No Wicked Indulgence

You.

You men.

You overestimate your worth

And underestimate hers.

You turn away from the Deep Blue Sea

As if your shallow pool of self

Is better.

The sharp bite of chlorine hiding the stench of

Your fear

And denial

That you are no better than she.

You have no idea what you have

In your hands.

Her.

The inadmissible alibi.

The unadmittable sin.

Too good to stay away.

Too bad to be seen.

Don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid.

She is better than you think

In ways you cannot imagine.

In ways you never considered.

No confession required.

Toss aside your notions

And your social limitations.

See the depth and expanse of

Who she is.

An ocean of curved flesh

And sharp, pointed mind.

Trigonometry beyond work of any mathematician.

She is the universe in

All its glory.

And you will never see but one corner of it

For your limited vision.

You and all the other of your ilk

And gender.

But as Galileo was solitary in his appreciation

Of space,

So will be the one who finally looks past.

Who has no fear.

It will be his gain.

And your loss.

And there will be no time machine to go back and

Lose face

Rather than losing your heart

And drowning in your puddle of

Pretention.

The price of Indulgence has

Just gone up.

And you…

You can no longer afford her.

I’d Luv To Kiss Ya, But I Just Cut My Hair…

I am walking that fine line between “eccentric older broad” and “crazy old bat”. Thank God/Goddess/Universe it isn’t a tightrope. It’s more like one of those moving walkways at the airport. And you just hope you don’t trip and fall on your ass getting on and off.

When i went to my hairstylist yesterday and told her i was thinking about going for a faux hawk this time, it took her a good 5 seconds to reply. Now, this amazing woman has been with me for nearly 15 years. She has seen me thru drugstore dyes, quality henna, the decision to let my grey grow out (Twice with me backing out, before my commitment was finally cemented), the decision to let my grey hair grow very long and wavy in hopes i’d look like EmmyLou Harris (I didn’t), and then the decision to buzz it mostly off in hopes i’d look like G.I. Jane (You guessed it… I didn’t).  In any case, she has known me long enough to know i was serious about getting my punk on. I couldn’t immediately tell if she was inwardly rolling her eyes, or just trying to imagine how it would look. When i pointed out that, if we didn’t like it, we could just buzz it again, she nodded her head, and i could tell she had a plan of attack. Scissors, razors, clippers…. It all came out as she got creative with my old head.

Then i told her i was going to tint it purple when i got home.

To her credit, she didn’t laugh. I mean, i’ve done stranger things, so i doubt she was surprised.

She gave me some good advice, and i stopped and bought the color on the way home. Since i don’t want it permanent and i’m still trying to reduce my use of harmful chemicals, i went with a colorizing conditioner. Definitely not something that would score clean on the hazard app, but no ammonia or bleach or skull-and-crossbones on the package. The young girl at the checkout stared at me with frank confusion before shrugging and ringing me up.

The little snipe.

I went online and found a post from a woman like myself who tinted her whites with the product. I decided to follow her instructions rather than the box because, well, lets face it… The instructions weren’t made for old grey- or white-haired broads. Very little that is fun is made for old broads.

As i sit here waiting for my hair to dry post-color, i am listening to my son and his friends play video games and rag on each other about their cyber-fighting ability and manhood. It is pretty entertaining. They aren’t experienced enough yet to really let out a righteous string of cusswords, so it mostly comes out as swear words in comically random order. They don’t realize i can hear them, until a particularly silly string of epithets makes me laugh hard enough to catch their attention. Now they don’t know what to say.

I often have that effect on people.

In any case, yes, i do realize that being an older broad with tattoos and a barely purple faux-hawk makes me eligible to become one of those just-for-fun birthday cards that you send to someone who is depressed about their age. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. And it really doesn’t matter. I’m not setting out to be anything but me, and i’m just having a little fun along the way. The funny part is that, when i was in my late teens, i did things simply because they were different. Now i do things simply because they are fun… And that appears to be different in and of itself. And noteworthy, in a sort of backhanded way.

Because most of us don’t go out of our way to pick the fun option. We pick the cheapest option. Or the fastest. Or the most career enhancing. And truth be told, i do each of those things as well, and far too often. Life is supposed to be more than money, or speed, or work. It’s supposed to be fun as well. And i think, as adults, we sometimes forget that. Even my quirky, weird, old white-haired broad self. It is easy to forget because of the rat race around us. But screw that. The rats no longer interest me.

So i do something fun. Like get a faux hawk. And tint it purple.

Maybe next week i’ll tint it pink.

Go ahead and laugh. Shake your head. Wonder what in the hell i was thinking.

It’s all good.

I do it to amuse myself, but if i amuse you in the process, more’s the better. I get it. You can’t bring yourself to have fun yet. You are too busy adulting. I get it. Well, at least you can laugh at me having fun. It’s better than nothing.

Just promise me, if you ever see me on a greeting card, tell me. I would expect royalties.

Looking Out On The Morning Rain

In my quest to eliminate extraneous chemicals from my life over the years, i have tried more than my share of “natural” products. I was less than thrilled with most of the results. Lately, tho, there have been a slew of advances in natural products, brought to us by advances in science. Go figure. As the scientific community bridges more and more of the gaps between the old arts and the newer needs and discoveries, natural products improve tenfold. Because of that, i have found some things that truly work, and still fulfill my quest to not unnecessarily poison myself, my children, or the environment.

To note: I phrase it that way because there are certain harmful chemicals, some strong medications, for example, that are sometimes necessary to correct problems. And i have yet to find a natural remedy that does indeed keep bugs out of the house – And i promise you, i have tried them all. (Please don’t bother to suggest that i learn to live with the bugs and share my space. Not gonna happen.) But other than that, i have been able to eliminate quite a few known culprits in the toxic wars.

First off, i do make some of my own stuff. I have a balm that i make of cocoa butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, evening primrose oil, glycerine, vegetable wax, and essential oils… And i use it on EVERYTHING – It goes on my skin, on my lips, in my hair (It makes a great pomade). I make sugar scrubs. And i make my own perfumes. But there are some things that i don’t make, for various reasons: Cost, time, availability of ingredients, etc. And i wanted to share some of the products i’ve found with you.

One of the easiest switches i have made is from liquid to solid shampoo and conditioner. I had tried many types over the years, but i had never been satisfied. Most are soap based, which leaves a bit of a film. You can wash it off with vinegar if you wish, but that’s kind of a pain in the bum to me. And because i have terribly coarse hair, leaving a coating on it just makes it even more wiry. So tho it left my hair clean and smelling good, it wasn’t an option for me. Then i did a little research and found a solid shampoo that is made with a mild, environmentally safe, synthetic detergent. No, it isn’t truly natural, but thru science, it gives me the low-residue clean i desire without harming the environment. (If you dye your hair, SYNDET is safe for color-treated hair.)  Most solid shampoos and conditioners also come with minimal and/or recycled packaging, which is a plus. And it is easy to use: Wet your hair, run the bar over your hair three times or so, and rinse. The conditioner goes on similar, except it doesn’t lather. It is just a mix of more soluble oils that leaves my hair soft. (Side note: The conditioner bar also doubles as a shaving bar in a pinch.) If you travel a lot, this will save you space in your allowed liquids for air travel, and no more worrying about bottles leaking in luggage. The ones i have found that work great for me are from Scenter Square. I’m in love with the Dragon’s Blood scent, but she has many that are less gypsy and more mainstream. Give it a shot.

Next on the list: Natural deodorant. First off, to attempt making this change means to accept the fact that humans sweat. (I admit, i’m still getting used to that concept.) This is because, tho there are some who still argue the research, it does appear that aluminum is a likely contributor to many diseases, including cancer, (Since my mother died of breast cancer when she was my age, this hits especially close to home for me,) and aluminum compounds are the active ingredient in antiperspirants. That being said, it doesn’t mean we have to stink. I had tried all kinds of different natural deodorants in the past: The crystal sticks, the baking soda sticks, the clay sticks, the witch hazel sprays… I even tried making my own at one point. All of them were a bust. I smelled like a 19th century bear trapper by noon. The one that finally worked for me, i’m a bit miffed to admit, came to my attention thru an ad on Facebook. I forget what it was about the ad that made me look, but i did. And the concept piqued my interest. It contains Acidophilus. Yup, yogurt culture. Good bacteria to eat the bad, stinky bacteria. Now, it advertises 24 hour protection. Not on me. But at least i’m not stinky, except up close, in the morning if i don’t reapply. Of course, everyone’s body chemistry is different, so i can’t guarantee that what works for me will work for you. But the one that is working for me is Native Deodorant .

Something that i did learn about transitioning to natural deodorant that might be helpful… Before your first use of a non-antiperspirant, use a sugar scrub on your pits. It helps unclog all the skin and glands and makes the transition go faster. It still takes a few days for your body to get used to sweating again, and then it kind of learns to deal with it, and you don’t sweat quite as much.  I have also noticed that when i don’t drink enough water, my sweat smells stronger and the deodorant is a bit less effective (Makes sense when you think about it.) An extra perk: Even tho i sweat, my clothes don’t stain. This is because the staining culprits aren’t actually your sweat, they are the chemicals in your pit stick. Anyway, if you are trying to reduce your absorption of aluminum, give it a shot.

Next: Makeup. Yes, we women should be comfortable without it. Yes, all artifice has its price. But i do enjoy coloring myself up a bit, even if it isn’t to the Cyndi Lauper / Boy George heights of my youth. And while it is true that there are a number of natural makeup companies out there now, there is one that i am partial to because they actually customize colors as well as having an extravagant choice of ready-mades.  Elea Blake is a cosmetics company that is truly unique and a whole lot of fun. If you enjoy color and color theory, this is heaven. That perfect shade of red lipstick that you have been searching for? I promise you, you will find it here. They even have these cool lip (and eye and cheek) drape kits where you can test different tones of the same color to see which spectrum you fall under.  But my favorite part of their products is the versatility. All of the powders (Which are talc free) are made to the same standards, so they can be used anywhere on your face. And you can mix them together to create your own colors. (You can tell a true EleaBlake fan by the fact that we all have small mirrors on our makeup tables that look disturbingly like something you’d find at a coke party, but are actually for blending bits of color for the distinctive look of the day.) I have even added some of the powders to my homemade balm to add sparkle to my hair or skin. And those of my sisters who have skin colors that rarely show up at the department store? I promise you, EleaBlake has your color. And if they don’t, they will make it. Just for you. And you will be surprised how affordable it is, especially considering that, because their powders are pure minerals, they never go bad. Oh, and one more thing about this brand…

If you ever didn’t believe that the beauty industry ignores us seasoned women, try finding an eyebrow color for someone with grey or white hair. You might as well look for a chicken that speaks Greek. But there is one company who has a color that matches. I don’t care if your hair is the color of chrome, or the pale strawberry of a baby Viking, they either have it or will happily make it. And it makes a huge difference.

Soaps, scrubs, lotions… I am a sucker for good bath products. There are lots of great local companies who make these things. And if you have one local that suits you, i urge you to bring them your business. If you don’t have one local, i will suggest my friends at Divine Purity . Cassandra makes some lavish products with care and love that are free from toxins. And she’s a wonderful and inspirational person to boot. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. Plus, small businesses like hers are important, politically, socially, and karmically. Purchase from them when you can.

Some final thoughts:  If you have ever tried to make your own toiletries, etc, you know that ingredients aren’t cheap, so very often, these natural products are more expensive than the mass-produced stuff you get at the superstore. And believe me, for budget reasons, i still buy a lot at “regular” stores. Ok, some of it is for vanity, too…. I mean, what if this really IS the miracle cream that will take all my wrinkles away??? And if that is the case with you as well, that is ok. No one is a perfect eco-consumer. At least no one with a normal income and/or the usual unreasonable beauty hopes. But do what you can. Every little bit makes a difference.

I have many more moves to make in my quest to find products that help me make peace with my own wellness and the wellness of my environment. (My next foray will be with Dropps , a company that makes eco-friendly laundry and dishwasher detergent pods. If you have tried them, please let me know what you thought!) But i feel like i am on my way, and every little bit helps. Reusing bottles, cleaning mostly with vinegar mixes, buying locals meats and produce… Each a step on the road towards clean living. And all these little steps, they make me feel…. They make me feel… They make me feel like a nat-u-ral wooomannnnnn…..

The Artistry of Nuts

“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

How much truth there is in that statement! There have been  a lot of articles out lately about the fact that some of our most creative individuals have been decidedly nuts. As if this is a new concept. Those of us who live in that realm would tell you that it’s our predilection to wayward thinking that makes us be able to see, paint, play, design, write things in a different way. It enables us to see the beauty in unlikely things, and also to see the pain behind the beauty. It gives us the ability to make comedy out of things that would otherwise be tragedy. Creativity is our way of dealing with all the unfairness and ugliness in the world. Because we can’t take that ugliness and unfairness. It hurts us. Deeply. Because part of us is the neglected child, the abused spouse, the dehumanized minority, the aching Earth. Those all live within us. A strange type of Empathy that causes us to seek out and create for those phantom persons within us. And the spoils of our labor make us happy, even in the face of the world’s sorrows.

In other words: We have to laugh, because if we didn’t, we’d have to cry. And that’s no way to spend a life.

It’s true, few of us are going to start a revolution or lead the charge of the light brigade… We count on our logical, pragmatist friends to do that. Mostly because we are too unorganized to run anything. (Have you seen our desks?  Seriously, if you have, let us know… We haven’t been able to find it in months for all the mess atop of it…)

Granted, very few of us are Picassos or Einsteins (Yes, he was a creative sort, too. Science and math is an art for those who can see past the numbers. Einstein didn’t stumble upon his theory of relativity. His roundabout way of thinking knew it was there long before the math could prove it.) Most of us are points on a spectrum. Creative versus rational thinking is often an inversely proportional graph. The more your creative mind blooms, the more you are thought to be nuts by the rational people.

What they don’t get is that, when we turn the graph to have ours be the primary axis, they are the ones who are outside the curve.

An aside:  When i say “nuts”, i am talking about the benignly nuts. The quirky weirdos who fight their feelings and poles daily. You might not know what to make of us, but you know we aren’t going to hurt you. The malignantly insane, however,  are on a totally separate graph. Serial killers, Genocidal dictators, Deacons of the Westboro Baptist church… These are people aren’t nuts. They are medically insane. Which is a different issue altogether.

Back to the topic at hand…

To people who are benignly nuts, the rest of the world doesn’t always make sense.  The fact that some other people don’t have a child, or a madman, or a person of a different color or persuasion living within their psyche… No wonder those people have such a hard time seeing things from another’s point of view! They can only see what they know. They can’t see beyond. And they will never be able to see anything from a totally new perspective. They aren’t nuts enough to see beyond their own reality. Which pretty much precludes creativity.

Empaths and visionaries… That’s what we are. But i personally prefer the term “nuts”. Firstly, because it is taking back a term, claiming it for ourselves, and someday, hopefully, removing some of the bad connotations associated with it. Secondly, because it makes people smile. And, in the end, that is what most creativity is about. Making people smile. Smile, feel, wonder, and find peace.

It’s a worthy goal, and not really crazy at all.

So to all my fellow nuts, whatever it is that you do to bring newness and art to the world: Whether you draw or dance or garden or quilt… Keep doing it, even if others don’t always get it. Even if after they examine your work, they sometimes look at you with pity and fear and pat your head like you’re a cat who brought home a dead mouse to his master. Keep on. All God/Goddess/Universe asks is that you make a joyful noise. She never said you had to be Paul McCartney. Not everyone can be a Beatle. But use what She gave you. She gave you that special case of nuts for a reason. It was a gift. A true gift. Use it.

As Robin Williams once said, “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

 

 

 

I Am the Codfish

Hold it in.

Hold it back.

Until you can bear it no longer.

Take as much as you can.

Til you’re about to burst.

Then take some more.

It’s Tantric.

Like sex.

But without the enjoyment.

This.

My stress life.

More relevant than my sex life.

And certainly more abundant.

My work,

Like stress porn.

Pushing me farther to the edge.

Closer and closer.

So close. So close.

But the cliff dive has no bliss.

Only jagged rocks.

And a reasonable paycheck.

What kind of yoga is this?

The manipulation of the sacred mind

For the benefit of the trumped up guru.

Swallowing heap upon heap of

Garbage and rhetoric.

Tantric, my ass.

This is my stressful revolution.

Like the 1970s, with less bush

And more growth.

Cue the music.

Bom chicka wow wow.

End scene.

 

We Are Sprung Again

All over the world, all manner of people, all walks of life, once Spring has finally sprung, there are festivals celebrating the season of rebirth. For most of us in the U.S., that means Easter. And while the religious notions of Easter are certainly important to all my Christian friends, i’m not remotely subject-educated enough to speak on it. The universal notion of rebirth, tho…  I have lots of experience with that.

As a child, i was a churchgoer.  Regardless of the beauty and popularity of Christmas songs, i always felt that the hymns of Easter were the most beautiful. I still do.  And the services over the holiest of weekends always made me cry (In a good way.) All the evil of the world falling and failing in the path of a New Hope. Secularly, my Ma made Easter baskets for us, we salivated over New England Boiled Dinner (A melt-in-your-mouth yumminess of epic sodium proportions), the vivid color and fragrances of flowers blooming everywhere, and i remember more than one sheep shaped cake, covered in coconut and dressed with jellybeans on visits to my Dad’s side of the family. All wrapped up together, if was a heartwarming celebration of Spring. A celebration of rebirth and revival. Sweeter than any sugar-coated Peep.

As an adult, tho i become increasingly pantheist by the year, i still hold a special place in my heart for Easter. For anyone who struggles with the disease of self-hatred, the concept that God/Goddess/Universe will give us, even encourage us, a do-over is a gift greater than any other. And as we become more enlightened, those renaissances become less of a drugstore makeover and more of a true reincarnation. Spring becomes a reminder that we should change and grow regularly, just like the Earth itself. (Mostly secular) Easter is the festival i’m most familiar with from my youth, but each culture and religion has a version of the same notion…

From the Christian realm, at Easter we take on John 15:13 and learn to sacrifice for our fellow humans. From our Jewish family, at Passover we learn to break free of shackles and bondage (both literal and figurative.) From our Pagan friends, at Beltane we learn to reconnect with our youthful vitality and wonder. From our Hindu friends, at Holi we learn to forgive, forget, mend, and move onward and upward. I’m sure there are many more Spring festivals out there that i haven’t gotten to learn about yet, and dollars-to-donuts, they offer a positive lesson for self-improvement.

Given that i still have a lot of improving to do, i’ll gladly celebrate them all.

So here’s to rebirth! Here’s to becoming the person we want to be! Here’s to nourishing the spirit and helping it grow!  Here’s to breaking ground like the first daffodil of the season! And just because it makes the heart happy, here’s to joyful celebrations, love and laughter, and chocolate bunnies!

May God/Goddess/Universe bless you all with rebirth.

The Woolworth’s Papers

April is National Poetry Month. You know what that means…. Well, i suppose it should mean that i am writing a poem, but i’m not in the mood for that. Instead, i looked up my old poetry notebooks. I have them for as far back as my sophmore year in high school and on for about 10 years. By the time my oldest weedling started school, i had pretty much stopped. No writing to be found of the score of years between then and now. Just the files of my personal prologue.

Anyway, there are a lot of them. These time capsules of my brain and heart. Most of them have loose papers, napkins, junk envelopes with bits and phrases written on them stuffed between the pages. Some have cards and letters from my oldest weedling and a few special friends.  Today i reread them. Each dog-eared,  yellowed-with-age, annotated and dated one.

Holy shit, was it embarrassing. (I started to say “garbage”, but i can’t really say that. I mean, those feelings, however immature and ignorant, were heartfelt at the time. And writing was the only way i knew to vent them.)

In my school system, your sophomore year in high school was about poetry, public speaking, and other language endeavors that would have been torture in lesser hands. I’ve always enjoyed poetry, but that year, i had an English teacher who was truly outstanding. She enthusiastically encouraged us to write. And to write in our own style. She helped me fall in love with writing by giving us variety of assignments and opportunities. And if she sensed effort, even if it wasn’t gifted work, she coaxed us to do more. I started buying notebooks at Woolworth’s and filling them up with my juvenile angst.

“Nobody likes me! I’ll never fit in!!”

“He doesn’t know i exist! I’m gonna die an old maid!!”

And too many handwritten lyrics to Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen” for me to count.

All that usual time-consuming schoolgirl crap of which pink-framed young adult series books and teen magazines are filled. Ironic, since i thought i was alone in all this misery. Turned out, there were billion-dollar industries founded on it. Gaggles of teenage girls lamenting their lack of standing in the social hierarchy, wailing in high-pitched nasal unison. Perhaps because it was harder to express, my legitimate depression  remained well hidden beneath these shallow concerns of youth. The little i wrote about the real demons in my head is clunky and unfinished. Darkness overshadowed by soul-words with no English translation. So much for my Sylvia Plath phase.

But i will say this, i wrote a lot.

Like anything else in life, practice helps. So tho my anguish and inexperience are palpable in those journals, you can follow the growth of my writing if you read them in order. I wish i had continued to write thru  my thirties so that i could follow my personal growth as well. To maybe find that moment when hope gained enough ground that the game went into overtime.  Wouldn’t that be a cool thing to read? To find that threshold, my own Moonstruck “SNAP OUT OF IT!!” epiphany when i started taking all the dismal moments of my childhood and turning them into rebar for the person i wanted to be? We could call it my Louisa May Alcott phase, since it was about finally becoming an adult, albeit well into my fourth decade on this Earth.

But those writings don’t exist. I feel like i’m missing The Two Towers. 

Anyway, I’ve a long way to go before i hit my Maya Angelou phase.  Decades, i’m sure. After all, you have to live the experiences before you can glean wisdom from them. I am pleased to say that i’m starting to have Leo Buscaglia moments, tho, so that gives me hope. (Of course, i still have plenty of Edward Lear moments, too, so it’s not like it’s a constant gaining of ground. But, hey, at least it’s progress.) Maybe, if i live long enough, i’ll get there. A book full of wisdom and humor that will change the world for someone. Wait for me, Thoreau! I may be crawling, but i’m making my way! Don’t give up on me!

In the mean time, i’ll keep writing. I’m sure someday i’ll look back at what i have written lately and shrink at it. The horror of what i currently find amusing or important. And subjecting others to it! Mean and presumptuous! Ok, well, maybe not those things, but i do hope i see things clearer  in the years ahead than i do now. And i hope i write about it more effectively than i do now. Which means more of this rambling. The only way to become a better writer is to write. Right? Right.

And if i’m lucky, someone will read it and like it.