Archive for August, 2010


Wow.  Who would have guessed that Women’s Equality Day could cause such controversy?

Earlier today, I commented on a post over at another blog.

My comment was partially a response to a previous comment left by a “gentleman” (note the sarcasm) named Bain (which, at the time, I misread as Brian.)  Here’s Bain‘s comment:

You got stuck on the sex I think. And last I checked, sexual pleasure wasn’t forbidden before feminism. Also, I can’t understand why the damn equalization of women is spoken on and on by everyone. I mean, the places where people were treated like less of a person were only a FEW. Truth be told, they were only in the major, most “civilized” countries, while the “barbarians” from the deep east always treated their women good. 

(Note: Actually, I think Bain probably meant to say “treated their women well” but he ran into some difficulty connected to the fact that he’s a moron.)

Actually, without mumbling nonsense about how all women got freed on this day so many years ago, perhaps one should focus on what the fuck was wrong in those countries in the first place if there was equalization fights starting over there.

If you feel lucky to be a woman only TODAY, something is wrong with you.

Also, some countries’ traditions about daughters and them being married for a man from the decision of the father are still in order… And I gotta say, that is not so bad. Usually parents are able to recognize and would choose the best possible companion for their own, because after all, as much as a random male can care for their daughter, they would always want her best. Usually, most the romantic/stupid stories you hear about a girl moaning about how she loves someone else, not the one of choosing from her parents, is because she DIDN’T get to choose, not because the choice is bad. Which, in my opinion, is idiotic. Really.

Equalization? Fighting for it? Well, hopefully it was worth it. Hopefully you are certain that the women from the 21st and late 20th century were better than those from centuries before that. I know I am not, but meh, that probably goes for all human beings…

Excuso.

Anyway, my response:

Wow, loved this post. I’d add to your list of freedoms that I have the freedom to read the words of other women who aren’t ashamed of who we are.

As for Brian, who left the comment regarding how sexual pleasure existed before feminism — Brian, get a clue. Sexual pleasure existed for you but women were supposed to view it as being a part of their duty and nothing else. I’m sorry that men like you are so threatened by the idea that women might actually enjoy sex as well.

Now, I’m going to admit that I did get the guy’s name wrong.  I saw Bain but I read Brian probably because I wasn’t really paying as much attention to the guy’s name as I was to what he had said.

Well, Brian — or excuse me, Bain — paid attention to what I had written as well because he replied to me:

Hey, you, the female – I don’t mind pleasure at all, and I am pretty sure that man actually paid to see it long before equalisation. Also, Brian you will call the unlucky man who gets to your playmate. I am Bain. And that is probably obvious by my nickname, so you sound just insulting and I won’t bother arguing with low-intelligent primate that needs to have someone that fought for her rights 60 years ago to feel free.

Also, only in SOME cultures women weren’t allowed to express their pleasure. I am pretty darn sure that you weren’t there, and the same way you can say that my sources are fake, I could say the same for yours.

Also, Lisa Marie Bowman, you are a lesser being only if you allow yourself to be so. I am damn sure that if you had the guts inside to be what you want to be, you would have been.

(Quick note here: I am exactly what I want to be and I always will be.)

I am certain one more thing – women and men are different, and they always were. Equalisation is nothing good, because saying that sexes are the same is a complete lie. There is no building, anywhere, built by a woman. Designed, maybe. But a woman builder? No, that may ruin their nail polish!

Maybe going out of topic, but it just needs to be said. You know why man and women would never be the same, equal, or anything like that? Because the men don’t make a lot of noise for nothing. You got your rights. Keeping all and all discussing how you get different treatment because YOU ARE different being than the men is what bugs me. Feminish shouldn’t be alive when there is nothing else for it to fight for. Something is messed up with that.

Now, Bain — as is evident by his site here —  probably has his own issues to deal with.  See, we’ve all got issues.    His issues are apparently with women.  My issues are with individuals.

Anyway, Bain — sorry I got your name wrong.  I’m sorry that I don’t want to “ruin my nail polish” by building another ugly tenement in whatever country it is that you come from.   And mostly, I’m sorry that you apparently are going to live the rest of your life in bitter ignorance. 

Seriously, that must be an awful way to live.

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August 26th is Women’s Equality Day. 

I have to admit to having mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, I’m happy to see anything that acknowledges that women deserve the same rights (both legally and culturally) as men.  On the other hand, it’s hard not to be dismayed by the fact that we apparently need a day to remind us of this fact.  To me, Women’s Equality Day is less about celebrating how far we’ve come and more about realizing that we’ve still got a very long way to go.

Women’s Equality Day is technically meant to commemorate the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  This is the amendment that brought universal suffrage to this country.  Until then, some states allowed women to vote and other didn’t.  A female citizen of Wyoming was allowed to cast her ballot while a woman in Pennsylvania could be arrested and jailed for attempting to exercise the same right.

Oddly, most states allowed women to run for public office but they didn’t allow them to the vote for themselves.  The first woman to ever run for President — Victoria C. Woodhull in 1872 — spent election day in jail specifically so she wouldn’t vote for herself.  Woodhull, by the way, is a personal hero of mine.

So, when did women finally gain, under the U.S. Constitution, the right to vote in every state as opposed to just some?

The 19th amendment was officially certified on August 26th, 1920.

Consider that.

The guaranteed, Constitutional right of women to have a say in their government is less than a 100 years old. 

In order for the 19th amendment to become a part of the Constitution, 36 states were required to ratify it.  The 1st states to ratify the amendment were Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin who all did so on June 10th, 1919.  My homestate of Texas was the 9th, ratifying on June 28th, 1919.  The 36th state to ratify the amendment was Tennessee on August 18th, 1920.  The last state to ratify was Mississippi who got around to officially ratifying the amendment on March 22nd, 1984.

It’s difficult for me to understand and imagine what it must have once been like for women like Victoria Woodhull, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Belva Lockwood (and many others).  These women devoted their lives to and risked both ridicule and criminal prosecution for the rights that I take for granted.  I cast my first vote in the 2004 presidential election and I’ve voted in 2 general elections since then.  All three times, it was something that I did because it was what everyone does on the 1st Tuesday of November.

Sometimes I wonder if I would have had the strength to fight for these rights that I now take for granted.  Honestly, it’s hard to say for sure.  Sometimes, it’s easier to just accept injustice than to risk being on the outside.  I’d like to think that I would fight but traditionally, women are not raised to fight and we’re made to feel as if we’re somehow to blame whenever we do.

For most of recorded history, women have been raised and encouraged to be dependent.  In return for being dependent, we’re given small gifts that are meant to somehow pass for a greater reward.  Far too often, we accept this because it’s what we’re used to and it’s what we’re secure with.  We’re told that men will take care of us as long as we’re willing to sacrifice our own individual ambitions and desires.

And, sad to say, a lot of women — even today — have somehow managed to justify that sacrifice.

It’s a sacrifice I’ve never been willing to make and for that, I may never be allowed to have what I’ve always been told equals safety and perfection.  But whenever I feel like I can’t go on or when it seems like it would just be so much easier to sacrifice my own dreams and just conform to someone else’s idea of who I should be, I remember Victoria C. Woodhull who chose to go to jail as opposed to accepting the idea of being a second-class citizen.  I remember Woodhull and all the other strong women of the past who fought for me to have the chance to be something more than just a supporting ingenue in someone else’s play.

To me, that’s what Women’s Equality Day celebrates.

And that independence is what I plan to celebrate every day for the rest of my life.

20 Of My Favorite Novels

If you really want to totally lose my respect and interest, tell me that you never read.  Several people — not just men — have bragged to me about the fact that they’ve never opened a book.  They’ve never been in a book store.  What amazes me is that 1) they’re proud of this and 2) they can’t understand why I’m never impressed by their ignorance.  What they fail to take into account is that I’ve been a reader my entire life.  I’m happiest when I’m in a used book store.  I’m not sure how they could fail to take that into account.  It probably has something to do with the whole ignorance thing.

For a while now, I’ve been meaning to make a list of my 2o favorite books.  However, I’ve found it very difficult to narrow it down to just 20.  On top of that, my all-time favorite book changes from day-to-day depending on my mood. 

So, don’t think of the list below as being of my 20 favorite books of all time.

Instead, think of it as being a list of my 20 favorite books that just happened to pop into my head at this particular moment.

1) The Millenium Trilogy (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest) by Stieg Larrson

2) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) by J.R.R. Tolkien

3) The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

4) The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

5) The Awakening by Kate Chopin

6) The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

7) Double Indemnity by James Cain

8 ) To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

9) Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates

10) Story of O by Pauline Reage

11) Lolita by Vladimer Nabakov

12) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

13) The Stranger by Albert Camus

14) The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

15) The Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea

16) A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

17) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

18) The Women’s Room by Marilyn French

19) The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

20) The American Tabloid Trilogy (American Tabloid, The Cold 6,000, and Blood’s a Rover) by James Ellroy

I was just reading an article from The New York Times online. 

The title of the article: What is it about 20-somethings? 

The question posed by the article: Why aren’t 20-s0methings growing up?

The article goes on for about 10 dreary and condescending pages.  It cites several examples of why 20-somethings aren’t actually adults.  The one that jumped out at me is that, apparently, there are women in their 20s who are neither wives nor mothers.

Speaking as a single, childless 24 year-old woman, I found it very interesting that my desire to live my own life is somehow the equivalent of refusing to grow up.

Anyway, I’m not going to waste 10 pages answering this question.  The answer does not require 1o pages.

At most, it requires one sentence.

If 20-something aren’t growing up, it’s probably because we’ve seen the results of a world run by people so insecure that they’ve somehow managed to equate maturity with blind conformity.

What is it about 20-somethings?

We’re just trying to survive in the world that’s been forced upon us.

I may or I may not know everything about being a grown-up.

But I do know there’s more to life (especially my life) then just making sure all the right boxes are checked.

(Hi all! This post may look familiar to some people because I originally wrote it for and posted it on another site I write for, Through The Shattered Lens. Over on Through the Shattered Lens, I devote a good deal of time to defending so-called “exploitation” and “grindhouse” movies. This article was my attempt to explain my love of these films. I’m reprinting it here because 1) I like the way the article turned out and 2) I think the completed post is as good an explanation as any of not just my taste in movies but my entire worldview as well.)

“How could you have possibly enjoyed that movie?”

I hate that question. I hate the self-righteous tone of it. I hate the demand that I justify anything that I choose to do with my life. I hate the implication of the question, the suggestion that somehow there is some sort of moral force at the center of the universe that determines whether or not a movie can be enjoyed.

Unfortunately, no matter how obviously justified I am in loathing that question, it’s still one that I am frequently asked. How can I not only enjoy watching old school exploitation and grindhouse films (the majority of which were made before I was even born) but also devote a good deal of my time to not only watching these movies but tracking them down and then telling the rest of the world how much I love them?

(Of course, what they’re really asking is what are you doing watching exploitive trash like House On The Edge of the Park or Fight For Your Life when you should be out finding a husband, driving an SUV, and living a life of quiet desperation?)

First off, I should confess. I have commitment issues, I know it. I realize that, as a result of some personal experiences in the past, that I tend to beg for affection and attention even while I’m putting up my own invisible wall to keep anyone from getting too close. It’s not easy for me to trust but, after writing for Through The Shattered Lens since May, I feel like maybe it’s time to share a little bit more about me. Hi. My name is Lisa Marie. I’m 24. I have three older sisters that I love. I’m a proud to be an Irish-German-Spanish-Italian-American. I lived in four different states before I was 13 and I’m rarely amused when people point out the country twang in my voice. Up until I was 17, ballet was my life but then I fell down a flight of stairs, broke my ankle in two places, and that was the end of that. I worked very hard to earn a degree in Art History. Not surprisingly, my current job has nothing to do with art or history. I have asthma and heterochromia (my right eye is a darker shade of green than the left). I’m blind without my contacts. I like cats, driving fast, and being single. I dislike dogs, needy men, and those tiny little smart cars. In other words, I’m just your typical girl who loves the Grindhouse. The only thing that can equal my love for the Grindhouse is my hatred for the Mainstream.

Here’s a few reasons why.

1) Before Independent Film, there was the Grindhouse.

Today, if a young director wants to show what he’s capable of doing, he makes his own little film and enters it into various film festivals and, if he’s made something interesting, he might sign a distribution deal and his film might pop up down here in Dallas at the Angelika theater. In the 70s, that young director would make an exploitation film, hope that it had enough sleaze appeal to make back its budget by playing in a New York Grindhouse (or a Southern drive-in) and, if he had made something interesting, his cheap, exploitation film might eventually end up being released on DVD by Anchor Bay or Blue Underground. The best Grindhouse films were made by director who were eager to show what they were capable of doing. These movies were not made by multimillionaires with houses on both coasts of the country. Grindhouse movies were made by director who had to work to create something memorable, filmmakers who knew that they might never get another chance to put their vision on-screen.

2) The Mainstream Lies. The Grindhouse is honest.

Mainstream films are just that. They are films designed to appeal to the widest possible audience. A mainstream movie is not made for you. A Mainstream movie is made to appeal to the brain-dead suburbanites who can be easily recruited at the local mall to be a part of a test screening. A Mainstream movie is made to be inoffensive. A Mainstream movie is edited and re-edited to remove anything that could possibly negatively reflect on the bottom line.

Grindhouse movies, however, didn’t have time for that. Grindhouse movies were made to exploit the moment. As a result, there was no time to worry about appealing to everyone. There was no time to constantly edit until not a single rough edge remained. Grindhouse films are messy. Grindhouse films are not always pleasant. They don’t always have the perfect ending. In short, Grindhouse movies are like life itself.

In the end, safe and inoffensive mainstream movies are made to appeal to the who we wish we were. Grindhouse movies — sordid, sometimes uncomfortable, and always appealing to the audience’s most primal thoughts, fears , and desires — are made to appeal to who we actually are.

3) The Mainstream is bland. The Grindhouse is dangerous and unpredictable.

Where else but in a Grindhouse film could you hear a killer who speaks like a duck like in Lucio Fulci’s The New York Ripper? Because the Grindhouse was free of the need to try to fit in with what the mainstream decreed to be normal, the Grindhouse had the freedom to come up with some of the most brilliantly demented plots in the history of film. When was the last time that the plot of a Mainstream film really caught you off guard? I’m not talking about safe, inoffensive surprises like Avatar‘s 3-D effects. I’m talking about a plot where, halfway through, you look at your fellow viewer and you both say, “What the fuck was that!?” Anything can happen in the Grindhouse. As soon as things start to feel safe and a little boring, the Grindhouse has the ability to make things exciting again. The Mainstream, meanwhile, just asks you to get married.

4) The Mainstream always condescends. The Grindhouse occasionally empowers.

Here’s a story of two movies. In the mainstream Brave One, Jodie Foster gets a gun after she’s raped and her dog is stolen. (In typical mainstream fashion, the movie doesn’t seem to be sure which crime is supposed to be worse.) In the grindhouse Ms. 45, Zoe Tamerlis gets a gun after she’s raped twice in one day. In the Brave One, Foster passively sits on the New York subway and waits until she threatened with rape a second time before she kills the potential rapist. In Ms. 45, Tamerlis shoots every man she sees because she knows that every man she sees is a potential rapist. In The Brave One, Foster gets her revenge by remaining the victim. In Ms. 45, Tamerlis becomes the aggressor. Both Foster and Tamerlis act in self-defense but Foster is wracked with guilt because the mainstream cannot risk losing its audience. Tamerlis becomes stronger and more confident with each murder as, for the first time, she has found a way to control her own destiny. At the end of The Brave One, Foster is not only rescued by a man but she gets her dog back too. At the end of Ms. 45, Tamerlis goes on a shooting rampage at a Halloween party and is finally killed by another woman. The Brave One‘s tag line was “How many wrongs to make it right?” Ms. 45’s tagline: “She was used and abused and it will never happen again!”

I know this is probably going to be my most controversial argument. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that we should just go out and start randomly shooting men. But, I will say this — in Ms. 45, Zoe Tamerlis refuses to be a victim and she — and the film — refuses to let society off the hook. When I think about Ms. 45, it doesn’t inspire me to hate men (because, trust me, I don’t) and it certainly doesn’t inspire me to grab a gun and start shooting. It does, however, inspire me to not allow myself to fall into that never-ending cycle of victimhood.

I’m not attempting to argue that Grindhouse films are secretly feminist films. Grindhouse films are infamous for exploiting women. However, so does the mainstream. (Of the two films, The Brave One features nudity. Ms. 45 does not.) Both the Grindhouse and the mainstream obviously get off on victimizing women. However, in the Grindhouse, women were occasionally (though certainly not often) allowed to fight back with the same aggression and determination that the mainstream, for the most part, usually reserves just for men.

(If The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo had been released in the 70s, it would have played at the Grindhouse.)

5) Lastly, and most importantly, the Grindhouse is still our little secret.

Let’s just admit it — independent films are trendy. Contemporary independent films have, to a large extent, become the new mainstream. The earnest film students who had a Sundance hit are now going to Hollywood to make the next Benjamin Button. Sundance is just ShoWest with more facial hair. However, the old school grindhouse will never sell out because it no longer exists. It was destroyed by the morality police before it could sacrifice its soul. While an independent filmmaker is just a director who will eventually grow up and break your heart, the great Grindhouse films are frozen in time, too sordid to ever be corrupted. The Mainstream will never embrace the Grindhouse and for that reason, the Grindhouse will always be the ultimate statement of freedom.

Yesterday, in between writing poetry, ranting on twitter, and watching Big Brother, I also took some time to catch up on the latest in international news.  This story, from CNN.com, especially caught my attention:

Paris Teens Charged in Bare-Breasted Robberies

Paris, France (CNN) — French police believe they’ve gotten to the bottom of a series of robberies in which teenage girls exposed their breasts to distract men withdrawing money from Paris cash machines

(….)

Police say that on August 7, a man inserted a card into a cash machine in central Paris to withdraw money when two young females approached him and asked for money. The girls waved a newspaper at the man in an attempt to distract him, but the technique didn’t work.

So the girls tried another strategy: One of them bared her breasts and put her hand on the man’s genitals while the other took the opportunity to withdraw 300 euros, police said.

The story goes on to state that the two girls, both under the age of 18, have been arrested for the “crime” and are accused of taking part in two other ATM robberies.

Now, to me, it’s pointless to read any news story online without then reading some of the comments that others have posted concerning it.  To me, those comments — usually made by people who remain anonymous and therefore feel safe expressing what they’re really thinking — are usually the real story.

The majority of the comments were predictable examples of “Thanks for the mamaries” type humor.  There were quite a few comments that were apparently left by a guy who is so insecure that he felt the need to even let the Internet know that he’s such a robust heterosexual that he could literally spend hours talking about how much he likes to stare at boobs.  As I said, nothing surprising.

And then there were a few comments that had an oddly defensive tone to them.

For instance, ttruth2 stated, “girls can’t be too smart….the guy would have paid 1000 euros……..”

BusterHymen (yeah, nice online name, asshole) adds, “This isn’t news. This happens in any given strip club nightly across america…”

txntv suggests, “Since they were the type of girls that are quick to flash and grope, it seems the victim could of talked them into ways of “earning” the money.”

That comment apparently inspired Guest26094 to contribute this: “hahhaha prostitution is legal if you’re a woman stealing from men in the form of cars, dinners, dates, marriage, etc.”

I started to post my own response to him, asking what it was like to be a 33 year-old virgin still living at home with mom but I decided not to.  He may be a pig but he’s also a guest, apparently.  And, being a Southern girl, I’ve been taught to treat guests politely even if they’re total “dumbfugs” (as my cousin Erica is fond of saying).

Finally, Buttersnap7 snaps, “You have to be a sucker to let that happen to you. Someone getting money out of me better have a gun. Not a knife, a gun. And, certainly not breasts. I’m a little smarter than that. Women have been using their “goods” since the beginning of time, and men have been weaklings in regards to it.”

Tough words from a man named Buttersnap.  “Women have been using their goods since the beginning of time…”  Perhaps but so have men.  It’s just that we happen to have different goods.  Men seem to have no trouble with the “goods” except when we use them to our advantage.  Is Buttersnap upset that “men have been weaklings” or is he upset because we know it?  Men love to obsess on how to use our boobs but seem to resent it when we do the same.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not attempting to make a claim that these girls were engaged in a revolutionary act or to try to hold them up as feminist icons for the 21st Century.  But then again, sometimes the truest acts of revolution are unintentional farces that reveal a greater truth.

Consider the comments that I mentioned above.  The majority of them seemed to be fixated on the point that the girls could have made more money doing the same thing dancing in a strip club or selling their bodies to any man who wanders by (never mind, of course, that prostitutes are the favored victims of sadists worldwide).  Perhaps they could have.  They could have made more money and the men could have retained the illusion of control (“she’s dancing for me,” “she did exactly what I paid her to do…”)  But they didn’t.  One of them chose to lift up her top, the other one chose to grope the man, and in the end, the man lost both his money and, briefly, his power.  And perhaps that explains why this seemingly odd little story invoked such a reaction from some of the people who read it.

To me, the point of this story is not that a girl bared her breasts to rob a man at an ATM, a man who already knew that the girls were after his money.  The point is that it worked.

Sometimes, I feel like I'm dancing right into a wall.

 

1

Alan was my first, the one who claimed the prize

He was older and oh so forbidden

His car was small and oh so claustrophobic

Happy Birthday

2

Johnny’s the one I taunted for so many years

But whenever we went out, it just bored me to tears

I asked him about bondage and he replied in fear

He’s stoned

3

Michael called me Pandora and I called him Lestat

The day I met his mother, I wanted to go home

He joined the Marines and he called me on the phone

Gung Ho

4

James was really skinny and so very tall

The two weeks I spent with him was really quite a ball

But he liked to wear a kilt while hanging out in malls

No thanks

5

Patrick was a blonde that I led on just for a while

Don’t know how I felt about him but he always smiled

I guess it was convenient cause he didn’t live a mile

Away

6

Kim’s the one I hope knows I never meant to lie

Don’t know what I was thinking when we gave it a try

I told her I was moving and I very nearly died

Not quite

7

Tim was the frat boy with the toothpaste smile

A summer lifeguard who never read a book

We were so very cute but his nickname wasn’t worth the look

Smiley

8

Antonio was black, he taught me to play pool

Every time I missed a shot, I surrendered a few more rules

I let him win every time, that was pretty cool

I think

9

David was a darn nice guy who now likes other men

I thank the Lord in Heaven that we’re still friends

He buys a pack of cigarettes and we hang out in the West End

He’s gay

10

Damon bartended, stripped, and sang and not a whole lot more

He left his car running as he walked me to the door

That made me so very scared, why didn’t he want more?

Who knows?

11

Doug barely knew me but he worked across the street

When we worked the same night we’d grab a bite to eat

He said I was white trash, he wasn’t very nice to me

Me too

12

Chris was the best actor I had ever seen

That tattoo on his shoulder blade almost turned me green

He was too polite, he was never obscene

I walked

13

Dane, baby, why’d you go and break my nose, you liar?

Now the thought of seeing you unnerves me to the wire

Were you the only one who hoped to see me expire?

Psycho

14

Robert was drunk and stoned almost constantly

Never took on any great responsibility

Never ate the fruit of knowledge, never saw the tree

Dumbass

15

Charlie’s a soldier, he’s fighting a war of his own

Dyed his hair blue, defied the norm

He was good in the wintertime because he kept me warm

‘Til spring

16

Allen flew airplanes, he took me out to eat

We flew out to East Texas, that was pretty neat

He said he was too busy. I got out of my seat

And left

17

Christy lives down under, she helped me stay alive

We met online and she inspired me to take a dive

She had to leave no matter how much I cried

I’m sorry

18

I guess I must get on with things although I’m not sure how

Realistic words of wisdom are hard to find now

Despite my constant promises, I’ll always break this vow

No more.

Monday. August 16th. 1:30 pm.

I’m sitting in a waiting room, waiting to see my doctor.  Everything seems to be about waiting.

For a week, I’ve been waiting for my doctor to get back from his vacation so he can write me a prescription to get my dexedrine refilled.  I’ve spent the last seven days in an ADD haze.  My unmedicated mind can only focus on the fact that it can’t focus on anything at all.  Dexedrine, as my doctor is fond of telling me, is medical speed.  It’s a controlled substance.  It’s a highly addictive drug.  For the reason, he’s only allowed to give me enough for a month at a time. 

A part of me resents it, to be honest.  I hate being told that I can’t be trusted with my own medicine.  It angers me that some faceless lawmaker has decided that I have to be seen and evaluated every 30 days just to make sure that I haven’t transformed into a speed freak.

But there’s another part of me that is very thankful for all the inconvenience.  Every 30 days, I replan my life around my next doctor’s appointment.  Sometimes, I feel like that the only thing I can be sure of is that I’m going to see the doctor in 30 days.  Everyone — my friends, my family, the people I work with — knows that every 30 days, I have to go see my doctor regardless of whatever plans they may have.  Every month, I’m guaranteed one day when the world will have to accommodate me.

This month though, everything’s been disrupted.  My doctor — the man I depend on to help me maintain the structure of my life — decided to take his vacation right when I needed to see him.  He threw off my routine and it has left me confused and insecure.  Instead of the rest of the world waiting on me, I’ve now had to wait on him.  Well, I think to myself, that’s what you get for allowing yourself to be dependent.  Go cry yourself a river.  I want to be furious with him but, to be honest, I’m just glad he’s back and things can get back to normal.

I left work early to make my 1:00 appointment.  I told my boss I was leaving and that I wasn’t sure how long I would be.  He smiled at me in that paternal way of his and said that was okay.  He told me to go ahead and take the rest of the day off.  He told me that he hoped my appointment went okay.  I often wonder if he really understands why I have to see the doctor once a month.  Does he understand that it’s just because I have to take a controlled substance in order to do everyday things that others take for granted?  Or does he think that I’m dying?  Is that why he keeps me around?  Is that why he pays me more than he probably should?  Does he feel sorry for me?  Is he secretly waiting for the day that I finally die so he can actually get a personal assistant who can type more than 75 words a minute?  And if he is, does it really matter?

I arrived for my appointment on time, even without the benefit of meds.  However, my doctor is running late.  I’ve been sitting in his waiting room for 45 minutes now.  The doctor’s receptionist (who reminds me of Betty White and always seems so happy to see me) keeps asking me if I ran into a lot of traffic on the way to the appointment.  She wants to know if it’s still hot outside.  She asks me how my family is doing.  I answer with bland and positive statements because I fear that she’ll actually worry if I get too honest with her.

Sitting across from me is a man who looks to be 30.  I may just be paranoid because I’ve gone a week unmedicated but there’s something disturbingly generic about him.  When he first arrived (ten minutes after me), I wondered if I knew him from somewhere because he looked familiar. 

It’s only after he sits down and says, “How’s it going?” that I realize that I’ve never met him but I know him.  I know his type.  He grew up here in the suburbs.  He went to the local schools where he specialized in team sports but never quite managed to distinguish himself.  Two years spent getting  an Associate Degree at a community college while he still spent his spare time flirting with the new girls at his old high school.  He still regrets that he can’t openly brag about deflowering a 13 year-old on his 20th birthday.  (She told herself, at the time, that she was giving him the ultimate present.  At least that’s what I did.)  Eventually, this guy went to either North Texas or maybe UTA, joined a fraternity, and got a Bachelor’s in Business.  Now, he’s married to a former cheerleader, has one son named Colt or Blane, and he can’t stop thinking about how his wife still hasn’t lost the weight from being pregnant.  Yes, I know this man.  I know his type.  He smiles because, if he didn’t, he’d only be capable of screaming.

He’s been trying to discreetly stare at me ever since he first stepped in to the waiting room.  Less than a year ago, I would have been flattered by the attention but now, I know he’s not looking at me.  No, he’s looking at something he feels he could have if he just hadn’t gotten married to the fatass that’s waiting for him back home.  He’s looking at me because he looks at every girl he sees and he wonders what he’s missing out on.

Every time I look up, I see his eyes quickly dart away.  I wonder if the only way to not be stared at is to simply stare straight back at him with the same judgmental gaze.  No, I decide, that won’t work.  Staring back would only be an invitation for him to try to engage me in a conversation.  I don’t want to talk to him.  I was a stutterer when I was younger.  When I speak to people I don’t know, I have to focus to keep myself from tripping over my own words.  But I haven’t had my meds for a week so I know that if I talk to him, that stammer will come out.  And I refuse to allow myself to be vulnerable to this generic human being.

So, I keep my eyes down and I pretend not to feel his eyes on me.  I hope he’s not looking at my big nose.  I try to lean my head to the side so that maybe enough hair will fall over my face to obscure that hated nose of mine.  If this stranger is going to stare at me, I hope he’s focusing on my legs and not my nose.  If he’s going to attempt to molest me with his eyes, the least he can do is focus on a part of my body I’m happy with.

There’s a table sitting between me and him.  The table is covered with magazines and, trying to get my mind to stop spiralling, I start to randomly sort through them.  My doctor subscribes to something called The Trumpet.  Every issue of the Trumpet proclaims that the end of the world is closer than ever.  Which, when you think about, is simple common sense.  With each passing second, we’re closer to some sort of end.  When my life eventually reaches its conclusion, my world — if nothing else — will be very much over.

Goddamnit, I think as I look at The Trumpet’s Are You Ready For The Rapture headline, here I am getting closer and closer to death and I’m having to spend my time getting stared at by this asshole.

I toss The Trumpet aside and discover the latest issue of Time Magazine.  On the cover, a young Middle Eastern girl stares at me.  There’s a dark hole where her nose should be.  According to the magazine’s cover, she’s from Afghanistan and her in-laws cut off her nose and her left ear when she “defied them.”  I stare down at the cover, my formerly unfocused mind now suddenly consumed with that one horrific image.

I close my right eye and I look at the profile of my own nose.  I feel ashamed for obsessing over it as much as I do.  Here I sit, upset because I can’t find the courage to meet the eyes of the man sitting across from me.  Instead of looking straight up at him and challenging his intrusive stare, I instead simply take comfort in the idea that he’s judging me based on my legs as opposed to my nose.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan…well, the point is obvious.

Okay, I decide, I’m going to look right back at him.  I’m going to stare at him in the same way that he’s staring at me.  And if he starts to hit on me, I’ll shoot him down.  I’ll let him know that, regardless of whether he has an ex-cheerleader waiting for him at home or not, he will never have a chance with me.  And if I stutter while I do it, then I guess I’ll just have to fucking stutter…

Determined now to take a stand for myself, I start to raise up my eyes to meet his stare…

“Lisa Marie?”

The voice catches me off guard and I jump a little.  The doctor’s nurse is poking her head into the waiting room.  Out of the corner of my eye, I think I see a smirk on that generic man’s face.  Yes, it’s funny to see the girl with ADD jump after she hasn’t been able to focus for an entire week, isn’t it?

“We’re ready for you,” the nurse says.

I smile as I stand up and follow her to an exam room.  The stranger that I know stays where he is, still waiting for whatever he needs.

The nurse has me step on a scale.  She takes my blood pressure and I know that this is part of their way of determining whether or not it’s safe to give me the medicine that I need.  If I’m abusing the dexedrine, I’ll weigh 60 pounds.  If I’m an addict, my blood pressure will through the roof.

The nurse frowns a little bit when I step on the scale.  She tells me that I’ve lost a lot of weight in just one month, which is true.  I’m concerned about it too even though I know I’m expected to jump and down and go, “Yay!  I’m dangerously underweight!”  Maybe, I think to myself, it’s because I don’t have my meds and I can’t focus enough to eat.

The nurse smiles when she takes my blood pressure and it comes out just as it should.  It’s a smile that says that I may be dying of an eating disorder but at least I’m not abusing drugs.  She asks me how my month has been.  We talk and I barely notice the few times that I trip over my words.  The nurse is only a year or two older than me.  We watch the same things on TV.  We listen to the same music.  She’s got a cute little nose and I wish I had it.  I hope she’s secretly jealous of my legs.

Finally, the doctor — my doctor — comes in the exam room.  The nurse runs off as soon as he shows up.  My doctor — who left me for a week without even telling me — says, “It’s great to see you, Lisa Marie.”  I want to be so angry with him but I love the way he says that.  It’s the same thing he tells me every month and every month, for at least one day, I get to believe that it’s true.

I sit in his office while he writes out the prescription.  Whenever I see him, I find myself looking at the family pictures that he keeps on his desk.  There’s a picture of him at his daughter’s college graduation.  She’s my age.  We went to the same college at the same time though I didn’t learn that fact until long after that picture on my doctor’s desk was taken.  In the picture, he’s standing to her right and a pretty woman that I assume to be his wife is standing to the left.  They’ve both got their hands on his daughter’s shoulders.  All three of them look so happy.

Looking at the picture, I say, “It’s funny to think that I was actually there when this picture was taken.”

My doctor looks up at the picture and then at me.  He looks confused and at first, I’m scared.  No, I’m not having a drug-related episode, I want to say, I was just making a stupid comment–

Suddenly, he smiles.  “Oh yeah, you girls did graduate at the same time…” he says.

He remembered.  I’m happy.

He finishes the prescription and tells me to “keep up the good work.”  He asks me if there’s any other problems.  I tell him no.  I want him to know that I’m not a weak little girl.  I want him to know that I’m a strong, independent woman.  I can take care of myself and others…

“For this upcoming month,” he says, “I want you to pay attention to what you’re eating…”  He goes on to tell me that I’ve lost a lot of weight and while he knows that’s what everyone wants, he wants to make sure that it’s not a sign of something else.  We talk about my diet.  He, more or less, encourages me to gain weight.  A part of me wants to kiss him for telling me I need to eat the things that I want but deny myself.  The other part thinks, Yeah, why don’t you go put on a few hundred pounds and see how you feel at the end of the day?

He gives me the prescription.  He gives me the bill for the appointment (“Just pay the girls up front,” he says).  He gives me a little hug that makes me smile.  I wonder if he knows that, on the same day he saw his daughter graduate, I only had my sister Erin sitting in the stands watching.  I wonder if he knows that while he and his wife posed for that picture, my mom was in a hospital bed?  While he was smiling with pride at his daughter, my dad was sitting in jail, sobering up.  At that moment, when he hugs me, I want to tell him all of that.  I want to tell him that I wish I had become his patient earlier so I could have a graduation picture with him and his pretty wife standing behind me, looking so proud.

But I don’t.

Instead, I put the prescription in my purse and I start to head back up to the front.

As I pass by, I glance into an exam room and I see my friend, the nurse.  She’s taking the generic man’s blood pressure.  I watch as she tells him the results.  I can’t make out what she says but I can tell by the serious expression on her face that they’re not good.

The generic man looks down at the floor.

He looks so alone.

I have never…

For some reason, I have never been able to resist an online survey. Those who have followed me long enough on twitter might remember that, when I first created my account last year, I used to take close to 40 personality quizzes a day and then tweet the results.

(And though many of those quizzes were ultimately rather pointless, I did occasionally learn something about myself. For instance, I discovered that I’m a good kisser, a Libertarian, a Deist, and that I am apparently Angelina Jolie’s boob twin.)

But for whatever reason, I still love tracking down and doing those stupid little quizzes and tests that I used to take so seriously just a few years ago. Maybe it’s my way of fighting back against the fact that I’m not a little girl anymore, that I’m an adult who has to deal with the real world. Or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to talk about myself.

Who knows?

Last night, before I went to bed, I took the time to do the following quiz. The quiz itself is a variation of the I Have Never game. Looking over the results, I don’t really know that they say much about who I am as much as they just simply reflect the fact that I’ve never slept on broken glass. Do the experiences make us or do we make the experiences? I sincerely hope it’s the second one.

(One last sidenote: Just from going by this quiz, it might sound like I have a tendency towards shoplifting. This could not be further from the truth. It’s just something I used to do…)

HAVE YOU EVER…..dun dUN DUN
Created by letseatsomebrains and taken 162 times on Bzoink
Slept in a bathtub?: Yes
Slept in a closet?: Yes
Slept in a boat?: No
Slept in car?: Yes
Slept in someone else’s bed?: Yes
Slept on the bathroom floor?: Yes
Slept on grass?: Yes
Slept on glass?: No
Slept on someone?: Yes
Slept during a movie?: Yes
Slept during school?: Yes
Slept during something ‘important’?: Yes
Slept with your eyes opened?: No
Slept with no clothes on?: Yes
Slept with a hat on?: No
Laughed at someone with a disorder?: No
Laughed at someone who was just butt ass ugly?: No
Laughed at somone for not even being funny even though they tried to?: Yes
Laughed in someones face for saying something dumb?: Yes
Laughed in the shower?: Yes
Laughed in class when it was quiet?: Yes
Laughed during a ‘talent show’?: Yes
Laughed during sex?: Yes
Laughed during a physical?: Yes
Laughed by yourself?: Yes
Laughed by a priest?: Yes
Laughed by a tree?: Yes
Laughed while someone played you a song?: Yes
Laughed while at the dentist?: Yes
Laughed while smokeing a cigarette?: Yes
Been Drunk?: Yes
Been drunk in public?: Yes
Been drunk at a store?: Yes
Been drunk at your house?: Yes
Been drunk with friends?: Yes
Been drunk with you bf/gf?: Yes
Been drunk by yourself?: Yes
Been drunk at a park?: Yes
Been drunk at school?: Yes
Been drunk at work?: No
Been drunk at friends relatives house?: Yes
Been drunk at a friends house?: Yes
Been drunk at a funeral?: No
Been drunk early in the moring?: Yes
Been drunk late at night?: Yes
Stolen anything?: Yes
Stolen food?: Yes
Stolen a CD?: No
Stolen clothes?: Yes
Stolen bracelets?: Yes
Stolen a necklace?: Yes
Stolen anything from Hottopic?: Yes
Stolen anything from Clairs?: No
Stolen anything from Walmart?: Yes
Stolen anything from Target?: Yes
Stolen alcohol?: Yes
Stolen shoes?: Yes
Stolen anything for someone else?: No
Stolen anything for a family member?: No
Stolen anything just cause you were bored?: Yes
Had sex?: Yes
Had sex indoors?: Yes
Had sex in the shower?: Yes
Had sex in the kitchen?: No
Had sex in your room?: Yes
Had sex in someone else’s room?: Yes
Had sex in public?: Uhmm…define public.
Had sex in the mall?: Does the parking lot count?
Had sex during school hours?: Yes
Had sex in a car?: Yes
Had sex infront of someone?: Yes
Had sex in a theater?: Yes
Had sex at a concert?: No
Had sex and not enjoy it?: Yes
Had sex and enjoyed it?: Yes
Smoke weed?: Yes
Smoke weed in public?: No
Smoke weed in the bathroom?: No
Smoke weed in your backyard?: No
Smoke weed in a friends backyard?: Yes
Smoke weed at a friends house?: Yes
Smoke weed with your bf/gf?: Yes
Smoke weed and no one died?: Yes
Smoke weed and watch a movie?: Yes
Smoke weed at a concert?: Yes
Smoke weed in a van?: No
Smoke weed somewhere awesome?: Yes
Smoke weed at your house?: Yes
Smoke weed all day?: No
Smoke weed at went to a family event?: Yes
Done nothing with friends aall day?: Yes
Done something fucking retarted with friends?: Yes
Done something absolutly fun with friends?: Yes
Done something you regret with friends?: Yes
Done something cool with a friend?: Yes
You and a friend ever walk all day together?: Yes
You and a friend ever laugh for no reason?: Yes
You and a friend watch movies all day long?: Yes
You and a friend listen to music all day long?: Yes
You and a friend gone joy riding all day long?: Yes
Slapped a friend?: Yes
Sneeze on a friend?: No
Spread a rumor about a friend?: No
Get annoyed by a friend?: Yes
Love a friend?: Yes
You’ve been totally Bzoink*d!
Take This Survey | Search Surveys | Create a Survey

Sometimes, Youtube can be a busy blogger’s best friend.

This video, which I came across earlier today on Youtube, is entitled The Game Changed.  It is a 5 minute compilation of film clips from the 1940s and 1950s.  These clips deal with the “role” of women in then-contemporary American society.

Actually, I say then-contemporary but the attitudes that I see in these clips aren’t all that different from the attitudes that I deal with on a daily basis.  Society just uses different words now to say the same thing.  In the end, the meaning of those words — i.e., assume your expected role and don’t you dare try to be anything different — remains the same.

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