Thursday, March 29, 2012

"A thinking woman sleeps with monsters"

Work is insane. Theatre is ramping up to insanity. Friends are going through hard times. I bought the wrong lottery ticket and didn't even win on the wrong one. I cannot seem to make myself ingest a vegetable to save my life. The scale is jeering at me in my mind. Things are just A LOT right now. And then Adrienne Rich passed away.

The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.

I was first introduced to her work in college, living in a house full of feminists. It was one of those quintessential college moments where a bunch of young women sat around talking about things that mattered. Sure, we did our fair share of watching 10 Things I Hate About You and planning elaborate theme parties, but the best times were late at night, sitting on the grimy floor of the kitchen talking about Ideas and Ideals and The Values of Feminism. And one of the women brought out her Adrienne Rich books. Being a sucker for poetry, I was hooked immediately.

Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false namings of real events.

I don't remember who exactly brought it out or what else happened. I imagine it was probably D, my roommate at the time, and poetry nerd extraordinaire. At that time I was either going to minor in Women's Studies or Poetry. The major in Theatre Arts was already set. Ah, but I was a lazy feminist and I had heard that Global Fem was a super hard class and, lord, I was way more interested in doing plays than taking tough classes. So the decision was made! Poetry! ...Except that the writing classes I could actually get into were short fiction classes and I had a tough time with the poetry professor. It didn't end up really mattering in the end. I crammed my brain full of poetry anyway.

and among those images
one woman's meaning to another woman

So the feminist activist theme house was actually called the Womyn's Concerns House. With a Y. I understand the genesis of this particular spelling but I despise it. I just cannot make myself look at that and think it looks correct. By the time I graduated, WoCo was no longer in a free-standing house at the edge of campus and I was no longer living there. I hold on to those nights, though, sitting in the kitchen either on the floor or at the tiny table or on top of the washing machine, talking to my friends about things we thought we were the first to discover.

It's exhilarating to be alive in a time of awakening consciousness; it can also be confusing, disorienting, and painful.

I miss talking about things that matter. And I know, to the people who actually knew and loved her in the flesh, Adrienne Rich will be missed dearly.

italicized text by Adrienne Rich. OBVS.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day! To celebrate this day of women, I am going to go to the pharmacy and get my next pack of Slut Pills! (Thanks, Rush [not the band].) I have a bigger response to that whole thing but I'm not going to do that today. Not on International Women's Day! No, today I want to tell you some Truths from the inside of being This Woman.

Truth 1
Sometimes I think I look like this:

But then I look in the mirror and feel like this:
 (Note: actual picture of me at age..12? 13?
I don't know, something awkward.)

Truth 2
My brain can be a scary place. Sometimes scary in a good way, like when I realize I can still balance chemical formulas (which makes NO SENSE since I haven't done that since high school). Sometimes scary in a bad way, like when I have very long imaginary conversations that go in circles. I mean loooong.

Truth 3
Something happened to me in the last three years and I turned into a person who day dreams about settling down and having 800 kids. Not 800. I'm no Duggar. But you know what I mean. My college self is HORRIFIED by these day dreams.

this girl is like "I am NEVER getting married! Feminism!"
(and Alex is like "Beer!")

this girl in the red is like "Marriage is a choice. Feminism!"
(and Cait is like "Drop it low at my reception!")

Truth 4
...but I know I have time. And I know I'm lucky that I live in this era where I can be almost 32 and feel like I have tons of time before science is like, "Now or never, beeyotch."

Truth 5
My sister is a brave girl going through some tough stuff. I am always too hard on her. She is never hard enough on me. We're working on being invincible together, though. This is my favorite picture of me and Stupidcleese. I always want us to be feeling like we look in this photo.

Truth 6
It is almost impossible for me to feel proud of my accomplishments in the moment. I don't know why, but I tend to want to store those moments away and deal with them later. Oh, if there is a failure? I absolute cloak myself in that and go through every piece of it for hours. A triumph? Think about it later. I wonder what exactly I think is going to happen if I feel proud of myself. I'll become some terrible jerk? MORE so than I already am?

Truth 7
We're all jerks. We all say stupid, hurtful things. We all ignore people out of ego or fear. We all talk shit about people. We all procrastinate and do things that set us back. We do it to ourselves. But we're all also capable of deep love, forgiveness, kindness, and restraint. We are capable of positive action. The challenge is to tamp down the jerk and let the awesome person show through.

Truth 8
My mom is a generous, funny, resilient, complicated woman. I know she always has my back and that I can pretty much always make her laugh. She has never told me there is anything I can't do. This is my favorite photo of me and my mom. It's pretty terrible, but it's us.

Indeed, that is an inflatable saxophone.

Truth 9
I spend more money on hair products and moisturizers than I do on food. Oil of Olay alone gets 10% of my yearly salary. I recognize that people may think this to be silly, but those people can bite me...and if you bite me, you'll find I am very soft. THANK YOU, OIL OF OLAY!

Truth 10
On this International Women's Day, it took me 5 tries to get dressed in an outfit I liked. I cried because I've gained weight. I also got my period. I'm feeling pretty low about some recent behavior. I feel like I should have so much more figured out by this point in my life than I do. I'm trying to be patient about my career. I'm feeling thankful for my friends, who are all very strong and very fabulous. I'm very lucky to have strong feminist men in my life. On this International Women's Day, it is so gorgeous outside that it feels like my heart might explode out of sheer hope for Spring. That's the truth.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Oscar rundown 2012: The Bad!

It is time.


Maya Rudolph!

Looks like Ms. Thing went straight from Bridesmaids to Mother of the Bride. (uuugh, I know.) It's frumpy and unflattering. Methinks Maya needs some styling help.

Kate Mara!

I cannot decide if that's a sleeve, the world's fanciest sling, or if her dress is attacking her. One wrong move and this whole thing is going tits ahoy! And to make matters worse, this dress looks like an expensive lamp in a seaside tourist shop. Go home and start over, Mara. Take your lactating sister with you.

Julia Ormond!

EEK. Unflattering fit across the midsection, significantly under-applied makeup, and folk festival hair. I think my disappointment is heightened because I used to dream and wish to look like her. SIGH.

Sandra Bullock!

BULLOCK! WHY!? Can you not tell the difference between a bag and an Oscar gown? Do you seriously not understand that your features look far too severe when you wear your hair like that? Which friends told you to tuck an ill-fitting tshirt into a black skirt and wrap some ferns around your waist to keep the thing together? You need new friends.

Colin Firth and Wife Person!

Oh girl, oh no. Between the matchy-matchy lipstick, the twee little bow on her bag, the wall sconces on the bosom, and the sheer red modesty panels, the only good thing I can see about this woman's outfit is the sweet accessory to her right. You guys, this dress is SO BAD. So bad.

Lea Thompson!

Look at this and imagine it without the wrap and without the sequins. Maybe it's pink and striped instead. Is this or is this not the maxi dress you wrinkle your nose up at in the basement of Anthropologie? Someone call Doc Brown. I'm going to need to go back in time and convince Lea Thompson not to wear this tasteless, unflattering thing.

Melissa McCarthy!

Ditch the sleeves, lose the train, minimize the skirt volume, and change the color to navy blue. There: now you look great.

Shailene Woodley!

Oh man, do I hate this dress something fierce. It's far too mature for Shailene, for starters. This screams 3rd wedding at an inn in Vermont. For another thing, it's just slightly too long in the skirt and the band from waist to bust comes up just a hair too high, which makes her boobs appear saggy. I don't know, it just looks like an adult christening gown. YOU CAN DO BETTER.

Glenn Close!

Remember that part in Bridget Jones where Daniel Cleaver takes her on mini-break and she loses her scarf and her hair ends up one giant wind-blown mess? THAT IS NOT A GOOD INSPIRATION FOR A RED CARPET LOOK. As for the dress, it's just too much stuff. If we lop off that ridiculous train and maybe see the tux jacket in a different color, I think I could be on board with this. The green is perfect on her. The fit of the dress is imperfect, though. It seems to fit well in the torso but then you look from waist to knees and it's too tight but also bunching. Overall, this is simply not working.

Kristen Wiig!

I give up with this one. Wiig, you're on probation. Go over there and sit with Julie Bowen until you learn to wear colors and pick flattering silhouettes. You exhaust me.

Melissa Leo!

I am convinced that Melissa Leo has the worst fashion taste in Hollywood. Her dress is designed to look like a collared short-sleeved shirt worn under a strapless dress. I mean, let's just start there. On top of that, the dress is big on her. How to solve the problem of a sequined dress half a size too large? Just throw a silk scarf around your waist! The makeup is very natural and office-appropriate - ZONK. On top of it all, her shoes don't go with her outfit!

Here's the difference between Kristen Wiig and Melissa Leo and why I am not putting Melissa Leo on probation: I honestly believe that Kristen Wiig can do better, but I acknowledge that Melissa Leo is beyond hope. If something is ill-fitting or full-on bizarre, Melissa Leo will wear it proudly and think she looks awesome. And this is why I hope Melissa Leo is on every red carpet forever. Bless her heart.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Please stay tuned....

My dear readers, my day was totally insane and I have to go pick up my friend's kid at day care in half an hour. I'll post the Bad tomorrow. So sorry to keep you waiting!