Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shape Identity

After stimulating dialouge, I tried to find that research study and I couldn't find it...but both adult single and partnered gals have told me that they didn't even consider a body part. Why is that? Have we adopted the positive girl movement that we as girls are not equal to our physical attractiveness? Or is it because by admitting that we have bodies, of which we are both proud and ashamed, feels base? I think there is a double edge sword here...we feel guilty for caring about our looks!

Why is identifying with your shape difficult?

My best feature: my calves. Seriously, I look good in a mid-knee skirt.

My worst feature: my skinny arms.

I dare you to answer...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Drive

When asked what they like most about themselves, men tend to speak of their talents...

and women name a body part.

Just words, scrambled together, but stuck like an oily omlet these past few days. Just a snippet of information from Girl's Rock, which I vewied days ago. Folded up and ready for consumption in my hungry mind.

What's my best feature? Sadly, as the question slid around, the first thing I wanted to do was ask a treasured one what feature in me they would identify. It made me uncomfortable trying to name something on my own. Yes, fear of boasting, but more, fear of picking just one, as if this feature tattoo'd forever as a solid identity. Bravely, I start thinking too much, thus making the question less instinctual, more cerebral than real.

What do I like best about myself? My is the feature responsible for rappelling down a waterfall, obtaining my PhD, or even making my own ketchup. If I have a goal, I almost always reach it. This quality also sinks its hooks into my self-esteem, pushing me to off readily equate okay-ness with what I am producing, what I do.
There's a quote from the poem Ulysses "to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yeild..."
It is quite touching, because it is about living life to its fullest, but also depressing, because it means that "nothing is ever good enough."

Anyway, that's my feature, which shames, surprises and supports me and those I am around.

What do you like best about yourself? Do you feel the same tension in naming one thing? Would you name a body part?

Just have to say: my calves kick ass.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Well Rounded Women in a World of Square Men

I have a friend who has a very curious and active 11 month old boy, for whom she prepares all of his organic baby meals (pureed chickpeas, pulsed carrots) and carts around to swimming class. She works part time in at least three different roles, extending herself way beyond the regular job responsibilities to bake cookies for potential customers and spending hours on details of electronic newsletters. She listens to NPR, reads books from the library. She points out the best features of her husband. She keep physically fit and does the best leg waxing job I’ve ever seen. She has a sense of humor, a love of dance and culture, and is a whiz a map reading.

Seriously, people, she is amazing. And one of many of my gal pals who lead thriving lives. And I have to say, that we are lucky to live in America to develop such a wide range of activities and pursue them with freedom as women. Her work ethic is exhaustingly admirable. I’d totally be smitten if she were single and male…

Which brings me to my point: Why is it that I can name many examples similar women who fit such description and so few men that do? Perhaps it’s due to lack of exposure, after all, my close friends are exclusively women. Perhaps it’s due to our horrific culture that tells women “you can be anything” and have sent woman catapulting off in a self-critical pursuit of perfectionism…all while tsk-tsking boys who cook or sew and aren’t gay. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that we live in an age of instant gratification that feeds a male’s intense preoccupation with a handful of interests (video games, sports).

I don’t know why. I just know that in the past 9 months of volunteering at Habitat for Humanity or at the assisted living center, pursing the public library events, taking cooking classes, attending political events, I have yet to come across single men.
I feel lucky to be my friend’s friend (she’s currently supplies my yogurt addiction) and even luckier to consider myself so well rounded…and at the same time concerned for her son and all the growing boys and already grown (I’ll use that term loosely) men out there. Am I biased? Am just not seeing things correctly?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Worry Wart

I wouldn’t claim that I am a worrier, but I worry that I may be.

I fidget about timing a lot, should I get up an exercise before I go to work, or after I get home? I get my panties in a ruffle if drinking a bottle of wine a week by myself constitutes a prelude to some looming dependency. When witnessing a coworker toss a pop can in the trash, I imagine it wasting in a dumpster somewhere for thousands of years, right next to some outdate electronic game system, where they seep their chemicals into our ground water (Green Guilt Blows!).

A colleague said that “anxiety is the plague of the enlightened,” and for once I bite my lip, preventing a crack regarding the arrogance of such a statement. He graciously went onto say something like remaining peaceful, but being aware, is the key to a contended life.

Sign me up for whatever Buddist camp, you attended buddy. Sounds simple, right? Aware. I choose peace. I am peace. I own peace. Peace is my bitch.

Worry comes from an Old English word that means “to strangle” and ties back to the impulsive behavior of nervous wolves and dogs. Ugghhh…it takes the breath, the life source, directly out of the spirit. Religious scriptures warn that worry-ing is evil. Doctors assert that a worrier’s heart dangerously perches on bursting from high pressure. Old and new philsophers, like Eckhart Tolle, persist that worry strangles your ability to fully enjoy the present moment. and is a waste of precious nonexistent time…

The psychological authorities of worry note that one “should not worry alone,” supposing that sharing our worries with one another will help us come up to “creative solutions to them.” Hmmm…while it is always good to not feel like you are facing a challenge alone, I think it’s a little egotistical to be sharing my tiny worries with you (do you really care if I eat cabbage tofu stew or garlic shrimp?) In fact, the term worry wart comes from a character in a 1950s comic strip Out Our Way. Ironically, the character wasn’t the one who worried. He was actually ignorant of his problems, although he had many. No, the worriers were the people around him, perpetually up in arms over his tribulations…

So I worry that I shouldn’t burden you with these little thoughts. But an author, Tom Peters, The Pursuit of Wow, wrote that:
No, you don't want to get a reputation as a prissy worrywart, but worrying
about details in private isn't a bad idea at all. Truth is, process beats
substance. You may think you're the world's greatest speaker with a message of
the utmost urgency, but if the auditorium's air conditioner is on the
fritz and the sound system is singing static -- well, forget it.
Excuse me…I need to figure out if I should pack my fleece or a heftier winter coat. I am worried about the upcoming weather…

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

High School Singeldom

Do you remember? A ball of hedonist urges, the desire to numb the wildly swinging hormones but also embrace their wantonness? The push and pull of external forces and the zig zagging of identity? The message to define oneself and yet continue to explore and remain open, sow the wild oats. All while trapezeing a tightrope of remaining in the good graces of some and out of the line of fire of many.
Ah…this sounds akin to adolescence, yes? And even though some of us are decades away from that season of our lives, its ghosts can waft around with middle fingers in the air. Let’s face it, this petri dish of insecurity sprouted roots in many of our internal terrains.
Being single often feels akin to old feelings of exclusion birthed during teenage years. Not completely ostracized, but also painfully aware of missing out on something "ideal" this is the state precariously trodden by some of us un-paired. I resonate with certain values---a desire to create a natural place of belonging via 1) nourishment 2) connection and accountability 3) wisdom/knowledge and 4) creativity….these values all lend themselves with ease to the ultimate Gold Star, the trifecta of Marriage, Children, and HOME OWNERSHIP! Obtaining these three brings honor, merit, and often, easy acceptance into social spheres where a girl knows her place.
I am a 30 something professional single woman, who cherishes themed potlucks, reveres homemade projects, and craves the sanctity of home. A goal of mine is to be known by my neighboors so well that they drink my apple cider on Halloween. People have called me the most married single person they know..... Many of us single women in America are often content, passionate in our independence, grateful to be able to wake up in the morning and read in silence. I am disappointed by the depiction of single women in the media (either of the Sex and the City variety or the chaste cat lady) and saddened when left out of most public conversations involving the topic of home life. We aren’t fashion obsessed; we don’t own 5 cats. And yet, at the same time, we constantly are required to answer the “why are you still single” question, pelted by those with Gold Star status. We respond with poise, and self-effacing acceptance as others look at us with longing, as if we are deeply flawed or surely deprived due to our single status. And then we wonder: do we want NOT to be single? And if so, is this desire coming from us, or from the dictated norm?
Ah! See! It often feels like high school…I am free to be me, and yet am pressured (by self and others) to attempt to belong. For those of us single homebodies, either not capable, not called or not desiring the Gold Star membership what does singlehood feel like? How is it different, unique, blessed, and painful? (Do guys go through this?) I am guessing that this feeling isn't unique to singledom status. There is likely something about each one of us (things we can change or cannot) that makes us feel simultaneously excluded and grateful not to belong....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Where I Get my Kicks

Mysterious, how seamlessly my interests emerge, crest and then slip away from the limelight. They come with fanfare and depart shyly, disappearing from the mist of my good intentions. Perhaps promiscuous in my passions, fluttering intensely in one thing and then discovering a more stimulating fetish. It is not like one substitutes or fits completely into the hole of the others. It is more as if I allow myself freedome to follow the hedonistic highs they bring.
I call these my kicks.

Two years ago, my first suggestion for quality time with my roommate as to plug in an episode from the first few seasons of 24. After a spiritua quest to a Korean women’s spa, I whipped up various of Red Tofu Soup at least 6 times a month to soothe my spirit and body’s cravings. When I was in high school, there was a period of adolescent angst pounded out through solely Beethoven on the piano.

I suppose my kicks could tire others out. They may find my interests always tedious, always thrusting forward, always geared for “something new.” True, the inclination can be intentional, born of boredom’s droll, but many of the time, my kicks are mused from mysterious sources. External in nature. In this area, I trust my desires, and give full permission to follow and see where the kicks take me, or land us. So…I love what I love, and when I love it, I want to LOVE it, you know? Then someday, a new itch has arrives, striking a switch in me, and the familiar resolve sharpens, fueling the sidestep, the jerking of the extremities, the inevitable punt of fascination.

This week my kick is homemade yogurt. I dreamt about it last night, and now feel in heaven as it dribbles over my keyboard, oozing wantonly with crushed flax and almonds and a sprinkle of cinnamon life. Last night poured in perky dollops on top of ravioli, at lunch with wheat germ and a swirl of salsa with corn chips, it satiates every time.

I guess this means I might have that addiction gene after all…
Do you get kicks? When? What? Where? And if you dare…Why?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Worthy of the name: idiot

Yep...Call me an idiot!

I have been sweating like a madwoman during the night for the last two weeks, waking up one several occasions dripping in sweat. For a while there, my research (via google, via family and friend consultation) revealed that I could possibly be heading into early menopause, or perhaps have a kidney tumor. Yesterday, I blew a fuse whipping up some homemade pate and discovered in the fuse box that I turned off the heater in my bedroom this past summer to save energy. It’s winter (duh!) and I’ve been sleeping in a room that is probably around 45-50 degrees at night, which leads to pulling on more blankets, which leads to my body overheating itself, which leads to sweat.

Since turning on the fuse, no sweat….I am happy to say that I might not have cancer after all. I’ve just caught a nasty case of being an idiot.

I confessed my idiocy over a happy hour of lovely merlot, hot artichoke crab dip and kobe beef loafs. Happy hour convo rocks, because it leads fabulously to nowhere. A very intelligent man explained his impatience with most people, because his philosophy was that most people are idiots. This did not evoke a pity party of all our experiences with such individuals, but rather a discussion of What makes a person an “idiot?”

I harbor a inclination to understand others and rationalize their perspective and behaviors. It’s not only a key aspect of my profession, but it is ingrained in a people-pleasing, security-seeking sort of way. To understand why a person acts “idiotically” relieves me a bit. I came up with a rather mature definition of idoiocity: not being intentional, moving about life randomly.

But let’s face it. Sometimes people are just idiots, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself pretty intentional. It’s easy to come up with reasons why OTHERS are idiots, because it makes us feel less like idiots. But, I usually crack myself up when I am an idiot.
The term, Greek in nature, first meant "private, or removed." About 500 years ago, the term took on a "mental deficiency" connotation.

When I use tablespoons of baking powder instead of teaspoons and creating a lava flow of dough. When I plug in my bluetooth all night instead of my cell phone. When I call my aunt bursting in a sexy rendition of Happy Birthday to realize in the refrain that the day is tomorrow.

Usually I find humor in being an idiot myself. I find empathy in the idiocy of others.


But seriously, people, how hard is it to –fill in the blank here (use a turn signal, pee inside a toilet, find weapons of mass destruction?)---what idiotic thing are you doing right now?

About Me

My photo
PhD in clinical psychology. Single. Pushing 30. Suffering Whiplash from the Roaming 20s...Who am I? What do I want? Where do I belong? Welcome to my self-induced treatment, a testament that we can all be a little crazy in our search for significance.