Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Personal Sacrifice: Cannibalism Optional

Line right up folks, we're talking sacrifice ... the human kind. All you have to do is tear out your heart, offer it to the gods, and throw yourself down hundreds of stairs for good measure ... Hmmm ... Do I at least get knee-pads?

Aztec rituals aside, we make tons of sacrifices on a daily basis (most of them tiny). Some have to ability to change our lives for better or worse (and aren't voluntary). The question is: Are these kinds of sacrifices always worth it?Sacrifices are made in the name of responsibility, normalcy, and success - but at what cost? Have you ever seen the light leave someone's eyes when they talk about lost dreams? That, my friends, is what I'm terrified of.

Most people are afraid of getting old or being alone; I'm afraid of settling. With every big sacrifice, I feel like I lose important pieces of myself. More than this, I hate that most sacrifices are governed by societal rules - rules that are outdated, unrealistic, and prejudice. Who here really believes that a refusal to sacrifice certain, really important things is selfish or irresponsible? 

When it comes to the Peace Corps, I have gotten a range of reactions and, the closer I get, the more irratic they become. The most common is that I am selfish and cruel to leave Matt behind. Though I understand the sentiment, it's frustrating that I'm expected to give up my dreams so that he can achieve his. He would never be asked to stop making music because I wanted to attend an Ivy League school ... hell, most people don't even expect him to be faithful while I'm gone. Who are they to decide that neither of us will ever change ... or that life won't in the way ... or that I won't regret giving up something like Africa in ten years? How utterly ridiculous.

The Zen part of me believes that success is a result of letting go of control. I'm a big believer in trusting life. Most sacrifices are driven by attachment: the attempt to own, manipulate, or change something for personal benefit. The most difficult concept to learn is that conflict is created when we try to control everything. It causes vulnerability, to let go of contrl. It means we have to trust people and the path we're on. So I guess it all comes down to you.

As long as you want to leave your heart at the alter - throwing yourself down the temple stairs might land you exactly where you need to be. The amount of bruises you recieve along the way will depend on your resistance to the fall ... and, trust me, we're all gonna need a few stitches.

oh, and I almost forgot:
"modified fashionista Zen pose"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's the Craziest Thing You've Done ... In Bed?

that's my cat's: 'fashion' face

Hello! Okay, so as I promised, above are the last two days of my 'fashion-a-day' project. Because I work all weekend (and there's nothing fabulous about an apron), I'm running around in my undies today and don't plan on taking any pictures ... I figured I would save everyone the fright. Unfortunately, my neighbors don't have the same option: OOPS! Let's talk 'stories,' shall we?

A couple of nights ago, I attended a friend's bachelorette party. Oh, the bachelorette party ... aside from being a chance to embarass the bride with 'toilet- paper dresses,' penis straws, and public scavenger hunts, some people see it as a last-ditch effort to recount all of the silly, embarassing single things the bride did before she met her match. Once she starts talking (before or after a few martinis), it's everyone else's turn to compete for the most squeel-worthy account. Often times, cliche words like 'total skank' come up, and we start trying to explain away our behavior with these self-chastising, sterotypical labels. It's as if everything a girl has ever done must be locked into a 'husband-proof' safe and never spoken of again. But why?

I'm pretty sure most guys don't react this way ... sure, he doesn't want her to know everything he's ever done as a single guy, but he most certainly doesn't shove all his behavior underneath the marraige-rug. From my experience, a majority of married men act worse - especially in public when they're galavanting around without their wives. Of course, I understand that (working in a bar) my experience with married men may not be the best, but I've heard lots of strip-club (etc,.) stories from my married girlfriends - all of them normal, happy couples. So what's with our refusal to transition smoothly into the Twenty-first Century? Why do we insist on keeping these out-dated, stereotypical (and very Catholic) versions of ourselves for no good reason?

Is the world ready for a bunch of sexually self-confident women who refuse to call themselves promiscuous? Will the threads of our society become frail and crumble? Don't get me wrong, the night was pretty fabulous ... I just think I'd have a lot more fun if I didn't feel like calling myself a 'hooker' every two seconds because, every once and a while, I like to act like a guy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

If I'm a Rolling Stone, Where's all my Moss Growing?

I've fallen in-love. With who, you wonder (or, rather, what)? Well, with The Satorialist blog. If you're at all interested in pictures of people from different places (who are also stylishly unique), I'd suggest you fall in-love too (the blog is listed to the right). In addition to falling in-love, I've decided to be a copy-cat. The difference? My daily fashion subject is me.

I have no idea if this seems interesting to anyone else. Most people aren't as excited about style as I am ... most people equate it with pulling teeth ... others find it completely effortless (the bastards). My obsession, on the other hand, comes from the belief that feeling good about how I look helps filter pride into other parts of my life. It's about reflecting my personality - looking good for me, myself, and I.

Personal mantra aside, I've decided to try out this whole 'fashion-a-day' project in the hopes that I might be able to witness a personal evolution or two. Every post from now on will be accompanied by a photo (or a few, depending on the days that fall between) ... an introspection, of sorts ... kind of like that one guy on youtube who took a photograph of himself every day for six years and turned it into a cool 'evolution' montage. If you haven't seen the video, it's kind of cool (and inspired plenty of copy-cats that are equally cool). Here's the link, just in-case:

This project also comes with the strong feeling that my environment needs a little evolution. I'm sure my poor boyfriend thought I'd gone completely bonkers last night. I went rummaging through the house, cleaning clutter, talking about how I could rearrange the furniture to use the space better, frantically discussing my need for art to fill up the space. I have no idea what's gotten into me, but it's opinion about the colors on the walls is very strong.

With the Peace Corps standing over my shoulder, I've begun to shy away from discussing my chances of going to Africa with anyone. I think I'm afraid of jinxing what would be the biggest experience of my life - the experience that would frame what I did with the rest of my life. I want it so badly, I'm starting to falter in my confidence and need a strong dose of good ju-ju. Maybe this project (and the one involving my house) will be what I need to find my confidence again. It's like smiling. If you want to feel happy, all you need to do is smile = faking it is the quickest way to feeling it.

While my fingers are crossed, I wonder: What do you do to boost low confidence? And, while we're on the 'evolution' track, how would you track your evolution in a year (or six)?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's Like that Saying About the Trees in the Forest ... I think

In addition to spending the last few days brainstorming new 'blopics' (aka. blog-topics), I got a lovely new piece of technology to show off! My dad finally decided to relieve me of the tiny, bullet of a phone I've had for 6 years. This is the same phone that, on multiple occasions, has randomly shot itself out of my hand and into strangers faces when the moment least called for a phone-to-face confrontation. Thankfully, I got an 'upgrade.'

Pictured above is my brand new 'Tap.' Conveniently named for it's touch-screen capabilities, I'm surprised at how quickly I've adapted to life without buttons. Yesterday I attempted to touch the screen of a friend's blackberry ... multiple times ... and, upon realizing my idiocy, I shifted focus to the rolly-ball and had much more success.

What I really want to know is how an 'upgrade' could be applied to society. would it be like one of those easy buttons in the OfficeMax commercials? Could you take one look at your date, decide you want to push the big red button (conveniently located, for emergencies, in your purse), and suddenly, *POOF,* Gerard Butler: instant upgrade?

And, if we're really talking serious here, how does one go about earning an upgrade? Because you couldn't just hand them out randomly to people who didn't deserve them. I know for a fact that in most 'upgrade' situations, one person always gets more than another for no reason whatsoever.
(Unless, of course, it's like that old saying about the tree falling in the forest: if you don't see the upgrade, then it never existed.)

So how would we 'judge' society, in order to measure the upgrade-ability of a citizen? Because, without some kind of rule, there would most certainly be pandamonium ... especially if a date with Gerard Buter was on the line. Random side-note: does anyone care about how fictional Gerard Butler feels about being needlessly telaported from upgrade-date to upgrade-date on an hourly-basis? Yeah, me either ...

Upgrades. They seem a necessity until you realize that they're all about unfair competition for favorability between people. Then again, what's life without a little 'upgrade'? If anything, it brings reality into focus - even if reality looks completely ridiculous at 10X.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Drama: And I Don't Mean Shakespeare

Do you know what I love about drama? Absolutely nothing. I'm a fan of things that are fun, inspiring, and generally mellow-yellowDrama happens to be none of these things and it's damn proud of itself too.

They say that money makes the world go 'round, but I'm pretty they got it completely wrong. Ironically enough, they probably didn't realize that the rest of the world was talking trash about them and their money.

The problem I have with drama ... and, for the sake of argument, we'll narrow it down to gossip ... is that it's fueled by miscommunication and judgements. There's nothing I hate more than judgement. For me, it's a form of ignorance and that's my biggest pet peeve. I'm never wrong I could be wrong, but I like to think that I don't judge and, if I do, it's because I've been given reason to (aka. judged first, treated poorly, extremely misinterpreted). So when someone turns around and judges me without knowing me, it's like a being punched in the face for the first time. OUCH.


At work last night (Oscar's Oyster Bar) our owner tried out  a new late-night 'happy hour.' The drink specials were awesome and our favorite DJ played all night, but it was dead. If I'm being honest, I love my job - my boss is great, the people I work with are fantastic, and there's nothing better than gaining a customer's loyalty. Here's the catch: as much as I love my job, my success depends on my boss' success and the economy is kicking our ass. So, after doing busy-work and talking to the DJ one million times, my fellow employees and I started bouncing ideas off of each other and venting our (economic) frustrations. Because we all know each other and we all love Phil, none of us thought much of it - all we want to do is help Oscar's and we want Phil to know that he's not alone in the building of his business (it's a heavy burden to carry on one set of shoulders).

Apparently some (irregular) regulars overheard our conversation and started eavesdropping - completely misinterpreting what was being said and running with it. Why, you ask? Drama. That's the only answer I can come up with. So now, I'm shaking in my boots, hoping that our good intentions (misinterpreted by someone who doesn't know any of us or our relationships with Phil) won't turn into a big pile of gossip and drama.

So what's the solution (if there is one at all)?  Should I walk around with my tail in-between my legs? Should I become the mousy girl who won't make friends with her co-workers because she's afraid of being honest? Should misinterpretation turn me into a quiet, scared little girl? Life without risk or challenge isn't really life, but working in a bar (or working anywhere, for that matter) is like living under a microscope, in a tiny little box, with a bunch of people packed in, and a bunch of secrets to keep. Trust me when I say that DRAMA is the name of the game and it doesn't involve Shakespeare.

You know what? This is so not mellow or yellow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Style Channel Ain't Got Style Anymore!

I have something to admit ... I have an addiction and I'm pretty sure it's getting serious: I'm overdosing on fashion (and let me tell you, snorting the pages of fashion magazines is not an easy task).

The worst part is that, despite my efforts, I don't think I'm fooling any of my friends anymore; I wear my addiction on my sleeves, in the patterns on my legs, written all over my fabulous shoe collection, and occasionally on my head in the form of delicious woolen confections. It even materialized in a dream last night - in which I won a chance to walk the new Michael Khors runway. I woke up feeling fabulous until I realized it was a dream and immediately crashed from my euphoric fashion-high.

 My obsession became glaringly obvious to me, fellow historian Alicia, and dozens of innocent bystanders at Barnes and Nobles recently - I sat (a perfect cliche') in an adorable outfit (if I do say so myself) with a pile as tall as my torso (which isn't actually that tall unless measured in paper) of fashion magazines. In fact, that pile was so tall that it took me more than three hours to barely get through them (which means I had to set up another date with fellow fashionista Mekialaya - whose blog link is in the side bar).

Recently it's gotten a lot worse because, much to my chagrin, I noticed that I have entirely too few outlets for my 'use.' The Style Channel has forsaken one of its most avid fans by selling out - not to some big, unfashionable corporation - to the reality show craze; reality shows that have nothing to do with fashion or the latest fashion runways (see, Clean House and Supernanny). I mean, I remember sneaking peaks at  runway footage in-between commercials when I was in high school. Back then, I was style-restricted by a boyfriend who had no patience for hours of stick-thin models showing off gorgeous creations. Recently, having blown through all of my favorite (and distracting) TV series (see, TruBlood, Dexter, Diary of a Call Girl, The Tudors, and Six Feet Under) - I'm starting to get the fashion twitch again ...

So my question is what's with the reality freak obsession recently? I mean, for someone like me, there are only a handful of shows on different networks to satisfy my craving (Project Runway, What Not to Wear, Launch my Line, etc) - but for the most part, all of these channels are chalked full of useless reality  tv shows that have nothing to do with the network's who air them. Why is our society becoming obsessed with what other normal people do? I mean MTV, the music video network, doesn't show music videos anymore, just endless re-runs of reality shows filled with random (and useless) people.

Fashion obsessions aside: what does it mean for the next generation when everything boils down to text messages, myspace/facebook connections, IM conversations, and that immediate satisfaction addiction we're all plagued with?

With yet another decade gone, it's clear we all keep growing up ... and besides budding fashionistas ... I'm starting to wonder what most of us are growing up to be.