Friday, February 25, 2011

i have been experimenting with badassery.

I don't know exactly what's been happening to me over the last couple of years, but I'm starting to... uh... speak my mind a bit more. It's the strangest thing. I don't know if it's just a general surge in confidence, or a growing awareness of mortality that makes me a little ballsier, or a fluctuation in hormones that has put a fritz in my filter, or what... But I've become less apologetic about my opinions and also: less and less tolerant of disrespectful, dismissive, and socially harmful behavior. I mean, like it's really lodged into my craw, and I can't get this seedy little bastard out.

So, I've started calling people on their shit. I've become that person!

[I would like to state that I think I accept people calling me on my shit pretty damn well, too, for the record.]

A few weeks ago, I drove around the block to confront some teenage boys who threw a snowball at my car. Not yelling. I just wanted them to explain their decision to lodge a snowball at an innocent stranger's moving vehicle. They could not. So I suggested they reconsider their choices if they can't come up with intelligent explanations for them.

I've been doing LONG overdue pushing and prodding and pointing, in my professional world. (In fact, the pushing and prodding and pointing have started to exhaust my resources, and I'm noticing physical stress responses, which is why today I am at home tending to those.)

But my biggest moment so far came Tuesday.

Due to the professional pushing and prodding and pointing, and the subsequent appearance of some physical stress responses, I have been working on "letting go of that which I cannot control." (Do I need to explain what a really f'ing difficult feat this is?) I've had this glitch in my character for as long as I can remember. And for several years now "Learn to like yoga" has been on my to-do list.

I do not like yoga.

I have a strange reaction to yoga. It makes me mad. Every time I do yoga, I just feel pissed off and annoyed. I don't understand why others thing it's so calming and centering. What is WRONG WITH ME? (Which reminds me of when I tried to like pot when I was 20, just like the rest of my hippie friends. Oh, it looked like such a grand beautiful giggly great time. Peace and love, Dude! But me? Nope. It just made me paranoid and morose.) I've blamed it before on how friggin' slow everything is. And I hate being talked to in soothing tones. Gaw, just spit it out, lady! I'm not a mother truckin' tulip! Holy J(H)esus!

But someone recently (I don't remember who, but it may have been my friend, Maggie), said, "That's probably a sign that you need to do more yoga." Yes, I suppose so. Yoga reminds me of how much anger and irritation I repress on a daily basis.

So, last weekend I bought 3 books of yoga. I don't want to go to a class. I like to do things alone. Tuesday mornings, the group fitness room at the gym is empty. So I took one of my books, grabbed a mat, and practiced some poses, went through a basic "energizing morning sequence."

Salutations to the sun, Chipper Sprite.

I finished feeling... I don't know. Not really relaxed, but my body was definitely responding to a new and much slower morning workout. I cleaned off my mat thinking this was really the start of something. I would push through the discomfort, and I would be changed. I would be Peace, incarnate.

It was too early to shower and leave. Plus, one of my books said you should wait about 30 minutes to shower, so you don't wash off, uh... Prana? I don't know. Like yoga puts you in a sleepy dream suit and if you take a shower, it'll get wet and lose all its sleepy magical dream powers. Whatever. You don't have to tell me twice.

So I hopped on a treadmill and set it to a nice, slow, relaxing 2.0. Immediately, who should enter and take the treadmill in front of me?


I wrote about a very nasty and horrible experience with him: HERE. Oops. Nope. It appears I deleted that post. To summarize: he took the treadmill next to me, and kept looking over at my boobs while I was running. Then when he was finished looking at my boobs, he walked behind my treadmill, stopped, and stared pointedly at my ass for an uncomfortable few seconds. It felt horrible. Diminishing. Violating. Whore-ish. And I wanted to leave immediately. Instead, I kept running and watched him for 30 minutes do the EXACT same thing to every woman there. It's WAYYYY beyond the normal checking-people-out behavior. Being checked out normally by someone at the gym doesn't bother me (because I've probably already done it to them.).

Allow me to reiterate that I have not overdramatized that experience and the absolutely sickening SICKENING energy that emanates from his presence. What he does to women at my gym is despicable and far beyond anything decent. I hate it. I absolutely hate it.

So, fresh from my "quiet the raging storm" yoga, I see F'ING ROD. He NEVER comes to the gym that early. NEVER!

I actually said, aloud to the universe, "Are you testing me? Seriously?"

Because I do think the universe needles with me, as I stated in my LAST POST about the orgasmic grunters. I think I have extra sensitive receptors when it comes to the world. And I truly have days where I feel, physically, like the entire universe is being amplified straight into my head. I can't describe it, exactly, but I know I'm not the only one who experiences it, so I'll just leave it up to you to make the connections. Relatedly, I think one of my life missions is how to reconcile the vast injustice and grotesqueness, and generally very bad and harmful energy that I soak up, and still cast light and remain peaceful.

Hence: Do yoga. Be IMMEDIATELY put to the test.

So... I'm walking. Rod is walking. Rod is craning his neck around the man next to him to watch the woman next to him. He is leaning around the front of the man to look at her boobs while she runs. He is leaning around the back of the man to watch her ass while she runs (literally, he had to bend at the knees and contort to stare very directly and blatantly at her ass). He is ogling the boobs of the women leaving spin class and heading back to the locker rooms. He is turning around to watch their asses while they enter the locker rooms.

I had enough.

I got off my treadmill and felt myself starting to tremble. I squeezed in beside his treadmill, to the front, looked up at him, pointed, and said:

"I see what you do, and it's not okay.
They way you look at women is not okay.
You've done it to me, and I see you do it to everyone else.
On the woman's part, it feels like shit to be looked at like that, and you need to stop or not come here."

He mumbled something then said, "I thought I knew her."

To that I said, "Bullshit." and walked back to the locker room. Still trembling.

I debriefed to a gym friend, and she high-fived me. Then I washed off the magical sleepy yoga dream suit (clearly mine is broken), and left for work. Within a block, I honked at a man who was texting instead of driving forward at the GREEN LIGHT in front of me. Then, I got to work and pushed and prodded and pointed.

Yes, clearly, I need to do more yoga.

Dear world, I cannot solve your problems today. Please leave a message.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

i don't have much to say, but i sure said a lot.

i thought i had something to say today. seems like i should. i have decided that i don't, but still feel compelled to at least say this.

i have wondered, as i do periodically, at my polarity. not in a DSM-IV sense. but that i can be such a gentle spirit so much of the time, and yet have such psychically violent tendencies. particularly as they relate to other people not doing what i think they should be doing or doing what i don't think they should be doing or doing things wrong. how can i be so floaty and such a control freak all at the same time? so "live and let live" but so irritable? or is it 'ible?

these are things i do not know. i want to just eat a bunch of donuts and forget to have conversations with myself. i do know that.

i think the universe needles at me, much the way my sisters do. i think the universe is a real jokey jokester. take my sensitivity to sound:

i lack the ability to filter out peevish sounds. snorting. chewing. mouth breathing. gum chomping. slurping. gurgly catches in throats. coughing. throat clearing. faucets leaking. feet shuffling. bowl clinking. yogurt cup scraping. radio garbling. microphone bumping. and when i say these things bother me, please let me clarify: i have to leave the room. my head feels like it will explode, and i get anxious. and inexplicably angry. i hear lots of people say, "oh, what an annoying sound!" as they pleasantly carry out their business. dear friends, this is not what i am saying. i am saying that as long as the peevish sound continues, i will not be able to concentrate on one single other thing, to the point that i will actually appear clinically insane in the membrane and will probably have a lot of apologizing to do later. (incidentally, the place where i work is very noisy. i spend a large part of my day trying not to appear insane. gum smackers. sinus problem snorters. candy crunchers. i work in my own private mine field of sounds.)

i am sure this nudges me up the autism spectrum. (you know we're all on it, right? just in varying degrees.)

i do not like a lot of grunting at the gym. audible exhaling is fine. i hiss a bit when I'm really exerting myself. but there are 2 "orgasmic grunters" in the 5 a.m. crowd. one is a short, stout, white lady with curly hair who wears knee wraps. i'll call her "Carol." the other is a short, super extraordinarily chiseled black man with a porn 'stache who wears head to toe spandex and walks on the balls of his feet. i'll call him "Lance." what these characters have in common is loud, orgasmic grunting with lots of vowels.

i was hissing through my abs on one side of the gym today when Lance settled in nearby and began to work very hard. His first set, I put one hand over an ear and said, "Oh my god. Dude!" The second set, traumatized, annoyed, disgusted, I grabbed my stuff and my mat and hurried to the other side of the gym where I repositioned myself and continued. Seconds later, Carol settled in next to me.

that is how i know the universe needles me. it surrounds me with orgasmic gym grunters.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

without the benefit of mortal fear, i am an extraordinarily slow runner.

i don't understand nervousness.

physical nervousness, i mean.

i understand facing mortal danger and experiencing a surge of adrenaline that makes your heart race and your pulse quicken and your eyes dilate. when i was a kid, and we lived in the country in southeastern kansas, i was once prancing around in the backyard and stepped on a snake. evolution kicked in, and i sprinted superhero-like through the yard, to the back deck, and in through the sliding glass door.

without the benefit of mortal fear, i am an extraordinarily slow runner.

i do not understand heart race, pulse quicken, eyes dilating, when... singing in front of people. what is the evolutionary connection? did my ancestors have to sing and dance for survival? when they encountered a hungry t-rex (only dinosaur coming to mind. were they vegetarians?), did the t-rex say, "You! Sing! Dance! Here, play this guitar! Do it!"

no. that did not happen.

therefore, i do not understand the fight-or-flight response to singing songs in front of people. there is no evolutionary basis.

i only understand that it makes me feel like fainting and pooping and barfing. which, really makes for an unpleasant thursday evening, if you don't mind me saying.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

sister blister

Today, I experienced the following character blips:

1. I spent too much time this morning at the gym trying to figure out if a woman's boobs were fake. Sister Blister, P! Sister Blister.

2. A woman was barfing in a 5th floor bathroom stall. Just me and the barfer. I should have asked her if she was okay and offered to bring her a glass of water.

Instead, I plugged my ears,

I peed, washed my hands very thoroughly, and then exited hastily, using my elbow to turn the door handle.

[Seriously, this is the 3rd time in 1.5 years that I have witnessed someone barfing in the 5th floor bathroom. I hold firm to my assertion that there is something in this building that makes people sick. Don't even get me started on the weird crap in the cafeteria food.]

3. I allowed the door to fall closed behind me, even though a woman was within door-holding range. She was moving too damn slow. Geez, Lady, pick up your feet.

I blame it on my narcissistic crazy gym nemesis. Last night my narcissistic crazy gym nemesis (Fountain Pony; not Are-Those-Boobs-Fake?-Lady) popped in my dream. I woke up really mad. I don't remember what she was doing in my dream; it was the fact that she was allowed to infiltrate my dream. Clearly, it shook a stick at my relatively good nature. I shake my fist at you, Narcissistic Crazy Gym Nemesis Fountain Pony Lady. No "Sister Blister" here. This lady is batshiz nutters.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

singing in front of people even though i don't know what kind of cereal they ate when they were kids.

My COFFEE post isn't due for another 10 days. I've just enjoyed a victory. I will share: Immediately.

Per my COFFEE project, I hiked up my drawers and played my music in front of people--real people. I didn't even know all their names or what kind of cereal they ate when they were kids. Long standing fear here (of playing in front of people--not of cereal). Totally dumb, irrational fear. 'Twas time to rid the stink of the stink.

So I did. Thursday, I ridded stink of stink, more or less.

I had Chrispy ...

[A few days ago, I saw the word, the adjective, "crispy," used in a sentence, and I thought, "Oops, they forgot the h." I'd forgotten it was actually a word before it was Chris's moniker.]

Focus, P! …I had C(h)rispy video some of it for COFFEE. Afterwards, I deeply regretted this. That night, and all of Friday, I would not touch the camera. Aside from a few shaky wedding songs and some very safe back-up singing for Wendy, it has been well over a decade since Music and I went out in public together. Fifteen years ago I would have watched that video and become hyper-critical and violently negative. I would have completely shredded myself, disassembled my soul, and spit loogies straight into the face of my very existence. Then I would have locked my guitar in its case for another fifteen years.

Then picked the wings off a butterfly and kicked an old lady.

(Too much?)


I like butterflies and old ladies very much, so I avoided the camera with its naked footage of my naked reunion with Music. My music.

This morning I was thinking, you know, I've done some growing in the past 15 years. I can control this now. So I downloaded the videos, said, "Be kind, Dear," and watched. And…

It's not that I was some kind of spectacular shooting star, because I wasn't. I sang wrong lyrics and mis-chorded, and stood kind of awkwardly and in an awkward part of the stage. But the fact that I watched start to finish, and I didn't say a single unkind thing to myself is AMAZING. And heartening! And makes me feel really awesome. I am 36 years old, and I have finally learned how to be nice to myself. Amen.

So now I can break this experience down into 3 triumphs:

1. I played. It scared the poop out of me (literally), and I did it anyway.

2. The playing went exactly as I'd expected; I will explain.

Expectations are a nasty beast. I am happiest (and I would guess this is true for most) when I genuinely appreciate and fully embrace: Here, Now, This, and With These People (hereupon: HNTWTP). Expectation for me has generally meant being constantly 10 years ahead of myself--the anticipation of This will become This which will become This and then This and then This will happen--which causes either total impatience with HNTWTP, total disconnection with HNTWTP, total invalidation of HNTWTP, and/or fear and anxiety, trepidation and subsequent paralysis about F (Future).

And butterflies lose wings and old ladies get kicked in the craw.

I didn't have those kinds of expectations this time around. I expected it to be imperfect, and it was. I expected it to not be a disaster, and it was not a disaster. I expected to not barf or shat myself, and I did not barf or shat myself (I understand that is not proper conjugation of -to shit.). I expected some things to go well, and they did. I expected some things to be clumsy, and they were… And every bit of it was just fine.

None of this was in the spirit of self-sabotaging pessimism. It wasn't negative self talk. It was actually the opposite. It was gloriously positive and uplifting. Hey, Puddin' Pie, you're not perfect. And that's a-okay.

3. I reflected, watched myself, heard myself, and was kind to myself. (Additionally, I would like to thank the sound guy for keeping my clumsy guitar at a mercifully low level. And no, recognizing that I'm a clumsy guitarist is not self-bashing. It's simply having ears.)


I'll save the video for the COFFEE post.

No butterflies or old ladies were harmed in the creation of this blog post.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

shaking out the nonsense

I was going to write something today about how yesterday I decided that if things keep going in the direction they appear to be going, the best option would be to move off grid, go communal. because if chris and i ever have kids, the thought of them growing up in the middle of such malice breaks my ever-loving heart.

I was going to write about how I wasn't really joking, and how Chris was going to be really excited when I told him we were unplugging and moving to the field (Lord help us if that field sits over oil or catches the eye of someone with an itch to build a strip mall, SuperWalmart, or parking lot.)

And then I was going to talk a little bit about the idea of a big Collective Soul transformation coming (not the end of the world, just the end of the currently accepted reality of it), and how maybe right now is just the Beloved, shaking out the nonsense. And maybe once all the nonsense is out, we'll have found ourselves in an idyllic, agrarian society, where we eat fresh fruits and veggies grown in big communal gardens, where we spend lots of time with our hands in the dirt, so we understand and love the earth better, where capitalism is trading beets with the neighbors, where marriage is about love and commitment and partnership and spiritual growth and not about legislation and legal contracts signed by notaries and approved or disapproved by judges we don't know and who don't know us, and where there is no such thing as picketing and screaming with veiny necks about something that is just as true and untrue as the thing being protested is true and untrue, because obviously if we all just got back to core and got back to center and went inward, we would be so much cooler about everything, extremism wouldn't exist, and the whole world would be so much better, and our bodies would be balanced, and our minds, and our emotions, and the earth, and puppies and kittens and fish and bunnies and tulips and clouds and fun music and laughing and no 40-hour work weeks, and all the frightening and malicious people will have vanished, because there would be no imbalance to nourish them, so they couldn't survive in such a world, nothing to feed on, because if all the nonsense got shaken out, that's probably where we'd be left: core and center and clear and sturdy and growing herbs in the back yard, and by herbs, i mean herbs, not "herbs," because when life is that balanced and awesome, there's just no need to alter consciousness.

I was going to write about that, but it was too much for a Saturday morning, and I couldn't get it to come out in a way that didn't make me sound crazy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

every little thing is gonna be alright

i am going to distract myself with senseless blog writing.

i have been a ball of anxiety today.

1. as part of the COFFEE Project (wherein, 9 of us have committed to doing something that scares/challenges us), i have committed to performing at an open mic next Thursday. me + guitar + some songs i made up = Little P needs a Big B-is-for-Barf Bag.

this morning i opened my calendar to record a February meeting, and boom: There it was. "OPEN MIC"-- in ink, no less-- no longer a theoretical event i would talk about indefinitely (without ever actually doing it). IMMEDIATELY, my hands got sweaty, and i started to tremble, and i had to go to the bathroom 85 times in the next 30 minutes.

what IS that?

i tried to tend to work and couldn't focus my brain. couldn't focus my eyes. couldn't get my hands to go still.

you know what i did to calm down? i ran data. i pulled up the database, and i ran data. converted it into an Excel spreadsheet. nice and tidy numbers in rows and columns. observable, quantifiable, linear representatives of completely measurable behavior. adding and subtracting chaos with a calculator.

this is why i like math. i find it calming. being alive is so hair-raising. i hate not being able to control my own body's reactions. sometimes it's nice to step out of myself and study my codes like line-items. if only i could find a way to do this without turning into a complete nut job.

2.  we get "daily headlines" at work. i read them. this was a mistake.

first i read about the bill to amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage and its variations. this makes me so quivering sick in my soul. it does. it absolutely does. i don't have words. except that i wish so very hard that people would not use the gentle and loving God i believe in to further this cruel campaign.

3.  next i read about the bright idea to just fire everybody hired since November.

i don't know if it's bad professional form to comment on such things. and so i will simply reflect what i hear in my head:

"In order to fix a broken system, you should keep the same people around forever. Because the system is in such disarray, they have obviously been performing very well.  To fix things that are broken, you must not change anything. You must do exactly as you have done forever and ever and ever, amen."

but i'm sure everything is going to be just fine.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

colonization of p

we're getting a new coffee table today. we are very excited about this. unreasonably excited. it complements the new couch and chair and ottoman and end table delivered a few weeks ago. if we are unreasonably excited about the new coffee table, we were absolutely batshit crazy irrational about that couch and chair and ottoman and end table.

a few months ago, we replaced the dishwasher. i still get a little zing in my soul when i pour in soap and push the start buttons. so many buttons on this new model. it's obviously a very important machine.

new curtains. i have new curtains for the purple room. they're not up, yet. The hardware to hang them, i mean, has not been wall anchored and screwed and junk; but i have the curtains. sometimes i pull them out of the bag and touch them. i fantasize about what they will look like hanging over my grandmother's old laundry bench with the flashy pillows.

i'm really excited about making split pea soup tonight. i've never made split pea soup. i think i'm going to throw in some spinach and kale, and this makes my heart speed a bit.

don't even get me started about how frothy i am in anticipation of my teeth cleaning in february.

these are the things that excite me lately. i have been colonized and domesticated. this is an outrage. an OUTRAGE!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

person x, you are not an a-hole.

yesterday i ate 3 donuts and accidentally called someone of authority, Person X, an "a-hole." for the record, it was a total misunderstanding. i was not calling Person X an a-hole. i actually really like Person X a lot. it was a sentence in an email taken out of context, and there was over-the-shoulder reading and… dammit. i didn't call Person X an a-hole! i didn't!

the donuts: these were deliciously circular baked evidence that the universe is a snide and tricky little bastard sometimes. over the past few years, my body has been pushing me with increasing urgency to clean up and clean out my system. my physical reactions to anything processed, anything bread-y, anything sugary, anything the human body was not actually designed to consume, have become more and more UpInMyGrill. my guts, my skin, my mood, everything starts screaming. my right knee has been shitsville for weeks, and i think that's even linked to my nutrition (and possibly the 5-8 pounds i've gained since the marathon).

since Christmas, i've been shoving as much processed sugary crap into my facehole as i can. and my body is revolting. yesterday morning, after skipping the gym for the 2nd time this week (i actually skipped 3 times, but 1 time i stayed home to shovel the driveway, so i count that as a workout), i had a sit-down meeting with my body, and we agreed, "For the love of all that is holy: Pull it together, Woman!" i left for work with steel resolve. i could not continue to treat my body with disregard.

i arrived to work to find: 1 large iced cookie and 1 small bag of candy on my desk. i said to the universe, "WHAT?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" i sat down and immediately put the goodies in a drawer.

i logged into my email and read, "Hey, everybody! I brought donuts for So-and-So's birthday!"

DONUTS! i can't say no to DONUTS! i shook my fist at the ceiling.

and so, on my day of renewed steel resolve to get back on the body track, i skipped the gym and ate:

  • 3 donuts
  • 1 iced cookie
  • 2 fun-sized chocolate candy bars

and i inadvertently called someone of authority an a-hole.

this morning, i have eaten an apple. next i will eat a mostly egg-white (2 egg-whites, 1 whole egg) omelette with kale. and i will not call anybody an a-hole. not on purpose anyway.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

the hot dentist.

Sugar makes me intolerant. I've been eating entirely too much lately. Leaving work for the day, I pretended not to see a woman hustling toward the elevator. I let it close. I left her behind. Sorry, Lady. I was just really tired of people. It doesn't matter how much I like you, how cool you are, how attractive you may be; at some point, I'm just really so sick of you I could barf.

I'm intolerant of elevator conversation. "Boy, sure is cold out there!"

"Sure is."

"Boy, just look at all that snow!"

"Yep. I saw it."


One day last week I had the elevator to myself when a man boarded on the 2nd floor. He stood in the corner. Seriously. It was just him and me, and he stood in the corner with his nose about 1 inch from the emergency buttons. It was pretty weird, but I liked that he was as uninterested in talking to me as I was to him. Too much pretending makes me tired.

And it's Tunnel Time. Underground tunnels (Is there such a thing as an above-ground tunnel?) connect the parking lots and all the buildings. When it's snowing and bitterly cold (Boy! Can you believe this cold?!) I hike the 3 blocks in the dank underbelly of Iowa's capitol. Some people use them all year long. I don't understand this. They bring their tennies and sweat pants and hike back and forth next to the leaky water pipes and strange murals (One mural has 3 black crows flying in such a pattern, with wings at such angles, that it looks like a witch flying on a broom.). I bet there are a lot of body parts cemented in those walls. That's not pleasant.

I'm having weird dreams again. Last night I was chasing a rodent and washing the word "Studwater" off a window. I like knowing when I've popped up in someone's dream. But, I've recently decided to stop telling others when they're in my dreams. Some people really get weirded out about that. I mean, seriously. I think that's ridiculous. I can't be held responsible for what my brain does when I'm sleeping. Just because you're in my dream doesn't mean I'm going to stalk you and leave dead stuff in your yard. I don't have a room in my house lined with sliced newsprint that spells out your name 35 million times.

Or do I? Sleep with one eye open.

I went to the dentist today. I am debating whether or not to publicly confess that I hadn't been to a dentist in well over 10 years. I guess I just resolved my debate. But look: I brush; I floss; I mouthwash; I don't drink pop or weird, sugary juice drinks; I don't eat a bunch of candy. Nothing hurts. Nothing is wiggly and falling out. So, I don't think about going. If it ain't broke…

I went to Chris's dentist. He calls her the "hot dentist." She's pretty, but I wouldn't say she's "hot." Maybe she's just not my type. I don't know. But I lost a filling a while back and let it go too long, and I might need a root canal. I figure root canals probably aren't really all that bad. It's probably just something people say--something that wormed its way into our scripts. Most of our scripts are dumb. So I'm optimistic.

One question on the intake form asked, "Do you plan to keep your teeth for the rest of your life?" Seriously? What kind of question is this? I circled NO.

The hot dentist poked at my gums and scraped at my teeth, and then she took off her mask and told me that other than the missing filling, I had a healthy mouth. She said that: "You have a healthy mouth." She looked disappointed--defeated--when she said it. "You've been really lucky to get away with not going to the dentist." Like I was cheating. Like I'd skipped class all semester and then aced the final. All that flossing and brushing and no-pop-drinking. You sneaky little sneak.

I scheduled a cleaning, too. Tonight I'm drinking red wine just to get a little more bang for my buck.