Archive for October, 2010


When I’m at work, one of the things I usually look forward is the daily visit of the FedEx Guy.  He usually shows up an hour or two after I get back from lunch.  I’ll sign for whatever he’s dropping off, he’ll ask me how I’m doing, and I’ll smile and laugh at whatever joke he happens to make that day.  It’s a nice break from the usual monotony of answering the phone and telling people, “If you want to have a seat, he’ll be right with you.”

However today, when the FedEx guy showed up, my boss literally ran out of his office so that he could greet him with, “Well, how about them Cowboys!?”

The FedEx guy started to shake his head and said, “Did you watch the whole game?”

Now, I should probably add that, until this afternoon, I have never even seen either my boss or the FedEx guy share so much as a simple greeting.  However, they were soon having a very impassioned conversation that, though they were both apparently speaking English, I could not begin to follow.

Finally, I managed to figure out that neither one of them was happy with the Cowboys.

Sitting behind my desk, I worked up the courage to interrupt them by asking, “Are the Cowboys not doing well?”

As soon as I spoke, both of their heads snapped in my direction and they both stared at me silently in apparent disbelief.

“No,” my boss finally said, “they’re not doing well.”

“Oh,” I meekly replied.

Now, I have to admit.  I’m not a sports fan.  I never have been.  Some of it’s because I associate most sports with having asthma attacks in public school gyms.  A lot of it is because I only had to hear that stupid thing about there being “no I in team” once before I decided that was nothing I wanted anything to do with.  There’s also the fact that I hate the fact that football players always seem to have sweat stains on their pants.  I mean, seriously.  That’s just really gross.  And I like to think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that some people are naturally into sports and some people are naturally into doing something worthwhile.

Of course, I’m not totally ignorant when it comes to sports.  I live in Dallas, Texas and there’s no way you can totally avoid sports around here.  Dallas is an sports-crazed city.  It’s part of the culture and you can’t escape it even if you want to.

So, I know that we have a football team that’s known as the Cowboys.  I know that Tony Romo used to date Jessica Simpson and I know that another player named Miles Austin is dating Kim Khardashian. 

I also know that Dallas has a baseball team called the Texas Rangers and the Rangers are apparently going to the World Series sometime tomorrow.  I’m pretty sure that they have to win four games to win a championship or something like that.

Dallas has a basketball team but, for the life of me, I can not remember what they’re called.  I do know that they’re owned by Mark Cuban who briefly had a really, really bad reality TV show that was a rip-off of The Apprentice.

I’m about 75% sure that we have a hockey team.  I remember that in college, me and my friend Kendra briefly decided that we were going to be hockey fans.  Kendra actually stuck with that plan but I kinda ended up getting distracted by …. well, I don’t really remember what.

Dallas might have a soccer team too.  Who does David Beckham play for?  And another thing — what’s the deal with soccer riots in Great Britain?  Oh, and yes — I know that soccer is called football everywhere else.  I don’t care.  It’s a stupid game.

Oh!  I just realized that I know the name of one soccer player!  Carla Overbeck.  But, I should admit that the only reason I know about her is because she’s in this PSA that shows up on the Lifetime Movie Network every 20 minutes or so.

Shortly before I graduated college, I attended a workshop for women who were preparing to enter the job market.  One of the lectures I attended (and kinda listened to though, I should admit, it was a very long lecture and I’ve usually only got a 7-minute attention span at best) dealt with the difficulty the some women have communicating in a male-dominated workplace.  And one of the main difficulties cited was that men often speak in sports terminology.  I guess it’s their own secret code.

To be honest, at first, I thought that the lecturer was overstating the problem.  How hard, I wondered, could it be to figure out?  I mean, I’m not into football but I know what a touchdown is and I know that “hitting a home run” is a good thing.  I always thought I knew what guys were referring to when they talked to first, second, or third base (though the specifics — especially the meaning behind second — always seemed to vary depending  on which guy was explaining it).  But the lecturer started to reel off all the phrases and terms that had apparently been causing confusion and, as I listened, I felt like I was attending a Latin Mass.  I recognized the sounds that were being made but they didn’t make a damn bit of sense to me.

So, no, I’m not a sports fan and if that means I’m conforming to some sort of stereotype, so be it.  Quite frankly, as I listened to my boss and the FedEx guy suffering such angst over the Cowboys, I was happy to be ignorant.  Seriously, I already have enough drama in my life without concerning myself with whether or not a bunch of strangers can score a certain amount of points.

Life’s too short to get upset about something as silly as sports.  Especially, when someone like Gretchen makes it to the finale of Project Runway while Michael Costello gets sent home.  Now that’s something to get upset about…

I didn’t get a chance to mention it yesterday but October 22nd was International Stuttering Awareness Day.  To be honest, I’m not totally sure how these “awareness” days are supposed to work or how they’re supposed to change the world.  According to Wikipedia, Central Michigan University actually observes an International Stuttering Awareness Week.  However, the problem isn’t that the world is not aware of stuttering.  The problem is that the world continues to mock and stereotype those who do stutter.

People who know me now never seem to believe me when I tell them that, from the age of five to almost twelve, I very rarely if ever spoke.  It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything I wanted to say or that being quiet was ever, in any way, a part of my nature.  Instead, it was because I knew that if I spoke, someone would hear me stutter and immediately, I would be shunned.  I would be the outsider.  I would be branded as being stupid and damaged and worthless.  I lived my days in terror of being called on in class and forgetting to speak very carefully and slowly because if I actually relaxed and just started to talk the way everyone else did, my stutter would come out.

At home, of course, you couldn’t shut me up.  At home, it didn’t matter if I stuttered.  If anything, I was almost proud of it because my mom had been a stutterer too and it gave me an extra bond to her that nobody else in my family had.  She always told me not to be ashamed when I couldn’t get the words out as perfectly as others. 

I guess that’s why it was such a slap in the face to go out into the “real world,” and to be told that no, I should be ashamed.  I can still remember every time that someone — whether it was a classmate or the occasional adult — replied to whatever I had said by repeating my exact words, all the way down to the stutter.  I can’t remember their names but I can remember the way they hurt me.  I can remember the way they’d smirk when they would do it and the sound of their laughter.  Everyone had an individual laugh but the pain it brought always felt the same. 

I would just sit quietly and try to fade into the background.  For someone like me — who was smart and who did have a lot to say — this was torture.    If you asked me what I mostly remember about my childhood, it was being angry at those who could step into the spotlight and being scared that strangers would discover why I couldn’t. 

My stutter has gotten better over time, to the point where now it rarely, if ever, comes out.  Just as it’s difficult to explain what causes someone to stutter, it’s also difficult to explain why some people stop stuttering and others don’t.  In my case, I’m sure there’s a lot of reasons why I no longer stutter as badly as I once did. 

Some of it, undoubtedly, was due to a lot of speech therapy. 

My own personal theory is that a lot of it is due to the fact that, physically, I was an early bloomer.  Ironically, the discovery that as long as you have boobs, most guys won’t listen to a word you’re saying anyway, actually served to boost my confidence and — though I don’t want to support the idea that stuttering is just a result of insecurity — that discovery did make me a lot more comfortable with speaking to other people (or, to be honest, to members of the male sex).   Even if I did occasionally still stutter, nobody seemed to notice.  And, as I grew more comfortable with the idea that I actually could speak, I found myself stuttering less and less.

(Of course, many years later, I came to realize that this presented a whole new set of problems and frustrations.)

Also, much like my mom’s, my stutter just grew less and less severe as time passed.  Unfortunately, I never realized it was just naturally getting better because, in my mind, I was always that little girl who was so scared of saying something just to have it thrown back in her face of evidence of her own stupidity and worthlessness.  In many ways, that’s how I still see myself and I guess that’s how I always will.  Those years of silence left me with scars of insecurity that I doubt, regardless of how confident I otherwise am, will ever truly heal.

As I said earlier, I’m still a stutterer.  My stutter still comes out occasionally, usually if I’m tired or just unusually flustered.  I wish I could say that it doesn’t hurt to hear it in my voice but honestly, every little stammer — no matter how rarely it’s actually heard anymore —  still feels like a small death to me. 

What’s ironic though is that I’ve grown up to be someone who, literally, can not stop talking.  Not only do I have a job that requires that I spend almost every minute of my workday speaking to others, but I’ve also been involved with various community theaters and I love being in the spotlight.  Now, I spend most of my time actively seeking to be the center of attention even if it means that I might occasionally trip over my words in public.  And it’s all because I spent so many years in a self-imposed exile of silence.

I know the pain of being anonymous.  I know the pain of not having a voice and of being ignored and forgotten.

That pain left me with one goal: to never be anonymous and invisible again.

And I won’t be.

Hey you.

Don’t you worry, angel.  I’m not going to use your name.  I’m not going to reveal a thing about you.  I’m not even going to let you know that I wrote this.  I am going to fantasize about you accidentally coming across this on the web.  Maybe you’re doing google searches on my name.  You’ll read this and you’ll miss me.  I don’t know if I ever truly wanted to be with you but I definitely wanted to be missed.

Does that make me a bitch?  That’s the question that I’m forced to grapple with.  You know as well as any of us that society is all about labels.  If I’m too honest, I’m a bitch.  If I’m not honest enough, I’m a phony.  If I admit to enjoying sex, I’m a whore.  If I pretend not to enjoy sex, I’m a prude.  If I cry, I’m emo.  If I don’t cry, I’m an ice queen.  Perhaps it’s best that things ended the way they did because you know what society would have labeled us.  Then again, I always thought we wouldn’t care.

Sometimes, it’s just easier for me to write you a letter that I know you’ll probably never bother to read.  Of course, you could read this.  For all I knew, maybe you actually read my blogs on occasion.  Maybe you sometimes check out my twitter account. 

I say that maybe you do because I know you probably don’t.  But I say maybe as my way of saying, “I wish you did.”

My memory is my curse. Sometimes I wish I could just forget every happy memory I’ve ever had because the happier they are, the more depressed they make me.  Whenever I remember being happy, all I can think about is how fleeting that moment was.  It’s like I used to tell you.  I don’t trust happiness.  Happiness is just an interval between sadness.  Happiness is life’s joke on me.

You made me very happy.

Was that your joke on me?

I keep thinking about the first time you said that you loved me.  At the time, I was far too happy for my own good.  Now, I just wonder how many other girls heard those same words on that same day?

Or did you actually love me?

Well, it doesn’t really matter, does it?  What matters is that everyone leaves in the end and you’re no different.  You did just what I thought you would do and for that, I should be thankful.  You’ve justified my cynicism.  You’ve justified my refusal to trust.  You’ve justified my dedication to never love.

Because you know what?  We talk about love and we talk about soul mates and we talk about destiny and we talk about friendship and we talk about how much we mean to each other and in the end, that’s just what we say to try to keep everything acceptable.  You didn’t give me love and you didn’t give me happiness.  All you gave me were a few brilliant orgasms.

And, considering that I’m an atheist when it comes to love and an agnostic when it comes to friendship, what more can a girl ask for?  At the very least, it was something I could believe in without any doubt or fear.

Why am I writing this?  I’m writing it because I had to say it in some way or else I would just spend the rest of my life obsessing over it.  And then you would win, wouldn’t you?

I still love you, have no doubt about it.

Je me rappelle le goût de votre sexe, mon amour.
 
Love,
 
Votre ange

I had a strange morning today.  I woke up, I stumbled out of bed, and I promptly walked into the bedroom wall.  Luckily, my nose shielded my face from the impact.

As I sat on the edge of my bed, holding an ice pack to my nose and feeling like a total idiot, I turned on my MP3 player and the first thing I heard was Patti Smith.

So, it wasn’t really that bad of a morning.

Here’s one of my favorite songs of all time, Patti Smith’s cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria.”  

Incidentally, I once played this song for my mom because both she and the song shared the same first name.  She asked me to turn it off as soon as she heard the “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.”  Still, even though she didn’t care much for it, she never gave me a hard time for liking it.  At the time, being young and stupid, I don’t think I realized how unique that actually is when it comes to music and the generation gap.

As I write this, I am tired, I am sore, my boobs hurt, and my right leg is determined to cramp up on me.  As I consider my current state, one question continues to repeat itself in my mind:

Don’t you hate it when a foolish new year’s resolution comes back to bite you in the ass?

For instance, I resolved — during the early hours of January 1st, 2010 — that I would start taking better care of myself this year.  No more staying up for 96 hours straight, no more taking pills just to see what they do, no more dealing with boredom with alcohol and anonymous internet flirtation.  No, I decided as I popped an unmarked white pill and stared at the screen of my laptop glowing in a strange man’s bedroom, from now on, I am going to live healthy!

And, to a large extent, I’ve managed to do just that.  I just wish somebody had prepared me ahead of time for just how boring it is to live healthy.

However, one thing that I am coming to slowly enjoy is running.

I’ve always suffered from pretty severe asthma, to the extent that I’m on a first name basis with just about every paramedic and ER nurse at Richardson Medical Center.  Earlier this year, I read that running can actually good for people with asthma and so, I decided that would now be my thing.  I decided I would be a runner.

One thing you should understand about me — when I decide I’m going to do something, I do it.  Even if I really don’t have the slightest idea how to do it, I still manage to do it.  Even if all evidence shows that I’m doing it completely incorrectly, I’m still going to do it.  Some people would call this stubbornness.  Me, I call it…well, okay, it’s true.  I’m stubborn.

So, since I moved to a safer and better neighborhood last July, I’ve been attempting to run on a regular basis.  When I get home from work, I’ll change into shorts, sports bra, and t-shirt, put on my running shoes, tie my hair back in a pony tail, and I’ll run from my house to a Target that’s located a few blocks away.  Then I’ll run back home and try not to pass out.

When I first started running, I literally thought the idea was to run.  I would literally step out of the house and just start running somewhere.  After the third asthma attack, it occurred to me that maybe it would be a good idea for me to pace myself as opposed to just seeing how quickly I could get from one location to another.  That seemed to work a lot better.

Running calms me down.  Everything you’ve  heard about how running can give you a chance to release every-day stress and clear your mind is true.  I always seem to do my best thinking while running.

It also does seem to be helping my asthma.  Honestly, this is a hard point to prove.  People who have heard me wheezing after I get back from a run tend to disagree with me on this.  However, as the person who actually has had to live with it for 24 years now, I can tell you — without a doubt — that I am actually breathing better now than I ever have in the past.

Admittedly, I’m still making up a lot of this as I go along.  Since I’ve started running, I’ve made it a point to watch other runners.  I noticed that a lot of them run in place while waiting to cross the street.  I decided I should probably do that too.  However, after the first two times, I just ended up feeling stupid so now I either just run across the street and hope no one’s coming or else I use the Don’t Walk sign as an excuse to rest for a few minutes.  I also noticed that many runners tends to stop and check their pulse so I’ve started trying to do that as well.  I guess I’m supposed to keep count or something but, to be honest, I’m usually just happy to discover that, after running in the Texas heat, that I still have a pulse.

There’s a few other disadvantages:

Since Texas weather often means a thunderstorm while the sun’s shining, it’s difficult to maintain a regular running schedule.

I broke my ankle in two places when I was 17 and I’ve always wondered if it actually healed correctly.  The way it sometimes throbs after I go running leads me to suspect that it did not.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that boys in pickup trucks will honk their horns and shout comments at any woman they see on the sidewalk, even if she is soaked with sweat and obviously having a hard time catching her breath. 

One reason I didn’t run when I was living in my old apartment is because I didn’t always feel safe out in that neighborhood.  My new neighborhood is definitely safer but that doesn’t mean I feel safe enough to totally let my guard down.

There’s several gyms and health club type places near my house.  A Gold’s Gym just opened up across the street from the Target that I run to.  Every time I go to the movies, I drive by one of those 24 hour Fitness places.  My sister Erin keeps telling me that I should check one of them out if I’m really serious about this whole exercise thing.

But, I don’t want a personal trainer.  I don’t want to have to deal with some pumped up guy who is going to tell me to “feel the  burn” or whatever it is those people say.  I don’t want someone who is going to say, “Today, let’s work on your abs,” because I know that I’ll misunderstand him and think he said, “Let’s work on your ass” and it’ll just be an awkward situation all around.  Those people annoy the Hell out of me, regardless of whether they’re working down the street from me or if they’re appearing in shows like The Biggest Loser or movies like Burn After Reading

(Though, as a sidenote, I do think that was one of Brad Pitt’s best performances.)

No, sorry.  I do not want to run with other people who are going to stop me so that they can spend an hour of my time pontificating about what I’m doing wrong or what the proper way is to do this or that. 

What those people will never understand is that I don’t care if I’m doing it correctly.

I just care that I’m having fun doing it.

And once I’m no longer enjoying it, I’ll no longer do it.

Most people tend to be dismissive of commercials but I think they provide a handy time capsule of society.

For instance, did you know there was a coffee crime wave?

Fortunately, there was always a patriarchal representative around to set us all in the right direction.

The Only Habit

So, earlier tonight, I’m checking my e-mail and what do I happen to see on the Yahoo homepage but a link to the following article:

6 Habits That Keep Couples Happy

Hey, I thought to myself, maybe this will finally provide an answer to not only why I have certain issues with the idea of commitment but also what I can do to either fix or embrace this issues.

So, I read the article and, content-wise, it didn’t really provide me anything I hadn’t heard before.  A happy couple, apparently, respects each other, is positive towards each other, pursues projects on their own and together, and continue to feel physically attracted to each other even after one or both of them get so complacent in the relationship that they cease to make the effort to even looks halfway presentable.

As I read, it occurred to me that the secret to a happy relationship is probably not ever feeling the need to read any articles on how to have a happy relationship.  Seriously, if you have to be reminded that it’s important that your significant other have a life of his or her own, you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship to begin with unless you’re in one of those weird, no-actual-penetration relationships. 

(Really, the important thing is that you don’t breed because the last thing we need is another generation made up of insecure bullies who can’t handle not being the center of the universe…)

To me, the only habit that’s key to a happy relationship is respect.  And respect is not something that’s shown or earned by sacrificing your own identity just so you can be a part of a relationship.  The minute you stop being you and instead just become So-and-So’s Girlfriend or His Wife is the minute your own life ends, replaced by an existence where you have to read online advise columns just to keep up with how you’re expected to function.

I guess, for some, that’s an ideal situation.

I wish them the best of luck.

I love my Aunt Kate and I know she loves me but often times, we have trouble showing it.  To a large extent, it’s a generational thing.  She’s a part of the generation of women who rebelled against a sexist society by burning bras, protesting outside of the halls of government, and never allowing any man to get away with casually referring to her as sweetheart, babe, doll, dear, or any other term that would have served to diminish her.  Because of the society she lived in, everything she did — from the clothes she wore to the jobs she took to the way she signed her name — had to be done in a way that rejected anything that would have allowed men to stereotype her.  My aunt is part of a generation of feminists that were and are often referred to as being “strident.”  But if Kate was strident, it was because she didn’t have much choice.  Anything less than stridency would have been surrender.

As for me, I’m a part of the generation that can afford not to be strident.  I’m a part of the generation that can be feminine because we want to and not because society is holding a gun to our head and demanding it.  I’m a part of the generation that takes for granted the freedoms that my aunt fought and suffered for.  While I tend to forget that my aunt grew up in a time when women had to fight, I think she sometimes doesn’t realize that just because I might spend a while getting my makeup just right, I’m doing that for me and not because it’s demanded of me by a patriarchal society.  As a result, me and Kate argue way too much and often times, I forget to thank her for making the world a better place for me. 

I’m happy to say, however, that Kate and I have found something that we totally agree on.  We both love Tim Gunn, the former fashion school dean who is best known for playing the role of mentor on 8 seasons of Project Runway and counting.  Apparently, Tim — yes, both me and Kate consider ourselves to be on a first name basis with Tim — was recently in Frisco, Texas on some sort of promotional tour.  My aunt was among the countless women who came to see and hear him.  Kate approached him afterward, told him how much she “respected” him, and she got a hug in return.  She said it was one of the nicest hugs she’d ever received and that doesn’t surprise me at all.  He’s Tim Gunn after all!

Why do we love Tim Gunn?

Tim Gunn knows fashion.  This goes without saying.  The thing that always impresses me about Tim on Project Runway is that he’s definitely a man of another generation yet he still respects the opinions and the fashions of my generation.  He’s that rare older man who doesn’t expect or demand that a woman in her 20s either dress like 1) our grandmother or 2) like we’re posing for the cover of Lolita.

Tim Gunn is gay.  Don’t doubt just how important this one little fact is.  As a woman, you are constantly aware that every guy you meet is, somewhere in the back of his mind, deciding whether or not you are — to put it crudely — fuckable.  Everything a guy says to you, you have to wonder: Is he telling me the truth or is he just trying to get in my pants?  And if he isn’t trying to get into my pants — why not?  Obviously, this can lead to a lot of confusion, stress, and hurt feelings.  But Tim, bless him, is not only gay but openly and obviously so.  We know he is only interested in looking at the clothes on our body as opposed to our body underneath our clothes.  Tim’s a man that we can actually trust and how often do you actually meet one of those?  At the same time, since Tim is a man, a woman doesn’t have to worry that he’s been busy hating her behind her back or that he’s been spreading lies and innuendo just because her ass looks better in skinny jeans than his does.  In short, Tim Gunn is the ideal platonic male friend.

Tim Gunn has been celibate since breaking up with his boyfriend.  They broke up 20 years ago.  In interviews, Tim has explained that he’s remained celibate because he’s still in love with his former partner.  Since I have tendency to go crazy if I’m celibate for 20 hours, it’s hard for me to imagine what 20 years of voluntary celibacy could possibly be like.  That’s not a life I would really wish on anyone but it’s hard for me not to read that and go “awww…” at the fact that Tim would apparently choose to simply be celibate as opposed to just doing it with someone who he doesn’t love.

Tim Gunn could spend hours in a fabric store.  How many men can you say that about?

Tim Gunn is always sophisticated but never a snob.  One of my favorite parts of Project Runway is when the show finally leaves either NYC or L.A. and Tim visits the finalists in their own hometowns.  For whatever reason, each season seems to feature quite a few designed who come from and live out in Deliverance country.  It’s hard to describe the delight I get from seeing Tim, in his perfectly tailored suits and not a hair out-of-place, discussing fashion while surrounded by sagging pants, beer bellies, manboobs, and rampaging cellulite.  In a world where belching has become an acceptable form of debate, there is something comforting in knowing that there’s at least one man out there who still makes the effort.  What’s even more appealing is that, unlike me, Tim Gunn would never (at least not in public) use the phrase “deliverance country” when talking about the people he’s just met.  There’s a lot of be said for a man who can be sophisticated without feeling the need to call attention to that fact.

Tim Gunn has one of the few hearts in reality television.  One thing about most reality TV regulars: they’re very quick to let you know what they think of each season’s group of contestants.  On Survivor, Jeff Probst always lets us know which tribe he considers to be the most pathetic.  Julie Chen often struggles to remember just who exactly is living in the Big Brother house.  Chris Harrison can’t wait for  the Bachelor to screw up his engagement.  Don’t even get me started on those two fascists that seem to be intent on giving everyone a heart attack on Biggest Loser.  However, Tim Gunn is always seems to be sincere when he sends the latest cut designer up to the workroom to clean his or her space.  With is warm hug and his apologetic tone, Tim has probably kept more than a few failed designers from committing suicide after having to listen to Heidi Klum tell them that “We’ve seen it before and, quite frankly, we’re bored…”

Tim Gunn speaks his mind.  Tim may be nice but he speaks his mind.  One of the best things about this current season of Project Runway has been watching Tim put judgmental, catty snobs like Gretchen and Ivy in their place.  Who didn’t cheer when Tim said he couldn’t understand why the other designers were meekly allowing themselves to be “bullied” by Gretchen or when he showed up at the workroom and told Ivy to stop accusing Michael Costello of “cheating?”  There are times when I wish I could have someone like Tim Gunn with me whenever I’m at work and I know I’m going to have to deal with the women who work in the office next to mine. 

Tim Gunn is willing to call the Kardashians “vulgar.”  Somebody had to say it.

Tim Gunn does the right thing.  One of the reasons why my aunt said she “respected” Tim Gunn is because of a recent  video Tim made in response to the recent suicides of several gay teenagers.  In that video, Tim talks about how he tried to take his own life when he was 17 and still coming to terms with his sexuality.  Here’s something else that me and Kate agree on — I respect Tim Gunn too.  It takes courage to talk publicly about something that painful.  While everyone always talks about how tragic suicide is, there’s still a stigma attached to actually admitting that you have ever been in that dark of a place.  That Tim Gunn — who certainly didn’t have to — chose to open up that part of his life says a lot about who he is and why he’s earned the respect of both me and my aunt.

Tim Gunn gave me and my Aunt common ground.  After me and my aunt had spent a little while talking about how much we both love Tim, we came to an agreement.  From now on, whenever she’s tempted to admonish me or I’m tempted to get an attitude with her, we are simply going to ask ourselves, “What would Tim Gunn do?”

1) I love musicals.  I was in the drama club all through high school.  When I was in college, I was active in community theater.  I’ve never allowed the fact that I’m tone-deaf to prevent me from breaking out into a song.  Taking all that into account, I really should love Glee.  And yet, I don’t.  In fact, I hate it.  Whether it’s Matthew Morrison’s creepy smile or the way Glee pretends to be more quirky than it actually is, the show just annoys the Hell out of me. 

2) When it comes to selecting a favorite color, I’ve always been torn between red or green.  I finally settled on one of them about two nights ago but, for the life of me, I can’t remember which one.

3) I am a German-Spanish-Irish-Italian mutt with a little French thrown in for good measure.  I probably identify most with my Irish heritage even though I’m definitely closest to the Spanish-Italian side of my family.  A part of me wishes that my background was 100% Cajun. 

4) I have a degree in Art History so, of course, I’m currently working as a receptionist.

5) Along with being asthmatic, I suffer from heterochromia, i.e. my left eye is a lighter shade of green than my right.  Unlike asthma, heterochromia is actually kinda cool. 

6) I tend to talk a lot.  I mean a lot.  My sister Megan once said, “Lisa can tell the longest stories about nothing…”  At the time, it actually hurt my feelings but in retrospect, she’s right.  What people often fail to understand, though, is that the main reason I won’t shut up is because I’m actually very shy.  Rambling is my way of avoiding the dreaded awkward silence.

7) For close to a year now, I’ve been writing — off-and-on — a novel called Mizmoon.  It’s been one of the most frustrating and rewarding experiences of my life.  My plan is to have a rough draft completed by the end of 2010. 

8 ) If I had a time machine, I’d go back 11 years and tell my younger self to “wait” and enjoy being innocent for a few more years.  What’s sad is that I know my younger self would probably respond by telling me that I don’t understand how she (I) feels and that it’s her (my) life anyway. 

9) Often times, when I’m having trouble finding any inspiration for a more substantial blog post, I’ll handle the situation by writing down a few very random facts about me.

10) I’m not anti-marriage.  I just have serious doubts as to whether or not I could ever be a part of a succesful marriage.  I’m a romantic at heart but, at the same time, I hate the thought of one day waking up and realizing that I’ve sacrificed my own identity just to be “so-and-so’s wife.”  A friend of mine recently told me that “a succesful relationship is built on trust.”  I don’t know if I’ll ever be capable of trusting anyone that much.

11) I’ve often been accused of engaging in a bit too much TMI for my own good (especially when it comes to my twitter account) but there are certain things in my life that I don’t talk about even though I want to.  But I don’t because I know that if I do, people will no longer think of me as Lisa Marie.  Instead, they’ll simply see me as an object of pity or as a victim.  As much as I sometimes need to express my pain, I don’t want it to define me.

12) At the same time, I do find that it is sometimes to helpful to vent (or sometimes even cry out) on a site like twitter because 1) you can block anyone who acts like an asshole about it, 2) others can block or ignore you if they don’t want to hear about it (which makes me feel less guilty about my occasional emo moments), and 3) sometimes, if you’re lucky, someone will actually offer up either some good advice or come up with a response so perfectly absurd that it’ll snap me out of my angst.

13) Yes, I have in the past occasionally posted a risqué picture or two on twitpic, tweetphoto, and plixi.  And yes, I have occasionally had to deal with the total stranger who has taken it upon him or herself to tell me that I need to have more “respect” for myself or use better judgment.  But you know what?  It’s my body and I’m not ashamed of it.  Why is it that society continues to insist that a woman cannot be independent, intelligent, and/or liberated unless she’s also some sort of humorless, sexless celibate?

If I want to show off my body, I will.  Even more importantly, though, if I don’t feel like showing off my body, I won’t.  No matter how many DMs, YMs, and e-mails I get asking me when I’m going to post another “thong shot.”  The minute anything starts to feel like an obligation is the minute that I start to lose interest.

Someone once asked me how I’d feel if, some day in the distant future, I discovered that my daughter was posting racy pictures of herself on the Internet.  I didn’t have an answer for him then and I really don’t have an answer now.  I know it would upset me but I would also hope that if my daughter was doing that, she would be doing it because she wanted to and not because she felt like she had to.

14) Yes, I do want to be a mom someday.  If I have a girl, I’m going to name her Gloria Elena after my mom.

15) When I first started this post, I thought it was going to be a lot shorter and a lot less serious.  🙂

16) I am an obsessive list maker.  Not only do I continually make lists of everything I need to during the day but I tend to hold on to the lists even after the day has passed because the list, if nothing else, will at least help me remember the day.  Yes, I know this is probably an indication of a tendency towards hoarding.  However, I am capable of throwing aways my old lists … just as long as I’m given one last chance to read them before I do so.

17) Continuing on the obsessive compulsive theme, it’s very important to me that any numbers in my life be even numbers.  I can never, for instance, feel secure if I’m in a building that has an address that ends in an odd number.  That’s also why I’m going to end up listing 20 random facts about myself in this post.  (It’s also why, for my Lisa Marie’s Favorite Exploitation and Grindhouse Trailers series over at Through the Shattered Lens, I always include 6 trailers per post instead of 5.)

18) I used to love that Chanel commercial where Nicole Kidman was the actress having the romance with the — well, I forget what he was supposed to be but he was hot and that’s all that really mattered.  Except, for some reason, I always thought that Kidman’s character was supposed to be terminally ill and dying in the commercial.

19) I love old school Italian horror films, the gorier and more sordid the better.  Yet, in real life, I can’t stand the sight of blood.

20) Okay, one last random fact.  Hmmm…alright, I get about two to three hours of sleep a night and I like it that way.  Life fascinates me and I can’t experience it if I’m asleep.

Bullying — especially cyberbullying — has been in the news a lot recently.  Right now, the big story concerns Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers University who jumped off a bridge after video of him making out with another man was posted on the Internet.  Before that, there was the heartbreaking case of Phoebe Prince in Massachusetts and Megan Meier in Missouri — two teenage girls who committed suicide rather than face another day of being taunted.

Reading these stories, I always find myself wondering if I just got lucky.  I had my share of issues when I was in high school but bullying — at least not the type of bullying that Phoebe Prince had to endure — was never one of them.  I had to deal with the catty remarks and whispered innuendo.  Phoebe Prince, meanwhile, had empty cans thrown at her while she tried to walk home and spent the last few days of her life in constant fear that she was going to be physically attacked.  That’s no way for a fifteen year-old to live her life.

And then consider Megan Meier who was only 13 and was essentially murdered by an adult named Lori Drew who thought it would be funny to set up a fake MySpace account for a fictional boy who would befriend Meir and then reject her.  Drew, incidentally, was the mother of one of Meier’s classmates.  The Drew family lived next door to the Meier family.  I’m not sure if Lori Drew knew that Megan Meier (like me) had been diagnosed as suffering from both ADD and Depression.  But it really doesn’t matter, does it?  As a woman, Lori Drew knows what it’s like to be an insecure, 13 year-old girl.

And yes, I know that a jury acquitted Lori Drew on criminal charges.  I don’t care if what Lori Drew did was criminal or not.  It was wrong and there’s no excusing it.

(Drew’s own explanation was that it was a “joke” meant to “mess with Megan.”)

I look at the cases of Phoebe Prince and Megan Meier and now Tyler Clementi and I have to wonder if I was just lucky or if, in the just the six years since I graduated high school, things have really degenerated that much.

What’s truly frustrating is that despite all of these stories about the consequences of bullying, nothing seems to be changing.  Obviously, kids and teenagers are going to bully each other.  It’s what you do when you’re insecure and being in your teens is all about being insecure.  The question everyone asked after Phoebe Prince’s suicide was — where were the adults?  As far as I know, that question hasn’t been answered yet.

Then again, in the case of Megan Meier, we know where at least one adult was.  That adult, Lori Drew, was off trying to be a teenager the only way she knew how.  And, as quickly as everyone was to declare their hatred of Lori Drew, I doubt she’s an isolated example.

So, if the adults can’t be counted on, is there a solution beyond people simply treating each other with a little common decency?  Or is that something that has apparently been judged to be passé?

To be honest, I started this post mostly because I wanted to mention a news story that I read today:

Woman Travels 200+ Miles To Kill Internet Commenter

If nothing else, maybe this story will cause some to give second thought to using the Internet’s false sense of security as an excuse to indulge in bullying.

If you can’t bring yourself to worry about the person you might kill, at least worry about the person who might end up killing you.

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