Saturday, February 17, 2018

History

"I mean, I get on well with pretty much anyone, really."

"Unless they have a history."

"Yes, you know, not that."

I'm sitting at the counter in a little bar that I have become fond of in the city. It's not Lonely Hearts Club, but I find that I enjoy going, reading, writing, drinking there. Sometimes there is an Argentinian guitar player and this brings me great joy. Sometimes it is just me alone, thinking about my history. For I am a woman full of history.

The chatter that is drifting from the conversation next to me had mostly been filtered out and was going unnoticed, the story is one of living a life of wonder and privilege that doesn't feel like enough: the new houses they want to buy, the IVF treatment they or friends are going to undergo, the kids they currently have, the relationships they are engaged in...so pretty, a life full of things and desires that go beyond needs and wants.

Having needs that went unmet for long swaths of time would most likely put me right up there in the "has a history" column. For this, I am grateful.

The pain and turmoil of my early life, the constant challenges in love and loss, the never ending fight with my own self worth and visions of who I am inside of this world, all of this building towards a pile of undeniable, unedited, history. My past has made many of the trappings of normalcy difficult to attain, given me an edge and sometimes anxious behaviors that I have no ability to control; creating difficulties and schisms in my psyche that live there with various patches. These are things that cannot be mended. These are the things that have made my history.

This record here, thousands of pages up on pages of trying to unpack and understand my own life and my own history, glorious and depraved, and written full of laughter, joy and tears. Dreams that have been both a blessed release from the challenges of the day and also a cursed reminder of all that I have lost to find this place where I am now.

Glasses clinking on the table as the women talk and insulate themselves from history and I smile and sip my wine and think about what it would be like if my history could be manifest: a great hulking cloud of all the things, all the pasts, all the knowledge and experiences...I smile a secret smile as I think about all the amusements in my history; stories that have helped me mercifully overshadow all the pain.

These women who talk want nothing of the past, it's the future, the acquirement, the perpetual chase for the next thing they want, and fulfilling their wishes for more want, and more normalcy and of course, more life that does not contain a history.

My history is my future and my past. My history is all of me.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Many, many dresses

I made five dresses, fixed two t-shirts, and edited five additional dresses.

And, somehow, I still feel like I was a lazy sloth this weekend.










This was an edited dress. When I started with it, it was basically a mu-mu. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Sewining, 2018

It happens a lot in my life. Me and my machine.

This time, me and my machine wrestled with 100 dollars worth of fabric, that is barely half of what I could have gotten for the same money in another country.

Doesn't matter. It was exquisite.

I sewed and I sewed and I sewed.

Three days, five dresses, two fixes, five edits.

There was an Anne Taylor dress that was practically a mu-mu when I started with it. I turned it into a tart little date night dress. Then there was the splatter paint print.

Or the one that looked almost like a Van Gogh.

I feel most real when I am in front of my machine. The act of creation is just...something I cannot explain. In the machine there is life, and I breathe through it and into it and when I am finished I look at all the things that I have wrote and I exist in that moment for a few more years.

I have things I made over 20 years ago tucked away in closets somewhere.

A different kind of art. A piece of me. A kind of art.


Someday, maybe, if I am found worthy as an artist, maybe these things will be. Who knows.

All I know is I took advantage of three snowdays to make so many wonderful things and it was exquisite.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Snow Day

A dog being sick managed to sideline me from my usual February challenge.

Chicago is cold. Last night a minor blizzard rolled through and dropped about 5 inches of snow.

That lake is exquisite.






Monday, February 05, 2018

Pretty People, Doing Very Fun Things

Yesterday was a strange day and my head felt as if it was not quite on straight. Partially facing down the breadth of mortality again, partially being on the road for so long, partially because my neck continues to play merry hell with my body and no amount of grinning and bearing is really effective at this point.

With all that on mind I decided what I needed was a movie. Being on the road and paid to entertain others all the time, I thought it might be nice to pay someone to entertain me. That and I wanted popcorn, damn the consequences and the carbs.

I managed to get into clothes and pour myself into a cab for the only 5:00 show I could find, which also happened to be the movie Jumanji. I looked at the potential offerings for the big box theater and also the Music Box before settling. Horror, as entertaining as it can be, didn't feel quite right. The coming of age complexities of a young bisexual male felt like it might push a bit too much in the other direction. I didn't want to rewatch something, leaving only two children animated movies and Jumanji. Since I enjoy Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and actually find him entertaining to watch, well, then yes. Settled.

Snow had been falling all day but the skies cleared as I got out in front of the theater. It was quiet on this Sunday afternoon, as I thought it might be, since the rest of the country was watching some ball game that I had no interest in. The theater had a total collection of two families with small children, one older gay couple, and me. In many ways, if you can't have an entirely empty theater to yourself, this was a good way to do it.

Popcorn achieved, I went to get my phone scanned, to get my ticket, to enter the theater. I enjoy this particular big box theater as it has clearly worked on an initiative to employ a variety of ticket handlers who are wheelchair bound, and super polite and cheerful. I always enjoy seeing people who want to work awarded with employment. It makes me smile to say hello and participate in the chit chat.

This particular older fellow was outfitted in a leather vest and rather a large assortment of LGBTQ flare which pretty much queued me into to his orientation and social politics.

"And how are you today young lady?"

"Well. Just here to see a movie." Scan.

"Oh, Jumanji, good choice a surprisingly entertaining film."

"Is it?"

"Oh yes. It's not very complicated. But..."

He looks me over for a second. I don't have any easy to spot flare that might designate my particular social leanings. Wearing black jeans with alchemy patches, Docs, a leather jacket, and my usual cloud of wild, black and brown hair, with leather bag strapped across my chest like some ancient warrior, I think he managed to figure it out.

"Well," he winks conspiratorially, "It is a movie that has some very pretty people, being pretty and doing very fun things. I think you'll like it."

He pats my hand and we share a smile.

His summation is the best overall review I can make of the film.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Death comes...

It's a strange thing to wake up and read about someone you know who has died. I think in my head as I read the message "again".

Again.

Someone I know has died.

And this is not the first someone I knew. Not the first someone I cared about. Not the first someone I've had to think of in the past tense; full knowledge that they do not walk the earth any longer. Their energy, capture for a time here, is released. Now they have gone back into the ebb and flow of the universe.

With this I can't help wondering when my particular matter will rejoin the earth and the universe. Mortality always lingers near death. As does the desire for vitality and anything which can be opposite of the end of all things.

This death, of my friends, is perhaps the most complicated. The person was a known antagonist and had managed, in the last few years life, to alienate completely from many who would have called said friend ten years before. So it was, growth, life, change, in both thinking and personality and situations and so we go through life.

Well do I know that those I love deeply now may have no love for me in a year. That those who I have spent so much time and energy and joy with, could, tomorrow choose to cast me away forever for a word, or a deed, or a thought misspoken. For a hurt I cannot correct.

I have no doubt I have hurt people.

I have no doubt I have helped people.

The only thing I know for sure to be true abut me, is that I make an effort to be what I think of as good: conflicted, difficult, proud, strong, weak, scared, and good in the only ways that I can find it.

I'm always sad to see people go. It feels me with weird trepidation and emotion and dark things low in the center that I can't completely explain. And yet, the only thing that anyone can be fully sure of is eventually, death comes.


Saturday, February 03, 2018

Seaslurping

"I love that you think oysters are a "snack"."

"They are a snack."

"A rich person's snack."

"I'm not rich."

"You are not poor."

That much is true. I do enjoy eating oysters when I can find places that have them. Now they make me think of freedom, life, salt, water, the earth and the cycle of my travels spinning around and around with no fear of settling.



Mountain Passes

The Company already has me on the road and hard. Some days I weak up feeling fully used and we are barely out of January and into February. Gods I want to complain, but I love it far too much. Strange places, strange hotels, strangers to meet, strangers to entertain, and me, somewhere in the middle of all of that being me. Being strange.

I think I've embraced the strange at the center of who I am with more vibrancy and less shame as I've gotten older. It's freeing, really.

So it was on a very fast strange trip that I found myself descending into Salt Lake City just before the sun set over the mountains.

I like mountains. I see them all the time, really, and rather enjoy them when I can be in them. Perhaps my favorite up to this point are the Andes, which are truly awe inspiring set of mountains to be in. I recall a moon over pink clouds shining down on me feeling close enough to touch. Perhaps a favorite memory, having a car full of locals who speak Spanish to me, with me answering back in pigeon Spanish and Korean; all of us piling out of the car to just stare at the  moon as it stares back at us.

Excursions to Latin American had not really prepared me for the Rockies. I recall being in the Rockies a very long time ago. There are at thousand miles in the backseat of a car when I was very young. Before the bad got very bad, when it was only a little bad but I was too young to know that it. So many late nights listening to adults talk in the front of the car as we drove through various winding roads, a quiet chatter to avoid waking the children. Staring at my own reflection in the night-mirrored window and wondering what magical mysteries would be exposed as we continued on the road.

On one of those trips, there had been the Rockies. I vaguely recall driving from the heat of the desert below and going up, up, up until the car was on the side of the road and the children piled out to see the snow in the summer time. Wet and icy and chilly, so surprising in the summer time, but still cool enough at the heights to allow the ground to maintain it's chilly covering. Old memories that linger far longer than the should, but among the few of those I have from childhood.

So it was that I found myself, then, descending into resplendence that is the Rockies. I don't know what else I can say about it. Driving about in the valley, shadowed all around  by the mountains presence, constant, daunting, a minute by minute reminder of how small one is in the world.

My companion and driver sat next to me as I commented on it.

"I'm sorry, I wasn't listening, I just...the mountains never stop," I said as I observed the mountains behind the capital.

"Yeah, I once worked with a guy, and he said after awhile you just don't notice."

"I don't know how that's possible"

"I wondered about that, too. I asked him. He told me that after-while you just forget to look up."

Perhaps if you are in it all the time. I'm not sure I could forget.







Friday, February 02, 2018

Batteries

I'm smart enough to make sure I always travel with batteries. The reason for this should be, of course, obvious. However, here I found myself, on a trip, without batteries at all.

This particular trip has been so busy I have been unable to rectify this particular situation at all. It's been, in short, a bit tragic.

Last night, I found myself eating dinner alone at a nice little restaurant next to a grocery store and I thought, yes, I shall get batteries here.

After dinner, and some wine, this fully left my mind and so I ended up, yet again, back at my hotel without batteries. I realized this as soon as I got out of the car that dropped me off.

Being an intrepid traveler, I shrugged and went to the desk and asked if I could get AA batteries.

"Sure we have those in the store."

I checked the store before I ask.

"We appear to be all out."

"Yes."

"Let me call engineer."

"Ok."

"Can we bring them to your room."

Thank the gods, I thought to myself. "Sure."

And so I went to my room and I got comfortable as I wound down from the day and sure enough about 20 minutes later there was a knock and a very happy to see me gentleman stood outside my door.

"You wanted batteries?"

"Yes."

"Do you need anything else?"

The look was mildly suggestive and mostly I was amused because I choose to be amused at this point. It's easier.

"No, thank you."

It took me far too long to get out of bed this morning.