hope we continue to do more growing. I think it would help. On World AIDS Day, I am so elated to see the world aware. I want to use this day as a jumping off point for hope. We can help each other, we are meant to help each other. Today is proof of that. Today, I celebrate the erosion of barriers between people, and the force behind it: LOVE. It is stronger than death, and it gives life. The ultimate reward in loving another is giving your love away. To love is, in itself, the pinnacle of our being. If we have loved, we have succeeded.
I conclude with telling you, yes, YOU, that you matter. I matter, and we matter, because life is here and we showed up. That is all we need to do.

Tin Woman.

29 Nov

Softening is painful and foreign to a woman that has tried to make sure she seems caustic and unapproachable. I have been experiencing this discomfort as I remove the suit of armor I have worn since I was able to have memories. My mind hurts when I think of going on without it, the shield I have upheld for too long, but I am aware of the fact that there is no threat any longer. Thus, I cannot find the logic in maintaining the same behavior. I have no need to be on guard constantly, no need to be ready for a crusade or a battle, no need to expect conflict. Down it goes, falling to my feet and splintering into fragments, this worn and shoddy shield. I’m frightened and relieved. The relief is so prominent at this point that the fear seems arbitrary. Its what happens if the fear returns that will demonstrate how I have adjusted.
I have a secret weapon in detachment. It is not a detachment in the sense of being cold or removed. It is more of a compassionate detachment I think. I still engage with life, but I have to jettison the things over which I have no control. I don’t feel like an expert at it, and it doesn’t mean I lack feeling regarding such things, on the contrary. I have been depressed in an existential fashion more than usual lately. The difference is I have been telling myself its okay to disengage when I get too entwined in things out of my control.
Which brings me back to the damn shield metaphor. I let it go because I can’t control everything, and I don’t want to control everything. I don’t give a fuck about what is waiting around the next corner. I will handle it, if there is anything to handle. Life is what it is, and we’re all dyin’, bitch, so I say we get to living while we can.

Let me go

27 Nov

I want to write about makeup at some point, because I love makeup and would like to share my experiences. For now, however, I have to write about what I have been contemplating, which is the interconnected nature of all things. It is a bit overwhelming because I am sensitive, and I am empathic. I have to say I have been thinking also about T.E. Lawrence, a.k.a Lawrence of Arabia, and his attitude toward pain. He said it isnt that it doesn’t hurt, its that he didn’t mind.
Learning that what is, is; saying goodbye to the urge to change things that have nothing to do with me. Discerning what has something to do with me. And learning a great lesson from Shirley Manson, another saucy Virgo: sometimes the best response is the simplest one, like “BLOW ME.”

The New Humanism.

24 Nov

I love movies. Good ones, preferably, but I can get into dramatic movies and watch them for days. To me, cinema is akin to storytelling. The director is the orator that tells the story over the fire to the rest of the tribe. Needless to say, I love the way one can look at our choices of popular entertainment and notice trends of the social climate.
A few years ago millions of panties dropped for the Twilight Saga, and before the populous was drooling over that scrawny moody kid, scripted entertainment was exploring terrorism (Sleeper Cell, The Wire). Well, (here it comes) FUCK POPULAR PROGRAMMING. Its one thing to use art as a way of exploring the gruesome, the grim, the unspeakable. That is natural and organic, but to revel in the fear and collective anxiety, to profit from the insecurity and perpetuate it–that is fear mongering.
The imagery of zombies and the undead is so obviously a metaphor for our fear of mortality and lack of trust. Anyone can be a potential threat. For a person with PTSD, that is a part of everyday life. I have spent years in therapy and taken efforts to learn to trust the people closest to me. I didn’t ask for that life and I have been trying to get past it since I can remember. Now that I am able to make the effort, that I have evolved and my deep wounds don’t dictate my behavior, I don’t want to go back to that. I don’t want to go back to feeling like The Walking Dead is my life 24 hours a day. Who will turn on you? Who is safe? Who is next? Me? YOU?
I refuse to further the ideology of such bullshit. People are good. The world is a good place. Fuck the Walking Dead. The title alone has a meaning all its own, and not the most positive one. Am I alone in being disturbed by the idea of millions of people rationalizing why its okay to elongate this groupthink? C’mon gang, even Anne Frank found a fucking silver lining. What’s our excuse?

Loneliness as an Opportunity?

19 Nov

I remember hearing a phrase, “solitude is never given; solitude is earned.” I thought long about it the first time I heard it. The idea of solitude versus loneliness is an interesting one to ponder. Solitude implies the individual may have elected to be alone, whereas loneliness is a feeling of being alone and wishing you were not. These last few cloudy days have shifted my perspective enough that I feel a bit of something akin to both of those things. It happens in the mid morning, after the coffee (1st round) has been imbibed, the makeup is on, and I have a span of time when I feel a sort of longing. It feels like solitude sometimes, and loneliness other times. When I realize what is going on and acknowledge the feeling, I find the difference between loneliness and solitude to be…wait for it…”a certain point of view.” Yes, thanks again, Ben Kenobi. In the moments that feel lonely, I need only to see that it is an opportunity for solitude. Perhaps solitude is earned, in that a level of comfort and perhaps even detachment is necessary to see it that way when the burden of loneliness resides over someone with social anxiety. Its just perspective. I seem to be seeing that more and more in all areas of life. Perspectives make it or break it.

Grey Day.

19 Nov

It’s 51°F here, and that is not the norm. It’s not bad, but the cloudy skies cast a pallor over the day. It seems as though the sun is playing tag with the clouds. I have some tasks to attend to, and the weather makes it all an adventure of sorts. I have to wear something other than a tank top and jeans. Oh, the tortures of the damned, to wear a sweater.
I’m going to be in school next semester full time, and I feel the need to get a job as of late, but I need to remember that school is the priority. My financial worth is not indicative of MY worth. I have a difficult time remembering that, and then I feel a compulsion to validate my existence, which leads to scrambling around and justifying. Part of me is angry at this pattern, but I am not consumed by the anger as I may have been in the past. I’m pissed, but I also know that it is an obsolete mode of thinking. In that sense, I don’t care about any of it. It’s most likely lies if it’s something that learned from my family of origin.
The clouds are beginning to part, and a few determined rays of sunlight are breaking through the grey. A pleasant surprise and a promising sign.

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