Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Seriously, Emily? A Poem? WHY?

Hello faithful-and-less-than-faithful readers! Yes, it is I! Back with more depressed-ness. This time, in form of a poem. Now. You may or may not have heard me dismiss poetry as the lowest kind of twiddle-twaddle nonsense. And it's true, I dislike poems. This is one reason I hate Spring- besides giving me a permanent stuffy nose and red eyes, it makes me write poetry. Just be grateful it isn't a love poem.
Truth be told, what I truly and deeply dislike are OTHER people's poems. Cats batting bats and love that comes from above and oh just shoot me, you're such a cutie. And you have to smile pained-ly and nod and say "that's very deep!" while inside some small, artistic animal is racing around clawing at the windows trying to escape.
Somehow my own poems rarely do this to me. At least, not until a few months later when I see them in the stark, realistic light of fall.
But it is not Fall yet.
It's Spring.
And Spring makes me foolish enough to believe in things like my own poetry and love.

Anyway. I wanted to post "Motherhood" on my other blog because I know at LEAST one mother will eventually read it there and I want to know how it sounds to an actual mother. I, of course, am not one. The poem is (go read it first because I want to know if it comes across) about Mary. I thought it was pretty obvious, but my friend couldn't tell one first reading, so I wanted to get a feel of what percent got an idea that it was about Jesus. See, a couple of my profs have lately been talking about Mary, The Blessed Virgin. I take exception to both parts of that. There are no verses in the Bible that support Mary staying a virgin!! Just the opposite, actually. But anyway that's not my point. My main beef is, where do people get off saying she was "blessed"? My Religion prof was saying that they couldn't put too much in about Mary because other women would try to emulate her to be similarly blessed.


Let's think about this.

First off, Mary is visited by an angel and informed that she's to be the Holy Vessel. So she's spiritually impregnated (what, God couldn't have waited for her to get married? She was betrothed and all!) which back then would have meant utter ostracism. She was a Bad Girl, cut off from her social network, abandoned by friends and family, the subject of gossip and ridicule. She's supremely luck that the angel made a repeat performance for Joseph or else she would have ended up stoned. So then she takes this loooong journey-while pregnant, remember, hugely pregnant, on a DONKEY (donkeys, last time I checked, don't come with A/C and seat cushions) to a crowded, smelly city. Then she's forced to give birth in a cave surrounded by cows. And forget gentle lowing. These cows were POOPING and stomping around. So she's giving birth surrounded by smelly animals. Pushing out a honking big baby head through virgin bits, so there's tearing and bleeding and awfulness and SHE'S terrified because at home, she'd be surrounded by friends and family helping her through this but now they all hate her so all she has is Joseph.

And that's the EASY part.

All Jesus' life, she has GOT to be wondering... am I raising him right? Am I teaching him the right things? Should the son of God's poop be that strange green color? Should the Son of God be running around the yard in his holy birthday suit? I mean, who do you go to for advice on raising the savior of mankind? And when he reaches manhood, does he settle down and help old aging Joseph with the shop? Provide holy grandchildren? No. Does he go off to war, liberate their people from the Romans? Become a national hero? No. He just hits the road with a bunch of low-life friends and tells his mother THEY'RE his family now. After kicking up a bunch more trouble and bringing shame on his family, Jesus dies.

I don't mean to sound disrespectful. The thing is, I think we glorify the wrong things- the immaculate conception. The resurrection. The baptism. We forget that these were people, just.....living. Just trying to get by. And that's the part that deserves praise. The everyday stuff. At bottom, Mary wasn't a blessed virgin or a holy vessel or something to idolize and worship. She was just a mother, and that's something to admire.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Story Up on Official Site

Hey, just a heads up that there's a story up on my Official Blog. It's a short story this time so we actually get a middle and end, not just a beginning! :P

This is not a happy story.

You know what, go read it. Just go read it, then come back, and read the rest of this.


Ok. So now I know there's at least one of you (cough cough MOM cough) going.... "Why write such a terrible story? Why make us think about such sad, pointless stuff? Don't you want to add to the GOOD, beautiful things in the world, instead of the awful, sordid ones?"

The short answer is, No. No, I don't. I'm miserable and so I wrote a depressing story so you could all be miserable, too.

The long answer is, I've been working through some complicated emotions lately concerning three different men in my life, and I felt the need to write some kind of purging story. I don't think this story is ugly or horrible, although some events in it are a bit. I think it's beautiful, a look into the ways we shape our own lives, the choices we make, and the good moments we have. I feel better now that it's written, I don't hate it, and I think that says good things about it. And so yeah. Let me know what you think. Just be warned: if you think MEAN things and tell me that, that will make me depressed, which will force me to write about... like... torture victims or suicide bombers or something.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Cafeteria of Love

It's Tuesday.
One in the afternoon.
Your stomach rumbles ominously. This can only mean one thing.

It's time for a trip to the cafeteria.

As you enter the cafeteria, a blast of warm air strikes your face. You inhale deeply. Is that CHEESE you smell? Warm cheese? Maybe... maybe it's PIZZA! Oh, the glorious decadence of your favorite food... the food you've waited for for so very long... the amazing warm stickiness of that baked, saucy food of dreams! You eagerly rush to the end of the long, long, line, chattering with your friends about how very hungry you are. Your stomach twists painfully as you see other people eating... happy, content, full people... while you are so very empty inside, so pained and growling. You imagine pizza at the end of your wait, golden and crusty and topped with mushrooms or sausage or just cheese. Savory, warm, the only food in the world that could truly satisfy your hunger.

Interminable time passes as the line creeps forward. The wait is made bearable only by the support of your equally hungry friends and the hope of the meal ahead. You inch forward with the rest of the antsy masses, trying to ignore the painful emptiness of your middle. At last- AT LAST- you reach the front of the line! The end is in sight! Full of rejoicing, you look down to see-

Broccoli casserole.

Now. Broccoli is not a bad food. It is green and squooshy and nutritious. It's pretty good. And cheese- you LOVE cheese. But this bright orange nacho sauce.... these grayish, sad lumps... these are not what you wanted. This particular combination of perfectly fine elements is somehow unbearably off-putting to you and in a way you can't explain rationally, you feel let down, almost repulsed. Despite the growling of your hunger, you step aside and let the next person in line be served up a heaping spoonful of casserole. Somehow, in some mysterious, illogical way, you'd rather continue to starve than eat that mess. Miserable, you trudge, empty handed, to a table. Puzzled, your friends remind you of how hungry you are. They question why you aren't eating. "What's wrong with casserole???" they ask, confused and frustrated. "How can you complain of being hungry, yet turn down food?"

They don't understand. Perhaps broccoli casserole is what they wanted all along, or perhaps they are easily content like you thought you were, but now- ohhhh, now- you truly recognize your own impossibility. Despite the dark hunger that rages in your emptiness, despite the pain, you cannot eat casserole. Your mind and stomach cry out for something savory and rich, something spicy and bready, the only thing that could truly fill you up. Not just any old dish will do- no. You wanted PIZZA, and pizza you will wait for. Foolish? Possibly. Naive? Probably. Pointless? Perhaps. But unavoidable, the conclusion that the broccoli casserole would only leave you hungrier in the end.

There may be another option. Daring. Risky. Potentially disastrous. There's a chance that you might be able to sneak back into the kitchen, find the sauce and the frozen pizza crusts, and hijack some casserole. You might be able to combine both the ingredients you long for and the ingredients available, exposing an otherwise repulsive dish to the things you find attractive. Perhaps the broccoli never had the CHANCE to be pizza. Perhaps, given the opportunity, the broccoli could see the errors of its ways and BECOME pizza. It's possible, even, that the broccoli will never be happy until it knows it could be pizza. And at the end of your efforts you emerge victorious, covered in flour and sauce, with a shining, golden, crispy broccoli pizza.

Or maybe the broccoli rejects all things pizza-like and becomes even more firmly a casserole. In this case, you walk away from the cafeteria and never look back, guiltless, knowing you did the best you could, knowing you made no rash judgements, knowing you made no mistakes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Backwards Glances, Second Chances

I've been struggling with an internal debate over the past few days. No, not whether or not I should attempt the Soprano solo in choir. It's more complicated than that. To sum the dilemma up in as few words as possible, is it better to trust your instincts (INCLUDING prejudices, unfairnesses, craziness) or give a situation/person time to play out (time in which you could get hurt)? That wasn't very few words. Oh well. I never claimed brevity among my MANY many virtues.
The thing is, there's this guy. Let's call him Mark. Mark and I met about two years ago, and we went out a couple of times. I wasn't feeling it. He was a little too quiet for me, didn't seem to have a great sense of humor, and just seemed... well, frankly, OFF. Just odd. Like something was not right. Plus, he seemed to want to dive right into the TREACHEROUS, deadly land of hand-holding and such (gasp! The horror!). So. After two "dates" (are they really dates if there's a huge group of friends involved and you never spend any time talking to the person?) we just never talked again.
Time has passed. Things change, people change. I changed. I had an interesting encounter the next fall which changed my perspective on guys, relationships, and what I want from them. And as time passes I'm growing ever more aware of this gaping hole in my life, this need for affection and positive male attention. So when someone suggested I get in touch with Mark, I considered it. And suddenly I find myself thinking... hey! This isn't such a bad idea! All those cons seem like pros- if he doesn't want to talk, great! I just found myself a new listener! If he wants to stride straight into romantic, physical stuff, perfect. (I'm talking kissing at most here, people, calm thyselves) And if he's a little weird, has some problems, well! I can STOP trying (fruitlessly) to change my best friends and try (fruitlessly) to change him!

So now I'm meeting up with this guy I basically know nothing about, on the hopes that my first impressions were wrong and he's secretly Mr. Wonderful. Or at least, you know. Mr. Bearable. But of course now my doubt chimes in... What if he's just as bad of an idea as the LAST guy I gave a second chance? (Ex boyfriend. Thought getting together to see a movie meant we were engaged. Ended badly all around.) What if he's not interested in me anymore and I end up spending two hours hearing about another girl? What if he's a crazed cyberstalker who wants to rape and murder me? (Did I hear someone say "overactive imagination"?)

The thing is that when I didn't really care, it didn't matter how it turned out. Now that I've started thinking how amazing it would be to be in a relationship, it's going to bother me more when it doesn't work out that way. Here I will insert some depressing quotes about hope.
"In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man's torments." ~Friedrich Nietzsche
"I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free." ~Nikos Kazantzakis
"He that lives upon hope will die fasting." ~Benjamin Franklin
"Hope — it is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength and your greatest weakness." ~The Architect (The Matrix Reloaded)
"Hope is the real killer. Hope is harmful. Hope enables us to sit still in the sinking raft instead of doing something about our situation. Forget hope. " ~Gringo Stars

To plagiarize and deface a line from "The Shawshank Redemption", fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can make you stupid enough not to realize it.

I suppose this all comes back to the same question of me singing that solo in choir I mentioned at the beginning- is the probability of failure worth the risk? And the answer, quite simply, is no. No, it isn't. Not for me. I'd much rather stand in the back row and sway along with everyone else, rather than risking sounding awful and earning mockery for a shot at attention. So I'm not doing the solo. Objectively, that should mean I tell Mark "have a nice life!", not meet up with him this weekend. Logically, it makes sense... risk being murdered by a possible crazy person for the chance that he's a nice guy vs. stay peacefully in my room, studying.

Somehow I don't feel any less confused.....