If I could choose any superhero power I would choose beauty. This is a brand-new power, so bear with me.
It is not that I think I am unattractive. I am cute. And it works for me. I am unthreatening. I entertain, I blend. Occasionally I can cause a giggle.
Beauty, like any superpower, can be dangerous. As Ani Difranco says "everyone harbors a secret hatred for the prettiest girl l in the room."
Too much of anything makes people uncomfortable, or suspicious. Power also intimidates. In any form.
On the other hand, all human beings, of any culture, trust attractive people more. The more attractive you are, the more honest and loyal you are assumed to be.
This is why beauty as a superpower is brilliant. Most of the time, through everyday life, you are a normal person drawing no extra attention and causing no controversy. Your alter ego, secret identity.
But in those moments when you really need it:
When pulled over for a traffic ticket
If ID'd for a club when you forgot your license
Those last minutes during the closing of a sale
At the closing of a job interview
You pull out your superpower and BAM!!! It was the edge you needed.
Now, just like when you are given the opportunity to choose any superpower - as we normal people are given the choice in that it is all theoretical - would you use your powers for good?
Of course!!!! Collecting money for charity, helping other people feel more attractive by proxy...oh, and the phenomenal masturbation fantasies I would provide!!
I just ask when this new superhero is created she is called Rockstar. Okay, and a 2% royalty. Unless I write my own graphic novel...
Anyone know any cool female graphic artists? Hmmmmmm
I was in Ali Girl's office earlier today, talking about personal gossip, kind of quietly as to not advertise my juicy stuff to the world. But not in an overtly conspicuous or secretive manner, as I really have no secrets.
As I was leaving her office, a coworker was walking by. And then stopped quite suddenly, inquiring:
"Were you guys talking about me?"
Immediately I broke out into guffaws of laughter, as did Ali Girl. Our coworker looked kind of surprised and confused, so I patted her arm (note inappropriate at-work touching) while still laughing saying "No! No, talking about you? No no no no..." I even continued to chuckle as I walked away.
Thinking back on this, I have been laughing all day. It isn't just the paranoia of the situation; it is the ego-centrism of it all. She is nice enough whatnot, but on my list of people or things to talk about, she rates near the bottom.
I find it hysterical too the audacity to stop and ask like that. Really, you shed yourself in such a negative light doing something that, well, desperate. This girl always seemed to me to have more poise.
Ironic that I am talking about her now though, eh? Is that even karma?
I know it is going to be a good day when I plug in my ipod to the speakers at work, hit the random song function...
And the Copa Cabana plays.
This has been a crazy hectic week. I have had to work ten times harder than I have in a very long time. We are talking everyone needing something from me, helter skelter cries for help, and me having to roll up my sleeves and go shoulder deep into the belly of the beast to help them all.
It has been great.
(Well, except for that one night I got really pissed off. But I'm over that now.
Every night I have worked late, some nights past nine. Call me crazy, but I like being busy, and I really like feeling necessary. Becoming management had taken a lot of that away from me. It is so much easier to feel accomplished when you create a report or a system then grooming an employee.
Oh, right, I guess that's why I get paid more money. Gotcha.
Thank you all for your well wishes and good thoughts!!
So far Katie is okay. The doctor opened her head, took one look, and closed her right back up.
Seems she had some pretty major looking blood vessels where they shouldn't be, and they were all around the tumor. The doctor did not want to risk going in "blind" and my sister potentially bleeding out.
I appreciate that.
What happens next is that they have to perform an angiogram, a very invasive procedure to determine the blood vessel mapping in her brain so they can plan a course of action.
Once they know where everything is and what to avoid, they will go back in to take out the tumor - most likely Monday. Poor thing has to stay in the hospital over the weekend, and then she will be in the ICU for at least three days during her recovery.
Through self imposed trials and tribulations, my sister and I remained close.
We survived my immediate family. Then discovered our extetended. We traveled together. And still liked each other. We lived in sin. (With boys, not each other you dirty bastards.) And were forgiven by the religious family.
Now you all know I have had health problems. Long and extended ones.
My sister's were shorter but way more intense.
One month after my second surgery, where the foot of my intestine was removed, my sister was admitted to the very hospital where I had been chopped to pieces. For her the symptoms were nausea and headaches.
When she was unconscious for 24 hours we got worried. My loud voice could not wake her. That is shocking, c'mon.
Turns out she had a brain tumor. At 17. It was benign, but the process was still long and hard for her. As much as I have gone through over many years, she experienced the more intense version - all before being legal.
I will not lie. When I first learned that my sister had a brain tumor I freaked the fuck out. I went on laughing and then crying jags from one minute to the next. I was hysterical.
Until I decided that I could not believe that she would not get better. I call it conscious denial. You refuse to think of the worse.
She got better. I won. Again
This past Monday I got an email from my sister:
call me later they are going to cut my head open again on friday :)"\
So not funny.
Wasn't meant to be.
My mom's email, two hours later, went more like this:
This morning Katie got the results of the MRI she had yesterday. She has been having really bad headaches the last few months. Her brain tumor is back. It is the same type (Hemangeoblastoma)and in the same place (behind her left ear) as last time. The good news is that it is benign and not too hard to get at. It is fluid filled cyst. The Surgeon, and Katie both would like it out as soon as possible. She is going to have surgery Friday morning, 4/14/06, at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. We don't know the exact time yet, they will have to bump someone to get an Operating Room. We are going to see the Surgeon for a pre-op appointment tomorrow morning. So, please keep her in your prayers. We hope for as good an outcome as we had 14 years ago. Love, Mom
Katie is having brain surgury Friday morning. My baby sister. the kindest most forgiving person I know, has to go through this less than two months before her wedding day.
If I could take all the pain, suffer as much as humanly possible to take this away from her I would. But I have no choice in the matter. My sister has a tumor the size of a golf ball in the lower left part of her brain, and she has to have brain surgery for the second time in her very short thirty years of life.
I believe in positive visualization. All of you reading this have to imagine me, right now, dancing at her wedding. Giving my speech, congratulating her and her new husband for their new lives promised to each other. Me telling my stories of how I tortured her in her youth but cared for her at the same time. Please, only image the good things I speak of, and I believe the best scenario will come true.
If you imagine rain, it will pour. Please, believe in the sun.
Your positive thoughts make the difference. This whole week for me has been about her. If you know the devil, introduce me to him so I can sell him my soul. Not much left to give, but it is worth a try.
At the very least, imagine Katie mocking me for the rest of my live for being such a sentimental, sappy, and emotional bastard. I can take the torture, it is worth the price.
I can remember when my mother was pregnant with my sister. Specifically because my brother wanted a brother and I wanted a sister. It became a competition.
And I won.
Growing up I tortured my siblings ruthlessly. I would provoke my brother until he got so angry he turned beet red and shook. My sister is four years younger, and her trials by my hand were way way worse.
There was the time I used to get her to do my bidding by threatening to tie her down, blindfold her, gag her, and play the intro to Thriller. You know, the Vincent Price monologue with the spooky sound effects. Then she told on me and I got into trouble. So I explained her that if she ever told on me for threatening her again I would shave her head bald in her sleep.
When babysitting, the abuse was worse. Sis was afraid of the dark, and I would follow her around the house turning off every light as soon as she would turn it on. While my brother followed around saying "Stop, you shouldn't do that." He wasn't very convincing.
Thing is, these were just control games. As much as I made my sister's life miserable, I did so much to try to make her happy. Like the times when I would decide to make her laugh so hard she couldn't stop. Or how I taught her not to be afraid of the dark, by sitting by the night-light and turning it off for 30 seconds at a time to get her used to it. Or when she couldn't sleep telling her to concentrate on the sound of my breathing, to know she was safe. Or when I told her the reason that her myriad of stuffed animals would be on the floor when she woke up was because while she was asleep they were having a super duper party dancing and whatnot, but when she woke up they had to stop wherever they stood. (Yes, this was YEARS before Toy Story, dammit!!)
My sister and I have remained close throughout our lives, and she means more to me than anyone in the world. It just isn't because she is a better, kinder person than myself. But because she knows me better than anyone else in the world and she still loves me. That means a lot.
Today I ran another race, the Thomas G Labrecque 4 mile. The weather was nice, a sunny 41 degrees. But the crowd. Oh, the crowd.
There were 5,368 runners in today's race. That means it took me six minutes just to get to the start line alone. Which I can handle, that is no biggie. What blew me away is how much the crowds affected my race.
First of all I was going for another personal best in this race. I wanted to beat my 9:51 per mile average that I got a couple of weeks ago. Out of the gate there were a lot of slow people in front of me, and I didn't try to pass too aggressively. Until I finished the first mile in twelve minutes. TWELVE MINUTES!!??!! That kicked my passing mode into high gear.
Secondly, I didn't realize this until literally half way through; I never got a chance to appreciate the scenery. Normally when I run a race I make a conscious effort to look around, appreciate central park in its full nature filled glory. Especially now while in spring when trees and flowers are in bloom, it is a fabulous sight. Thing is I could not take the time as I was too busy trying to navigate my way around the other runners.
I don't know if these problems were really because of the quantity of runners or the quality. When you get in line before the start, there are markers for you to line up against based on your expected run speed. This way passing is minimized. It seems that in this race there was a large number of people who just lined up as close to the start as they could with no regard to their run time. Bastards.
In spite of this all, the race was still awesome. I kicked it into high gear and finished with yet another personal best, averaging a 9:33 minute mile. All I have to do is keep or improve upon that time for my 10K in May and I am on my way to my goal marathon time!
A few years ago I read The Unbearable Lightness of Being. To save my life I could not tell you about any of the characters or even what the plot was, but something did stick. The idea of weight and freedom as a really great analogy.
There are people in life who prefer to have sex while being on the bottom. Symbolically this can represent having a weight on them, but more than in a literal meaning. This weight holds you down, keeps you stable. Or if you look at it another way it can stifle you, keep you from full range of motion.
Then there are the people who like to be on top. There is nothing keeping them anywhere for any amount of time, they can get up and go at a whim. This allows pure freedom, no strings attached. But then what keeps you from floating away, without any direction?
In my mind it seems like this analogy is improved upon by thinking of your life in a hot air balloon.
I have been weightless for a long time. Everything is done on whim, fancy. It has been simple to be this way, as I am a very spontaneous person. Also, I am kind of different in that I am very rarely lonely. Really this explains why I have been single for so long. Not being afraid of floating, not missing an anchor.
This does not mean I don't like the weight, just that I never looked for it.
Recently I have been caught on something, and it has been nice. Familiar yet unfamiliar at the same time. One could argue that it is not natural to have nothing holding you down. Every balloon has to land once and a while.
On one hand it feels safe and secure to be grounded. On the other the tugging of the rope feels new, and sometimes raw.
I don't remember the exact moment with the Detroit ex when the anchor was attached, but I remember in crystal clear detail when it was cut. With that pain I made sure to bring up all lose ends to make sure I didn't catch on anything by accident. Now starting something again hits some of that sense memory. It is so much harder this time around to get used to an anchor again.
It is ironic that the actual act of letting go of being in control, of truly being free, seems to involve being held down.
Yes, I know that the extra hour of daylight is nice. Yes, I know that it is a welcome symbol of outdoor summer fun to come. It is just that the adjustment to my poor sad sleep schedule is murder. Being a night person staying awake that extra hour seems practically impossible to resist, but goddamn that alarm goes off way way too early.
What do I need daylight for? This pasty Irish skin is made for Guinness by moonlight.
People like to tell me that my brother's second eldest daughter is "just like me".
They tell me this because at all family gatherings, most of the time she just kind of wanders around of her own volition, following any and every urge. This would be in opposition to accepting attention from any of the many adoring family members or deciding to play with anyone else. Basically they see her, at her very young age, of being very independent minded - thus taking after her aunt rockstar.
Really my sense of liberty always came naturally. Like breathing. Or drinking alcohol.
I can remember being in junior high refusing to let my parents drive me the mile to any of my softball practices - why have them do that when I could get there by my own steam on bike? Not to mention, I didn't have to worry about any one waiting for me or me waiting for anyone else.
When at seventeen I had my appendix out I remember shoo-ing my mom home from the hospital - why sit around in an uncomfortable chair when all I was going to do was sleep and watch TV? I was fine, nurses were all around! To my mother I insisted, "Really, there is no need for you to stay - go home!"
Even as a small child, I remember my mom offering to walk me to my first day of kindergarten and me thinking - why? I know how to get there, what is the point? (Admittedly I did end up crying that first day, but only because everyone else did and for some reason at that age crying is contagious.)
In high school I wore my independence as a drama club member badge of honor. Being one of the freaks and geeks was fine by me. It wasn't until college that I began to realize how loud the beat of my different drum is. How hard it is to ignore, and even more importantly, how much I want to follow it.
What strikes me as funny is that where in my youth this was beneficial, as I get older it becomes more disadvantageous. At some point I transitioned to being fiercely independent to being prideful. And too much pride is a bad thing, as we all know.
How really are independence and pride different?
Independence is defined as "Free from the influence, guidance, or control of another or others; self-reliant"
Pride is defined as "A sense of one's own proper dignity or value"
I ask you, how can you be true to yourself without valuing your own sense of direction the most?
As with everything in life, I suppose the key is that anything can be bad for you in excess. It may not be so much that the sense of free will is diminished, but that you are willing to listen to and be influenced by someone else's drum. That by letting someone walk you to your first day of kindergarten you are not losing independence, you are allowing someone else listen to your beat.