Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Pursuit of Unhappiness

I've become more liberal as I get older.  I think that the more 'spiritual' I get the less 'religious' I get.  And the more I think about things, things like marriage, I start to think that they are constructions of society, they are not necessarily 'natural.'

I mean, that doesn't mean that I don't want to get married.  It's just that I think that I know so many people who are married, and many of them are quite happy, but sometimes it feels like, when I look at the divorce rate and the couples that are unhappy, that the way we construct marriage as it is, is not always the greatest thing.

Then I look at gays who want the right to get married.  Just like I don't know if I believe that religion is the greatest thing, everyone has the right to practice their religion.  Just like that, everyone should of course have the right to get married.

I guess I haven't really addressed the gay marriage issue yet because, well honestly, I don't understand why it's an issue at all.  New York made a monumental decision the other day to allow gay marriage.  But really was it that monumental, or was it more like something that was long overdue?

I've been thinking and thinking about this issue and I want to say something unique, not just the obvious, that everyone should be treated equally and given equal rights etc.  But what else is there really to say?

If it is your religion that is telling you that gay marriage is wrong, than don't become gay and get married.  That might sound stupid and simple and sideways...but if you disagree with this new legislature I don't know how to talk to you.

And I want to talk to you.  I have friends and relatives who think like you, who don't like the idea of the existence of homosexuals.  I love these people, and I hate these particular views that they have.

But I think we should still have this conversation.  Don't tune me out.

All I'm saying is that this does not affect you if you are not gay.  Let them get married, they should have the right to be as miserable as the rest of us, right?

I'm serious when I say that people should have the right to be unhappy.  When Thomas Jefferson said that everyone has the right to the Pursuit of Happiness, perhaps he should have added the Pursuit of Unhappiness.

I personally don't think being gay is a choice that one makes and that a person wakes up one morning thinking that the choice is going to make them happy.  I think it is a thing that just is, whether it be biological or whatever, and people accept it within themselves even if it will make them unhappy.

When homosexuals come out of the closet, it's not always happy.  But who are we to judge what's happy, what's good and what's not.  Inside, when someone comes out of the closet, they may feel true happiness for the first time in their entire lives.

Maybe I'm going around in circles a bit here.  What I want to say is, if you think that someone is going to go to hell for their actions, let them go to hell.  They have the right to go to hell.

But if you are like me and don't really believe in hell, then you probably don't believe in condemning people.

My mother, the other day, said that she didn't think that gay marriage is natural.  She's a doctor, nothing she does to prolong people's lives is 'natural.'  What is 'natural,' barbaric behavior?  Nothing we do anymore is natural.  I'm typing my thoughts onto a machine, this is completely unnatural.

But it feels like the right thing.  I think if you were to ask a homosexual person how they first knew they were gay, they might tell you that it just felt right.

It definately doesn't feel right to discriminate against someone who is just listening to their heart.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The New Way is No Way

So I've been trying all these things, like trying to like research happiness.  I've read so many books and articles and listened to motivational speakers.  I've tried meditation, yoga, writing, breathing techniques, and like visualizations.

There is nothing wrong with any of this shit.  And I really sort of believe in it all.  But sometimes, I don't really think I need any of it.  Like when I watch kids.  They are just happy, before they read all the books on happiness and see the motivational speakers, they just are.  They play.

I think I have forgotten how to play.  This friend of mine commented, after reading my blog for the first time, that I start playing a sport.  I don't think it's a bad idea, I do have this like angst that could possibly be helped by throwing around a ball.  He said something about pointless tasks being beautifully freeing.

When I was a little girl, me and my cousin would play like we were two Sex in the City type women and we would pretend like we lived in a city and had boyfriends and were career women.  I don't know why it was so fun to pretend like we were adults and now I want to be a kid.

Besides the fact that kids don't have to worry about things like rent and where their next paycheck is coming from and they don't have to dwell upon the cobwebs forming in their wombs, kids are generally free to be fascinated by the world.

Little things fascinate them.  I mean I can't remember how many times I watched the Road Runner smash to smithereens and would still go back to see more.  It didn't take much to satisfy me as a kid.

So I am wondering how I get that childlike wonder again.  It would be nice to have a kid, but ruling that out for the time being, what about pretending like I'm happy.  Pretending like I don't have that exam to study for and that loan to pay off.

I mean half of being is pretending and kids pretend all day long.  I had a an imaginary friend, I think her name was Jackie.  When my real best friend, Amy, wasn't around Jackie did the job.

I mean I can't have an imaginary husband until the real one shows up and I can only fool myself so much when pretending like everything is going to be all right.

But it's not all fake.  I mean in the end, what's the worse that could happen?  I guess I could die.  But in the end, that is actually what is going to happen.

Some say we are all in denial about our deaths.  Some people say we never die, that life goes on after death.  But regardless of what happens in that space, I want this space to feel good.

Smiling is simple.  Happiness has got to be simple.  You don't need a PhD.  In fact education may be prohibiting us from being happy.

Maybe doing things like singing and dancing, while I'm doing things like cooking and cleaning.  Or maybe I should learn how to sew, I've always wanted to learn how to sew.  Or plant a flower, or like get massages more often.

I think, very often, just be simple nina.  Stop all the sophistication for second.

I think that I have to stop thinking.

So think about that.  Or don't.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Trial

Why are we so interested in this chic who killed her daughter or whatever?  Yes I'm deliberately being flippant.  Yes, I understand that it is a heinous crime, but does it say more about us or her that we are obsessed with the DETAILS?

They say this is the O.J. Simpson trial of our generation.  I don't know if you know this, but at the time that the O.J. Simpson trial was going on like a million (they say 800,000 but it's really about a million) or so people died in Rawanda over the course of like a 100 days or something, and it was never really shown on the news because the stations were so OBSESSED with O.J.  The President, Clinton at the time, said he didn't even know it was going on...Does anyone even care about what O.J. is up to now?

Who knows what's really going on in the world right now as we are obsessed with this young woman who may or may not have killed her child. It's like we pick one death and obsess over it instead of thinking of the random deaths of so many in wars and like genocides.

The U.N. and the United States could have helped to stop the genocide in Rawanda if the country at large was paying attention to it.  If the media had focused attention on it and public opinion forced our leaders to care.  Instead, we just look at the skulls and skeletons of these dead people and think: Wow what a trajedy I wish I had known and by the way, was O.J. really wearing that glove or not?

Is it my fault that I didn't know about Rawanda until after the fact?  Yeah, I would say it is.  I don't make any kind of real effort to find out what's happening in the world at large and I enjoy a good Weiner joke now and then.  However, should Anthony Weiner and this chic, I refuse to remember her name (I can't forget Weiners name), who allegedly killed her daughter, make the headlines?  You know that Lifetime has already made a movie about them.  In fact I think these two should meet...

But in all seriousness, these people are celebrities for doing really bad things.  They are what we call infamous, right?  There is only a fine line between being famous and being infamous.  Pretty soon the lines get blurred and we are empathizing with the likes of the Anthony Weiners and the other murdering mothers.

So what are we supposed to do, how do we pick and choose our battles, our trials?  How do we force the media to focus on what's really important?

I don't know, change the channel when you see another 20/20 episode about this mother-daughter murder.  Try and watch the BBC, they focus on world news, real news.  I know we don't always care about what's happening in other countries, then maybe it's time we look at the reality of what's happening in our own neighborhoods.  There are a couple of homeless people that I see walking the streets of my neighborhood, and I'm sure there are more that I don't see.  Maybe I should find out about them, care about them, more than I care about some random woman I will never meet.

I know, coulda, shoulda, woulda, you are trying to hold on to your job and run your errands and at the end of the day you turn on CNN and there it is...the woman who murdered her daughter, and who really has the energy to change the channel when you've got diapers to change and etc. etc.

I know, I'm the same way.

What can little old me do?  Well I guess blog about it or whatever.  Maybe just bring up the conversation that we need a new conversation.  The media just latches on to a topic and over stuffs us with useless information.

We control the media, though, you know.  We are their audience.  If we don't care, they won't care.

I don't know what in the world exactly I'm supposed to care about and know about, but I don't think it's too much to demand that the media direct me away from sensationalized cases and into the real world.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Dating Double Standards

The thing is, sometimes I'm a bad person.  I don't mean to be, but we all got to watch out for ourselves, don't we?  Especially when it comes to dating...

Like take this for example:  I meet a guy online and he tells me he has been out of work for the last two years and finally he got a new job (a contract job until the end of the year at least).  But he had to move into his mother's place last year because things apparently got really bad.  He said that he isn't ready at the moment to be in a relationship because he's financially strapped and can't really afford a relationship until he pays off his past bills.  Yet we talk on the phone every day and he says he likes me and wants to get to know me.  I like him, he's funny and smart and caring.  He doesn't give me a time line or anything as to when he will be ready to date.

I have this like tug of war thing inside me.  On the one hand I like this guy (he's not the best looking but I've always been able to overcome that) and he makes me laugh and think.  But in like two years, if we got married, is his job stable enough, I mean if he loses this job will it be another two years?  Can I live like that? Yeah, I know I'm jumping the gun and thinking about wedding and stuff, but I have to think long term.

After some time I tell him that I need someone who is more financially stable.  I'm completely honest with him, I don't tell him some bullshit reason why I can't talk to him anymore.  He reminds me that I'm not financially stable either at the moment, and he doesn't understand my double standard.  He says I've been brainwashed by my parents who want me to marry a doctor or lawyer.  He tells me he didn't realize that all I cared about is money.

Needless to say I felt bad, felt bad that I did care about money, that I do want someone who can provide for me even during the times that maybe I want to take time off for children etc.  I mentioned this to him and he said that I was living in a dream and that I would end up a divorced single mother if all I wanted out of a relationship was money.

Wow, I thought. I mean should I feel bad about caring that someone can at least have the funds available to take me out to dinner?  I understand that people get laid off and hurt in this economy, but he had a contract job that could end at any time and he could have gotten laid off again.  But should I have stuck with him before I even knew who I was sticking too?  I didn't really know him yet.  Yeah I liked him, but I have liked a lot of men.

Alright there is a notion that you can live on love.  And I really believe that you can.  If I had met him somewhere and fell in love with him and this was his situation, I might have accepted it.  But I wasn't in love with him yet.  I was planning my love choices and, and he didn't fit the choice that I thought I wanted.

Is it OK that I have a double standard?  If I was a lawyer or doctor, would I still care if my partner was a success?  I think I might.  Am I brainwashed though?  Are these my thoughts, or like my parents?

I like to think these are my thoughts.  And in this way, call me a bitch, but I want a man who is somewhat of a success in his career.  I want him to be able to financially support me if I want to take time off to write a book or raise a child.  

But really, more than that, I want love.  Real love.  The kind of 'fuck the rest of the world' love that you read about or sing about or see in the movies.  (I am aware that kind of love morphs, but if I can at least marry my best friend...)

I mean I know I'm looking for everything, love and success, and may not find it all in the same man.  If it so happens that the love of my life is just not very successful, then so be it.  But I'm not seeking out men who are mediocre in their careers.  And I'm not seeking a love that lacks passion.

You might think that this is why I'm still single, because my standards are too high.  You might be right.  But it could be that it just hasn't happened for me yet...and that I have to have standards because I don't want to end up living a life of quiet desperation.

But if you know me, I won't be quiet about it.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

School Woman

So I'm a school girl again.  This time I'm an actual real adult, last couple times I wasn't like fully developed or something when I was in school.  I'm different now.  I don't usually pull all-nighters.  I'm not day dreaming about some boy in class.

The other day I went and visited Ann Arbor, the first college I went to was University of Michigan.  I went to this thing they call Top of the Park where they play movies outside, in the fresh air.  They were playing Top Gun.  And there was just something about the mix of stale popcorn with cotton candy that tasted like detergent, and Tom Cruise whizzing away on his motorcycle and the wind in an outdoor movie theater that for a moment just made me love my life.

I mean things are not perfect over here.  I'm thirty five and and I'm not in a relationship or married and I don't have any kids.  I'm not saying this defines me, but sometimes it bothers me.  I'm not in a stable career yet, and this also does not always bother me, I chose to be a starving artist, I knew what I was getting into.

Yet when I was sitting in that outdoor theater, with the wind in my hair, I just kept thinking about how free I am.  I don't have to answer to anyone, no kids, no husband.  And that may be sad sometimes.  But sometimes its really great.  So just as I was lusting after the younger Tom Cruise I thought that this may never happen again.  I may never truly be free again.

I mean if I don't entrap some unsuspecting chap to take my hand in marriage, I'll literally force the hell out of some unreasonably commitment phobic dude into at least sharing the rent with me.  And if I don't one day drop beautiful frolicky children from my womb, I'll adopt some unsuspecting child and bring him or her into my weird world.

I really am determined that these things will happen.

So as I have it now, I spend time with my friends and family at my own whim.  I am as free as I was in college, when the only thing I had to worry about was exams and like the freshman fifteen pounds.  Now, I really do have worries that go beyond that...but generally I'm free fallin'.

The question is, what am I falling into?

Am I falling into a free but lonely old age?  I have friends who worry about getting married because it means having to share a bathroom and having to clean up after someone.  As much as I say that those things won't matter to me, I'm also becoming like older.

I worry about things a lot more, I guess like my parents do.  I like to say I'm free to do whatever I want whenever I want, but I'm bound, bound by the constraints of life.

Maybe I'm not a school girl anymore, I'm a school woman.  I come to the class with more insight, more baggage, a little less fear than I had when I was a girl.

I used to think life was a school. And every time I got stuck, stuck on a problem I couldn't solve, I thought it was because I wasn't smart enough or didn't work hard enough.  Now I don't think of life as lessons as much as I think of life as full of experiences.  We are here to live.  We are here to feel the wind in our hair and dream of a young Tom Cruise who isn't tainted by Scientology yet. We are here to feel.

I felt something that night, like a giddy school girl eating ice-cream and popcorn and cotton candy watching the first kiss of a man and woman and thinking that I will miss this.  But don't miss this now.  Be here.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Let me Tell you a Story

So this is thing, I went to this show called the Moth Series, I think that's the name.  It's a show on NPR that is AMAZING.  It was basically a story slam where people tell true stories about their life without any notes.

Listening to all these stories, it makes you want to have a life worth telling a story about.

I want to tell you some stories:  Like did I ever tell you about the time I failed at becoming a temp?  That is a temporary worker, in case your wondering.  I moved to D.C. with dreams of being the most highly educated secretary in the world.

Actually the temp agencies sell themselves as agencies that will help you get a permanent job, so you think you are going to the right place.  You think you might have a future.  You tell them you are an aspiring writer and they ask you how many words you can type per minute and they check to see if you can spell.  Then they stick you in random positions until they can find the "right fit."  When you tell them all you really want to do is write creatively, they tell you to shut up and talk about your organizational skills.

I started out by stuffing envelopes.  Literally, stuffing envelopes and licking them closed.  I still remember the acrid taste.

Now, just as an aside, someone accused me of babbling the other day.  Now forgive me if I don't know the difference between babbling and blogging.  Yes, I in fact babble.  A lot.  I like to think it's part of my charm.

Anyways my humble beginnings in the secretary pool taught me absolutely nothing.  I did not learn how to be humble, instead I scorned those around me who looked like they had a real job.  I didn't really learn how to work my way up the corporate ladder because truthfully, I'm just not that kinda chick.

I know you want to hear a story about how I started by stuffing envelopes and then was stuffing my face at the company picnic as my employees shook my hand.  I'm sorry that didn't happen.

Let me tell you what did happen.  I was sent to the Chemical Safety Board.  They were supposed to, by law, lock up all their incriminating documents about chemical disasters so no stupid temp could find out about the truth behind all the unhealthy toxic calamities.  But I wasn't like the temp who worked for the tabacco company and found out that they were doing all sorts of illegals things.  I never even looked at those unlocked files and didn't even try to be that hero that could bring the government down.

I'll tell you what I did.  I tried, between answering phones and taking lunch breaks, to write stories.  I made them up because I was a fiction writer and I had no real stories of my own yet.  I made up characters, I even wrote a very bad screenplay.

Well, I also, like an idiot would save my writing to the work computer.  Finally, I got the job temping at USA TODAY.  My dream job, my dream temp job at least.  Again, I had no professional skills, I didn't know how to be fake and make a good impression and pretend like I was busy.

They had nothing for me to do, so I wrote.  But this time I wrote about two people talking about a certain sexual act, the same act that Bill Clinton was being impeached for.  I wrote about two people talking about it and I was fired.  Bill Clinton, that same year, did it and he wasn't fired.  This was 1999.

I have to admit, as another aside, I did pervue a few unauthorized websites in the course of my stay at USA TODAY.  Come on, the internet just was invented, I didn't know they could track your pages.  I was an idiot.

You know, I think it was the thirteenth amendment that made involuntary servitude illegal.  Even though I though it was voluntary, I was being connived.  There is nothing voluntary about stuffing envelopes so you can pay your rent.

By the way, just as a babbling note, I tend to repeat myself, so did I tell you this story before?  I think I told it differently before.

So where was I?  I wish this story had an ending worth stating, like how I lived happily afterwards, or a climax where something meaningful happened and we all walked away better people.

But all I can say is: I never temped again.


Friday, June 24, 2011

What Happened to Me?

So this is what I think happened, I mean the reason I stopped writing this all started with Egypt.  Egypt was protesting about THIS and THAT and the other thing and it was all sooo IMPORTANT.  How could I say anything, even anything remotely that important?  They were using Facebook to start a revolution...I was whining about shaving my arm pit hair.

I mean who really wants to hear about nina this and that and the other thing?  Real things were happening.  And  nothing was happening to me.

OK, maybe it wasn't just Egypt.  I mean, maybe it was more that I thought I didn't have anything left to say.  I literally couldn't think of anything to say...I couldn't think of anything worthy...worthy of you, whoever you are, to read.

But the thing is, if you are like me, sometimes you just don't want to express yourself.  Sometimes you want to be alone and not be heard and not say anything at all for just a minute.  And just be.  Maybe I needed that.

I know I'm not a disciplined person, in the traditional sense of the word.  I am sort of trying out different spiritual thoughts, and the idea of discipline, like maybe meditating and writing everyday, well I like those ideas but I haven't followed through with them.  I don't work out every day or floss every day.  So how could I expect myself to blog every day?

But there are things that I do do every day.  I try to be real.  I try every day to remember that I'm alive for the simple reason of being alive, even if I have no purpose: I live, and that's enough for me.  On the other hand every day I try to have a purpose.  Every day I try to be thankful for something, even if it's as simple as a chocolate chip cookie.

Some days are really hard and because I battle depression, (I'm not suffering from it, rather I battle it away now) but there are days when I can't feel right no matter what I do, and sometimes on those days I do nothing and feel like nothing.  And when that feeling of nothing passes, on a regular day like today....I feel so good, so good because I know what it feels like to feel bad...and every day that I can get out of bed and do something productive with my life, I try to remember that I'm lucky.

Sometimes I think that my problems are monumental, than I am reminded again of Egypt.  How my mind stopped working when I saw those people, was moved by those people, who were really living.  I mean they were doing something, saying something, being something.

Some of them also would die for their cause.

I haven't died for anything yet.  Nor do I particularly wish to.  At least not yet.

However, I don't have to compare myself with the people on the news.  In fact I don't really want to end up on the evening news.  No news is good news.

I realize now that I could have said anything in last six months or so, and you may have been interested or moved or simply accepting of it.  I could have blogged about the weather, and you would have understood that sometimes its the nothingness that binds us together.

So much has happened in the last six months, but in this way nothing changed, nothing at all.  I can't even imagine that it has been six months since I blogged.  I missed it though, there is something about connecting with people so directly and spontaneously that is really fun and really cathartic.

I can't ever promise that I'll be the consistent blogger, unless of course someone pays me and turns this into a job.  But just as a writer, as a starving artist, I love the inspiration and beauty of this dialogue that I have with you.  I hope you will be patient with me, follow me when you can, and take my pauses as a breath of fresh air.