I can’t remember the date of my first installment of this manifestation of the blog — back in April, I think? — so I have a long way to go before my year anniversary. I hadn’t thought about that at all, until this morning, and I got a little excited about it. It can’t be a blog a day for a year, because I’ve already blown that. But every day it was/is possible, despite various trials and tribulations to the contrary.
This sounds silly but I’ve come to this place where I’m like: you know what? There really are two wolves inside me — one that commits and one that dabbles. (If you know anything about my relationship with the ‘the two wolves’ meme, you know how hard I’m struggling to keep this serious and on track lmaooo!). I’m interested in on-purpose committing my daily energies, moving forward, to just a few things I know I can commit to, and giving myself the opportunity to mature into those things. I haven’t been interested in commitment whatsoever, in my life, and it shows. It shows in the impressive breadth of things I’ve done and experienced, and also in my almost total lack of equity, actual or virtual, in anything.
Teal Swan’s video on commitment helped me reframe the concept, a couple years ago, and I think my own renewed interest in commitment for commitment’s sake has been slowly coming to a rolling boil, since then. I know it doesn’t sound like a big epiphany, but her little qualifications always help me so much. She says (I paraphrase, probably in error) that commitment isn’t an intellectual or even emotional decision we make; it’s what we do all day/life long with our energies, whether we’re aware of it or not; in approval of it or not, and ideally we actually become consciously aligned with our own real commitments. For instance, something we tell others we’re “committed” to could in reality be something we energetically sideline, or even constantly re-litigate in our minds. So, upon introspection, I’ve been committed to a very few things, my whole life, which weren’t showing up on my radar as conscious commitments; meanwhile, I was engaging and flaming out on a whole lot of other things. And there’s nothing wrong with that, either, except to the extent I’m just battering myself, and misunderstanding the whole terrain of how I’m using my energies.
My true energetic commitment list, when I take inventory, is actually very short, and I think in this order, although #2 and #3 are almost a tie:
- Writing — generally only for myself, but it’s something I always make time for. Other forms of creative expression intersect, but writing dominates.
- Negotiating dating with the intent to find and establish a stable, long-term relationship, whether I’ve been in a space of admitting that as the goal, or not, historically.
- Having a dog.
- Enjoying being a girl to the fullest extent — experimenting with beauty and health and fitness, but also clothes and shoes and hair — just all things Girl.
- (This one will sound funny but) commercial truck driving for money. I love money, also need it, but there’s just a long list of stuff I’m not willing to do for it. That list gets longer every year, it seems. Every time I’ve had what I call a “building job”, meaning work that takes place mostly inside a building, I burn out. Sucks the life from me. Working from home is a maybe, if it pays great — like my longterm side-gig with voiceover. But I generally miss trucks and trucking, if I’m not involved somehow.
So that’s it. You’ll notice I didn’t put “veganism” on the list. That’s because it’s a no brainer. It’s like “I’m committed to not punching helpless animals, and also myself, in the face” or something. Dhrrr.
It’s kind of crazy because — no matter who I think I might like to be? Or who I’d like others to believe I am? All the different fantasies and mental experiments, over the years, of the role/s I could create for myself? They’re unlikely to the extent they don’t work within these channels of my established energy patterns. I mean, it’s possible I could really throw myself behind some new energy relationship, but it would have to be something I’m willing to triage other stuff for — and I have a lot of momentum with my shortlist of stuff, whether it’s apparent or not, even to me. And when I really get square with myself, I’m not resistant to any of these commitments. I’ve been frustrated, many times, for them not to seem to lead anywhere; I’ve been confused because a lot of my energy commitments put me naturally at odds with the way others project themselves on to me and how they feel priorities should line up. I mean, if I’ve lived this long with only a glimmering sense of my own actual commitments, then probably that’s the case for others as well.
But when I look at that list, I’m like: yeah. It’s unlikely I’m going to remain committed to anything, long term, if it hasn’t showed up there by now. And I’m okay with that.
So back to the blog — I’m just taking my own habit of privately journaling and directing it outward, spruced up a little I hope. I’m having to be a little more topical, you know, just so there’s some tether to shared reality — I get really out in space, journaling, and I think I’ve been ready for a break from that. I do hope I continue to accrue traction and readers, over time, and that I can contribute something small to the world, and likely all that will work itself out one way or the other. But the alligator closest to my boat is consistency. I’m tired of having short flings with creative output — I want a long, slow, steady thing. And blogging is just about the only type I won’t quit, because it’s only one degree removed from journaling, which is like breathing for me.
So yeah — looking forward to my one-year blogging anniversary, but I’m in no rush, either. I truly enjoy going to bed every night, knowing I get to invent something new again in the morning, and I truly enjoy the inventing, whether jumps off the page or not, for anyone else.
As far as the other items on my list, Nick is the man of my dreams, no exaggeration. This relationship is great for me, because I hemorrhage an enormous amount of psychic energy on dating or wanting to date or being appalled at what occurs, when I try to date, or just the fact that nothing occurs, for years, or whatever antagonistic and co-occurring set of worst case scenarios transpire, there — I shouldn’t sound so pessimistic and scarcity mindset…but oh well, guess I’ll just own it. If I was single, I’d be massaging my beliefs into a more abundant vibration because that’s what you gotta do, but since I’m in a relationship, I can be honest. And I honestly think it would be another decade, minimum, before I found something of this caliber, if then. And I like the fact that everything that could go wrong, with Nick, has gone wrong, so my place of commitment is no longer honeymoon phase fueled.
I think some people have the…discipline…?…to just be all the way, even mentally, single-and-not-looking, when they’re single, so it’s not a big energy drain, but I don’t. I want to be in a relationship, and the only way to turn off that drive is to find the relief of a compatible person. Which is hysterically rare. And I have, and the “work” of good relationship is, for all its problems and confusion, still much less work than the alternative, for me. So that’s great, and it’s great that I’m consciously aware of how all that works for me, energetically.
I should mention, I have evolved a greater place of clarity of what my approach would be, if I had to be single-and-looking again, which thankfully I’m not. And I think it’s kind of common in life to get shit figured out right when you don’t need it anymore. Like one of my co-workers says: wisdom what you get, right after you needed it. I’d rather have wisdom and not need it than need it and not have it.
Re: having a dog, Buffy is the dog of my dreams. That relationship didn’t come easily for me, believe it or not. I had a really great dog die, and then another with crossed aggression wires, and then a weird, like, custody fall-out with a third dog. So I was just sad and dog-less for a long time, when I found Buffy.
I’d had a dream, the night before, about a dirty little dog that I found, held in my hands and rinsed off, under a faucet, and more and more of the dog rinsed off in the drain until there was hardly anything left. I was scared, but then after all the rinsing, what remained in my hands was a little blind bird, and I felt my heart swell with tremendous joy. I began singing a Brad Paisley love song to this little blind bird. She destroys me in that t-shirt, and I love her so much it hurts; I never meant to fall like this, but she don’t just rain, she pours — that girl right there’s the perfect storm. It was such a powerful dream I woke up and emailed it to my brother, and then forgot all about it. Later that day, I found Buffy in the road, in the rain, and still didn’t remember the dream until my brother emailed my own account back to me, several years later.
So my relationship to her is no small thing to me, and for me it’s daily evidence of god/source energy at work in my life.
Exploring full expression of my own brand of femininity: always a moving target, organized along lines that aren’t so much decided as discovered. I have a couple thoughts here: first off, the females of my generation have questioned, and in many cases rejected, with varying degrees of success, culturally-defined gender roles and their expression more thoroughly than at any point in history. That’s my impression, anyway. I don’t think it’s a reach to say that gender and what to do about it — how to perform it, whether that’s of any use — represents a central inquiry in our time and place, rather than remaining simply an underlying assumption. I like this, for the most part. Gender has been used as a club with which to beat both females and males, each other and ourselves, for…like…ever. It’s good to unpack this stuff, even if it never fits back in the suitcase. You can buy more suitcases. It’s a big wide world and all god’s critters have a place in the choir. (When I die, they can put on my headstone: She Constantly Used Competing Analogies, in like a Papyrus font. Except I want to be cremated, and headstones are creepy, so perhaps my competing analogies will just die with me, as they should.) Gender is one of the ways we make war or negotiate peace with ourselves and the world around us. I’m amused by a Douglas Murray quote, recently, commenting on the gender state of affairs: “…We’ve fallen into holding a set of untrue propositions: simultaneously we say that women and men are exactly the same…and women are magically better on occasion. But why?”
There’s a lot to talk about, there, not all of it germane to today’s blog. As usual, I like Teal Swan’s perspective (major fan girl, if you haven’t noticed) — going through life with a bunch of resistance, about anything, is like trying to get somewhere in a boat with half the oarsmen rowing one way and half rowing the other way. It behooves us to drop our resistance from as much, about as much, as we can, so we can organize the oarsmen on the river of our own lives. Being born into these differently-sexed bodies is about as factual as it gets. Become graceful in your expression of your gender — not because it’s easy but because you’re stuck with yourself, in any case. If changing your gender, or performing it differently, is your path of least resistance, then do it — do whatever you gotta, so you can enjoy your ride on your river.
One of my generation of women’s major contentions about constructed femininity is that the conflation of our beauty with our value underscores everything. This is a tough one, as any given woman is, legitimately, prettier than any given man. That’s a fact. So then we deconstruct “pretty”, and pin it onto a board like a dead butterfly.
Here’s something that functions as a parallel concept for me, which will hopefully explain the way/s I think about it: babies are cute. Baby humans, puppies, kittens, baby elephants, baby deer, baby rabbits, baby goddamn everything is cute. Small stature, big head, small body, big eyes, downy fluff, clumsy gait — we are genetically engineered to find these qualities endearing, and to want to protect critters that have them. We’re not gonna get out from under that; sorry. Luckily this is not a problem except to the extent anyone’s trying to convince us that pedophilia is a natural sexual orientation. I have a lot to say about that, but also not germane, so I’ll skip it for now.
Back to adult women: the characteristics we associate with beauty, and with a high likelihood for bearing healthy children, don’t just overlap by accident. Is it a problem, for both women and men? Fuck yeah it is! Women being pretty is a problem; women not being pretty is a problem; men noticing is a problem; men not noticing is a problem; it’s all a problem, and we’re not gonna get out from under it, anytime soon. I mean, just take women in the workforce, for instance, or the gym. We wear clothes that sexually signal, and we don’t want that to result in our being sexually signaled back at. Could we wear less sexualizing clothes? Yes. Are we gonna? No. We’re not here to create problems for men, but we’re not here *not* to create problems for men, either. Maybe that’s what the real moral of the Adam and Eve story was. Sorry, men — we’re here, we’re pretty, we make you self-conscious on a level you’ll never get used to. Just accept it.
Should our female beauty be conflated with our human value? No. Is it? Yes. What do we do about that? Well, we women try as hard as we can to be pretty, while also denying that it matters to us, and decrying that it matters to men. Men go for pretty like horses go for the barn, also denying that it matters. We’ve evolved a work-around that solves some of the problems while creating a big authenticity gap.
Alternatively, some people step into their desire for pretty, to be or to have, at the expense of apparently all other qualities. I just struck a rich vein on Instagram yesterday — it’s this page called Like and Sub where a guy reposts, and makes fun of, the Insta-models who’ve definitely taken it too far. There’s a gal with her ass in a thong in front of a rice field, pseudo-pontificating about the living conditions of rice field workers; there’s a GQ-looking guy posing fashionably, with his jacket thrown over his shoulder romance-novel-cover style, at the Holocaust memorial, for chrissakes. Just a lot of posts like that. Hilarious. Nick and I marveled over it, for some time. Could people even be this way, without the internet? Wouldn’t they just be, like, shunned or something, if IRL was their only venue? Who knows.
Anyway, being gendered female has always represented some type of psychological wrestling match with the concept of prettiness, and honestly no one knows what to do about it. I think there’s nothing to be done, beyond legally ensuring people’s safety and sexual autonomy.
So, item #4 on my list represents me embracing my own path of least resistance, amidst the dumpster fire of gender, with no concessions to any brand of inauthenticity along the way that I’m aware of. I wouldn’t expect even one other person to agree with or approve of the ways I negotiate my prettiness or perform my gender, and that’s okay. We’re not here to agree, we’re here to sift and sort and choose from the contrast.
HAVING SAID ALL THAT, I really like barbell and long walks as a form of fitness — I would definitely do more yoga if it was possible — subscribe to a plant-based diet for weight management and also for not punching animals in the face; and hydration with actual water as a daily focus. I pay good-ass money for good-ass professionals to help my hair look nice, my permanent cosmetic eyeliner and brows to stay perfect, and I go to Cancun about once a year to get loose skin around my eyes tucked up or whatever it needs. I’m 44 and I don’t trip about aging but I’m not trying to let nature take its course in a totally unmanaged way, either. Nick thinks he can get medical Botox on the dark web and I have this major wrinkle between my eyebrows, from just squinting in the sun all my life, and thinking, and writing, and having constant “what the fuck” reactions to everything going on around me, and I’m interested in Botoxing the daylights out of that wrinkle. It’s like my basic reaction to life has emblazoned itself on my forehead. I think having great hair and makeup, with a flabby, sedentary body is the exact wrong set of priorities, for all kinds of reasons.
I like getting French manicures and pedicures but mostly I don’t. I don’t have the lifestyle for it — I’m either out on some truck or at home trying to play my guitar. I’ve always been aware of nail salons as Vietnamese sweat shops so my moral workaround there has been to pay a large tip in cash, directly to the person who did my nails. I look better with a tan but don’t tan easily so I use self-tanning lotion. I epilate instead of shaving or waxing. I don’t wear much makeup, just occasional mascara. I look great in makeup but again with the lifestyle, so having something tattooed on is my best workaround. I consider my body tattoos to be one of the most beautiful things about me — I love them, anyway — and so I guess I trend towards adorning myself in durable ways because adorning myself in daily ways just ain’t gonna happen. I don’t wear much jewelry, but I like jewelry. Can’t do bracelets or watches. Sensitive earlobes, prone to redness if I wear earrings.
Dresses: just love dresses. We can throw gender out the door, that’s fine, but it’s insane to reject long dresses, as gals of my generation largely have. There isn’t a female body on earth that doesn’t look good in a long dress — and they’re so comfy. Nick is constantly jealous that he can’t just wear a Grecian shift or something, since normal clothes hardly fit him. I went to school with Navajos, and some girls who looked tragic in JC Penney looked like real-life goddesses in traditional attire, and that stuck with me.
Let’s see, what else? I’ll probably have to do some kind of complexion intervention as the years roll on, since I’m out in the elements all the time. I always wear this favorite hat. I used to have a different favorite hat that was blue, and this one girl on the internet was so crazy about it that I ended up just mailing it to her and buying another one. The skin on my face, neck and upper chest looks like, you know, someone who’s lived a life, not a cloistered Victorian heroine. That’s okay with me, but if the medical spas turn out to have something for that, I’ll look into it. Haven’t yet.
I adore high heels, tall boots, sexy sandals, all that, and I own a bunch. But also my parter is shorter than me by an inch in bare feet, and so maybe in some future time I’ll just wear heels when I go get groceries by myself or something. I’d date Nick if he was a midget, and maybe we’ll just evolve to go on dates where I’m taller than him and it’s fine. It’s been a moot point, because our lifestyles fluctuate between bare feet, flip flops, barbell shoes, and work boots, currently.
Oh, one more thing: smile. I had braces for two years, age 39-41, and then some aftermarket cosmetic dentistry which I’m really happy with, all in Nogales, Sonora. I always quip, “Mexico is my health insurance”, which is only partially true — diet and exercise are my real health insurance — but I go back to Nogales once or twice a year for $35 cleanings, $50 fillings, and whatever else I need.
Okay, that was a long exploration of #4, but now on to #5: some combo of money and commercial driving — has unfolded just perfectly. I couldn’t be happier. I was engaging with it one way, with reasonable delight, and then the pandemic occurred and gave me an even better opportunity, to return to fire industry work and actually bring my boyfriend and the bugaboos, which opens up other types of possibilities, since we don’t have competing livelihoods anymore.
So I guess that brings up a good point, returning to Teal Swan’s advice — to the extent that I’ve aligned my conscious commitments with the flow of the way I actually commit my emotional energies, my life has improved. Not just a little, but dramatically. Which only makes sense — what could make us happier than getting to live on the outside how we actually feel on the inside? The piece that has to be dispensed with is the should-ing on ourselves, I think. I haven’t experienced it as limiting to just admit my underlying commitments are what they are; it’s been liberating, in fact, and allows for future strategic variations on that theme, rather than haphazardly throwing darts at a board, which is what most of my life has felt like, otherwise.
So that’s why I’m looking forward to a blog one year anniversary, but in no rush. It’s nice to experiment with committing to something I actually believe, in advance, I can pull off 🙂