Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Car Accident, an Awakening

This morning I woke up to a car accident that occurred right on the corner where my apartment building stands. A guy in a Cadillac tried to turn left down Cleveland Place, which is a one-way, and ended up slamming into a pickup truck. Then the guy behind him rear-ended him. The Cadillac was really fucked up, and I wanted to cry when I saw the man, a well-dressed guy in his 60's or 70's who reminded me of the Dad from Six Feet Under, slowly climb out from the car. He looked shaken up, but worse, it looked like he completely felt like his age was to blame for the accident. There was a shame that eclipsed his face as he pulled himself from the wrecked car. Pedestrians circled around him, one dialing 911, another slinging the man's arm over his shoulder to help him to the sidewalk.

And then it struck me that the worst part of getting old is losing your dignity. You were once a young, fit, lively human being who fucked your wife and scolded your children and danced at parties and ordered two glasses of wine at dinner. Somehow, as the years peel, all of that feels squandered as it weaves itself into memory and the distinct notion that the past is over, and all that lies ahead is something vaguely worse than death - living without your dignity, living without really living.

Luckily no one was seriously injured and like the entire NYPD was called out to clean up the accident. Now all that remains are little rainbows dotting the street where oil spilled from the engine, though it's raining in New York now, so soon those will be gone, too.

-Jess

Friday, May 30, 2008

Caption of the Day

Sex and the Society

Like I needed another reason to love Slut Machine.

"What women need, Egan stresses, is the truth -- not the polite version of sex we see (or mostly don't see) on TV. "Women still don't talk enough or openly enough about sex, when it comes to what they want, or their desires, and I feel like women need to discuss that more." If they don't, Egan says, women are doomed to sexual devolution: "You'll never be a sexual subject, and you'll always be a sexual object."

From "Those Dirty Girls" on Salon.com, by Susannah Breslin

Though all of the SATC hype is starting to give me hives, it has spearheaded a plethora of thoughtful and important articles that contribute to the furthering of the discussion of women and sex in America. In "Those Dirty Girls," author Breslin interviews a variety of sex writers, including my alltime favorite Tracie Egan (aka Slut Machine), and that Harvard hoe who posted a picture of her face coated in a pristine layer of jizz on her blog.

The article attempts to explain the dichotomy of the SATC phenomenon. While it did instigate the notion of women as sexual beings akin to men, it also perpetuated a variety of cliches and mores in opposition to feminist ideals. While Samantha was "having sex like a man," Carrie spent most of her "sex articles" explaining relationships thinly veiled by a desire for MORE MORE MORE. More money, more shoes, more men, more orgasms. As Egan points out, much of the series revolved around not so explicit themes of sex and desire, as opposed to laying out the flat facts like real sex writers do.

But the thing is - I'm not sure SATC was even created with the conscious goal to incite a female sexual revolution. Let's not forget the intense amount of advertising and branding that went into the movie. Vitamin water, vodka, MANOLOS. I don't think SATC is necessarily as socially aware as we would like to assume it is. It may have inadvertently sparked important conversations about female sexuality, but now it's up to the women outside of the show to determine in which direction we take those conversations.

-Jess

Everybody Wang Chung

The Alexander Wang for Uniqlo collection debuts today at the flagship store in SoHo, with adorable cotton shifts and retro-fitting shirtdresses in Wang's signature pallete of slate greys and black. With the items in the $40-60 range, this is probably one of the only chances I'll get in my young life to own a real Wang item. Be prepared to fight me for the last pocketed shift dress, as pictured above.

-Jess

Matchmaker

There is something very delightful and strange and almost impossible about the idea of gay arranged marriages. But that is becoming the prospect facing immigrants from countries like India and China in an increasingly homo-tolerant United States (the most recent example being the legalization of gay marriage in California), where sons and daughters can fulfill their parents' wishes for grandchildren while having a legal, state-issued marriage license.

Having watched The Kite Runner last night and reading this article today, I've been thinking about the idea of arranged marriage. Is it...really that bad? Obviously, it's an old tradition, one that bases marriage on things like dowry and reputation rather than, you know, love.

But I feel like there are two kinds of love. There's that I-just-met-an-amazing-boy love, the kind of love you fall into, head over heels, can't-stop-talking-about-it, giddy and dizzy and short-lived. It's like an infatuation, but it's more than lust; it is the glow of the initial sparks of a relationship, and it feels special and wonderful every time.

Then there's that other kind of love. After the sparks have died down, after the infatuation has passed and the fever has cooled, there's that stuck-with-you love. It's not bad, just different; after a few months, the relationship stops feeling exciting and new and starts being the norm. And as humans we are hard-wired to get used to stuff, so we get used to this other person being a major part of our lives, and we love them for, well, putting up with us and not leaving. Obviously this kind of love isn't universal, and too often (judging by our 50-percent divorce rate) relationships don't make it to this kind of love, and once the sparks have died out the troubled couple runs on fumes and self-delusion until finally one of them realizes it's time to stop. But for the couples that do make it to this point, well, it's a comforting feeling, I'm sure--the love of the familiar.

Which is why part of me would be totally okay with an arranged marriage. It would definitely take the stress out of dating, and I wouldn't feel so lost just searching for that somebody. He'd be right there. I'd know his name, I'd know what he liked and disliked, and most importantly, I'd be able to be myself. I wouldn't have to worry about putting on airs or acting more refined/intelligent than I really am, because once that fear of rejection is removed and you know you're stuck with this person, comfort moves in. Comfort leads to familiarity, and familiarity leads to that subdued love. And I think the initial sparks would still be there too--there's always lust with a new partner--and even though the union might be forced, the emotions can be very real. And the idea of an "arranged" marriage kind of parallels my belief that Everything Happens For A Reason; if it's not my parents arranging my (hopefully eventual) marriage, it's some Divine Force, my own little Cupid. I really don't see the difference between randomly finding someone at a bar or a bookstore and finding someone waiting for you in your parents' living room, arms already wide open, greeting you with a genuine small of warmth, excitement-- nervousness, yes, but like the waiting-for-a-roller-coaster-to-start kind, not the hope-he-calls-me-back kind--and the knowledge that even if you fuck up real bad, he'll stay by your side; the knowledge that finally, the search is over.

-Josh

Shoot. Me.


Hey! Did you guys know Sex and the City: The Movie debuts in theatres today?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's Not Whining, It's Treatment

From this Gawker post about the health benefits of blogging:

"1. Bitching and moaning alleviates stress! "As social creatures, humans have a range of pain-related behaviors, such as complaining, which acts as a 'placebo for getting satisfied.'""

So there ya go. I may complain a lot, but I'm just acting as a typical "social creature." I guess not complaining and actually dealing with your issues is...antisocial, then?

-Josh

Mass Text from a Nancy Botwin

Thu, May 29 12:10 am

"Bob's* has upgraded to a better product. Holler !"

*Name has been changed to protect the guilty.

Sex and the Media World

An image from the article, which is now my desktop background

Okay, I'll admit it. I was practically moved to tears by Rebecca Traister's article in Salon today, entitled "Another Pretty Face of a Generation." Not only is it startlingly accurate, but it's also so painfully well-written that I actually read it three times because I enjoyed it that goddamn much.

Traister brings to light critical issues concerning women in the media, and how they are treated - not just by the macho bigwigs swinging their dicks like n+1 writers and the Foer brothers (Franklin, The New Republic editor, and Jonathan, novelist extraordinaire), but also by the general public, whose thirst for blood became quite evident in the comments section of Emily Gould's now infamous Times Magazine article. Traister writes:
We are mired in a repetitious pattern of hate, jealousy and resentment toward those who are plucked by media powers and come to stand -- however inefficiently -- for the rest of us in the cultural imagination, securing the top spots, the best exposure, the prime media real estate in exchange for openings veins of feminine vulnerability.

Traister cites Joyce Maynard and Elizabeth Wurtzel as victims in solidarity with bloggy baby Gould and SATC's reigning heroine not-so-affectionately coined "Scary Sadshaw." All women bled out a distinct vulnerability that made them simultaneously attractive to the male literary heads and repulsive to those who deem any kind of self-reflection crass or narcissistic. This "built up to be torn down" mentality reflects a stark sexism that has recently become increasingly evident in the media's treatment of its new female literary ingenues, as well as in Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Are all women writers destined to be plastered across billboards a la SATC's Carrie's bus advert, which she herself worried was "too sexy?" A quick Wikipedia search for these women turns up feminine, subtly sexual default images depicting shy young things with a penchant for the pen. (See Below) Is this further objectification of women - even of those who would otherwise be smart enough to avoid it?

Or is it something more - something, as a neo-feminist, I'm kind of okay with championing? Emily said she had a problem with the way the Times portrayed her, but perhaps some women are okay with using their bodies to sell their writing. The trouble, then, surfaces when the bodies become more important than the writing, and for women like Maynard, that problem potentially stunts their full development into the talented writers they could be. Hopefully, for Emily's sake - and mine - that's not the case.


-Jess

J.D. Salinger muse and renowned author Joyce Maynard: Barefoot and not pregnant.

Elizabeth Wurtzel wrote explicitely and honestly about depression in the 90's critically acclaimed autobiography Prozac Nation

A screencap from the Sex and the City opening credits shows Carrie lounging languidly beside an ad for her newspaper column

As yet, ex-Gawker editor and Times memoirist Emily Gould does not have a Wikipedia picture, but a quick Google Image search of her name turns up a number of photos of her in an American Apparel bathingsuit.

Hardballs

In light of this, and the media and the general public basically conceding that, well, Chris Matthews is a Total Dick, I thought I'd share a little insider info on Mr. Hardball himself.

Chris Matthews is from my township, and sent his kids to the neighboring elite prep school where boys I used to fuck attended. I think his brother's kids actually go to the high school I graduated from. Anyway, one time my Dad was at a work conference in Aspen for leaders and thinkers or some shit like that. Chris was there, and my dad, always the Hardball/Atlantic Monthly/New Republic fan, took the chance to strike up a conversation with him. When my Dad revealed that he was the (then) principal of Springfield Township High School, Chris Matthews, whose father graduated from STHS, broke out into the Alma Mater song, which began something like "Here now today/we pause to pray" which in retrospect is filled with religious imagery and just generally makes me uncomfortable.
My Dad said he was nice enough, but then again they didn't really get into any discussions about Hillary Clinton that would allow Matthews to allude to the fact that his Catholic upbringing naturally made him sexist and so he thinks that she's maybe kind of a bulldyke.

-Jess

By the Numbers

I count 13 references to Sex and the City on New York Magazine's online front page alone. We get it. This shit's hot. But I'll be damned if I willingly trap myself in a theatre this weekend with a slew of aging 30 somethings swilling cocktails and teetering violently in knock off Manolos while unsuccessfully attempting to hail a cab. Nooo thank you. Expect my review in a few weeks, when the number of moviegoers has dwindled down to stoned straight guys desperate for a laugh and 13 year old girls who snuck in without their parents' knowledge.

-Jess

Springfield: The Movie

A kid from my high school made a cartoon/action hero trailer for his Senior Sem project depicting my high school. My Dad showed it to me last night, because as the old Principal/new Assistant Superintendent, he's in cartoon form in the movie! His voice begins around 0:30 mark, and then a little while later you see the cartoon version of him standing at a podium. Super cool. Check it out:



-Jess

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lolz


SaMANtha Ronson, Some Hag, Ali Lohan and Lindsay Lohan inadvertently recreate Sex and the City in New York on Wednesday.

-Jess

FYI

Mazi went ahead and made a few more headers, so expect new ones in the coming weeks. Like the one we've got now! It's a view of NYU kindasorta. Thanks, Maz.

Sam Ronson's Vag Tastes Like Banana Lip Chap

JOSH: i'm feeling lazy lets just do that thing where we have an IM convo and then paste that and make it an entry
JESS: ok ready go
JOSH: so...how about that emily gould
JESS: Gawker just did... another post about Emily Gould
JESS: LOL! great minds
JOSH: she's like the.... new julia allison of online media
JESS: apparently she doesn't like how she's portrayed as "sexy."
JOSH: i like how she phrased it like she was SO SURPRISED how the photos came out
JESS: cuz like, fucking Keith Gessen doesn't make her sexy.
JESS: yeah it's like you were posed on a bed in a tanktop
JOSH: plus they're not revealing
JOSH: she looks good, but you know, you've revealed more on the blog
JESS: I think you mean MILEY CYRUS revealed more
JOSH: oh right excuse me
JOSH: i'm at this other workstation and it's really cramped and the guy next to me is reading MSNBC.COM
JESS: oh no, why did you switch?
JOSH: but the girl on my other side is playing Bubble Words which looks like text twist only nautical
JOSH: i do as i'm told around here
JESS: hot
JOSH: obedience is the new topless annie liebovitz photo
JOSH: *lei
JESS: i thought it was i before e except after c and when sounding like ay as in neighbor or weigh
JESS: or does that not apply to lesbian photographers who "sexually exploit" young girls in the name of art?
JOSH: i guess annie leibovitz is a gramatically-incorrect exception
JOSH: yeah it's a lesbian thing
JOSH: it's really rosEI o'donnell... few people know that though
JESS: and like... deik
JOSH: jodei foster
JESS: lindsei lohan
JOSH: jesssei jackson
JESS: perez has taken to calling her lezlo
JOSH: somebody get that man a pulitzer
JESS: i feel like if she wanted to become a lesbian she should've gotten in on the portia de rossEI shit because sam ronson's cooch most definitely smells like tar and english breakfast tea
JESS: meanwhile portia's is like diamonds... chocolate encrusted diamonds
JOSH: in addition to tar and english breakfast tea it also maybe smells like days-old stella artois, banana-flavored chapstick, and cocaine mixed with vaginal fluid
JESS: cocaine dipped labia is the new annie lEIbovitz sheet picture
JESS: mmm stella artois
JOSH: it is a good beer
JOSH: better than fucking red stripe
JESS: but red strip is the beer of jamaica, mon
JESS: nothing beats green apple gopher ale though
JOSH: i'm just gonna post this. i don't think we're funny to anyone else but ourselves =/
JESS: i know
JESS: wait let me post it
JESS: i need to edit it to make us look smarter and funnier
JOSH: by all means... aka retype the entire convo
JOSH: "...so then she said, 'that's not my utopian discourse as influenced by the works of milton and pope!'"
JESS: ?
JOSH: smart humor?
JESS: LOL
JESS: goodbye

DIY Porn by Lena Chen

I don't even really know what to say about this.

This takes the topic of chronic oversharing to a whole new level.

I mean, props to this girl for putting a feminist spin on a facial. I'm not really sure how letting some guy you're fucking unleash his load all over your face would make Susan B. Anthony proud, but who am I to judge?

No, I won't post the picture. It's way too NSFW for even me, a highly sexual person, to post. So go over to Gawker if you want to see it.

-Jess

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Two Steps to Getting a Husband

I'm not sure what this means. Either New York Mag gave up trying to pretend that Sex Diaries are real and thus applied horrifyingly accurate characteristics to someone in the delicate throes of a breakup , or they actually found a real person this time. Either way, the consensus is depressing. We fuck other people but we miss our exes, even if they are liars and cheaters and assholes. Once we gain the power back and they reveal to us their weak underbelly, we immediately buck up and are Over It.

At least that's apparently how it works for guys.

I have spent my whole life trying to act tough in the face of men. I am well aware that I am an emotionally complex person, as all of us are, but that just doesn't sit right with some guys. I bend to their will, adjust myself effortlessly. It's startling to see that everything I've feared rings true, at least for Mr. Cheated-On, Out-of-Work Actor.

I think I will write a relationship manual. It will be called "How to Get a Husband" and it will have only two suggestions. (It will be a short manual)

1. Never let on that you're vulnerable
2. Give good head

-Jess

Narcissists are People, Too

My mom said something very enlightened and enlightening to me on the phone just now. She was being affectionate and I was getting uncomfortable and started tearing up and squirming at the same time and telling her to shut up. I said, “You’re being nice, it’s making me uncomfortable.” Then she said, “But you like it, too. One of the things I sometimes forget about you is that you push people away, but it’s like a test. You want them to come after you, to chase you, because it makes you feel loved.”

My mom is a smart lady.

When I tell people to go away I usually want just the opposite. When I say I don’t want to know someone, it’s because I am sad and scared and don’t know what I’m doing. But I want them to chase after me. God, that must be aggravating. I wonder if I can get a prescription for something like that? The harder I push means the more I know they love me, and the more I want them to prove that they do.

Unless, you know, they’re a stalker.

Then I started thinking about how no one really knows me as well as my Mom. It makes sense. She like, created me. But at the same time there is so much that she doesn’t know about me. My mom is trying to understand who I am, and who I’m trying to be. And I’m learning to understand that not only is she my mom, but she’s a person, too, with her own needs beyond what I need from her. I guess that’s the crux of the parent-adult child relationship: learning how to navigate shifting roles, how to love each other in a different way than what you’ve grown up with.

Everyone is giving Emily Gould shit for being a narcissist. But the truth is, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being self-involved and self-analyzing when you’re in your 20’s. We’re all trying to figure these things out, and she just happened to do it in a public forum. Maybe sharing her pain made her feel less alone. Maybe she needed an audience because she needs validation for the choices that she makes.

Or maybe she is just a Millennial, and has grown up accustomed to sharing everything that’s happened to her with a wider and increasingly voyeuristic audience. Is everyone who updates their Facebook status a narcissist because they want people to be interested in what they’re doing? Or is it something larger than that? Reaching out for a connection that we’re terrified of losing, because this world may be small, but this city is big, and it can be agonizing to navigate it alone. And I don’t think any of us should have to.

-Jess

And Then We Landed on Mars

Something called the Phoenix landed on Mars and is taking pictures and testing the soil to see if there's life Out There. Of course I'm immature and just can't get over this update from the NASA website:

NASA Mars Lander Prepares to Move Arm
05.27.08 -- NASA's Phoenix Lander is ready to begin moving its robotic arm, first unlatching its wrist and then flexing its elbow.

LOL

-Jess

Living La Vida Lohan

My new favorite show premiered last night on E!, boringly titled Living Lohan. It's the BLOWhans, could they not come up with a more creative title?

Anyway.

First, let's get one thing straight. I've been obsessed with Lohan Mess #1, Dina, for quite some time now. I even once drew this on David's Facebook graffiti wall:


So it's only fair for me to admit that I'm going to be obsessed with this show no matter how much it theoretically sucks. That said, last night's premiere was fucking awesome!

Dina starts her day each morning by reading gossip rags and drinking coffee. She made it seem like it was something she absolutely had to do, despite the fact that her life would be much easier if she just ignored what everyone was saying about Mess #2, Lindsay. Ali spent 80% of the show talking about "her music" in a treacherously Long Island accent and applying makeup. She even admitted that her whole life revolves around attempting to exactly emulate sis Linds. She said something to the effect of "I try to look like her, dress like her and act like her." Sad.

Cody, the little brother, and Nana Lohan are my favorites. You know Nana don't take no shit, and Cody is so quintessentially normal that it's refreshing to watch him say things like, "People ask me what it's like to have two famous sisters. I just say they're my sisters and I love them." AWW. It's going to be extra sad when he becomes an intravenous drug user.

Then there was the random "music producer" Jeremy who Dina met through THE INTERNET. And then let BABYSIT HER CHILDREN. Ali clearly had a crush on him and was therefore pissed for more reasons than one when Dina's assistant came across an article with quotes from Jeremy "neither confirming or denying" the fact that he was dating Lindsay, whom Ali claims, "doesn't even know he exists!" My Lohan high was cut short by a retarded "To Be Continued..." announcement. Who uses that scheme during the pilot? Besides, we know that Jeremy talks his way out of that awkward situation because he appeared on the previews for the rest of the season, and they wouldn't keep him on the show if he was a press-twisting liar.

It's funny how the show itself almost wholly fixates on Lindsay's existence. There are constantly shots of posters of Linds hung up around the house, and both Ali and Dina referenced Lindsay, or "called" her, in almost every single scene. It's going to be interesting to see how a show built entirely around a character who never appears will operate. Hey - that sounds kind of like religion! Living Lohan is so the new Christianity.

-Jess

Emily Gould Suicide Watch

It's hard out here for a pimp, and also for up-and-coming mini media mogul Emily Gould. Over at Jezebel she likened herself to a modern day Carrie Bradshaw navigating the pitfalls and benefits (but mostly the pitfalls) of living in the newspaper-controlled iron jungle of New York City. Her New York Times Magazine article received such negative and venemous comments that eventually the thread was shut down, though the Times claims that's not the reason for its closing.

Her Jezebel article is depressing and expresses a subtle, anxious regret that you can only really siphon from between the lines. Is Emily a narcissist? Sure, but aren't all New Yorkers career-driven, fast-talking, cigarette smokers with a bunch of one night stands scratched into their bedposts and a not-so-dusty bottle of Georgi stored in the freezer to be pulled out for nights full of tears and self-examination? Are we not all self-obsessed? Ms. Emily is not the first, and she won't be the last. So for fuck's sake, stop picking on her, even if she does go the Julia Allison route and describe herself through a complicated net of Carrie Bradshaw metaphors.
-Jess
UPDATE: Gawker also just reported that Emily and n+1 asshole and king of the Russian intellectual literatti, Keith Gessen, have broken up. (Too insidery?) Yo, Keith. I find your pretension and thick au naturale eyebrows endearing. If we date (read: fuck and mutually use each other as literary muses) I promise not to blog about you... too much.

O Canada, How Bountiful Be Your Pleasant Indie Rock

Go here. Listen to "Ohio." It sounds a little like Arcade Fire-lite, but I think it's more folk and a little less, uh...Springsteen-lite, which is kind of Arcade Fire's thing anyway. In any event, it's also really really catchy, and cute, and I totally want to dance around to it in the street, except for the fact that it's like 150 degrees outside (and only May!) and the air's so humid it feels like I'm underwater. But yeah. I'm imaginary dancing at my desk.

-Josh

The Best Take On The Election I've Seen So Far

...is right here.

Okay, maybe not best, but I love that little hand-raising dance Nancy Pelosi is doing. Can that be the new Wave?

-Josh

Monday, May 26, 2008

Alex is Still a Douche Bag, Amanda is Still a Hero

On tonight's two part season finale of The Paper, Amanda's ex-best friend and Managing Editor Alex continued to prove that he is an immature asshole who deserves the pathetic, meaningless life he will surely set up with girl Alex after they graduate, attend the same state school and accidentally get pregnant.Amanda, however, achieved her dream of getting into (my school) NYU. Check out her admissions packet. I'm having total flashbacks.

The day I got accepted I had driven home from school to intercept the mailman during my lunch. I actually accosted him a few blocks down and had to show him my driver's license to prove I lived at the house I said I lived in. When he handed me the envelope, fat and promising, I ripped it open and immediately began crying and jumping up and down in the middle of the street. That excitement has almost all but waned, but shreds of it still linger. They crept up the back of my neck during The Paper season finale. It perfectly captured the anxiety, the hard work and the endless waiting that goes into the college admission process.

One of the things that really bothered me was the fact that the vice principal tried to pull an article from the front page because it may have negatively referenced Cypress Bay in some way. I wasn't involved in the newspaper in high school, but it seemed a bit ridiculous. I'm hoping it was simply to complicate the plot and allow Amanda to showcase the true leadership ability she possesses, and not that the students at Cypress Bay are suffering under a cruel and unfair dictator. I liked how Amanda gave her a little bad-itude. You go girl.

The final fight between Amanda and Alex in that beautiful Florida park saddened me because it echoed of many the fights I had in high school, only even the assholes I knew at Springfield High weren't as intolerable as Asshat Alex. He truly is awful. Throughout the entire series he managed to spew venomous bullshit about Amanda behind her back while continuously jumping at the chance to undermine her in every capacity possible. I can put up with this kind of shit from Trevor because he's the kind of guy I would've "hated" in high school but actually fantasized about fucking in the football locker room. Alex is an asshole with no good looks to back it up. Good riddance, Amanda. There are plenty of boys at NYU who are far cuter and far sweeter than Mr. Alex.

Okay, I have to go to bed now. I got drunk at 3pm today and I'm exhausted, but I wanted to write about the final ep while it was fresh in my mind. Hope you all had an eventful Memorial Day.

-Jess

Happy Memorial Day!

Things John McCain Can't Do

A few nights ago I went home to be reunited with my high school friends for a night of drinking, drugs and debauchery. After several drinks and joints, we started talking about how, because McCain was in a P.O.W. camp and therefore can't raise his arms above shoulder height, there are innumerable things the man can't do. Below is our preliminary list. Feel free to add to it via the comments. And thanks to my fav, Matt Greer, for helping me with the list!

1. The YMCA

2. Hang gliding

3. The Wave

4. Be handcuffed to the bed during foreplay

5. Get called on in Mrs. Jones' 3rd grade class

6. Chin-ups

7. Dance like Lindsay Lohan

8. Take off his own shirt

9. Jumping jacks

10. Catch a pop fly
-Jess

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Write, Post, Release

There’s nothing essentially wrong with being sad, except when your sadness wedges itself between you and everyone else. I’d be perfectly content with sitting in my room alone listening to Sufjan Stevens and alternating between crying and getting stoned, but everyone around me would make me feel like such shit for not being happy 24/7 that it honestly wouldn’t be worth it.

Things around here are not great right now, but I will leave it at that because I actually may have learned something from Emily Gould. I went home this weekend and my Dad brought up the article: “There’s an article in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine that you’re going to LOVE!” Unfortunately I had to burst his bubble by responding, “Oh the one about Emily Gould? I’ve already read the article and all analyses of it, and also blogged about it... twice.” He asked me what I thought her main thesis was. The trouble with Emily’s writing is that there’s rarely a clear-cut thesis. The point is that my Dad used her story as a way to say he’s still pissed about the post I penned about him for this blog and refused to take down. I used the word “cathartic” about five times in my attempted explanation to him. It was garbled and confusing. I’m not sure why I wrote about him in such a cutting way. I’m not sure why I put it on the internet for all to see. But it made me feel better than any conversation with him ever could.

My mom and I had a long talk today about why I can’t use her as an outlet the way I can my writing. Well, besides the fact that she’s my mom, and I feel weird talking to her about things much deeper than my grades and my boyfriends, it made me realize that I have trouble talking to anyone about these things, especially my family. Really, I’d rather tell strangers about my problems than any one of my family or friends. It’s always been a point of contention in my relationships. I could blame the inherent distrust I possess for my family on the divorce, the lies, the secrets. But the fact remains that a lot of it has to do with me. When things get hard I crawl into myself and wait for them to get better. I am so proactive and pragmatic when it comes to most things in my life, but when I have to face issues that reek of emotionality and intensity, I immediately run.

Maybe I’m becoming like all of the boys I’ve dated and berated for being unable to open up.
Maybe I’m becoming them because I don’t know how to be anything else.

The problem is that I’d rather write this and put it out there for god knows who to read than confront my problems head on. It makes me feel better that I’m writing this now than it would for me to call my Stepmom and resolve all the issues we’re currently going through. Is that a brand of selfishness, or should it simply be accepted as the way I operate, a flaw to be forgiven like all of the other things wrong with me I ask the people I care about to neatly tuck away?

I was born a journalist and I’m afraid I’ll die one. My curiosity for other peoples’ lives completely trumps my desire to investigate my own. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me you know I ask a million questions because I need to know everything. But, as a close friend, if you turn the tables on me I will barely allow you to graze the surface.

I’m afraid of revealing what’s inside because it’s ugly and angry and unfair. It’s unfair because my life is actually not so bad, but for some reason my brain is chemically wired to believe that it is. “There are children starving in Africa!” people say. I know, and I’m so sorry for them, but I just can’t get my shit together enough to put my head up above water and recognize that my life does not suck because my family and I are engaged in a temporary tiff, or because I’m still begrudgingly reeling from a recent breakup, or because my job consists of talking to assholes on the phone for seven hours. People have it so much worse than me, so revealing how ugly I can be on the inside feels like a total crime.

Emotion is ugly and scary and I don’t know how to wade my way through it. There are so many concepts I can easily grasp, and I pride myself on being able to tell what people are going through and perceive how they’re feeling and what their motives are just by looking at them. I feel everything so specifically. But I am tired of dividing and naming my emotions based on dictionary definitions. I am tired of constantly having to respond “I’m good” when people ask how I am, when in fact I’m doing fucking horribly. My sadness is my ugliness, and so I don’t want to show it to anyone, not to my family or my friends, not even to myself. So I take a pill every morning and I go running every evening and I try to read less Kundera but I still feel like I’m stuck in the gears, because my home is not my home anymore, and I can’t even let the people who care about me the most know who I really am.

So yeah, I do get why Emily Gould blogs about her personal life. It’s a mature form of escapism. Write, post, release.

-Jess