Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fat With Promise

One of my favorite memories from childhood flickers in my mind in dappled 70's film light. My friend Jill and I roaming her family's farm, playing in her treehouse, eating a picnic her mom made for us, fighting imaginary crimes. The group of  kids we played with at school were avid fans of superhero play, shaped mostly, if not entirely, by our television experience of the comic book stories.

I was thinking of this memory the other day as my work partners and I were talking about our favorite characters that we had growing up. Those days with Jill had a funny pattern for me. As would be expected, Jill would want to be Wonder Woman. And, of course, I would want to be Wonder Woman too. I mean, who didn't want to be Wonder Woman?
Or, rather,who didn't think that she was supposed to want to be Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman was good, she had a strong spine, she did the right thing with a very focused look on her face. She stood tall.

Catwoman was bad. She had a whip, she enslaved men's minds, she wore that damn hot suit that would forever shape my fashion choices.

But, with another girl around, there was the option of being Catwoman if I wasn't Wonder Woman and I really, really, really (although fairly secretly) loved being Catwoman.  I remember wrestling with this idea constantly.  Not wanting to be Wonder Woman must be should want to be the virtuous, good, solid character; the person who does what is right. Wanting to be Catwoman was definitely showed that other side that nobody gets to see, the side that likes to be naughty, shades of grey between the stark black and white of Batman. Delicious.

Thinking through this little-person-starting-to-grapple-with-fucked-up-whore/virgin-bad/good-guilt line of reasoning and all of the fallout that has gone with it, something just finally clicked. [I mean, Jesus, I am 42 years old and it finally just clicked.] This warring of my two sides has been with me for as long as I can remember. I live with it in spades every day. It's the me that wants to get up to go to yoga every day but hates the virtuous air of what yoga seems to be about. It's the side of me that likes to drink bourbon until late in the night and shake my ass to funk, even though I know I should be home. It's the me that wants to be a perfect mom, but the me that loses track of time and shows up late. It's the chaos muppet in me that my order muppet tries to corral. But, in truth, it is the manifestation of intense creativity that lies within me that must be allowed to prowl. It's the me who comes up with irreverent ideas, the me who speaks her mind, the me who is passionate and fierce and loyal. The one that the more she is constrained, the more she needs to claw herself free.

I am not sure why it has taken me years and years and years to come to terms with this idea and the bigger question is what to do with it. I'm fairly sure this is as common as dirt and that a million dissertations in feminist theory have been written on this experience of young females along with the gazillion theories of why young girls love horses, but I'm going to play here, unlock it a bit, try to find that place where Diana and Selina can co-exist; lighten each other up or calm each other down.

They Gather Their Courage and They Give It a Try

You can’t buy a simple pad of paper in the New Orleans airport. Paper as it exists here is either the kind of list pad that has “hot & spicy!” or “Jazz!” written at the top, or comes in the form of a lined journal with biblical quotes at the bottom of every page. So I’m destined to write this post with my thumbs. Maybe God is telling me I should have gone with the journal.

Another door closes today as my treatment in New Orleans comes to a end with the embellishment done by a guy named Vinnie from Baltimore who has a penchant for beautifully made hats. We talked about home tattooing and PCP trips and stories about his youth as he tattooed my tits. Tittats. Tittats™ could be a great marketing schtick except that Vinnie is known as the Michelangelo of areola tattoos and needs no marketing help. Vinnie, who is incredibly cool and lovely to talk to, is flying to Memphis to check out a hat store tomorrow. Tittat™ business is good when you are talented. Thank God for the likes of Vinnie. Maybe there is a bible verse for that in one of those little lined journals.

I’m feeling all sorts of sassy and consternated here in New Orleans, gathering all of my memories to tally them up and close them out in a last-chapter roll finale my experience here. It’s humorous that I went from flashing my tits in this fair city to getting flash-worthy tits in this fair city. That’s something I’ll put in the thank-you note to Vinnie who tells PCP stories but not likely to my drs who might find my tit-talk a little off-putting, a tidbit I gleaned not only from their demeanor but also from the Romans 5:1-5 quote in my parting gift. And so it rolls.

There are things that wrap with this trip. Now the next four years stretches out before me as I am done fiddling with things. I have to put all of this fiddling aside and live in the present because being in the space of still having medical things to distract me is over. I have to dig in and realign where I am. I have to settle into the reality of now. On the way back to the airport today, I listened to my cab driver speak about his life. He poured out his story, this man, about his daughter who had cancer, about his wife who was depressed for losing her mother a year ago, about the spot they found on his lung that he’s not sure what it is. And all the while he holds out hope, this man who had lost his restaurant to the hurricane and who was driving a cab even though he was proud to mention that he had a college education. This man who came from Iran and was delighted to tell me that the Persians prefer butter to olive oil in their cooking. He told me about Jesus and hope and his confidence that I would be fine. “Eat oregano and garlic and onions!” he said. “I believe you will be well!” he shouted as he craned his neck out the window. “And Jesus! Don’t forget Jesus!”

I’m eating blueberry granola on the plane and wondering if there is really gin in my G&T. I’m winging my way back to Michigan, leaving all of this behind. I’m flying without net. I’m flying onto what is next. I’m flying.