Mortality and Me, Plus Coffee

I bet you think this post is going to be a real downer but I think that the fact that I am ridiculous will probably amuse you…

I first dealt with my own mortality when I was 19.  If you had asked my then fiance about his mortality he would have told you that he started dealing with it at age 6 when his grandfather died.  My grandma, who I had been really close to, had died when I was 14 and it did not effect me like that at all.  I was sad and I missed her but it had no baring on me.  When I was 14 I still had a lot of faith.

So what happened when I was 19 that changed all of that?  Dark coffee.

When I was 19, I was going to Baker for a secondary education degree and working at the library.  I had a crush on one of my coworkers.  No, that’s not fair.  I was in love with him and I was very unhappy with my fiance.  (Oh, isn’t that foreshadowing?)  I was sick a lot that year because I was living on 1000 or less calories and was down to 105 lbs, which I should never be.  This coworker and I had carried on flirtations for months.  We took long walks together, traded music and books, and hung out a lot because my schedule and my fiance’s schedule didn’t line up very well.  However, by mid-fall things had taken a turn.  I had decided to break up with my fiance at the end of summer and the coworker had told me not to and we had gotten into this odd holding pattern where he pined for me and resented me and I resented him for encouraging me to stay and “not caring for me enough” to take me.  At least, that’s what it seems like when I look back at it.  The coworker went with me while I shopped for a guitar and one day we went out to Port Huron and stopped at The Raven, this awesome cafe in a Civil War era building where everything is Poe themed and there is music and the walls are lined with books.  We ordered the dark roast and we drank a pot of it and I went home and had a horrible horrible dream about death.

Was it really the coffee?  No but in my head I decided it was.  It was a lot of things.  It was my coworker who was going through an existentialist phase and was constantly trying to convince me that none of this mattered and we were all just machines.  It was growing up.  I mean, I had to think about death sooner or later.  But it was also this deep dissatisfaction that had been growing and growing inside me.

It was horrible.  I was sure for a long time that when we die we just go nowhere and that meant that none of this mattered and there was no reason to do anything at all.  I couldn’t watch things that made me think of death and I couldn’t read things that dealt too explicitly with it and I had nightmares that would make me wake up and have panic attacks in the middle of the night.  But I blamed that coffee, regardless of how much coffee I was drinking at the local dive restaurant where we would drink coffee and smoke and talk for hours.

But in the end it turned out alright.  Because I suddenly understood that I couldn’t just live forever, I changed some things.  I started asking more of my fiance for a while.  I transferred to a different university and got an straight English degree instead.  I let myself enjoy things a little more, which meant I also put on more weight.  Since then, I’ve thrown myself into more, even if that more is having a nice stout and reading.  That coworker?  Well, he’s married now and his wife and him introduced me to The Fiance and they’re both in our wedding.

Still, every time I drink dark coffee, I think about my mortality.

Updates All Around

1. The earwigs are winning.  Last week I spotted one in the fiance’s bath pouf.  The next day he was still there.  The day after that he was gone…  That’s because he was hiding in the toilet paper.  It was IN the toilet paper.  Since then, they haven’t even tried to hide.  I’ve seen them in broad daylight.  I borrowed some spray.  Bastards.

2. I have actually kept my book goal!  But that’s mostly because I haven’t had time to read.

3. I’ve done the photo challenge even if I did fall a little behind.

4. I also do not feel well but I’m pretty sure it’s stress.  Right now I am just trying to stay awake and I’ve only been up four hours.  Blah.

Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach

This is one of those books that pops up a lot when you look into feminist literature. I have seen it on store shelves and in articles, on lists and cited in other works. What made me decide to pick up this book was simply that I decided to stop dieting and I wanted some form of support. When I told people that I wasn’t going to diet anymore, it was implied by many people that I had just “given up.” On the other hand, a lot of girls my own age were impressed by the very idea and acknowledged that they didn’t think they could do it themselves. What does is say that a bunch of twenty-something females, all of them beautiful and smart and accomplished, have dieting so heavily ingrained in them?

I was expecting a book of social outrage. I was expecting someone else to say, “No! We do not have to be paper-thin! We can be whatever we are!” I got some of that but I was surprised at the amount of personal work contained here.

Orbach proposes that the reason so many women have problems with the bingeing and dieting cycle is that they actually WANT to be fat. I know, I know. I didn’t think so either. Then she took me through an exercise where you imagine yourself in a social situation while you are fat and also while you are thin. That was when I realized that I really was the problem. There is a reason I overeat. There are a lot of them. I would rather enjoy the pleasures of food and that is exactly what Orbach suggests.

Some of the ideas may seem outdated to a lot of women. (I would just skip right over the chapter on Anorexia because the research has advanced so much since the original publication, which is what I read.) There are a lot of issues with patriarchy here but I think that many of them can be updated for today’s woman. For example, I don’t think of my weight as having anything to do with how I relate to men in the workplace (such as the need to blend in or the need to look big enough to handle anything) so much as I can see it as a way to project to the world that I am too busy to take care of myself, that I have to eat on the go.

Honestly, it is hard to write a review for this book because it really gave me a lot to think about. I definitely would suggest it to the kind of woman who would benefit from further analyzing her relationship with food if I knew any who wouldn’t be insulted.

Beginnings, Relationships, and Friends

My bridal shower was last weekend and I couldn’t help but notice that somebody was missing from it.

I’m not going to lie, I was pretty surprised that C wasn’t there because we used to be pretty close.  She was our third.  It was C, BFF, and me.  We got into all kinds of trouble together and had great times until C started hanging out with her exbff, now married to my ex fiance, and suddenly pushed the BFF and me out of the picture.  The BFF pretty much laid it all out there on the table for C and told her everything she had ever been pissed about.  I stayed out of it because C is dating one of my cousins and I consider her family, kind of.

Anyway, I thought about it a bit this week and I wanted to talk to you guys about something very important.  What do you do when your friend gets a new boyfriend?  Maybe it’s what you shouldn’t do.

The fiance and I got together pretty much right after I broke up with The Musician.  When I was dating the Musician, I was expected to go to pretty much every show.  Suddenly my weekends were full.  I made a point to go to every single party my friends had and I made time for them during the week.  Around Christmas, just a few weeks after the fiance and I got together,  the BFF and C wanted to have a cookie baking night and I did not want to go because I don’t like sweets very much and I don’t have anyone to bake for.  It ended up causing a big blow up fight.  I picked up C who I had offered to drive because she didn’t have a lot of money and in the car she berated me about my relationship.

Some of the things she said?  “You should NEVER have kids because you won’t be able to handle it.”  AND “Just don’t spend all of your time with him.  That’s why we didn’t like the Musician.”

As a girl, I understand that things change and one of the big changes a lot of my girl friends will go through are those associated with relationships.  (Actually, out of my four bridesmaids two are married and one in engaged so maybe not.)  When your friend gets a new boyfriend, don’t ruin it for her.  Seriously, I spend the first few months of my new relationship worrying that I was hurting my friends feelings when she had just said something spiteful to say something spiteful.  And the truth is that I still hold it against her a bit.  I bent over backwards to make her one of the group and there were controversies and drama when BFF and I were way past the controversy and drama parts of our lives.

Your friend will not forget about you.  For a while she will be enjoying the newness of a relationship.  As a friend, it is your job to call her now and invite her out a few times.  She’ll come around when she’s ready.  Let her explore and let her be happy and offer her support and an ear whenever she may need it.

Exciting things!

I know that I have been quiet this week and I know you don’t want to hear my excuses BUT I haven’t felt very well.  It’s been hot here, not as hot as some places but hot.  For the first time ever I am actually sick from it.  I am tired and have dizzy spells and just feel fuzzy and out of it.  I cannot get enough sleep no matter how hard I try.  As such, I am super duper behind on just about everything.

So here are my exciting things:

1. I got a kitten.  Did I tell you?  He showed up at the bachelorette party I was at on Saturday and started eating the brides puke so I took him in.  His name is Otto and the other cats and the fiance are all kind of pissed but slowly accepting it.

2. My fitting is tomorrow!  I can’t wait to wear my gown!

3. My bestie is home and going to my fitting with me and then we’re getting lunch and maybe drinking!

4. My shower is Sunday!  (I’m getting a vacuum cleaner that actually cleans!)

Emma by Jane Austen

This is now the fourth Austen I have read and I have to say that she has steadily grown on me. Last summer I read Pride and Prejudice and remember it taking what felt like an excruciatingly long time for me to adjust to the language. It wasn’t nearly as hard for me with Emma and I’m not sure if that means that I’ve gotten used to it or if Austen’s writing was improving, as the back of my book suggests. Another thing that really helped keep me locked into the book was that I kept comparing it to Clueless which is possibly my favorite movie ever. There was a lot of, “Ah! Mr. Elton? Elton? I see what you did there.”

What I love about Jane Austen novels is that they are not what I consider romances. Yes, they are usually about women looking for husbands (except for Emma who is playing matchmaker) and yes there is usually something that makes me feel gooey but for the most part these are books of manners. You can really feel it when someone does something wrong and I spent a large part of Emma feeling a bit mortified for her.

Emma is a woman of unusual circumstance in that she had pretty much been spoiled. Her mother died when she was a young age and her sister married and Emma has since been really like the head of her house. She cares for her father and her governess even spoils her. When she is 21, Miss Taylor, the governess who had been a dear friend for years by that point, marries and becomes Mrs. Weston. In Emma’s want of a new friend, she takes in Harriet Smith, a girl much below her in society, and tries to raise her up. Emma attempts to play matchmaker and ends up making huge blunders with her assumptions and misunderstandings.

That is just the base of it. Don’t forget that this is Jane Austen. There is pride and a fall and also a secret engagement.

I really enjoyed this and I can totally see why there is such a Jane Austen mania. I almost want to read another right off!

Music as a Child

Oddly enough, I have been thinking about Boyz II Men this week.  (Did I spell that right?  I’m not so sure.)

My mother tells me that the first song I ever sang was an Alice Cooper song and I have vivid memories of singing along to AC/DC.  My brother is 10 years older than me so MTV was on the whole time I was growing up.  My father’s favorite musicians?  Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and B.B. King.  My mothers favorite musicians?  AC/DC, The Association, Janis Joplin, and she has a soft spot for Ozzy.  That’s the kind of house that I grew up in.

But my musical preferences were always different.  I can tell you that as a child I genuinely LOVED Paula Abdul and Bon Jovi.  I fell in love with the hair bands on MTV.  I fell in love with the oldies that I sang along with in the car.  Eventually I discovered that I liked country and then I started listening to that horrible rap rock.  Next I moved onto alternative.  I discovered female musicians like Courtney Love and Liz Phair, Veruca Salt and even Joni Mitchell.  I discovered punk and pop punk and crappy punk.  I ran around with a rockabilly band.  Finally, I came back around to classic rock.  If I defined my musical taste, it would be like this.  I still LOVE all of those things.  All of them!  I will rock out to Dwight Yokum and NoFx, Weezer and Zeppelin.  My tastes are vast.  I even love V.A.S.T! lol.

Thinking about Boyz II Men made me think about some of the music I listened to growing up that I didn’t really like anymore and that I actually don’t think I EVER liked.  New Kids on the Block.  When I was little I spent tons of time with my cousin Erin who was four years older than me and she was obsessed with NKOTB so I had to be too.  I had the dolls.  The next phase of this came around in fourth grade.  I only had one friend through fourth and fifth grade and I naturally agreed with her on everything because I didn’t want to not have ANY friends.  So, I listened to Boyz II Men, Janet Jackson, and tons of other horrid music that I don’t really remember and I don’t really like and I probably never did.  I will confess that I still love Paula Cole, who I picked up from this period, as well as Ace of Bass and Spice Girls.

I started to find myself in junior high which may have been too early.  I went back to oldies and hair bands.  My best friend of freaking all time tried to get me into Christina Agulara and I simply rolled my eyes.  In high school I was all about Manson and Korn and Limp Bizket.  I detested Brittney and Backstreet Boys.  I was forming opinions on my own suddenly and as I started digging into music that was super obscure for us rural folk, I started to feel more like I was actually coming home.

Whenever a seven year old tells me that she loves Beiber, I cringe.  I guess we are all destines to make these mistakes.