My Quiet Life of Desperation

Sometimes I question whether I’m missing some piece of mental machinery every human is supposed to have.  Some essential brain cog of empathy or social deftness that would enable me to understand other people’s actions, or more importantly, my own.

 

It’s like this.  I’m confronted with a situation any ordinary person would see as easy to deal with and my mind runs a million miles a minute trying to put the pieces of this great social puzzle together in order to come up with the appropriate response.  My heart’s tearing me one way, telling me to run, run as fast I can, and my mind’s gently coaxing me in the opposite direction saying I should stay and fight the panic.

 

“We can do this,” my brain whispers.  “It’s just a couple variables plugged into some great social algorithm we have yet to discover.  Just crack the code, crack the code…”

 

I want to choose to fight, but more often than not it’s flight that I choose after a couple of feeble jabs.

 

It’s not that I’m some big social pariah or even that one could tell I’m having a hard time dealing with the occasional social situation, but it’s clear as day to me of course.  I’ll feel like I’m in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants where the driver’s ed. teacher, Mrs. Puff, tries to teach Spongebob to drive through a simple obstacle course.  There’s always someone in my brain screaming “Floor it! FLOOR it!”  

 

It’s frustrating.

 

Luckily my socio-emotional car wrecks don’t end in any physical casualties that heal by the very next t.v. episode.  But I still have to deal with emotional wreckage.

 

No.

I’m being dramatic. 

 

Wreckage is too strong a word for it.  It’s not as if I slap people and insult their mothers every time I feel socially gangly and awkward. 

 

I might just give a one word response to an essay-like question or offer a cold one-handed wave rather than a warm two-armed hug.  Just little things.  But these little things can make a big difference when it comes to relationships, and I feel at a loss when I have to deal with the after-effects with no sane explanation for my actions.

 

I mean, what do I say?

 

“Sorry, I was having a mini-emotional breakdown, but I’m better now.  We still good?”

 

Maybe I’m still just being dramatic and even the average ‘Normal Guy’ has these breaks in reason, but I wouldn’t know.  I’ve never considered myself “normal.” 

 

~LDA

So Apparently I’m a Naked Mole Rat

I stand here,

toothbrush dangling from fingertips,

staring at myself in the mirror.

I stand here for five minutes straight, with my face wet from rinsing, trying to convince myself that I think I’m beautiful. Just the way I am. Right now. In this moment. Water soaked mustache and all.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did that throw you off? I’m a girl, so I’m not supposed to have a mustache, right?

Wrong.

I do. And so do most women though we might try to hide it. Don’t get me wrong. My stache isn’t long enough to cuaf into curly points or anything, but it’s there. A little dark layer of peach fuzz who especially likes to come out to play when my face is wet. It’s not too noticeable otherwise  (unless you’re mere inches from my face), but when it is, it IS, if ya’ know what I mean. It kinda slaps you in the face and demands to be looked at. Almost as if someone’s pressed zoom on a camera and the focus just happened to land smack dab in the middle of my upper lip.

Quite frankly, it’s distracting. Or at least I think so. I imagine someone leaning in to kiss me and then recoiling in sudden disgust. AWKWARD.

“Naw, naw. You’re fine,” I tell myself. “This is your natural face. It’s just the media that’s got you convinced you need to change. If a guy can’t handle you and all your ‘ugly’ he can’t handle you anyway.”

But then I stand there making kissy faces for another five minutes, trying to get the positive concept of myself that’s in my heart become true in my brain. I still haven’t succeeded. Somewhere along the line, us women got convinced that any and all hair is the bane of our existence and now we’re plagued with the constant removal of it.

Remove some hair here, cut a patch there, rip off all those babies over there. Never mind the unnecessary pain it causes you!

It’s pretty ridiculous.

I made the societal compromise of removing my leg and armpit hair a long time ago because even as a little girl who was just developing into a woman, I was told which changes in my body were acceptable and which were not. At the ripe old age of thirteen I mowed down those leg hairs with zeal for the sheer convenience of not being pointed and laughed at. Even though I couldn’t for the life of me see the need, I swallowed the idea that my body was unacceptable as it was like Nair flavored Tic Tacs.

“So I look ugly and gross like this,” I thought. “That’s okay. I can change it at least.” So I did. And I continue to every couple days.

But up to this point, I’ve been able to stand by one little shred of self respect for my natural body by leaving my shadow of a mustache alone. A declaration of “this is where I draw the line.”

So why is it that just because I’m faced with the prospect of another human being coming close to my face, the self esteem brownie points just shiver off of me with ease? Is my resolve really that shallow? I mean, sheesh! Isn’t my body mine? Why should I have to cower in fear as someone judges my body? Almost as if it’s some offering I have to beg to be accepted.

“Oh, please, master! Tell me you’re not repulsed by the piece of humanity that is my body hair!”

I mean, really?

I realize body hair, especially facial hair, is sort of seen as the mark of a developing male, but where and when in the medical textbooks did we erase the part where female hair production increases during puberty as well?

Female facial hair. It’s a thing, men.

Why do you insist on asking us to play this little charade where we pretend we’re naturally hairless, and “oh, I just woke up this way”?

We’re human. Grow up.

When the facade of what you think a woman should look like begins to affect us so badly that most of us women feel like we’re basically forced to spend countless hours (not to mention dollar bills) on hair removal, I think there’s a problem.

Why should I have to pretend I’m some kind of wig wearing naked mole rat with eyebrows that just happened to be on fleek?

I’m not a naked mole rat, guys. I’m a female human.

And guess what? I’m also beautiful just the way I am and I’m going to keep telling myself that until all the brainwashing fades away and it sinks in.

~LDA

Jesse McCartney Was Wrong: Ugly Soul

 

People are so imperfect.  

No matter how much faith you put in them, they always seem to let you down, at least at one time or another.

 

I know.  I must sound like I’ve just gone through some terrible betrayal recently or something.  That’s not the case.  Quite the opposite actually.  I keep self-reflecting on how unreliable I, myself am at my core.

 

Well, I guess in a way I have gone through a betrayal, a self betrayal.

 

I expect others to depend on me because ‘reliable’ is a characteristic I’ve come to identify myself with, but in reality I let myself down so often that it’s a ludicrous request.  Almost like I’m setting them up for failure out of some egocentric desire to prove that I can be sure of myself at the risk of others.

 

There’s that saying that friends come and go, but family never fails, but I think that’s an exaggeration.  Even the most devoted of mothers fails her child in numerous ways throughout their life.  That’s why people love to point to their messed-up childhood, no matter how perfect, and find excuses for why they are the way they are.

 

It’s so much easier to look outward for the cause of our imperfections, to point the chocolate smeared finger in another’s direction, all the while hiding the cookie jar behind our backs. 

 

Humans are so flawed that they have given up looking inside themselves and trying to rectify what’s wrong.  Our ugly souls are too scary to look at so we give up altogether.

 

A lot of people like to point to this as a main cause of religion.  They say that we have allowed ourselves to become so weak that we like to turn to some Santa-faced deity to fix our problems for us.

 

God is a crutch, they say. 

We don’t need him and he is therefore dead, they say. 

 

But I wonder if the people who say that have ever wondered whether or not we turn to someone else because we’re not only weak, but right.  Maybe we are too messed up to fix ourselves.  Maybe we do need someone else.  And maybe that cloud gazing instinct is a result of some programmed default feature that is triggered when we have finally exhausted our energy and options.

 

People are so imperfect. 

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some big, fluffy Papa in the sky to swipe away tears and reset our central processing units?  Would it really be so wrong to rely on someone who was actually reliable?  I know, I know.  There’s suffering in the world.  How can anyone view that as reliable?

 

I think an important question people forget to ask concerning the problem of suffering is who’s causing the suffering?

 

Is there a God wreaking havoc while he points and laughs?  Is there a God sitting on his divine keister, watching us like television?  Or maybe there’s a God reaching out to us in non-material ways that are so unanticipated we neglect to even acknowledge them.

 

Maybe he’s busy trying to help us fix our ugly souls. 

 

~LDA

I Think, Therefore I Am: Jaw Troubles

There’s this really weird thing that happens to me every couple months or so where I suddenly don’t know where to place my jaw.

 

I know.  It sounds absurd, but I’ll wake up one day suddenly feeling that my jaw is out of place.  Not so much in the sense that’s it’s been dislocated or anything drastic like that.  Only that I don’t know where to put it.  It seems as though there isn’t a position that seems natural anymore.

 

I’m suddenly asking myself, “How do I usually hold my jaw?  Do I usually have the teeth on either jaw touching each other, or do I usually have my jaw in a loose position?”  And usually as a result of all this clenching and unclenching, I feel exponentially worse, my jaw have tightened into an unnatural position.

 

It’s the most confounding thing to wake up one day and find that you don’t know yourself.  I mean, it’s something that we humans pride ourselves on, right?  “I may not have a clue as to what’s going on in the world or if any of it has any meaning, but if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that I know myself.”

 

“I think, therefore I am,” right?  It’s that one thing that the average everyman can agree with those lunatic philosophers on.  That we may not agree with all the rational nonsense that follows that premise, but we can agree that the one thing we know without a shadow of a doubt is that #1:  I exist and #2: I’m therefore the chief consultant as to all the nitty gritty details of that existence.

 

Because, well.  I’m me.  And who could know more about me than me?

 

Who could possibly know me better?

 

I’m the person most concerned with me despite what I might choose to believe about love and the nature of that loaded L-word.  There’s no one on the planet who could possibly be more obsessed about my existence and the well-being of it than the wonderful, talented, consequential, worth paying attention to, special in every way, moi.

 

And yet, there are days when we wake up, and we suddenly don’t know how our jaw is supposed to go, or if it ever went, or where it went for that matter. 

 

How can I, the one and only specialist on me, claim to know the stuff I’m made of when some days I don’t even know how to use my body.  How can I when I find myself wondering if there was ever even a set way that I held myself to begin with?

 

If I can’t even figure out how to gain control of my body, how can I ever hope to gain control of my mind, never mind my spirit, the very essence of who I am? 

 

I don’t want to act like I can speak for the rest of you, but sometimes I wake up and wonder how on Earth I got to where I am and if that even happens to be where I intended to go in  the first place.  I have these short and long term goals set for myself.  I take note of them in journals and write them on my walls in the form of handy little sticky notes.  And even while I find myself satisfactorily check marking and taking them down from my walls, I always ultimately end up in the same place. 

 

“Wait, why am I doing this again?  This is what I intended to do and where I intended to go, right?  Have I accidentally turned down a side street and completely lost track of the main road?”

 

I always find myself questioning who I am and whether or not this is the stuff I want to choose to make myself out of.  Will I be satisfied in the end?  Will I be able to sigh a contented last breath and know that I took my freedom to think seriously?  Will I be able to look back and see footprints burnt into asphalt from the sheer decisiveness of each step that was taken?  Will the direction of those steps reflect my inner most thoughts and convictions back at me?  Will I recognize myself and the distinctive angle of my jaw?

 

I guess all I’m trying to say is, I DON’T KNOW.

 

And I like to tell myself that this is a good thing, even though it’s pretty contrary to any linear and straightforward form of logic.  Because I don’t believe in straight lines.  When I was child a visual arts student once told me, “There are no such thing as straight lines.  Only dozens and dozens of hesitant strokes that trick you into thinking they’re straight.”  And at the time that I heard this, something resembling an unanticipated breath of relief escaped my body.  Like I had been trying to conform myself to something I knew I never had been and could never become, and now I was free.

 

I didn’t know why at the time, but I believe that this revelation was one of the many beginnings of the unbelievably sketchy circle that is my life.  I believe that I discovered the secret that it’s okay not to know, or maybe even better.  If you’re constantly willing to admit that you don’t know, won’t that just keep you in check and make sure that you keep verifying whether what you think you really knew you actually know?

 

But who knows.  Maybe that’s just another thing I like to tell myself.

 

After all, I simply don’t know.

 

~LDA

 

 

Building a Self Image

I feel like it’s once you hit the 4th grade that you start questioning how cool you are.

How hip.

How on the level.

How legit.

At first you judge yourself based on what you yourself think is cool, but then you quickly realize that when it comes to the world, they care more about what they think. So you start to conform and forget about your own opinions.

And it just gets worse as we grow older,

but hopefully we reach a point when we realize that most of the world is basing their judgements of “cool” off of what others are doing anyway.

Including you, who is basing yourself off of what the world is doing,

thus creating a vicious circle.

It’s at that point that maybe, just hopefully, you realize that you’re in fact the coolest person around.

That is, only if you come to terms with being totally and completely uncool.

Yes, you read right.

Uncool is where it’s at.

You discover the truth that if you derp around confidently enough, others will almost unfailingly follow you.

In truth, this is basically the primary law of the entire “Hipster Movement,” if I go so far as daring to affiliate myself with such a thing.

“If I walk around in these uncool clothes, with this uncool attitude, and my uncool ideas with just the perfect amount of confidence, then the world will submit to my views because I’ll have convinced them they simply must be missing something if someone like me manages to walk around with as much conviction as I do,” the dutiful hipster thinks to themselves.

And better yet,

I’ll manage to convince them, and myself, that I don’t even care what they think to begin with. Because who wants to be mainstream, anyway?”

Perhaps regrettably, there is a grain of truth to this logic in that if “you” just “do you” you’ll end up looking put together no matter how scattered you really may be, simply by virtue of being comfortable in your own skin.

People will look at you and think, “Gee, that person isn’t looking to the left and to the right every five seconds to see what everyone else is doing like I am. They must really know what they’re doing.”

Because those hipsters, they were really onto something.

That is of course until everyone started trying to be “hipster cool” by being uncool, thus negating their uncoolness, which if they actually took a moment to think about it brings them back to being truly uncool…because they’re only trying to be uncool because it is cool, which is decidedly, uncool.

‘Naw mean?

In other words,

My true derpaloids are only those who derp truly.

Shout out to you derpaloids.

You the real MVP. 😉

~LDA