Saturday, November 22, 2014

being no body

Sometimes I don't think of myself as a physical person, as a being with a body. I think I'm something else.  What exactly, I don't know.  I walk around my living room sometimes as if I am a spirit. 

But as non-human as I like to think I am, I'm very much a regular gal.  I use words like gal.  I am told I don't always sound like I have an education.  I'm looked at funny when I say I don't care.

My grammar sucks and I can't spell to save my life.  But I want to say something.  And I will.  Fuckin' words won't stop me.  Even bad words.  Words I'm not supposed to say.  

I'm supposed to be a good girl.  I am.  Sometimes.  Most of the time I fall between the cracks of good and bad.  Most of the time I sit in between time.  

I don't make sense.  I might even go as far as to say I'm a freak.  

Ha ha.  I laugh at my own jokes.

I will laugh at yours.  I have charisma.  I don't have too much patience.  I'm slow...I don't walk fast.  God forbid I run.  I have flat feet.  

What's your name?  They ask me that sometimes, people.  I want to say someone else's name.  I want to say I'm a goddess with no god.  I want to say hello in five different languages.  

I barely understand this language.  I'm funny.  I'm fat.  I'm free.

Don't judge me instead.  I talk to you because I don't know me.  I say this to you, because I could never say it to myself.  

I want to be ahead, ahead of myself.  There is this race in my head.  I'm trying to only compete with myself.  This race, where am I trying to go? 

I want to be myself, mostly free of my own bullshit.  

Mostly, mostly...I am me.  


Friday, November 21, 2014

Mr. Huxtable, "Let the record show..."

So I've been put up to speed about what is happening around the globe since I have been paying attention to the news and such things again.  I may have been better off when I was ignoring it all.

I mean c'mon peeps, collectively what are we doing?  What exactly is going on?

Let's talk about Bill Cosby for a minute.  The American dream is officially over when we find out he is a creepster.  He was like my psuedo dad on T.V.  First it was Pa from Little House on the Prairie, then it was Mr. Huxtable. 

Well apparently my actual (wonderful) father trumps them all.  Perhaps T.V. is not the place to look for an ideal man, but come on, like more than a dozen women said Cosby raped them.  What is that about anyways?

My mother thinks Cosby is innocent, she likes to believe in the good in people.  I disagree.  What would Phylicia Rahsad say?  I always wanted to be like her, Mrs. Huxtable.  "Let the record show..." she would say like the bad ass lawyer that she played.  

Let the record show that that was when I wanted to be a lawyer.  That's when I thought The Cosby Show was one big happy family.  That's when I was innocent and thought being a lawyer was like being on L.A. Law.  That was before I knew it was all pretend.  

I didn't know then that there were creepy men out there that would haunt me for the rest of my life.  I remember in high school, I had a teacher who for all intensive purpose's sexually harassed me.  He was funny like Cosby, everyone liked him.  I wasn't the only one he harassed, but back then when I was fifteen I didn't know it was a crime.  I didn't understand that what he was doing was wrong.  In fact as a silent protest to him I stopped talking to him. I'm not kidding when I say that he was giving me a higher grade than I deserved until I stopped responding to him.

We all have our ways of protesting in this world.  Some are quiet, some are loud.  Either way, speak out.  If you are a woman, the chances of you being sexually violated in some way are so high that I want to say it's like there is no chance it won't happen.  If you are a guy, don't think you can get away with it.   

I mean if Mr. Huxtable was a sicko, what does that say about your average dude?  Not all men are sick, but there are enough of them out there that you will encounter at least one sicko in your lifetime, probably several. 

I have a relative who is a creepy man.  You probably have one in your family too.  The lengths to which people will protect this creep are intolerable.  

People have been protecting Bill Cosby all this time.  C'mon someone knew.  Although it is sometimes difficult to recognize a perverted man, they usually walk around with some known features.  

Trust your instincts.  The relative that I'm speaking about is like a Cosby type of character.  He is witty and charming, a family man. 

There are Bill Cosbys all around us.  They represent some dream, they seem so good.  They are so bad.

We live in a society that tells women to watch out for these men.  However we are silent towards the men.  I'm tired of telling women to be careful, I want to tell men to be careful.  In this day and age, you will be found out.  

I am protecting my relative right now by not outing him because I'm worried about legal consequences.  However, those around him know.  It's no secret.  I made sure of that.  

Maybe it's not a tragedy that Bill Cosby is finally being punished for stuff he did years ago.  Maybe it's a lesson for us all that what we put out in the universe will come back and bite us in the ass at some point.  Whether or not you believe in karma, know this: the universe is tracking your actions.  And for every action there is a reaction.  

I don't have to go back to Troy High and sue the teacher that made me question my own self...I trust and believe that the universe will take care of my unfinished business.  

The message to women is clear: be weary of weird guys.  However the message to men should also be clear: we are not going to take this shit anymore.  

Patriarchy is not over, but what is over is the myth that women will remain silent. 


Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Meaning of Nothing

So sometimes I think I should do something with this audience that I have, which is by no means giant.  I don't know, like maybe an experiment or a poll.  Perhaps I should call people to action.  Maybe do something profound.   

But I don't know about all that. I want to do something with this life, but what is it that I want to do? Someone once told me they liked my blog because it showed that anyone can say or do anything.  Alright, there's a message I can get behind.

Be yourself.

What else do I want to say?  How about this?  I'm tired, tired of being someone who is not good enough for her own self.  It's not about you, or you, it's about not being good enough for myself.  What would make me good enough?

Maybe if I had a purpose.  Chitter chattering on the Internet, is that a purpose?  Maybe I should have been a doctor like my parents wanted me to be a hundred years ago.  Doctors have such a clear purpose.  I suppose teaching has a purpose, but somehow it's not enough for me.  

I want to do something real.  Something monumental.  You know, like Gandhi.  

What's my revolution about?  

I could be a rebel without a cause.  I could be like Seinfeld who did a show about nothing.

A revolution about nothing.  


What does that even mean?

You know I want to open a spiritual community one day, a commune even.  What are we all going to sit in a circle and say to each other?  Kumbaya.  

Ain't nothin wrong with some Kumbaya.  

Let's sit in a circle and be with ourselves.  Let's be real, for once.  

Nothing is not really about nothing.

What is it about then?  It's about that space, the space between words, the space between thoughts.  The space between us.  We are all here to learn how to navigate that space.  How to be with it.  How to be it.  

In fact we are really space, our souls are in space.  Some people believe we don't have a soul inside us, but in fact we are inside a soul.  It's a big space around us.  Our aura. 

It looks like nothing, it feels like nothing.  It is everything.

And nothing, both at the same time.  

I am nothing and everything both at the same time.  

What does it mean when I say I'm everything?  It means I'm connected to the source of all things.  

Is this weird.  All this talk?

Little bit huh? 

Nothing is weird and so is everything. 

This conversation is weird.  I'm gonna stop now because I'm starting to feel an out of body experience.  

It feels like nothing, it is everything. 

Alright already, I will stop with all that.

I've got nothing more to say...


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Selfie Photo Shoot

innocent nina
So I went on a selfie photo shoot recently.  Yes I did it for a dude.  He wanted to really “see” me without meeting me.  I told him to just meet me but he denied me.  So I shot a bunch of photos of me.  It was weird; I liked a few. 

Many men I've met online have asked me for this, but I never obliged until now.    

I’m not photogenic.  The camera distorts my face.  However, for some reason I like the way I look better now that I’ve taken all these pictures of me.

Is that weird?  Is that narcissistic?  A little bit?

There is something therapeutic about documenting your life. 

I feel like angle is really important when you are taking a selfie.   I’ve gotten to know my face really well.  Lighting is also key. 

Vanity is also key.  In some way you have got to like looking at yourself if you are going to seriously take a lot of photos of yourself. 

Create the angel so you don’t look fat, that’s the key.
Pointy Nose Here I Am

Make sure you don’t really look like yourself.  Don’t look the camera in the eye, it’s scary…looking the camera in the eyes is like looking the world in the eye.

God only knows the reason for posting a pic on the Internet is not so you can be seen for who you really are.  C’mon---These are glamor shots, shots you take of yourself.  Shots you manipulate with your lens. 

These are not shots of your soul, save that for later.  Maybe after you die.  These are primarily to make you look good. 

You post them on Facebook and Match and any other site you are willingly a part of.  Don’t you dare smile, because you are trying to create a look of cool introspection, you are a thinker. 

Make sure not to cut off your head while trying to get more of your body:
Head Chopped
These are not artistic nor are they very professional at all.  The only thing I like about them is that I was in control of the camera.  

Sometimes I don't feel like I'm in control of everything in my life.  I don't like other people taking pictures of me, they usually come out horrid and I look either ugly or fat.  

My hips are not in these photos, and I'm grateful for that.  Either is my big ass.  

On another note, speaking of appearance I've decided to take things into my own hands again and start working out and eating healthy.  I don't want to grow old, at all, much less grow old and get sick.  

Then I worry about getting old and ugly, really ugly.  I mean it happens.  And I'm gonna be forty...someday.  It's not that far away...vanity will either kill me or make me get in shape.  

Don't get me wrong, I don't think old people are ugly.  I think they are beautiful and I want to feel beautiful no matter what I look like.

But I don't.  The truth is I feel flawed.  But the truth is those flaws are inside me, not on my body.  This body will always be 'flawed.'  What I have to do is unflaw my mind.  Unflaw is officially a new word I have invented.  Let's see if it picks up.  

It's hard being a woman, especially in a size zero society.  It's harder still when you feel like a number closer to zero than ten.  Look, I don't hate myself or anything like that...but I'm not content with the way I look, it's true.  I wish I could be content and then lose weight, but things don't always work they way they should. 

I should be OK with who and what I am.  I know that.  I know I can be, perhaps the real exercise is that of the mind.  And if I think, therefore I am, then if I think I'm beautiful: I am.  

I am that I am. God said something like that to Moses.  I am what I think I am. 


Monday, November 17, 2014

To Contemplate a Flower

                                                       A Flower on my Kitchen Counter           
Hi---I guess I should explain where I’ve been for the last three months or so, but I won’t.  Not because I’m hiding anything, but because it’s really not that interesting.  Nothing to write home about.  I am teaching, both in high school and college.  It has kicked my booty, but regardless of being hard work, I am finding what I love...
I love an exchange of ideas and conversations.  This may be more suited to college education.  I’m not sure…

However, first and foremost I am a writer.  Writing, which is sort of a conversation with oneself, or with the world.  A sort of one-way convo.  I miss this: I truly miss the exchange of my own ideas. 

Honestly, I’ve been grading papers all day; I think I forgot how to write.  Can you forget?  I feel like maybe I’ve forgotten this part of myself, the part that gives away so much personal information.  I don’t do that at school, I’m a professional.  I give lectures, have discussions, and give assignments.  I don’t tell them how I feel.  I don’t tell them what’s up.  

I don’t even happen to know what’s up these days, I’ve been so busy working that I haven’t really been paying attention to like the news and stuff.  I hear there will be snow again this year, I don’t care to hear about it. 

What I am interested in is what people are doing.  What have you been up to in the past three months?  Have you found yourself?  Or maybe you found another person, even better.  

I would not use the word happy to describe how I feel right now.  I would use the world Zen.  I’m OK with the shit on my plate.  Some of it is good, some of it sucks. None of it matters.

And in this way it all matters.  Maybe it’s transitory.  Maybe it will go away…especially the bad stuff.  However I’m here for the long haul.  I’m here whether it snows or snows more…I will try not to be offended by the gods.  They are after all, the gods.  Let the universe do what it has got to do.  We are mere participants.  I’m just trying to enjoy the ride.

Enough about me, tell me about you…I’d love to know about that sweater dress that you bought, and those boots.  I’d love to know it all.  I want to hear about it.  I will have some time off soon, I want to read your stories, all of them.  I want to read the hell out of my life.  I want to get my Kindle on.

What have you been thinking about all these months?  What will you do for the holidays?  What new food did you start to eat? 

Are you free?  I’m used to asking questions these days, because as a teacher you should talk less and listen more.  

What do you want to ask me?    

I want my time back.  I want to have time to contemplate a flower.  A flower just is, it doesn’t have to justify its existence like we do.  It doesn’t have to do anything.  I want to be a flower.

In my next life maybe.  

They say that people dying of Cancer will tell you to smell the flowers.  I haven’t really smelled a flower in a long time.  

I mean if those are the things we will remember when we are dying, maybe it’s time to start living.  

I want to do things like sing, even though I have a horse’s voice, I sing in my car and in the shower.  It makes me feel alive.  It makes me happy.  

What else makes you happy?

Honestly, in my private, private, private life there are things going wrong.  Things I can’t talk about.  

You know what makes me get through it?  These talks I have with myself, and flowers, and sometimes a friend. 

Flowers and friends.  

Is it too feminine of me to be so flowery?


Who cares?

I’ve found honesty in a flower, the truth maybe even.

I can’t explain it, but I feel it.  


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A small tribute to Robin Williams: Oh Captain My Captain!

Robin William’s performance in Dead Poet’s Society is the reason I want to be a teacher.  Robin’s character told his students to “Suck the marrow out of life!”  He inspired them to live, to be and write their truth.

Robin was one of those people who everyone liked.  If you met someone who didn’t like Robin Williams, wouldn’t you be suspect of their character in general?  What was there not to like?  What was there not to love?  Why didn’t he love himself?

Robin Williams suffered from depression: I truly understand that.  It was his brilliance that I have trouble understanding, how could one human be so powerful? He made me laugh, cry, think all in one sentence.  Honestly he was one of the most beautiful people I have ever observed.   

He killed himself.  A friend of mine was angry with him; he said it was selfish. I told him to have compassion, there is no way we can understand the pain Robin was experiencing.  We don’t know how bad it was in his own head.  Just because his external circumstances seemed outstanding, it’s obvious that outer riches mean nothing to most people. 

What’s interesting to me is that I don’t have the external circumstances that people measure their lives with.  I don’t have a significant income; I don’t have a husband or kids.  However there is now a string of happiness within me, a light, that no one can eradicate.  I think it doesn’t matter if you are “successful” in the eyes of the world, but it only matters what you are in your own eyes.

Obviously Robin Williams did not think he was very “pretty” when he looked in the mirror.  He could not love his own beauty, though millions loved him.  He touched us in ways that are immeasurable.  He moved us, made us laugh, and made us cry. 

It is interesting to me that so many people, who are loved by millions, can’t get it in their heads to love themselves.  Imagine that if someone who is famous cannot love themselves, then how do we ordinary people love ourselves.  Apparently you don’t need a fan club in order to be happy.  In fact it seems like a fan club could harm you more than help you. 

I wonder about that since I want to be a famous writer.  Do I want people to love me because I don’t love myself?  I do love myself, but there are times that the appreciation from complete strangers is somehow satisfying.  It’s not real though.  My “fans” don’t know me.  Like in the case of Robin, my fans only know the nina that I show. 

Someone said of Robin Williams last night that he was always “on.”  Meaning whenever he talked to the press, he put on a show.  He didn’t exactly reveal his true self to the public.  Not that it is necessarily any of our business.  However, we would have still loved him had we seen him in his boring and mundane moments.    

Robin Williams, i.e. Mork, is dead.  It’s still had for me to fathom that.  He was like a father figure to me.  He was real, in a world like Hollywood that is full of unreal people. 

I’m sorry that the world is so crappy that an amazing person like Robin Williams could not live in it anymore.  I wish I knew him personally and could have told him how much he meant to me. 

If you are out there, Robin, read this.  Know that you are loved.  Still.  That none of us will ever forget you. 


Monday, August 11, 2014

Guest Blogger: Keith Blenman

Feelin’ Kinda Hot

An fun thing about being in my thirties is discovering all these new and exciting ways that my body is going to crap out on me.

I’m sure matters would be different if I had taken care of myself more through my twenties.

“Yeah. We COULD go to the gym. That is definitely an option. But let’s really think about this. Have we really explored the possibility of ordering pizza and playing video games.”

I was perhaps not as responsible as I could’ve been. And the result is spotting the beginnings of eventual ruin.

“Oh! I sag in those places now.”

“Note to self: Milkshakes, while still tasty, now cause a day long escapade of gassiness.”

“The thing is, officer, several years ago I could function rather well on two hours of sleep. Turns out that if I don’t get a good night’s rest now I get sort of cranky and am more likely to commit to my idle threats of arson. That said I thank you for your service and for talking me down from cackling over my matchbook and puddle of gasoline. I’ll just be on my way now.”

About eight months or nine months ago I discovered that my inner ears have dramatically increased their production of hair. I spent several tearful hours staring at myself in the mirror, trying to will my body out of this decision.

“I’ll just wear more hats! It’ll be great! Think of all the beanies I could be wearing that’ll work much better than ear hair! Why, there’s black ones. Gray ones. Some of them have stripes or zigzags. I could even get matching scarves so there’s really no need to continue with all this neck hair either.”

After a while I got frustrated and pinched my longest hairs in either ear an attempt to pluck them out. Sadly the roots were stronger than I anticipated. Instead of removing the hairs I only managed to make them curl. So my effort resulted in looking as though I had one of those villainous twirly moustaches sprouting out the sides of my head.

My latest physical change is equally entertaining. About a week ago I was at work and started feeling as though my left shoulder was heating up from the inside out. Of course my initial thought was that I was on the verge of spontaneous combustion. I tried to rationalize it as a sunburn but couldn’t think of when I’d been outside in the past several months without wearing a shirt. Again, I’m growing hair in a variety of places. Some of them more disturbing than others. Between that and my other flaws I find it best for everybody if I stay pretty well covered up. So the sunburn on my shoulder wasn’t making a lot of sense.

I tried to ignore it. That lasted for about a day. I got a fairly good night’s rest. I went to work the following morning where I spent a majority of the afternoon cleaning and organizing a warehouse, moving up and down a ladder and heaving boxes of assorted sizes. And all the while my shoulder felt as though it had a heating pad wrapped around it. As the day went I started to feel the same sensation on the back of my neck. And then moving in waves up and down my spine. Little ripples of heat, traveling along my back. And then a bit in my chest, my other shoulder, and then my inner left thigh. It was about then that panic mode started to set in. Maybe it’s just me but as soon as unusual pains and peculiarities start honing in on the groin area it’s time to consider professional medical advice.

According to Google I was experiencing arterial diseases, diabetes, MS, delusions, early warning signs of a heart attack, nerve damage, and potentially had commit sati.

I started looking at my coworkers’ foreheads and hairlines, trying to spot beads of sweat and redness. I concluded that if other people were showing similar signs I could rationalize the heated feeling simply as result of the humidity. I asked a few people, “Is it hot in here or is it just me?”

“No, the AC is cranked. I’m freezing.”

That was not reassuring.

By the end of the work day I was feeling as though there was something seriously wrong with whatever this radiating from within was. As it seemed to be getting worse, I decided to have a doctor check it out. Unfortunately this was a Sunday night so my regular doctor wouldn’t be available until the morning. I decided that although it’s probably nothing, the “early warning sign of a heart attack” was worrisome enough that I shouldn’t sit on it. So I went to an emergency clinic after work. And after about an hour in the waiting room they took my vitals and the doctor had me take off my shirt.

“Well, Mr. Blenman, that certainly is a lot of peculiar hair growth but I don’t see a rash or anything out of the ordinary.”

My left ear at this point had turned bright red and was also warm to the touch. Evidently this is ordinary for some people. When I pointed that out the doctor said, “Yeah, you really shouldn’t be growing a moustache there but it’s not the sort of thing we can treat here.”

She asked how long I’d been experiencing this burning sensation and it gave me pause.

“No, it’s a heated feeling in my shoulder but spreading over my back and other places. But I’m peeing just fine.”

“Mr. Blenman, what you are experiencing qualifies as a burning sensation. Your body is radiating heat. There are many types of burning sensations that don’t involve sex organs.”



“…Do you feel silly calling me mister after discovering I didn’t know that?”

“…Quite a lot actually.”

“You can call me Keith.”

“The same reason I feel silly also makes me not want to be on a first name basis with you.”

“Yeah, I get that. Very understandable.”

So after what amounted to a quick once over the doctor told me, “It’s most likely muscle tension. And there’s two ways people can develop that. Either sitting in one place all day without taking breaks to move around and stretch or it could’ve developed through a lot of strenuous activity.”

I had been up and down a ladder all day while heaving boxes of various sizes. Also, I’m a writer, so my other job involves sitting at a computer all day. In terms of taking breaks, when I’m really into whatever I’m doing I often skip meals and lose all focus of anything going on around me. I started to wonder if that’s when my sati happened…

“What you’re going to want to do is not strain yourself for a while. Don’t do too much activity and also don’t stay in one position all the time.”

Well that’s perfect because you just described my entire lifestyle as wrong.

I was given Motrin and told to essentially not be me for a few weeks. And I felt this was something I could handle. Why, it could even be fun. Who wouldn’t enjoy the medical advice of “Don’t do what you normally would.” I could start wearing a beret and singing in public. And find the writing on CSI shows compelling. I COULD go exercise! I could try getting really, really good at math and pay all my bills on time. And most important, I could learn to enjoy the feeling of being engulfed in flames. Treat it as though it’s a gift.

The next day matters had both improved and disapproved. While the Motrin had diminished the –and I’m going to use this right- burning sensation it replaced it with more typical aches and pains. My arms had also started to feel heavy and I was having a difficult time keeping my hands open. Somehow I continued to go through the day telling myself, “Evidently this is just muscle strain. This is just how my body experiences pain now. It’s so terrible that my mind registers agony as being on fire. That’s just what I do now. Thankfully medication is reminding me of my younger days when stuff just hurt. This is not at all a problem.”

The fact that my hands wanted to stay in weak little fists was discouraging. Writing, working on my fiction, was a burden. It turns out you don’t always have the best spelling and grammar when all you can do is clop your fists against the keyboard. In fact, I’m just going to go ahead and say I was experiencing an odyssey of typos. Somewhere in there I MAY have even attempted using other parts of myself to type but they were all unwieldy. I filled MS Word with so many green and red lines that my computer screen looked like Christmas. A very poorly punctuated Christmas.

A few more days of this didn’t see much change. By late Tuesday my hands were functional again although my arms still felt heavy. The burning sensation was mostly in my bicep and I’d developed a stabbing pain below my ribs on the other side. Not a horrible stabbing pain like Freddy Krueger was trying to rip out my spleen. More like a Chucky doll was insistently jabbing a corn holder into my side. A little painful. A bit scary. But I’d live. Not without questioning the emergency clinic’s diagnosis of course.

I tried to talk myself down from the thought but by Wednesday evening that heated feeling was getting a bit more intense. I tried telling myself, “The doctor said it was probably muscle tension and it’ll go away. Doctor’s don’t just make up random diagnoses on a whim. If she felt as though it was muscle tension, guess what, it’s muscle tension.”

The following morning I made an appointment with my regular doctor. I told him I’d been to the emergency clinic but when he asked what the doctor there had said I only told him I was taking Motrin. This might make me even a bit more weird but when I go somewhere to get a second opinion I generally don’t like the person knowing what the original opinion was. He might focus on that. It might create some level of bias. I want him to approach my case with fresh eyes. Still informed. I explained my symptoms and how long I’d been explaining them. But still, I wanted his take on it.

“I told you the last time you were here that this is a family clinic. We don’t do cosmetic work and you’ll have to go somewhere else to get your ear moustache removed.”

He gave me a more thorough examination.

“Take off your shirt. –Oh my- Put it back on.”

All my vitals were checked. My blood pressure was abnormally high but they chocked that up as nerves. An EKG said my heart was fine. Listening to my lungs showed no peculiarities. He stuck a tongue depressor in my mouth and did the whole turn my head and cough thing but at that point I think he was just messing with me.

“Okay, now bend over and while I do my work start clucking like a chicken.”

“Where did you say you got your degree?”

“Eh. Places. You know.”

In the end he sat back and said, “What you’re experiencing is muscle tension. Come and see me if it doesn’t go away after a few weeks.”

“Hm. Well, okay. I’m glad I got that second opinion. …But just one more question.”

“Burning sensations aren’t always related to urination.”

“Okay. Cool. You’re the doctor.”

So two doctor visits later and the conclusion remains muscle tension. I still haven’t ruled out the possibility of an invisible devil or some sort of poltergeist living on my shoulder, but for the most part I’m satisfied in that this is just another thing my body can do now. Sprouting strange hairs whilst pretending to be on fire and starting to sag.

Yay thirties!