Jun 18, 2005

So we watched the movie, "Steel Magnolias" today. What a horrible movie that is. So here is this really endearing character (played by julia roberts, of course, who else?) who only wants to be a mom and have a family and so she has a kid and dies. Oh and let's not forget the scene where her husband comes home from work and finds their son screaming hysterically and his wife in a coma on the floor.
one question.
It seems to me that this movie plays on a fear common in the population most likely to seek it out and view it: young mothers. Or old mothers, I guess. Or mothers-to-be. All of us are afraid of dying and leaving our children behind to be raised not as well (or, perhaps, better than) we could. In my family this fear is disturbingly apparent... I know of three women who have had serious difficulties in their life because of this fear, held at an irrationally high level.

I am one of them.

Let me tell you something. The people who create media will do anything these days to sell it. We all hear about the dirtiness of movies, the violence of movies, the false portrayal of lifestyle and body type, the objectification of men and women, and the romanticization of relationships in general. All this is pretty damaging.
But not as damaging as movies whose only purpose seems to be the facilitation of emotional self-harm. By that I mean, when you're bored scared, when you're blank, empty, and you know you ought to be feeling something, you abuse your emotions by exposing them to something that you KNOW will make them feel.... something that causes extreme sadness, or anxiety, or anger, or other agitation. Like movies. Or music.

I have done this myself, of course. It works in a way. Probably in the same way that physical self-harm works... something I have never done, but have seen.

You know, I have to say that no matter how you shake it, the only way to get through a depression or anxiety attack, is to ride it out. After a couple, you realize that they end, and you're happy again (or at least, normal). Some people get so bad that they need to control it with medication, but I wonder if this happens as much as it needs to. True, there are those with neurotransmission problems who most likely need chemical help. But how many people, I wonder, get to that point through emotional denial or self-harm?

I think that to continue doing things that you love, even when you can't feel, to continue to work at the things that you believe in, even when it doesn't seem important; to keep living the life you think is good, even when you don't seem to matter, is the only cure to depression or anxiety... you come out of it, and you still have the things that matter most to you... and in fact, you have kept building them up. You start seeing these experiences as not scary so much as life... and not dehabillitating so much as trying.

and as we all know, 'what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.' Who came up with that? It's really not very comforting. But I believe it does happen to be as true as it is trite.

Jun 13, 2005

I really really really don't like...

having to settle differences with coworkers. Particularly when you're the one with the concern. Particularly when they're nice and you like them.

That's all.

Jun 12, 2005


It is so hard to be a parent sometimes. I think I'm a pretty patient person, but there are times when I want to throw something. It makes me feel really bad to feel that way, though, because I know that a three year old is learning limits and testing them only because they are trying to find security in the world. To spoil a three year old is to not set any limits, or to set limits that are looser than you think are wise because you're afraid of saying no.

Being kind about limits and patient when they test them, and trying hard to remember and understand that they're not defying you personally, they're just trying to make sense of the world, is the only way to be happy as a parent. Also, it's the only way to create a good relationship with a child, I think, because they can sense when we're upset at them.

The worst times are when a child is attention seeking in a negative way. Like, they smile as you pick them up and put them in their room because it's what they wanted- attention. That just irks me so much. SIgh. I guess the best thing to do when they're trying to do that is to remove attention from them. Which is the point of putting them in their room.
Plus, giving them plenty of positive attention staves off a need for negative attention, I think.

Three year olds have such a hard life... can you imagine how scary and confusing the world must be sometimes for them? I remember being a child and feeling like I got in trouble for things I didn't mean to do, and for reasons I couldn't understand or prevent. I think all kids go through that... their actions are motivated by things that are hard for adults to understand... learning about the world in which they live. Which we have pretty much stopped actively trying to do ourselves.

Perhaps we should follow in our childrens' footsteps in that way. How wonderful to have a mind completely open to the world around us and no fear of hurt, no suspicion of those around us.

To expect our children to follow in our footsteps at an adult pace is to expect the impossible, and to frustrate and alienate the ones we love the most and want to hurt the least.

Jun 7, 2005

man talk

in my opinion, men and women are actually a lot more similar than some people think. But I'm pretty sure they're still different.

For instance, men and women authors. My husband pointed out to me that, in the small collection of fiction I have aquired since leaving home, the authors are almost exclusively women. I had to think about that one, because I didn't consciously collect only womens' writing.

I have decided that, when I read popular fiction, I enjoy women's writing because it seems to me that women tend to develop their characters better.

In real literature, I actually tend to prefer men's writing... I don't know why. But the fact that I have some kind of preference, even thought it was previously unconscious, signifies that there must be some kind of difference that I have based my preferences upon, doesn't it?

I think I like men's and women's poetry equally well.

Boys are so hard to deal with sometimes. I grew up as the oldest of six kids. I only have one brother. So I still know a limited amount about men.

Sometimes when I talk to boys, I realize that I must sound slightly crazy to them, because I'm so used to talking to women, and, I hate to break it to you: men and women communicate differently.

They really do.

For instance, it seems to me that some men get bored pretty quickly when the conversation isn't about them. Only some men. I guess some women can be that way too, but I think the difference is, those women pretend that they are interested when the conversation isn't about them, because it's not as socially acceptable for women to be self-centered.

Some men don't like to talk about their problems for very long, or to listen to others' for very long, either.

Also, I have noticed that even really innocent, nice men enjoy any kind of discussion about sexuality, even if it has nothing to do with thier own sexual experience or feeling. They tend to find excuses to stay on the topic if sexuality is involved.

I actually find these things kind of endearing.

I'm sure that there are lots of things that men find equally endearing about women. I'm not sure what they are.

These things also tend to be things that are charming in small amounts, but I find myself getting bored quickly if it's mostly them talking about themselves or talking about things of a sexual nature.

I think the common ground I personally have with men that I am freinds with is music. Or maybe witty exchanges. It can be fun to talk to a man if he knows his way around the english language.

Also, I like kissing. I've only kissed three men in my life. One of them is, of course, my husband. He's actually an amazing kisser. And he likes music. And sometimes he can out talk me.

So we're pretty happy, I think.

Jun 6, 2005

an ulitmate waste of money

One wonders why an intelligent person would pay good money to not appreciate something. Like school, for instance. I went to college for six years and paid for most of them, and let the government pay for some of them. And I found every possible excuse to not go to class. I went to just enough classes so that I could pull what seemed to me a reasonable grade.

In theory, I like learning. I like the subjects I choose to take. It's tests, textbook chapters, and number two pencils that I do not like. It seems though, that to really understand something at a functional level, one has to find a mentor of some sort, and most mentors are unfortunately found on college campuses.

Not to say I didn't enjoy college. I did. In theory.

The same thing applies to voice lessons. I have been taking voice lessons for going on three years now. I love to sing. I used to love to learn to sing. In theory I still love to learn to sing, but when it comes down to it, I don't want somebody telling me to do what their idea of good singing is.

The interesting thing is, any kind of art is supposed to be some ultimate expression of you; who you are or what you're feeling, or the ultimate expression of some other person's selfhood or feelings or message. And so what's the point of artistic lessonry?

If the ultimate in self- expression is supposed to come through subconsciously in the creative process, where is the place for someone else's idea of correct or beautiful? Or is it society's idea that we're trying to uphold? Is art just a people-pleaser?

I went to college in idaho where i was told that I needed to change the way I sang. My voice teacher even suggested I change my major. I had been a singer from the age of three. People loved to hear me, and I loved for them to hear me. And suddenly I get a mentor and what he tells me is that I don't love for people to hear me, and they don't love to hear me, either.

The funny thing was, suddenly it became true after he said it, and I didn't sing for two years. I missed it and felt lost without it. My selfhood was no longer expressed without the creative process I had come to depend on.

So here I am, with a new mentor, relearning that I love to sing and that people love to hear me. And at the same time, resisting all the little things my mentor
now tells me about how to sing "well". What is good singing?
Are voice lessons a waste of money?