Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Time of Change

Right now, my life seems to be changing a great deal.

I just started a new job, which, despite how orientations and training make you NOT want to work for a new company, I am looking forward to working at for a long time, especially because of their great benefits, which include tuition reimbursement after the first year of working there. It might not be a job that I love, but it is a job that I can move up in while still not having to take anything home and still being able to write. Unlike my last job, where we weren't allowed to write anything because of security fears, I doubt anyone will mind or even notice if I am jotting stuff down throughout the day, as long as I am doing my job.

My ex and bestfriend, T/Sir, just got a new girlfriend. It went quickly from exchanging e-mails to them being exclusive, all within about a week. While we've technically been broken up for a year and we've both had a few dates since then, we are still the closest person either has, with the exception of family. Also, while I have a few friends, T is really my only close friend. It is hard to realize how much is going to change. I feel like I am losing the most important person in my life, even though I know he does not intend to leave my life. He will have less time for me, because he necessarily has to spend some of that time on cultivating this relationship. I worry about being all alone. I worry that I will lose all the progress I've made emotionally and spiritually with him. I worry that I will get into destructive relationships just so that I can be in one. But I can't imagine my life without his friendship and, as he's one stubborn guy, I have to abide by his rules to continue our friendship. When I think of him as just my friend, I realize that I do want him to do this relationship in the best way he can and I do hope that he has a good and fulfilling relationship with his new girlfriend (so weird to call someone else that!) . But when I think about him as my ex and as someone that I do still want to be with, it nearly kills me.

But on the theory that nothing gets you over the last one like the next one, I am trying to take more chances in meeting people and trying to date them. I hardly never approach people in person that I am attracted to and would like to get to know better. I really want that to change. Also, I have been only pursuing dating with women. While I plan on focusing on dating women, I am trying to leave myself open to men that I am interested in or who might be interested in me. This is hard for me also. I don't naturally trust people and I expect the worst from them. This is probably because of my own shortcomings. Also, I am deeply afraid that I will change to be with someone and stop following my own path. Not all of us can be as lucky as T and find someone that is also trying to be on a path the first time out of the gate. I'm afraid that I don't know who the real me is right now and that I will try to find the real me in who they want me to be.

With all this change, there has to be a home to come back to, a place to rest away from all this chaos. That used to be my relatiohship with T and, in part, it may still be. But I was reading a book T bought me years ago again called If the Buddha Dated, and it really helped reinforce that I need to try to cultivate my spiritual life because it will be my greatest refuge through all this and it will help me work through the rest of my issues. So once again, I have to recommit myself to working on myself, spiritually and emotionally, or it is all going to fall apart. And I'm almost back to where I started.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Couples Who Should Break-Up

Do you have friends who are in a relationship but they are completely wrong for each other? They are both good people and you are friends with them as a couple, or do not have a preference for one member of the couple over the other. They don't necessarily hurt each other but it is obvious to you that they are just not compatable. What do you do? Do you try to tell them? Do you think they already know, especially because it is so obvious to you? I wonder if I've ever been one of those people in the relationship and no one told me.

Notes on Film-"Gate of Flesh"

Saturday, I watched Gate of Flesh, a film by Japanese director Seijin Suzuki. I had learned about his movies in an Entertainment Weekly DVD section last year when Criterion, who primarily put out classy extra-filled DVDs of classic foreign and independent films. Though all the movies seem to be kinda weird 1950-1960s Japanese B-movies, I must have been intrigued when I read the article because I wrote it down. Plus, there must be something interesting about htem for Criterion to release them. So, Gate came from Netflix. It is a 1964 movie, a lurid tale about a group of prostitutes in post-WWII Japan whose group dynamic and unity fall apart when a male thief takes refuge with them. It has a lot of profanity and nudity, which is cleverly hidden by shadows. It also has two scenes where the prostitutes punish, by whipping, other prostitutes within the group who have broken their cardinal rule against having sex with any man for free. These scenes are brutal but also shown to be sexual. To be honest, I didn't see what all the fuss was about. So, I watched the interviews with the director and his production designer shot for this re-release and that helped shed a little light on it. To me, the movie reminded me of stylized American westerns and French films from that time. Both director and production designer made this 'adult release' movie under contract to the film studio and were only given a B-movie budget to work with. But the production designer who had also studied theatrical (and not just film) production design used theater set tricks and old plywood that the studio was going to throw away anyway (so there was no expense) to build the bombed-out Tokyo set on the backlot which was not entirely realistic but had emotional and symbolic resonance. The director also infused the movie with the sadness of the defeated Japan and a resentment of the American influence in post-war Japan. That is what really made it unique when it could have just been a lurid B-movie.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Read This!

Great blog post by Maverick's owner Mark Cuban about the current state of the movie/theater industry. As a theater owner, he has some interesting things to say. (He owns Landmarks Theater chain, which owns the Tivoli, Plaza Frontenac, and Highpoint Theaters in St. Louis, which I absolutely love!!!) I don't know a great deal about him as a business man or sports franchise owner, but I really like what he has to say here.
This is a link
Wish I knew how to make the link without it showing the address like other bloggers do, but I'm computer illiterate. T, please help.

Friday, January 20, 2006

To Shave or Not to Shave

As a woman-who-would-like-to-sleep-with-women (as I'm not currently sleeping with anyone), this is an important question. It's not like "What is the meaning of life?" big, but it is fairly large.

Traditionally, I've always thought that lesbians would be more feminist or women-centered than most women. I've never thought that all feminists were lesbians, but I think I always thought that lesbians were feminsts. (I've since learned that this is definately not the case, but I'll talk about that later.) I was reading Female Chauvinist Pigs a few days ago and the author, Ariel Levy, even discussed how many radical feminists thought that feminist women could only have lesbian sexual relationships because heterosexual relationships were inherantly oppressive. Since these were also women who wanted to get rid of traditional views of beauty that they thought came from what men likes and that men used to control women (bras, constrictive clothing, shaving legs & underarms, make-up, etc), I would think they would not have wanted their lovers to shave their pubic hair. In fact, if they slept with a woman who did have a shaved bush, I would think they would feel that woman was not politically aligned with them.

When I was talking to another lesbian friend of mine months ago, we'll call her N, she brought up another point that I might not have thought of. She was dating a woman who insisted that she shave all her pubic hair and thought it was sexy to shave N herself. N did not like her girlfriend shaving her and didn't really like being shaved at all. When she talked to other friends, both male and female, all her friends thought that it was weird. While they all understood trimming, they thought that it was going too far to ask a woman to shave it all off. A few of her friends remarked that a fully shaved woman would really look more like a prepubescent girl, and they didn't want to sleep with girls.

Growing up, I always shaved my legs and armpits and bikini line. I had never really thought to shave my pubic hair until I was with ex-J. He liked porn and, before me, those were the only girls he had ever seen naked. All porn chicks are either totally shaved or have a Brazilian wax and the rest is very trimmed. I tried to do that for him, but I didn't really like how it felt or looked. Later, when I told T about this, he said, "Why would a guy want his girlfriend to look like a porno star? He should want her to look like a real woman." But in ex-J's mind, that is what real women looked like.

Now I have a small but uninhibited group of lesbian friends. Last week, over Friday night drinks, we discussed this topic. They are all shaved and they all expect their lovers to be shaved as well. They even seemed a little offended at the notion that, just because they like completely shaved bushes, they maybe liked prepubescent girls. L's response was, "When I get done going down on a girl, I don't want to have to pick hair out of my teeth." I can definately understand where they are coming from on this topic. I have also realized that, to them, their identity as lesbians is completely about who they fuck (other women) and not about politics or feminism.

So, my question is--Should I make this decision based on practical matters? Political ideals? Or should I just wait until I get a lover and do whatever she likes?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Life Less Ordinary

Growing up, I was always either rebelling or wanting to rebel. I never really wanted a normal life. All my dreams revolved around living a strange life. Unfortunately, since I read and watched too much horror, very few of my dreams were grounded in any achievable reality, or none that I know of yet.

Since meeting T, I started to come around, kinda. I saw his parents, who are happily married after, well, more than 25 years now. His family is pretty normal and they are still fun, warm, loving people. For the first time in my life, I really wanted to marry a man, share his name, build a life, and have a kid with him. Hell, I was even up to naming the kid after his father, who, while a wonderful man, shares the same first name as my shithead father. And, despite being a huge geek in the things I like, I've also found out that my interests are mainstream-like movies, alternative (though kinda mainstream) music, books, etc. I also subscribe to mainstream American consumerism, though I'd like to rebel against it.

My jobs have never been that out of the mainstream, though I usually like to work 2nd or 3rd shift. At first, that was just because it worked with my school schedule. But it is also because I am a night person. Since moving back home, I've worked 2nd shift at a large chain video store and at temp day jobs. I really enjoyed the job at the video store- free movies, great hours, ok people, always moving around. I only missed work when I was stressed and depressed about moving to a new store. But the money sucked and I had no friends because of the hours and management was horrible. So I thought I'd go back to temp day jobs, which pay more and have more stable hours. I thought that eventually my body would readjust to a 'normal' lifestyle. So far, that has not been the case. But the job that I'm working now has inspired me to go back to school to finish my degree and to work hard to be financially stable.

But the closer I come to a 'normal' lifestyle, the more I realize how much I dislike it. I hate working a 9-5 (actually 7:30-4). Even as I long for benefits and paid holidays, I can't stand the hours and the repetition. This weekend, my mother pointed out to me that she'd like me to do more around the house. I feel bad that I haven't done more up to this point. She made a list of stuff for me to do and I'm going to work hard to be a productive member of this family without any more prompting. Today was my first real night of being a 'normal' career woman-of-the-house. And I wanted to rip someone's head off!!!! Nothing horrible happened but between the crazy dogs and the undercooked dinner and the phone, I was frenzied. As I was trying to get into the house without getting the mud from the trash cans on the door or any more on myself, but before I could even start dinner, I realized that, if I was married and/or had kids right now and was expected to do this every night, I would seriously have to hurt someone. I'm not even sure I can do the little that my parents want me to do. I can clean all day and actually be happier when I'm done, but I hate cooking and playing Mom.

I'm really starting to miss my old life. I liked coming home to my cats, who only wanted to be petted and didn't jump all over me until I took them outside. I liked that I didn't have to clean or cook, especially cook, on someone else's schedule. Maybe it is my age, maybe it is just me, but I don't like having to eat at specific times everyday. When I was on my own, I cooked for myself sometimes, but I often just ate a bit here and a bit there. I rarely ate at 'regular' meal times. That is kinda how I like it. Even when I lived with ex-J, we didn't really have homecooked meals. When we did eat at home, it was at random times, and we ate typical college student meals- mac&cheese, rice, scrambled eggs, tuna helper, noodle packets, chicken nuggets. While living there, I worked at a motel, where I ate Cup'O'Noodles, and a bank, where I ate Budget Gourmet tv dinners and snacked on Cheese Nips. Now I'm eating at all three breaks I have because I get so hungry in between and I have to eat when my parents eat.

But this really isn't about cooking dinner or when I eat meals. I don't really know how I want my life to be yet, but I am beginning to figure out how I don't want it. I don't want this normal life, with a day job and coming home to cook dinner and wrangle dogs and take care of kids, the same thing everyday for the rest of my life. I'm not sure I could live La Vie Boheme, but I know I can't live this life.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Different Day (or Year, Rather), Same Shit

So, every year around this time, as people the world over celebrate religious and ethnic holidays, and the New Year, I find myself starting all over again also. The downward spiral usually starts around Thanksgiving. I used to think it was the holidays, but I've gotten over my fear of all those days with my family. I am even starting to enjoy it. When I was in high school, I was too wrapped up in finals and the end of semester rush to break down, after which I had two full weeks of laziness. But every year after that, the holiday season heralded my downward spiral, in which I tear down everything I built in the past year. Then, in January or February, I pick myself up and start all over. I really hate this cycle. And I really thought I had gotten through it when I had a nice New Year. A friend was trying to hook me up with a job at her employer, which pays more and has benefits, but I was still working in the cave for as long as I wanted the job. I was looking forward to going back to school in the fall and to meeting new girls over the internet. Tuesday I was sick so I didn't go to work. And then I didn't go the day after that, or the day after that, or the day after that. I slept most of the day, got up to eat dinner with my parents, watched some TV, and then I went back to bed, usually before midnight. Each day, my job seemed worse and worse in my mind. Each day, I felt worse and worse. T told me I should just quit my temp job if I didn't go in on Friday. But I didn't do either. I called in again with the really shitty excuse that I had the stomach flu. Saturday, my mom woke me up early to make me clean house with her (not light weekly cleaning, but CLEANING, like my grandma was going to come over). And she gave me a big guilt trip about how much she worries about me and what I would do if I didn't have them to fall back on. She cried, I cried. Then, we cleaned for four hours. I felt much better and a great deal more motivated. Saturday night, T yelled at me and expressed his fear that I keep going through this cycle and never getting anywhere in my life, especially when I can do so much better. Granted, besides the fact that my current temp job probably isn't too fond of me right now, nothing has really changed. Except how I feel about my life right now. I'm so ambivalent because I don't have a real DREAM to aspire to, which is what always drove me out of my funks before. Right now, I'm living on borrow motivation from T and my mom, working to meet the bare basics until I can figure out a reason for me to work harder. My mom gave me a list of stuff I should do around the house every week so that I am more a part of the household, instead of a mooch. And T is trying to keep me motivated with a system of rewards and punishments. If I take off another day of work, he isn't going to talk to me for the total number of days I've taken off (5 days for the next time I take off), but, if I don't, he promises to come visit me and take me to the expensive fondue restaurant. I really don't want to have the downward part of this spiral next year. I want next January to be about finding new goals to push toward, not to trying to fix the fuck-ups of the past few months.

Sunday Morning - Maroon 5

Sunday morning rain is falling
Steal some covers, share some skin
Clouds are shrouding us in moments unforgettable
You twist to fit the mold that I am in

But things just get so crazy, living life gets hard to do
And I would gladly hit the road, get up and go, if I knew
That someday it would bring me back to you
That someday it would bring me back to you

That may be all I need
In darkness she is all I see
Come and rest your bones with me
Driving slow on sunday morning
And I never want to leave

Fingers trace your every outline
Paint a picture with my hands
Back and forth we sway like branches in a storm
Change the weather still together when it ends

That may be all I need
In darkness she is all I see
Come and rest your bones with me
Driving slow on sunday morning
And I never want to leave

But things just get so crazy, living life gets hard to do
Sunday morning rain is falling and I’m calling out to you
Singing someday it’ll bring me back to you
Find a way to bring myself home to you
And you may not know

That may be all I need
In darkness she is all I see
Come and rest your bones with me
Driving slow