Saturday, March 28, 2009

Red Shoes

I love red shoe days.
They shine in patent leather. Cheery Red. They clip clop noisily, and push my feet higher making my steps lighter and quicker.
My red shoes get me noticed. Almost every single day they grace my feet, I experience verbal affirmations. Sure, people compliment them …pointing out that those shoes are “killer!” (although I manage to steal their credit) but they also compliment me…my personality, my skills, my interactions are positively reinforced.
So I wonder…how does a pair of shoes spark attention in others? Ignited more confidence n me?
When advising another to acquire some accessory to wear on days she receives cancer treatment---I called it a Fierce Piece---she said “like those shoes?” easily worn, a reminder of vitality, a tool to empower…yes! But more than that…they signal to others: I am HERE! And they evoke acknowledgement. And I think we all want to be noticed.
Is this inclination bad?
The older get, the less concerned I am with what other people think about me. I have many strengths, skills, positive attributes, philosophies…but I still like it when others point these out to me. As a single woman, visual affirmation still matters to me. Perhaps because I live alone and don’t have much visual or physical interaction in my day to day life (touching is NOT encouraged in our litigious culture).
I don’t think wearing red shoes and enjoying these comments reveals a moral or intellectual flaw in me. “But you shouldn’t need others to validate you.”
To that I respond…it’s not me that needs it, it’s the shoes.

What do you do to get noticed? If you are partnered/married/a parent, do you have a different needs?What are your red shoes?

Celebrate Earth Hour

I am celebrating Earth Hour tonight...turning off all my lights from 8:30-9:30pm. It's not like this gesture is going to save money or much is more an act of acknowledging that I value the world's efforts to adopt a lifestyle not based on energy excess...
Even Times Square is going dark.
so I am grabbing my candlesticks, my bottle of wine, and basking in the good feeling of participating in a global ritual of reverence.

VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Baby ON Board?

Like it or not, a woman in her fertile years is expected to have a desire to have children. When a woman doesn’t children, sometimes that is accepted as a valid decision. Perhaps the woman can’t physically produce progeny(but then, why not do what Angelina Jolie did and adopt? There are a ton of needy kids out there!). . Perhaps the woman has an extremely important career saving the world and thus has already met her care giving lifetime quota (Oprah’s off the hook). Perhaps the woman hasn’t found a partner and deliberately raising a kid solo is not the ideal situation for developing pristine emotional well-being. Perhaps the woman is psychologically or morally flawed beyond repair (there isn’t baby college in prison systems). These are all good reasons we’ve decided as a culture for a woman NOT having a child…but to not have a DESIRE to have a child, well, that’s “just not natural.” This under-riding philosophy confuses me. This past week, Kelly Clarkson got a lot of hype about saying she might not want kids. But then she has to qualify it by saying that the decision was an act of realistically appraising her lifestyle…not about a lack of desire. It begs the question What does a desire to have children actually feel like? Is it demonstrated through the urge to play dolls as a girl? (I never really enjoyed acting out Barbie and Ken’s forays into carpooling and dream house maintenance) Does it reveal itself if you were whipping up brownies for your roommates in college? (I’ve been bequeathed “The Potluck Princess” in the past). Does the inclination unfurl itself if you find yourself comforting other people in distress (I own 5 first aid kits). Is the craving present if you don’t particularly enjoy cartoons or video games or clutter or chaos of any kind (I subsist on “everything has a home”). I don’t know if these bones have the mettle for motherhood…the job of it…the immense sacrifice….the responsibility…..the faith and patience it requires…but to dig a bit deeper, I don’t know if I have the desire to have children. I don’t know if I desire to give up so much of me to shape another. The more I delay in this act, the more trepidation I experience. If I am a stranger to myself now, just as easily as when I was 7, pungently curious, or 17, doubtfully cocky, or 24, optimistically wandering, I don’t know if I will ever recognize myself long enough to create a life. And I don’t know if I want to. I know I want to belong somewhere, and that I don’t want to be alone….but that does not equal wanting to have children. Before you say “Just wait until you---(fill in the blank: are older, are more settled, find someone, all your friends have babies)…stick with me here. Is my anxiety perhaps due to the fact that I don’t have kids yet at 30, or is it because I don’t want to?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Be a Follower!

If you have a blog that resonates with similar themes of living single, finding balance, searching for significance and self acceptance, consider signing up to follow me, and your blog will be placed up on my sidebar....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Being Checked Out

I am a sucker for recognition. I like to be noticed. I want to stand out. Not every day, mind you. I like my intoverted time as well...but to feel connected and that my voice maters a few times a week outside of my profession is deeply validating...

So when single guru Bella featured the site in her Psychology Today blog Living Single...I was excited. Then, when Onely spotlighted this blog, I was super flattered.

The purpose of life is connection. I would enjoy hearing more comments from people that are both single and married, parents and those without children, mid-lifers and young professionals. Let's not just read blogs that confine to our current labels.

So, whoever you are out there, read and comment. I need your voice. I need your words.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Emotional Recession

“Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.” In high school, I learned that this line from Hamlet hints that people sense depreciation of some sort, but it is ill defined. Depleted, irritable, pessimistic, I have felt jostled in my negativity this past week. I am easily wounded. I want to be around others and to be social in one hour and then the next find ways to escape from having to pretend to be my usual upbeat self. I am touchy. Literally, get your hands off of me, and figuratively, why won’t you touch me?

Single people are less likely to donate blood, get a tattoo, or schedule invasive medical exams (um…think prostrate). Researchers postulate that being partnered make us less anxious about our bodily reactions. I think that’s quite a jump. I just think being in a relationship sometimes is a good distraction from over thinking everything (“get a dog” three people have told me in the past four days). I wonder if I was with someone if his company would make me more irritable right now or less irritable. Would having some one else bartering for my mental facilities be a good distraction, or annoying?

The realistic response is both. It is easy to assume that once we arrive at certain experiences in our lives, that we’ll no longer have off weeks, like the one I am having now. We blame fleeting emotions and lows on global states like: being single, being 30, being in transition. But I also have to point out something constant about me: I am never constant. I feel as if I am ALWAYS in transition. And most of the time, I really, really sort of rebelliously dig that about me. I somewhat realize that makes others a bit uncomfortable, especially possible romantic partners. I’ve been told that it is my way of protecting myself from serious romantic engagement. But my gumption, my self-induced “treatment,” also tends to be the shine-iest attribute.

So, I connect in pieces. As I am able. These words, both confessional and egotistical, alleviate a patch of rottenness and re-invigorate the landscape.

I’d back away now before I change my tune.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pesty Choices

A heavy dose of self-annoyance pesters me this week. I just figured out that my irritable mood is due in part to some trepidation about turning 30 this month. Considering myself somewhat immune to the mundane anti-aging culture we mired ourselves in, it’s with a lot of shame that I confess this anxiety. It’s not like I am stuck on the number, but more so, the little nat of continuing to feel unanchored.

Lately I don’t really know where I belong.

A little background…I am job searching due to the fact that I have arrived at the top eschalon of my field, completed all the expert training possible, and now forced to find a permanent position as an expert in my field. I have 6 months to “find something” in this vomiting economy. The position, the context, this next step, to me and to others signifies a lot about where my future “is headed.” All of the sudden, the fears and worries akin to choosing a major or even a college resurface as if clowns in new uniforms. And we all know how scary clowns can be.

I hesitate, often floating in my experience as a single woman with most of my major connections long distance. Four of my soul sisters were pregnant during my 29-30 phase. I live a fulfilling life. I have purpose, vision, ambitious…so why do I still feel as if life is passing me by and I am behind? There continue to be moments when I feel as if I am chasing something that I don’t even know if I desire.

And it’s annoying to me. The behind feeling, as if something is inadequate or stalled, annoys me. When I am capable of cooking up so much “wow-this-is my-life!” emotions, I still feel as if…

I am missing something…

Is this me? My culture? Is there a choice to be made here?


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Secret of Success

Success...saying that word out loud is a little sexy...the sounds rolls off the tongue a bit wontingly. (Try it out, a bit slow...S-aaah-kkk-esssss)
I love the rush of feeling capable, confident, assured in my ability to complete my intentions. Success, for me, means intentionally living out experiences that align with my values...
That's pretty heady, though...because a lot of time I fall into the trap of feeling successful when my surroundings signal that I am. This means that I feel successful at being attractive when my boss says very casually, "you look nice today," or when someone says, "great job on that assessment." I feel successful at friendship when others seek me out. I feel successful at finances when I time getting gas perfectly in order to go to the place 10cents less than others. I feel successful at being single when I delight in doing whatever I feel like each weekend.
My darling friend whom I've known for over 15 years, told me that success feels like she's "doing a good job," which for many of us women spans from making a tasty meal to engaging in a passionate sex life. But, if we looked at our accomplishments, or failures, a bit more realistically, we'd see that we aren't as soley responsible for doing"our good job" as we think we are.
That great meal Icooked was just as much due to the fact that the ingredients I used were are their random peakness, or that my friend emailed you with a reputable recipe. That great sex I just had may have had to due with what time of the month I was in or if the guy's basketball team was winning or losing.
That doesn't mean I am not a fabo chef or a attentive just means that sometimes success ISN'T ALL ABOUT ME!
I can make the same argument for the tizzy-fits I have over my innane failures...
I guess we could talk about what society says makes a single woman, or any person successful...But I am more interested in what "success" feel like to you? Do single women define success differently than those with partners?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Shoulding on Myself

Screw what you think…

Umm, can I take that back? I am a bit uncomfortable putting that out there like that. I should be more congenial. Polite. Effacing.

But I long to be that woman who shirks others opinions of her. I should not care what you think. I want to be able to stand with my head held up in the air and defy your judgments or assumptions about how my hair doesn’t do my eye justices or what topics I should avoid like the plague on a first date. You tell me what supplements to imbibe to maximize my metabolism. I should pay attention more…
I have a proclivity to shoulding on my self….it’s quite easy for me to strive towards these maxims, or ideals of what my life needs to reflect, produce, engender, mean.
I should secure stable employment that supports the heft of my student loans, but speaks to my spiritual hungers.
I should live in a comfortable community that reflects the values I would espouse at cocktail parties---green living, tolerance, local commerce, nonviolence, access to education.
Preferring to stay at home than go out, I should by a home while it’s a buyer’s market, create a garden, quit trashing hard earned money on rent, and make more space for all those frivolous kitchen gadgets (ahh…dreaming of a yogurt maker…which would be stored next to my nifty pour, cook, bake, freeze, measure, to-go singe-girl size pot).
I should settle down soon, with a man that “can handle your ambition,” and since I work for kids, produce/adopt/sponsor, some of my own.
If not, I should procure a dog/cat, America’s primary substitute for human love. I should not feel guilty in the slightest sleeping with a dog in my bed (not of the homo sapien variety)
But since I am single, I should “get out there” and explore the world because “now is the time to do it”
Which entails another list of shoulds in the romance department: should try online dating, should try flirting more, should have a one night stand, should join a church to nab a husband, should be more coy, should allow him to take the lead, should just shut up and not try and let love come to me.
There is a whole host of shoulds that deal with my single-girl body:
I should throw out clothes not worn in 6 months, and spend a lot of money on flattering key pieces (more color, less black). I should sleep 8 hours, inhale a variety of fish oil, folic acid, and vitamin D (but should space them out for maximum absorption) I should splurge on organic apples but not pilfer money away on organic bananas. I should shampoo every other day, floss RIGHT NOW, should expend energy on cardio 5 times a week and resistance training 2 times.
. I should love and accept the shape of my body, but not indulge it too much, lest I become obese, slutty, or alcoholic.
I should die trying, but not try too hard because one shouldn’t over do it.

I don’t know where all these shoulds sprung, and I don’t care. I just know that I spend a lot of time kneeling at their altar, chasing after their false promises of health, security, happiness and ah, love.
And although I question their validity, understand their shams, they are constantly present, even as I am aware of the urge to defy them. I feel guilty that I am susceptible to them. I know, I know, I should stop shoulding

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Task 77: Watch Three Foreign Films

I don’t go out to see movies all that much, maybe 7 or so a year. Going to see a movie, now costing around $10, maybe a bit shy of a ticket to a community theater, is an occasion. When I do, I usually stroll over to The Grand Cinema, a nonprofit extremely small co-op film house within a mile of my apartment. It’s even rarer to see a movie with subtitles. But, then I saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly last spring and was awed. When it came to comprising my list, I wanted to open up my endorsement of modern arts by watching at least three foreign films at home. I started this task numerous times and failed. It appear I am too restless of watch foreign films at home. Alone and left to my own devices, I get up and out of my seat so many times that I miss too much, thus explaining my interest (I did make it through Cheuking Express in August). But for some reason, this weekend, I nailed out three foreign films: From France (Avenue Montaigne) Afghanistan (The Beauty School of Kabul) and Senegal (Binta and the Great Idea).

I am now hooked. The French film surprisingly bubbled. The love scenes sparkled with creativity, yet realism. I cheered for the drama queen. The Beauty school reminded me how women’s bodies can unleash healing, and simple acts, like a shampoo, can tip the scale of transformation, giving freedom, offering empowerment. And then there was little Binta…Binta and the Great Idea. The movie entails a young girl attempting to figure out how to help convince her cousin’s father to send her to school. The film weaves themes of diversity, and community through the universal hope discovered in children. Context Matters.
In a scene where Binta is coloring wide sweeping scene, she says”
I like to use the color green
But I like yellow a lot, too
But my favorite color…(and here the camera zooms on a filling in stick figure)
…is the color of skin
The words glued themselves to my core.
I am more in tuned with characters of foreign films, noticing their body language, the ecstasy or despair emanating in their eyes, the nonverbal unrequited interest or assertive denial. It is easier to empathize. To feel. Not to think or analyze, but purely experience it. Watching foreign films demands my entire attention, that I remain presently processing each moment.
Yep. Context matters. Where you are impacts Who you are. When is the last time you took a step out of your preferred medium?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Give it up already!

I overheard a few single women discussing what they were giving up for Lent today.
"Yeah, I am giving up Chocolate."

"I am giving up Starbucks."

"We'll be bitchy, but thinner." (that's my imaginary movie line insert)

A typical exchange between women (THIS IS A GENDER THING?!)...smacking of self-importatnt deprivation that sounds antispiritual and inauthentic.
Contrary to pop notion, lent is not about deprivation or giving something pleasurable up. It is a time of retreat from the routine in order to gain clarity, vision, release. It is a time of preparation, an emptying of sorts, in order to become more receptive to one's purpose, to grace. I don't think giving up chocolate is going to fulfill any spiritual quest.

In fact, it's not about deprivation, it is about preparing for abundance.

Come on, chocolate?

If you need to cut back down on chocolate because it isyour main source of antioxidants, that is one plausible noble endeavor. In that case, instead of saying NO to chocolate, why not say YES to eggplant? But many people use mass traditions (new years, lent, reunions) to rationalize behaviors that they aren't really owning. "I should do X before Y" We've all been there, especially us single gals. But are these traditions of deprivation, like giving up chocolate, adding depth and meaning to your life?

Or are you just doing it to don the appearance of discipline and achievement. Honestly, what does consumption of chocolate or starbucks say about your character? Absolutely nothing. We don't really care if you eat chocolate, gals. No one is watching you and going to give you a gold star for your nobility. Here's a harsh truth...we don't really care about your chocolate consumption.

When are we, whether we are single or paired, male or female, kid or adult, going to stop equating what we consume with our worth? Our cars, our clothes, if we had mayo on the sandwich at lunch, say NOTHING about our worth, wether or not we deserve freedoms or to beloved.

But wait you say: What we choose to consume, however, may say somethingabout our values. For instance, if we choose not to endorse financially organizations that are morally bankrupt, like those producing goods from sweatshops. Or if we choose to be vegetarians out of a value to protect the environment. But seriously, if you have a candy bar, does that mean that you are a sloth? NO! You don't gain power or control or a sense of capability bysaying no. You get it from saying "yes" to your values.
Believe me: you can not buy/not buy or eat/not eat something to gain esteem. Consumption or depravity does not build character.
Our culture says that our hunger or appetites should define who we you agree?

About Me

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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.