I derive from a generation which kept its labels tucked away from sight.
Not so today. Levis puts their labels along the seams, so they protrude like the tabs on pinafores for those old stick-the-clothes-on cardboard dress-up dolls. Reebok simply prints them over your left breast. Nike swooshes everything, from farmlands to billboards. As though they didn’t make enough after sweatshop profits! These manufacturers are what the nuns used to sneeringly call “brazen articles.”
What if people wore labels? “Wash in warm water only.” “Dry clean, do not iron,” And the worst would be the size tag jutting out from your neck, like a shark fin: “Size 16!” Mine would prob’ly just say “fatty, fatty, boombalatty” in the interests of exactitude & accuracy.
- Leave Me Out Of It
- Coffee Now Or Else
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When we speak of transparency, I’ll lead the line on many topics. Actually, my face is of itself an LED display; everything I think flits across it. This can be dangerous in mixed company – I stay home a lot. If I flew a personal flag, it’d likely be the Andy Warhol soup can for “over-salted.” Still, I’m not attempting any Human Barbie look. Too many old dolls wind up headless / armless / legless, riding dust bunnies in odd corners. Oh, yeah, & naked.
My other labels, I hope, would read “funny,” “bright,” “sensitive.” Although I have the feeling they would read “sarcastic,” “smart-mouthed,” “ticklish feet.” The one on the back of my head would read “Does she really mean that?” And, um, yeah, I really do.
This is an age when secrets keep like milk left out in July sun. Of course, there’s a valid argument to be had that they never really did. Remember that old saw about a secret being kept only if one of the holders is dead? But it is different now. Egregiously so. Our vitals are sold off without even being bid upon. I recently read Google makes $12 for just having my stats. Do the math, everyone.
Does it ever run a chilly frisson of up your spine when the form you’ve just called up on the screen self-populates with your address, age, car make & favorite dinner? Mine even note I wear sweatbands doing massage, with the notes:
- Wannabe human
- May not have another book in her
- Would rather be a cat smirking atop the bookcase
It can be handy when the speller suggests how to spell vinaigrette correctly. But other than that, I’m not as much into “arty-ficial” intelligence algorithms for the price of a vowel.
I want you to take a minute to think over your labels – your body language, your obvious attitudes, your words, all the niches you fit into by appearances, ideals & lifestyles.
Above all, don’t worry about any of ‘em. They’re self-populating, comprised of artificial stupidity & usually not at all what you see in your mirrors.
We are far too complex to be trivialized. It’s comfortable for everyone else to label us. Just like it is for us to label them.
Something interesting happened yesterday as I observed. My friend giggled about a story her husband had “made her listen to” of a woman witnessing a blood sacrifice in the basement of the Vatican. The gang laughed it off with head shakes & grimaces. Everyone “knew” her husband well: he’s a town character. I opened my mouth to begin the long tale of Reptilians, Annunaki in mitre hats, Vatican alliances with evil, ritual sacrifice…& slowly closed it again. Across town, there’s a discussion group where this topic would’ve engaged animated, interested debate. But I was at this coffee, not that one.
I continued sipping my smoothie silently, nursing my own thoughts. I know what I believe. I am interested in hearing their beliefs. What’s the level of disclosure to be reached here? Can conspiracy flourish in a group of upstanding “Christian” believers who entertain discussion with Jehovah Witnesses at the front door while pressing their literature into the trash as they close it?
I’ve learned to choose my battles. I want to see where the line of “getting along” divides & where I might tiptoe over. I’ve defended ideas in this group before. It can take lots of energy to get past the double-sprinkle donuts & open, yet strangely exclusive mindsets. Global nightmare is possibly not to be addressed in a friend’s living room at 8 a.m. over banana bread. But the converse continued on to gun control & how, since we knew no one personally & tragedy has not happened intimately, might be a topic dismissed with a trite, “what’s this world coming to?” platitude.
But really, I see both sides as being of paramount conversational importance…we are not a diverse group, but we are all seniors who have seen war, peace, history & we follow the current news, though not avidly.
We all know on some level that situations mirror each other. I look for “teachable” moments where I can cross over the acceptable lines to engage in fencing ideas with others. We did get to talking about how society seems to be going “kablooey” with opiods (causing mental illness), lousy nutrition (causing physical problems resulting in the “need” for opoids), consuming adrenalized beef products (causing increased aggression), demonic influences (causing claims “the devil made me do it!”), Mercury Retrograde & more.
The only real item of note; however, is how the story ends. Death is a disincorporation – a removal of the physical as the energetic lives on, Too many claim the power of death over life because they own a gun with which they only plan to defend themselves. Violence begets more of itself when viewed in the long-range. Just as many here would attribute the power of handling firearms to only those authorized to bear them. These individuals are supposed to be wed to the idea of defending life through the capability to deal death. And there has been much of note recently as to how this power is brought forth in society, whether amok in demonstration or peacefully marching down Main Street. The results can be dismaying in their sameness when guns are in the extant crowd, no matter the hands or hip holsters in which they reside.
The boundaries become indistinguishable when subsumed into the power of dealing death with the crook of a finger.
There used to be a largely acknowledged absolute that said, “Thou shalt not kill.” But that already was weak in a society that slaughtered animals for food. And yes, there are any number of rabbit holes to travel down with a statement that general. But it does involve a death which comes under the topic of discussion here.
Killing of any kind will never be a viable response to continuing to live well – individually or as a society. Dealing in death doesn’t pay off in affirmative life. But I nibble at this gargantuan topic with a toothpick & a salad fork. It just gave me pause for where I engage life, how much I am given to do so, why I choose my belief systems & how each individual fits into an overall scheme fringed all about, ultimately, with death.
At the two ends of my days, I still my mind & whisper inside it, “Thank You!”
The mornings sing with promise & the evenings with premise. When I have slept & awaken to the expectation of another day, I choose to have it be orderly & full of life. When I lie down to sleep, I breathe in the now-deflated activities to bestir them once more. In that minute, I can see the what & how of my day’s deeds. Usually I achieve clarity on situations which set of the railroad crossing arms, clanging internal bells, & bringing down barriers in the moments they unfold.
This is where the proverbial “shoulda/coulda/woulda/if” dragon rears to flicker its tongue inside the brain. The witty reply you should have made, the idea you could have brought forth, the best possible behavior you would have taken to settle all once & future doubt…we don’t even have to consider the “if” because you have already experienced it as you’ve mentally closed out this sentence.
A recent example of this is a fella I met who told me he felt the people he met here in T or C did not get when he was being “jocular” (his word.) My midnight consideration of this pronouncement brought up his continual smile. Do you assume someone is joking when they only smile? Is that accurate? Perhaps as accurate as his feeling we were all too serious. My midnight consideration put together many later facts that emerged: He grows marijuana & makes a living selling it. The rapid speech, the soft voice, the simple grin were probably all indications of his being under the influence. Am I wrong? I could be; but this made the most sense to me in my retrospective of the situation. I have little respect at this point of my life for dope dealers. They interfere with life.
The shadow & the light are at play right now, as in some cosmic tennis match. We are served illusion & disinformation as a matter of course. I keep hearing that I should be discerning, but I’ve lost the meaning of the word. Each time I tune into something in which to believe, an equal, opposite case is made. So, I reserve judgment, observe my perception of reality & live by my truth.
In the movie, “What The [Bleep] Do We Know”, Joe Dispenza introduces his idea of creating your day. Here’s a link to a transcript: “I Create My Day” (Joe Dispenza)
If you don’t care to read all the words, a video interview is available: Interview with Joe on topic.
Singer/songwriter Peter Mayer says, “the gift is to realize that everything is a gift.” This is neither simple nor easy to do. It takes a suspension of current events (kind of similar to what it feels to smoke marijuana), to reinvent the world into Divine Order. Or it takes simple faith. Faith can be impossible until you are no longer hungry in body, mind & spirit. Hunger in any of these inhibits that cosmic flow we are to go with.
It seems that society itself is “jumping the shark” – a phrase I had to look up today online as I was not familiar with its true meaning. It means a kind of exaggeration to the point of losing the point. As soon as I read the definition, I realized it was familiar: I used to call it “bringing in the dinosaurs.” When the story line ran out of plausible situations, dinosaurs were written in & it was time to surrender the series to rightful oblivion.
Don’t let the dinosaurs get to you. Don’t let situations become so unstable & ridiculous that you are squeezed out of your own reality. Have that faith in what you have created. Investigate the causes of your emotional switchbacks along the mountain. Observe your thoughts. Did you think these before? Are these what you surround yourself with daily? You may be living yesterday today & offering up your tomorrow to the same discomfort.
Break the routine of being yourself once in a while. It pays off…and if the new becomes more fulfilling, you’ve won big.
I try to do this though I love my comfort zone like Wimpy loved hamburgers. (Remember his line: “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”?)
I highly recommend the video “Stroke of Insight” on YouTube as an example of a singular, incredible example into change.
Let’s go for the new thoughts together & re-create this old world into the reality most satisfying to ourselves, most productive for all, most protective of that which is precious & most loving in sheer gratitude for what it can be, as we make that what is.
“For food in a world where many walk in hunger
For friends in a world where many walk alone
For faith in a world where many walk in fear”
And so it is.
My roommate came to find me earlier this week to say there was a snake at the back door. She was heading to our tiny patio there as the dryer is across it, in the former garage. I was immediately intrigued – A Snake! I grew up in Jersey where about the worst predator was a crab scuttling at you sideways on the beach. Or a jellyfish alert from the lifeguard on duty. So, a snake was a teaser I couldn’t miss.
Just outside the swinging back doors, like an inch outside, was a small grass snake lying quietly. I got the feeling he (for the sake of not knowing how to sex snakes), was waiting politely for an invite into our (only slightly) warmer back room. Or maybe he had heard about the latest mouse in the pantry (our third in as many months.) I told G. I’d be right back & zipped to the fireplace for the shovel. I scooped the snake up on it & winged it outward – attempting to deposit it upon the bordering back ledges in the yard.
I have unerring, almost Freudian aim when I throw things. I once hit our cat in a tree she used to climb, far to the left of our house in Cherry Hill. I was aiming the tennis ball at the roof – a pretty broad target, kind of like the side of a barn. I threw a curve ball that bounced on the branch where she was often adventured. I have no idea how I did that, to this very day. I even threw left-handed…which is how I play Skee Ball, tho I’m really a right-hand gal. (As to why I was tossing tennis balls on the roof, if you’ve ever tried to exhaust a Golden Retriever puppy, rolling balls off the roof sometimes works & may also contribute to an understanding of why Jitters was in the tree.)
I have thrown pebbles into car windows accidentally (windows open only a couple of inches) when I wasn’t aiming anywhere near the car. I’ve thrown shoes or sock balls or any number of things during a long life of playing with pets. I’ve rarely landed any item near where I aimed. In fact, it was almost legendary that when I picked anything up & “rared back” with it, an alarm sounded over town & all ran for cover. I am not embarrassed to say I never hit anything in my sights – but what I did manage to clobber proved pretty damned funny over the years.
So, as you can see by the photo above, I missed the back ledges because there was a black walnut in the middle of the yard & I managed to wrap that poor, cold, stunned snake around a branch of it. I think he did a pretty good job catching on, myself. And there was only one thing taller than me in the area, which was the tree. But, really, what are the odds? He hung out there long enough for me to grab a couple of snaps with my phone to send to friends.
Two of these returned the email with an identical question & comment: “Snake is Messenger. Did you ask it for a message? Hmmmm.” And my abashed answer was “nope” because while I know much about animal totems & their meanings, I haven’t encountered Snake before. So I’ve not consulted the animal totem books for this particular reference.
Well, it made me wonder what the encounter may have been about. Aside from a passing thought, “If I were Eve, we’d need a very small fruit here, like maybe a cherry tomato,” I didn’t think about a message at all.
Two days later, an even smaller grass snake was “ssss-ing” its way across the front entry hall by the door. (If you’ve ever seen a snake moving along, it makes an “s” out of its body & somehow accordions from one place to the next.) This guy wasn’t cold; wasn’t slow; but was a little confused about being indoors, I think. My two shopping carryalls were right there, along with our Maglite. It was about 11 in the morning of a beautifully sunny day, the Saltillo tile steps outside were warm, dry & easily climbed. The screen door had a 1” bend in the frame along the bottom & all of this contributed to his entry. Plus, we have not yet caught the mouse who is dining on Ramen Beef soup packets every evening. And leaving mouse poops in trails … necessitating wiping out the pantry frequently. (While snakes “s” along, mice poop along. I think, like old cars that go putt putt putt, they go poop poop poop.) What did I say in a very recent blog about shit happens, but that doesn’t make it decorative? Gotta be more careful here!)
I ran for the trusty fireplace shovel, but this guy wasn’t into hanging around to be shoveled out & I will say I backtracked quickly when it slithered at my flip-flopped feet. But touching it with the shovel brought on a quick u-turn which I was able to exploit by lifting the bags it hid under & touching it once more when it curled up next to the Maglite. I guess snakes have second thoughts & the better part of finding a warmer nest turned into essss-cape out that inch of exposure. One more touch to its tail-end sent it to gone. It was a relief not to have to try to scoop up a fast-moving skinny little guy for a toss out the door. This is likely a good thing as I didn’t land it on any neighbors walking their dogs nearby – a real risk given my targeting handicap.
My roommate was only slightly more freaked this time around, when I told her. She said, “I’ve never had snakes near the house! What is going on here!?”
And then I remembered I should have asked this one about a message – take two & I was gripping the shovel, clueless to cues. I looked wistfully out the door & around the rain barrel, just in case Snake had hung out to fulfill its mystical duty. But sadly, it was not around; tho I admit I didn’t look too hard. I think I am getting messages differently these days, like email & by phone. Just not used to natural Western Union.
Snakes also are about transformation since their highlight is shedding skin. But I’m still me, still can’t throw worth a hoot (evidenced shortly after this by tossing my flipflops in my room & one landing on the bed, one landing under it.)
What could it have been, this message? “Aim better in life?” “Don’t mess with fireplace shovels?!” “If you ever trap the mouse, we’ll be out here?” “Not today, but in a couple of days, you’ll be up at 2 a.m. writing blogs about us?”
I will never really know.
But I’m ready for #3 now! Just hope they don’t send a rattler as an exclamation point!
Every day I carefully sift through my closet to put together an outfit that’s coordinated, spiffy & “interesting.” I sigh about being on old lady, but I dress it up anyway. I fix my hair (wear it front or back?), I dress for the weather (long sleeves in New Mexico can be too much at any given time, even midwinter, given our 360 days of sunshine), I select footwear: shoes or can I still get away with sandals? I dig out makeup (a bit of eyeliner to paint under the epicanthic folds gravity is kindly manifesting for me), I bring in the magic 10x mirror & sit it in front of the light-filled window & pick at the salt n pepper facial hairs determinedly darkening my complexion (oh to be fair! But then, I never was in this lifetime.) I defuzz by degrees after the initial shudder at the ever-visible moustache line.
I tried whitening my teeth & that worked pretty well, tho expensive & sensitizing to gums. I try to walk each day after stretching out on the yoga mat through a warm-up routine tho I never quite get to full count on anything abdominal. I use three-pound hand weights when I walk – got biceps? I do! But who sees these? I can’t walk around all day flexing like some gym rat checking the bod in a hundred mirrors. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to, though. This is my first time in life with real biceps, after all.
From a distance, I look pretty good. It’s only up close & when I smile that you see the parentheses of wrinkles crinkling everywhere. My throat has a kind of sun-ray pattern to it which I find interesting, but which keeps me from wearing necklaces I once loved, as I don’t want to call attention there. And as I smile & the wrinkles appear & the collagen-depleted skin rearranges, guess what emerges from the little valleys between the crinkles, like some 3D kiddie pop-up book? More hairs.
I have read that hearing is the last sense to go in the body. But I have news for you – it’s Vanity. What’s the last thing done to the body? The undertaker puts make-up on you! Right? And as we age, our ears begin to once more grow (they also [OMG] clump bunches of hair). Our noses become visible from space. Our triceps assume the consistency of slackly drooping clotheslines. Our necks crepe up, our eyebrows figure it’s time to finally meet one another across the nose bridge…on & on. We should probably light candles to the great god Gravity, but Gravity, having brushed every appendages down in a bland assurance that nothing is where it started, has left the building & is out somewhere holding down trees & cars & waiting for apples to fall.
I see my mother’s hands when I look down at them typing. I see my Mom’s hair, the little waves all about. She used to put a touch of olive oil in hers for shine & control. I use a kind of sticky power-gel in a vain attempt at total control. We lived by the ocean & beach hair is a phenomenon of itself. Before I left Delaware, I started seeing t-shirts saying “Beach Hair, Don’t Care!” so I know it’s not a private matter any longer. Now it’s advertising.
So, after all is said & done, all the zipping up & pulling down, all the blow drying & insertion of earrings, the careful selections & accoutrements of fashionable accessories, I make sure I stand far enough back from the mirror that the details blur out a bit. I tell myself, “Just look at how beautiful you are!” And I walk, loose-limbed, straight-backed, smiling my face into its road map & head out. Today I wore a mostly red tie-dye shirt, a red hoodie vest, a red & purple scarf, carried a flowered Laura Ashley bag & wore lipstick. It paid off!
In the Wal-Mart, as I headed for the SmartPop white cheddar mini-bags – my latest sugar avoidance go-to (tho to an Italian, cheddar roughly equals chocolate) – I heard a voice behind me say, “I love your clothes!” And I turned, beaming, to the four-year-old fella holding to granma’s shopping cart to say, “Thank you, dear!”