'...my thoughts i confess, verge on...'
ftn invited me over a couple weeks ago under the guise of crafts and getting our kids together in a competition of who can be more mind numbing, yet adorable.
the kids that is, not us.
i said no contest. even though i am a self-professed crafts failure, i am the creator of some truly stunning yet utterly bizarre children. so it was game on, as far as i was concerned. when i showed up for this little play date, he amazed me with the assortment of feathers, googly eyes and glitter he had available for the artistic portion of the day. i admit, i got a little woozy, so he encouraged me to sit and began plying me with country time lemonade. then he got a little sneaky. said he had some questions for me. honestly, the fumes from the craft glue and paint started to get to me and i was about to cave, but it was when he slipped on some neil diamond that i was entranced, willing to give him anything he wanted.
i acquiesced. i immediately began to regret my slipped comfort level, especially when he started jumping around like a weasel and rubbing his hands together. from what i remember, let me give you a glimpse into our time together...
********************oh boy, I get to ask questions. how exciting. (sidebar - i question just how excited he truly was based on the lack of exclamation points here. additionally, he was staring at my rack a lot, too, so there should have been at minimum 12 exclamation points after "oh boy.").We'll hit all the important topics here... Music, marriage, God, sex... But don't worry,I'll start off easy.
1) where did you get your love affair of:
- show tunes
- bad 80s synth pop
- bad 80s hippity-hop?
my love affair with show tunes is stunted at "grease" and "mamma mia," though it blends well with my marginal knowledge of "rocky horror picture show" and "little shop of horrors." i've seen "grease" more times than should be legally allowed, and much of my youth was dedicated to becoming sandy. every summer, my friends and i would drag my little record player out to my patio, que up the "grease" soundtrack i'd received for christmas, and act out the movie. our neighbor boy, jeff, was recruited to play danny for two reasons. first, he was the only boy on the block, so he reigned as king. second, i intended to marry him one day - whether he knew that or not - and our afternoons together was my seductive means of letting him know i was hopelessly devoted to him. by the time school was to start in august, i fully expected us to be riding off in the sunset in our flying car.
alas, i got over jeff. i did not, however, get over my passionate affinity for abba. borne in the third grade, my love for them is like a herpes diagnosis. it shall never leave me. nor, should you ever have the opportunity to see it, would the memory of my interpretive dance routine to "fernando".
my love for kick ass, amazingly wonderful, utterly timeless 80s synth pop is simply my means of connecting with a timeless aspect in my life. it was during that period where i felt nothing bad could ever happen to me, i had no real worries or responsibilities and i could build my collection of 45s with a little ill advised shoplifting. i spent most of my youth hidden behind a book and locked inside the music screaming out from a pair of giant sony earphones clamped to the sides of my head and i could never imagine anything being more perfect than those moments of escape, for that is truly what music and my imagination was for me then.
i believe i got my own stereo the christmas i was 11, and the first 45 i owned was blondie's "dreamin." from there, i graduated to other artists whose merits i often ranked purely on how cute they were. rick springfield? naturally. duran duran? my life's goal, after jeff rejected me for the neighborhood rizzo, was to marry simon le bon and carry on a torrid affair with john taylor. this further proves the that many of my male paramours simply weren't aware of how utterly devoted and amazing i could be. college brought the introduction of r.e.m. (no cute guys, so i had to take them at their musical levels), sinead o'connor, toad the wet sprocket, depeche mode, the smiths, u2 and inxs. some of the newer acts i gravitate toward today, such as my chemical romance, remind me of these artists as they emulate a sense of 80s style.
as white girl growing up in the midwest suburbs, my rap cred was as limited as it is today. my 45 collection includes frankie smith's "double dutch bus," afternoon delight's "general hospi-tale" (dr. noah drake, baby!) and sugarhill gang's "rapper's delight." rap was so nice and clean and wholesome! sigh...
i am a rumpshaker, though, and down to get the friction on.
ftn! this is really easy! nice and simple. have i told you i feel very comfortable with you and this line of questioning? can we go get manicures when this is done? i feel like we've really bonded, "bff-style." why are you looking at me like that? and why do i feel so drowsy all of a sudden? did you slip something into my "country time"?
2) that's enough with the fluff questions. on to something of more substance. if your husband really reads your blog, as you think he might, how have you managed to write about some of the things you have without either one of you ever bringing it up? even with his "avoiding" nature, aren't you surprised the topic never comes up? or don't you want to talk to him about it?
why are you being so mean to me? oh, you just - finger quotes - "want me to be honest" - finger quotes, eh? i am honest! all the time! especially at other people's blogs! what? what do you mean i can't change the subject? that i asked for this? fine...
this blog is an opportunity to purge myself of whatever might be on my mind at the time that honestly, after this many years together, i've learned may not garner me an actual verbal response from my husband. so i let things out here and if any of you choose to play along and remark back, i at least get the feeling that what i'm thinking isn't all just in my head. neither my husband nor i come from backgrounds ripe with time spent sharing feelings nor high praises and lots of affection, and even then, i still think he has an upper hand in that department above my own upbringing. so i'm never surprised that he never says anything to me about my writing or about the subjects i write about. why? because he has never said much about my writing, ever, in whatever capacity it's been presented. sure, it does hurt my feelings sometimes, but when i started writing here, i didn't even tell him i was doing this. that's probably because at the time i thought i could keep it as something that was "just mine" and because i didn't know how i was was fully going to use this venue. what i did know was that i wasn't going to use it as a means to bash him or our relationship, and i hope i've kept that aspect true. even when i've come here in frustration at something that involves him, i don't think i've discredited him, but more so tried to present whatever sides are there so i could come back and read them and see it from each perspective, if necessary.
do i wish he would say something from time to time? absolutely. he is the one person in the world i should most be able to talk to about anything and vice versa, but it doesn't work out that way here. and i'm not sure if it ever will. if he reads this and comes to me openly afterward, there's a chance i'll succumb to shock and this rambling manifesto will be the last thing you read from me. there's a part of him that is very insecure about the "how to" part of talking. he wants desperately to say the right things to me as opposed to just giving me whatever is there to start with. i'm guilty of editing myself around him, too, but probably to a lesser degree than i have been in our past because i've learned, somehow, that you just can't do that. our relationship is sometimes best described as a "you always know i've got your back" kind of relationship. there is more to me than just that. a lot more. but i can't change him into what i am.
saying all this, however, doesn't mean i haven't tried nor have i abandoned any efforts to get him to communicate with me. i've simply had to learn to temper my expectations that he's going to say something back to me, or (miracle of miracles) engage me first. i know he respects me and i respect him. we'd do whatever we could to make the other happy. we just don't know how to talk about it.
3) you've mentioned your involvement in your church before, but you also have some doubts and lethargy (if we could call it that) about christianity in general. do you think you aren't very comfortable in your present church? or are your doubts more of the standard "does god exist" and "why is there so much evil in the world" nature?
plain and simple, i truly don't "get it." i don't get how the people can profess to think their version of christianity is better than someone else's despite the fact we're all praying to the same god. i don't get this idea that all our days are numbered and someone can wake up one day perfectly happy and healthy and be unexplainably near death hours later. i don't get the idea that a god who is supposed to love us can take away the very thing we most want in life, such as a baby, and then expect me to learn something from the pain and suffering that still haunts me. i don't get how i'm supposed to base my partisan mind with my christian mind and cast my vote accordingly. i don't get how i'm supposed to look disparagingly upon a lifestyle that makes dear friends happy with the person they want to be with and yet be told to judge them. i don't get how i'm sometimes left feeling like i have to push the idea of christianity on people who don't push beliefs that don't gel with mine onto me. i don't get how i can be made to take the blame for something i have no inclination in my mind, body or spirit of doing, and yet be told i'll be a better person as a result of whatever happens. was i not a good enough person before? does a god who loves us truly wish to see me cowering in the corner of my kitchen floor, wracked in tears so immense all i wish to do is die? does he wish for lies to be told about me and present me with no way to defend myself? i wish i got it. i think i want to get it. at least some of it. part of me is closed off and another part is angry.
christians passionate about their faith have spoken to me about this epiphany they felt when they realized their life included accepting jesus as their saviour. i don't begrudge them this in the least. absolutely not. but i keep asking (and maybe not being totally open to, admittedly) the question "when am i going to experience that?" everybody's probably called to experience their faith differently. i'm not one of those people raising their hands skyward and jumping up to congregate near the stage when the pastor asks if there are any among us who wish to come forward in their faith. i chalk it up to being the reserved girl, but it's probably a lot more than that blanket reasoning. are we supposed to wake up one day, or experience some life altering event and all of a sudden have this wonderfully amazing testimony to share with others? what if we never have that? what if we never see things clearly? does it mean i'm less faithful? when my mind wanders and my efforts lack, does that not merit me a place in heaven? why do i feel the need to keep asking forgiveness for things i'm pretty sure i've been forgiven for when it doesn't feel like anything i've ever prayed for has been answered? ok, maybe answered, but does god really always answer in the negative?
i'm not trying to be trite, so bear with me. i was baptized in infancy in the presbyterian church. it was more tradition in my family than anything else. i had no basis of faith growing up. the bible was simply a big old dry book of 'thee's and 'thou's and words i didn't understand assembled in a way that i thought was simply designed to tell me what not to do. in my family, there was no praying, no spiritual discussions and no use of the word 'god' unless it preceded the word 'damn.' honestly, i never felt a void because i had no acclimation to this realm of thinking.
i was married in a methodist church picked solely on the basis of how gorgeous it's stained glass windows would look in my wedding photos. we did, however, attend services there for a time before our wedding and it was agonizing to me. i had no clue what was going on or what the reverend was talking about. the demographic was well above my husband and i, and not one person reached out to us in a welcoming manner. it was stuffy and formal and i felt like an intruder. i dreaded every sunday. almost two years after our first son was born, we moved to where we live now and noticed a growing number of new and progressive churches popping up as quickly as the housing developments. looking at our son, this blessing, we talked about setting some path for him and how going to church could be good for all of us. we'd open our hearts, we'd meet other young families. it would be a new opportunity for me and bring my husband back to his christian upbringing. so we picked a church meeting in a school gymnasium. very charismatic pastor, a rapidly growing congregation, and lots and lots of talk about "how god needs your money so we can continue to spread the word and his love to the people of the area." i sat there and wondered when it was going to be spread on me. that "not getting it" thing. not feeling connected to people, not knowing what was being talked about when the sermons actually veered back toward scripture. clueless. then we lost a baby and all i wanted to do when we'd get to church was scream. instead i cried at my little table and i yelled at god a lot in my head. empty. everything about it was empty.
about a year after that, talk still rages about money for god's kingdom and we decide the best we can spare is $200. let's invest and see if something good comes of it. and the next week, someone from the church steps up to the mic and informs us our very charismatic pastor won't be with us for a few weeks, due to personal issues. hmm. interesting. before the sermon was over, by the time the buzz caught up with us, we learned this man had been having an affair with the summer intern and of course he wouldn't be with us for a few weeks. he wouldn't be back with us at all.
before that day was over, my husband and i, a handful of the people we finally had connected with at this church and the associate pastor who had been hired only a few months prior to help out at this growing church, were meeting in the associate's home to discuss the fact that the he had quit the week prior after knowing of the affair for some time. honestly, i saw this turn of events as my way of stepping out, but before the night was out, my husband and i had a hand in the creation of the church we now attend and which recently marked it's fifth year.
and it's a church i'm comfortable in and one within which i've made connections with people i can trust and count on and question. but i still don't "get it." i hope, honestly, that all this time i've at least committed to the process is not for naught. i'd like to think there may be some type of reward for the fact that i am a good person at the end, but i'm not sure i'll ever understand how to achieve it, or if i'll ever be quite worthy enough.
4) here's a good one: what was really going through your mind, the last time some random blogger emailed you pictures of his junk?
plain and simple - thank you.
thank you india
thank you terror
thank you disillusionment
thank you frailty
thank you consequence
thank you thank you silence
you're not going to let it go at that, are you? who knew you were such a tough guy, ftn?
bear in mind (or "bare" in mind...heh. i'm a fun girl. you should really hang out with me sometime) that i'm not giddily opening up my email every morning and discovering new adventures await me thanks to some guy with a digital point and shoot and a couple spare moments spent in his bathroom. but if you casually mention panties, vibrators and things you may or may not have done with your husband or men from your past in a few blog entries, and the treasures may pop up from time to time. some have been warranted. some have been surprises. and as much as i dig surprises, well, chalk it up to being something i "don't get" all the time, either.
i mean, i at least wait until i'm asked before i share.
sure. and if i meant that, my first blog entry would have been a glorious presentation of the kick ass rack.
5) you are more comfortable discussing sexual issues (at least from a more serious, and less "double-entendre," standpoint) in the comments to other blogs. also, seeing as we seem to travel in many of the same blog circles, you have an interest in blogs that talk about sexual issues and/or problems in a relationship (or SIAPIAR, for short). why such hesitancy to discuss them on your own blog? and what issues have you wanted to mention, but have been too hesitant to bring up?
you mean like above there, in response to question four, where i tease the world with my rack again? until you mention this blog circle theory, i was of the thought that the blogosphere was comprised of approximately 20 people with a few other writers deeper on the bench waiting their turn to come in should one of the starters got injured or embroiled in some nasty contract dispute.
i don't think i've mentioned some of the SIAPIAR issues on my own blog because i simply don't know how to present them. and probably there has been some self-induced editing on my part based on my "readership" theory addressed above. i have, in essence, addressed my masturbatory habits and some sexual sidebars in a manner that haven't creeped me out (sorry to any of you who may have been, though), but i've yet to figure out how to go beyond that or if this is even an area where i should. maybe i should, eh, to at least get feedback somehow! and maybe i haven't because, yes, even though we eat too much freakin' vanilla ice cream around here, i'm not exactly dissatisfied with my sexual issues. though i have my moments. and i take care of them.
darn, i only get five questions? i could have kept going. if you get the hankering for more...
you know i'll do whatever you ask of my, ftn, especially in light of this time we've spent together and the myriad number of nicknames you have for me. so ask away! or better yet, do you have the "grease" soundtrack around here anywhere?
where did you first find your love for writing? journalism, journaling, blogging. where did it start, and who "kindled" that love?
as a teenager, i'd sit under the trees in my front yard, spiral notebook and pen as my sidearms, and i'd go into some 'emo' trance where i would write short stories. i have none of those works, nor could i honestly tell you what it was i was writing about. i never wrote poetry or song lyrics or such angsty teenage tomes. it was a means to escape the yelling going on in my house as much as it was a way to give voice to something so the silences that followed the yelling weren't so painful.
it's at this point in our visit, ftn, where i'm going to start to cry. well, i cried a little bit when you asked me about receiving "junk" emails, but i didn't want you thinking i was weak, so i past it off as my overwhelming respect for you and how it felt to be in your presence. but i'm crying now, for real. cry with me, won't you?
i didn't really share my writing with people. my dad may have seen parts of it from time to time, but mostly what he saw was my research papers for school, upon which teachers would scrawl something complimentary along with my grade. i never shared these things with my mom or sister or anyone else in my family. probably because of that whole "we're not a demonstrative people" issue as well as my feeling that what i had in hand was pure garbage.
we had no high school newspaper and the yearbook was just assorted pictures and no words, so my writing was limited to coursework then. my 11th grade english teacher took a moment to write "you should consider writing" across a "compare/contrast" piece i'd done about "julius cesear," and honestly, having no feelings about where my talents were at the time, i took that comment to heart. when i went to college, i declared myself an english major and thought i'd teach school. then, in the middle of a literature class it struck me that if i pursued that goal, i'd be standing in front of a group of people who looked as apathetic as i felt, teaching "romeo and juliet" every semester until i retirement and i panicked.
so i switched my major tp journalism and discovered i'd have to start talking to people. nevermind i was painfully shy and panicked at the idea of approaching strangers for quotes, that i doubted every word i ever put on paper and that i absolutely didn't wish to ever work at a newspaper. then i found a voice and was able to put that voice to paper and those papers would go out to people who would read me. even though there was times i still felt i was faking it, it felt amazing to know there was something i was good at.
when i graduated, i got a job doing the very thing i swore i never would do with my degree. hired on at mere pennies as a county newspaper reporter. less than two years later, i become editor and endure that abuse for just a few pennies more for seven years before going into nonprofit public relations, where i made dimes for five years before being laid off. laid off and quit writing. completely. until last fall, when a blog friendship developed and that person pushed me to use my voice again. commanded it, even. so i did. put up a couple posts, figured no one would ever read me and i'd take it down and be done, all "i showed you" style. but then i realized i still had a voice, and though some of what i may have to say may be so insanely wordy (like this post. if you've made it this far, you deserve a home cooked meal, dessert and a game of your choice at my house this weekend), or say absolutely nothing, and people i've connected with in this realm have welcomed me and remarked to me and given me support when even i didn't realize i needed it. to not do this anymore would be a loss to me. perhaps not to any of you, but definitely to me. i've missed writing. i'm thrilled those of you who have come along with me have shown me how to do it again. one day i think it would be pretty kick ass to see someone purhchase a book with my name and photograph on it rather than sell them some churned out tome by someone else. even if the only copy that sold was to a friend, i'd be satisfied.
and one bonus question: if i ever get the opportunity to go on tour with "penchant for panties," will you sing backup vocals?
if by asking me this you really mean will i don fishnet stockings and thigh high boots, slide up around the members of "papier mache penis" and demonstrate my personal guitar moves, the answer is yes. tricia thongs, lead singer and creative force behind "penchant for panties," and i have an unspoken agreement that i do whatever she commands. this sometimes means waking up her "tour conquests" and telling them it's time to leave beause ms. thongs doesn't like to be reminded of her little unpleasantries, but honestly, that brief moment in the spotlight makes it worth it. so yes, i'll gladly be singing back up. but i want one of those "voice changer thingies" and i want to share the mic with you. i figure dancing around you while you wear a sock and simply stand there is my ticket to fame, baby. let's work on our contract rider over more "country time" now, shall we?
oh, and before i forget, ftn, i think it's cute you typed in all lowercase letters, too!
and that those of you who made it through this did so without gouging your eyes out or calling for my immediate dismissal from the blogging world. i'd like to take this opportunity to say that it's my firm belief that i'm the last known blogger to take this interview meme on and therefore, to spare you all, will not be keeping it moving. call me selfish if you wish, but i think you'll all be thanking me later.
especially when you remember how long this entry was. and you thought i was wordy before, eh?
still not crafty, though.