Friday, June 22, 2012


I've been sleeping better, which I think might affirm my theory about the warmer, drier weather and less pain. It's been overcast and colder for a few days and we may have sprinkles tonight. My fingers are hurting as I type. Last night started well but I woke up to go to the bathroom and couldn't get back to sleep. I read for awhile. A mosquito showed up but I wasn't sleeping anyway so it was just annoying. Every few pages I rested the book on my chest and tried to sleep. Eventually it worked.
Sag Harbor is a really good read. Especially for the summer since it is about summer but it has broken the trend of reading that feels like a secret message. I'm enjoying it but I feel like I'm reading from a distance.
This morning I watched Now with Alex Wagner, which I do most mornings. There was a brief discussion about the news from yesterday.  Alex leads with the question: does cruelty know no bounds? The first response was a comment on the fact that Karen Klein's job was to prevent exactly what happened to her. Fair point I suppose but not at all what I expected. It went on about the kids, who are kids and need guidance, are now the objects of national ridicule. I mentioned something like in post yesterday. Comments on the web about the kids were/are extremely vitriolic. And then one of the people on the panel talks about the money being raised, which has reached an epic amount. I am somewhat with that. Money get's thrown at problems. It's weird. But this woman seems like someone who hasn't had a lot of joy in her life and I liked the idea of her getting support in a form that might enable her to have some fun. Or something. Pay some bills. Help family. Something. And finally, there is a line drawn from the vitriol directed toward the kids and the vitriol that's directed toward the president.
It's not that there is no connection. We live in a culture of mean. But it seemed like a stretch.
I did not expect media mention of the fat hate. There was a very smart piece on Jezebel, which calls out the fat hate and the comments ignore that and focus on if the woman did her job.
I'm not sure how to feel about that. It is a valid point. Although really, she didn't sit there while the tormented another child. I'm just kind of thrown by the shift of focus.
Cruelty knows no bounds and is a bit of a shape shifter.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This Is What It Looks Like

There's a story getting a lot of buzz about an older woman who was taunted by some kids while she was the acting monitor of their school bus. A video of the incident was posted on YouTube and got a lot of attention. A guy opened a site to raise funds to send her on vacation and has raised a wonderful amount of money. You can read about it and see the video.
Here's the thing. This is fat hatred.
On the one hand bad behavior is bad behavior and there's no need to talk about the specific quality of the expression of that behavior. On the other hand, if they had been talking about her being Gay, or Jewish, or a specific race the distinction would be called out. I didn't listen to the entire ten minutes and I have read that they talk about more than just her weight but in the time I watched they are focused on talking about her being fat. And I would like someone to talk about that. I would like someone to talk about how fat people are the target of hatred.
It's a worry because she's getting a lot of support right now and I believe that if the fat thing were called out there would be lots of talk about how fat people bring hate on themselves and should all lose weight. I would not want to see her be re-injured by a prolonged public discussion of her weight. She's been through enough. I like that it seems she's about to get a bunch of money and may be able to enjoy retirement. I like that people are outraged on her behalf. I don't want her to become the icon for my cause.
However. She already is.
Everything that is said to her has been said to me in public. On public transportation. Shouted from cars. Said within ear shot. I know I'm not the only fat person with this experience. If you want to see what fat hate looks like watch the video. If you care about me imagine me in that seat. Depending on my mood I can sometimes shut people up with a look. But not always. When you're in public and you're being attacked and no one is speaking up you feel fear. You lose power. 
This kind of fat hate isn't anomalous. It isn't even rare. 
Most of the comments are directed toward the kids and some of them are plenty hateful. Apparently the kids and their families have been threatened. That's how we do things. We meet hate with more hate. Where did they learn it?
From time to time I watch a few minutes of Mike and Molly to see if it's gotten any better. It hasn't. The fat jokes aren't that different from what these kids say to this woman. And many of them come out of the mouths of the fat actors. Hating yourself for being fat is just normal, you see.
Every news agency reporting this story with shock and dismay has used images of headless fat people to make a point about health. It's easier to hate when you don't have to look someone in the face. Right now fat people are being blamed for the destruction of the planet. Apparently we place too high a demand on food production. The article I linked mentions the Bloomberg restrictions on big gulp sodas and quotes a woman saying that if she eats a hamburger and french fries she's going to be dehydrated and needs that big gulp. It's a ridiculous statement. Then it says her size was not identified.  Further in the article it says something about people of all sizes and food choices. So the head line is about the obese, the idea is supported by a statement from a woman who might not be fat, then suddenly we're talking about fast food. It's exactly this kind of smudging of lines that makes me worry about calling out the fat hate in this situation.
But I want it called out. I want the connection made. I want people to make the point about card board food and big gulp sodas without the pictures of headless fat people. I want people to get that when you conflate a body type with illness you make a target.        
I am so frustrated.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Solstice Girl

There was a time in my thirties when I couldn't keep track of my age. I kept thinking I was older than I was. I have no idea why but I think it might have had something to do with being panicked. That special kind of panic you get when you are thirty-something.
The minute I turned fifty-five I was sixty. Seriously. I was able to remember my real age but it didn't matter. I was sixty.
Here's the thing. I don't care about being older. At least not in the way people seem to care. I'm OK with the wrinkles and the larger and larger patches of white in my hair. I'm not too happy about the aches and pains. I wish I had done a better job of establishing myself financially. I wish I was in a little house with a garden and a pool. But I like my apartment. And as long as I have books I'm OK. I don't feel like being younger is that cool.
It was kinda fun.

Today I am fifty-nine. Not sixty. I'm not sure why but I am so clear about being fifty-nine.
I had a  nice Conn-versation with Steve. Got lots of love on Facebook. And blogged the food.
It's summer now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Memory Hole

I was in a weird restless mood all morning Couldn't get into anything. And then Tom called and we talked for a long time about life back in the day. It was fun. He thinks I should write a book about it all. Maybe if I wrote fiction. It was a time.
He's always been a good friend. Very supportive of my rock-n-roll dreams. He played guitar for me so I could do a gig and paid another band that was about to bail so they showed up. It was the beginning of my short, flailing musical career.
Then I got a card from Steve. Another good friend who helped me. He played piano on a song I recorded to send as a Christmas card. He called me up on stage one time but I did NOT feel good enough to go. Mark called me up on stage and I went. But that was before I entertained the idea that could really  have my own band. Steve has always been the real real and I. Was. Just. Not.
There were a lot of people but mostly men who really did help me during that phase. And a few who made it harder. And now I rarely even sing in the shower.
Oddly enough I don't feel as sad about that as I think I should. Not finding a way to sing was as painful as any unrequited love I've ever had. I've either found a way to accept it all or I've stuffed into a corner somewhere. Deep, deep in a corner.
Bill sent me a recording of a gig I did so many years ago. He's really the only person who seems to remember that I used to to that. You can hear the drugs and alcohol in my voice.
So I'm in a memory hole. Which is full of all the best and worst things. Mostly lyrics and the sound of the band.     

Monday, June 18, 2012

Like A Cactus Tree

I was remembering a time, years ago, when I was sitting on a restaurant patio with a few friends. One of them was a woman who had what seemed to be the ability to channel other beings from another realm but may have just been a personality that she used to say things in a way that lent them credibility. I mean her eyes would change and she'd get the same crooked smile and her hands would move in a very particular manner when she was channeling. And who knows? At the time I believed everything.
Anyway. She turned to me and gave a me look that was close enough to the channeling face and said, "I just realized how alone you feel. And it makes me wonder if you feel that alone when you're with me what does it mean about me?" You never really knew who was talking, which is why almost everything she said took on the quality of extra true.
However, I was relieved to have someone see that part of me because, in a weird way, it made me feel less alone. I also loved that she took responsibility for the part about her own feelings, which gave me the space to be aware of how my loneliness caused pain for others. In other words she wasn't trying to make me feel less alone for my own well being or hers. She was just marking the moment.
I am the only child of a single mother. I spent a lot of time alone, or with adults. Plus I was fat and ostracized. There are a lot of moving parts that create the loneliness.
I think I romanticize alone-ness. I remember hearing Barbara Streisand sing: never never will I marry. Wide my world. Narrow my bed. and Joni, of course, in so many songs. I'd stare out of the window of trains and planes, journal in hand, writing my alienation. Something about being alone in the world, particularly for a woman, seemed exotic.Of course as a child I longed for a best friend and eventually that longing turned into wanting a lover. 
There were three men I thought I would marry. Many more I wanted for an hour, or a day, or a week but three that I wanted to live with and have children with and grow old with and ... just ... you know. Not be alone. 
The first was Gary. We were thirteen. He was the center on the football team and the basketball team and he wrestled. I learned to like sports. On school day afternoons I sat a picnic table between my apartment and the row of houses in which he lived and pretended to do my homework. He went by on his daily run.We smiled shyly and muttered hello. Just before we moved to Maryland there was a school dance at which he showed some interest. I often wonder what would have happened if we hadn't moved. I imagine us married and with lots of kids.Of course there's no way to know if that would have happened and there are many reasons why moving was probably the best thing that could have happened.  Still. I wonder. 
And I wonder if I would have still felt alone. 
It's not all about a lack of romance. Some of my loneliness was habituated by things I didn't chose. Some of it became an identity I fostered. It's not always a sad thing. Sometimes it enables deep internal sense of being. For years I saw it as a pathology and a wound. And there are days when it feels like a punishment. But not always. 
And her heart is full and hollow

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tavi Saves The Day

Yesterday was a bad day. It doesn't matter why. The best part about it was that it ended.
And then Alan posted a link on Facebook. It's a long video and starts a little slow but I encourage you to watch it. Tavi pulled me out of the gloom. I read some of her blog and her on line magazine. She loves Joni, which in and of itself makes me happy. In a piece she wrote about Joni she articulates something so much better than I ever have.

I think for some people the most difficult thing is coming to terms with the fact that being happy will not come as easily for them as they feel it ought to, that just smiling will usually not be enough, that being sensitive and observant sometimes makes you feel more “in touch” with “life” or whatever, but most of the time it just feels like a burden, or like everyone else is in on some kind of joke that you’re taking way too seriously, and sometimes you feel like a brat because you can’t just accept how things seem to be, because you have to think about it all and that just results in things always eventually being somewhat painful, and it sounds so pretentious, but it’s not like it’s smart thinking necessarily, it’s not like you’re better than anyone, it’s just that you’re curious about things, I guess. 

Then I watched The Way, which is probably only good if you like Martin Sheen and/or spiritual journey stories. I enjoyed it but there was one character, a fat man from Amsterdam. Throughout the film he is full of life. Of course you eat the local food and of course you smoke pot and of course you drink wine. There is some reference to his weight but it's not util the end of the film that you realize how much of a problem it is for him. It wasn't a hateful portrait but it made me very sad.
It occurred to me this bad mood that started building a few days ago might be about Father's Day, which I kind of forgot. I had a father and a stepfather from whom I learned that it's possible for someone to love you and still take huge chunks of your heart and soul hostage. I learned that it's possible to love someone even when they've cut into you. And it's possible to forgive and not have to prove that you've forgiven by stepping in front of the knife again.
I know some wonderful fathers. I hope they get presents and food and whatever they want today.