Professing * Reflecting

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Santoro vs. Blake (in which I objectify tennis players)

A sleepy, punch drunk question for the interwebs after a very very very long day as I drift off to sleep while watching the U.S. Open in the garret-o-televisions:

Do you have to be stunningly good-looking to play professional men's tennis these days? If so, how do they weed out the less than stunningly good-looking players? Are head shots required at some point? Is there a super-secret underground World's Next Top Tennis Star pre-screening competition happening somewhere? A sort of cross between America's Next Top Model and a Zoolander walk-off in which players, guided and judged by, I don't know, maybe Andre Agassi and Bjorn Bjorg, are put through a series of tests--some involving tennis, some involving posing in various stages of sweatiness with rackets, trophies, etc.?

I mean, damn.

How's a girl supposed to get any sleep with this kind of thing going on?



Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Who I will be channelling this academic year

In order to deal with the s-h-i-t storms it will bring, I will need to be a s-t-a-u-n-c-h character indeed this year. I might even bust out a head wrap or two.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Partners expected" (a cranky rant)

Why is it that a seemingly politically progressive and sensitive person puts things like this in emails to groups of people, some of whom are known to be single: "Let's have dinner on Tuesday. Partners welcome and in fact expected" and "OK, let's meet, with partners, at 8"? Argggghhhh! This person KNOWS that I am (happily) single. That I am casually dating a couple of people. That I do NOT have a significant other or anyone I would think to bring to a dinner with colleagues.

"Partners expected" ?!?!??! Is there no better pithy little vicious statement of heteronormativity? Ironically, this person is someone who is VERY conscientious (in a simplistic and almost comical way) about gendered language and has been known to scold me for using "you guys," which I only use is an effort to avoid the class biases I encounter when I use my usual "ya'll" outside of the South. Well, let me tell you something, using "partner" instead of "girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/spouse" does NOTHING to correct the heteronormative directive that everyone MUST BE COUPLED. Okay. . .so you agree with the fact that your "partner" can be of any gender and your relationship can be a legal union or not. But your expectation that everyone around you is or should be or wants to be coupled is H-E-T-E-R-O-N-O-R-M-A-T-I-V-E. As well as F-U-C-K-I-N-G O-F-F-E-N-S-I-V-E.

I can't even talk about it without worrying that I am coming across as a bitter shrew. I am not bitter about not being in a relationship. I am not longing to be in a relationship. And this does not mean that I am broken. I am weary of not being able to pick up the phone to talk to my family, to turn on the television, to watch a film, to open a magazine, to go to the doctor without in some way dealing with the assumption that a woman my age should be in a committed relationship AND that there is something wrong with her if she does not have that or if she is not actively seeking that. I am dating a couple of good-looking, smart, funny, fun men. I am having [gasp] casual sexual relationships with [gasp] both of them. FUCKING DEAL WITH ME. Or don't. Just don't expect me to be something I am not.

Phew. I am of course not going to say any of this to my dinner-organizing colleague. I have thought of saying something jokey like, "Hmmm. . .are partners a requirement? If so, I could try to track down one of my lab partners from college or join a square dancing club but that could take some time. . .". Even that seems too snarky and not worth it. I know he is not being malicious and probably is not even conscious of his biases.

Back to work. I have a semester looming. End of rant. Down with heteronormativity, you nasty oppressive bastard.



Friday, August 24, 2007


You're Catch-22!

by Joseph Heller

Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you
see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense
of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an
ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You
could coin a phrase that replaces the word "paradox" for millions of

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

as seen at Hick Chic



Poetry Friday: possibly the best text message I have ever written

I was clearing out my text message "sent" folder when I came across this:

"Had fun last night. Thanks again for dinner. Sorry I'm insane."

I think this counts as poetry, no?



Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chihuahua Wednesday, Supply your Own Caption Edition



Icky Sicky

Fever, chills, aches, lunatic stomach. =(

How does this happen in August when I am, for the most part, holed-up in the garret writing? (It was the subway last week, wasn't it? Or the bus. Damn bus.)

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Salty Dogs (the Chalupa and Milo at the shore)

Yesterday the Chalupa and I joined Paloma and Milo at their seashore retreat for the afternoon. (And we sang along to Ryan Adams at the top of our lungs all the way there.) The rewards this weekend, they have been sweet.



Saturday, August 18, 2007

Tell me it's OK

So I have been telling myself that if I finish Big Major Tasks of the Day (and they are big, time-sucking tasks indeed), I can buy Ryan Adams Easy Tiger from iTunes. Problem is I would really really like to listen to it right now while finishing Big Major Tasks of the Day. I mean, it is 6 p.m. on a Saturday and I have been working steadily for hours and making great progress and I have waited nearly two months to buy this record. Does positive reinforcement work when you reinforce during preferred behavior rather than after?

Hmmm. . .I probably should have asked that before I started drinking this glass of Shiraz, huh?

"And I'm fractured . . .from a faaaall . . . and I wanna go hoooome."

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Friday, August 17, 2007

What I love even more than shopping for myself at H & M. . .

Shopping for birthday presents for my 13-year-old niece at H & M.

Do you think she will like it?

(You really have to click on the pic to see it, as it's all washed out in the sunny spot I took the photo. Also? That beautiful green pillow underneath is the Chalupa's new bed. I know. How many does she need? Apparently, like the garret televisions, one for every 300 square feet.)



Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I have been in writing prison since early July. At some point I think I said I was going to do a long post about summer work strategies, with all the tips and tricks I have found useful as I work on the birthday "work better/faster/harder" resolution. Well, the post hasn't happened but the work has. I have basically been writing** on a 9-5, 10-6, or 11-7 schedule. I have had luck with the schedule, because it allows me to tell myself that it's ok to relax and to do no work at all in the evenings. I have also found it helpful to limit email and internet. For a while there, I was not accessing the internet for personal stuff (blogs, personal email) at all until 5 p.m. No personal email or internet during work hours became the better rule. This improved my focus. I realized two of my major problems with self-scheduling and working at home are focus and motivation. I am also working on improving focus through meditation and limited television, which is hard in the attic o' televisions but which truly helps. Finding motivation? It's hard. The tenure carrot is not enough and is more likely to invoke a paralyzing freak-out than a spurt of productivity. The promise of little rewards (glass of wine, dinner out, a movie) is more effective.

I have to say no one strategy works perfectly. Ultimately doing all that I have to do to do my job well and to get tenure is bloody difficult. It's too much. On paper, it doesn't seem possible. In reality, it somehow always is. In the end, it's about keeping your head down and plowing through the work. Some artful dodging, bobbing, and weaving as well as some rolling with the punches (usually in the form of extra work) when they come is required. Manipulating the space-time continuum proves, at times, necessary.

Dr. Crazy (whom you should go wish a very happy birthday) has an excellent post detailing the workload of an assistant professor on the tenure track, but even she cannot provide an exact account of all of the work that she does on a daily basis, especially during the school year. The post was prompted by the comments to an earlier post about protecting one's time--comments that in my opinion revealed all manner of misconceptions about the job. As a graduate student, you think you know. You do not. I did not, you do not, and you will not until you are in the thick of it. I do not mean to mystify what is neither mysterious nor extraordinary. Do any of us really know how we accomplish a challenging task? We lay our plans, we dedicate our time and our energy to carrying them out, we improvise when necessary, and at some point we are in the work and no longer thinking about it and just doing it. Do I know how I did what I did as a graduate student? No. I know it was exhausting and exhilarating and frustrating and rewarding and demoralizing and life-changing. Teaching in itself is a challenging job. Teaching on the tenure track is three (at least) challenging jobs rolled into one. How do we do it? We are able to do it because we are intelligent and clever and dedicated and talented and ambitious and hard-working and persistent and resilient. We are able to do it because we care--about our students, about our fields of study, about our profession. We are able to do it because we are kick-ass at what we do.*** Why do we have to apologize for it? Why do we have to explain that we are not spoiled entitled brats? I am not interested in being a martyr or a victim or a superhero. I have a challenging job. I do not do it perfectly but I do it very well. Period.

Now back to the (also totally necessary and perfectly valid) bitching component of my job. The last thing I want to do is tear through the pile of work that still must be done before the semester begins. That is, however, exactly what I have to do. Here's how I have decided to motivate myself. September! September is mine! I am promising myself that if I work furiously to get through all of this work in the next two weeks, I will take my summer vacation in September. How will I do this when school will be starting and in session? Well, I will be teaching and advising and getting started on the year's service work. I also have some minor revisions on one article due by the end of September. But but BUT! I can and will accomplish all of this during the weeks, and I will take every weekend (and maybe one or two long weekends) completely off in September.

I love autumn! Love love love! For all of the most cliched reasons. I am promising myself weekend trips to county fairs and to the off-season shore and to fields of antiques and maybe even to Favorite City. (I realize my September might spill into October. All the better!) I have more energy in the Fall than in any other season. I want to apply some of it to some seriously energized relaxation.

That's the plan and it's providing motivation for the moment. I may skimp on the blogging during the next two weeks or I may post spastically multiple times a day. It could go either way. If I disappear, do a little "Go Medusa Go!" chant for me. Hopefully my disappearance will mean that I am deep into the work. Or it may mean I have run off with the circus. Can you still do that? If so, it could go either way. Wish me luck!

**When I say writing, I mean the actual writing but also the various related tasks (including research, contacting people, etc.) of the several writing projects I am working on right now.
***And sometimes, even with all of this, because of chance and circumstance, we are not able to do "it," whether it is getting a job, getting published, or getting promoted.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Blogging the lost

I don't know who came up with the phrase, "blogging the lost." I think it may have been Dr. Crazy who coined the term, though I know Profgrrrrl sometimes posts about a lost item in the hopes that the magic of the interwebs will bring it back.

Anyway. Motivation? Yoo hoo! Need to finish and send a proposal over here. Need to do the revisions on that article. Will need to do revisions on that other article when report comes back next week. Syllabi might also be useful to my students this semester so finishing those up can happen any time now. Could even conceivably get a few vacay days in before the semester begins if I got all of this done quickly.

Work mojo? TCB impulses? Need to take care of b'ness now. Helllooooooo?

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If I were not a gorgon but a deity . . .

Take this quiz!

As seen at Earnest English's



Sunday, August 12, 2007

Why I hate a meteor shower

I will admit it. I hate the Perseids. Is it because I know the Perseids are the pretty dust of the Swift-Tuttle, the comet that may or may not hit the earth in about a century? Not really, as we all know who to call if that's about to happen. Is this fear and hatred in sympathy with my ancient ancestors who knew a comet and its trail for what it is, a herald of certain evil? Yes and no.

It all began with a group outing arranged by the worst person I ever dated, who is the only ex-boyfriend I would never ever speak to again and who I might in fact slap in the face upon sight, a lovely man whom I will call Foxymoron. The original point of the outing was to see the Perseids but somehow by night's end it also included a ridiculous limousine, a cokehead and his alcoholic girlfriend, a very tipsy restaurant hostess Foxymoron was doing his most covert (but moronic) best to seduce while on a date with me, and a light-polluted beach. But a sandy, stolen Foxymoron wallet and very very expensive cab ride later, I was home safe and sound in my bed. All that was lost was a relationship that needed to end anyway. Since then, lo these many years ago now, I have regarded the Perseids for what they are, a sure harbinger of relationship doom. A couple of men have asked me to go see the Perseids since. That (unaccepted) invitation always proves to be the death knell, my friends, and within days the relationship is over.

I have nothing against a meteorite per se. I do love a falling star. I do not even mind all meteor showers. For example, I have no beef whatsoever with the Leonids. I could even appreciate a man who asked me to go to see the Leonids, as it takes a certain something to want to wait out a cold November night to see a bunch of shooting stars. I feel like any poser-yahoo can do the same in August.

Anyway, for those among you who are unbiased and unafraid of the tears of St. Lawrence, tonight's the night. Avoid Romans, cads, limousines, light pollution, and enjoy!

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Poetry Friday, a Medusa original

Joy Drop

I spent a soft night with you distilled
Into your simple rich sweetness
The stuff of you I imagine was the child you
The whisper shimmer joy of you
(Held so tight so close to you in waking life)
Made full, let go to laugh, to talk with me
In hushed conspiratorial tones
About joy joy joy scandalous joy
And the promising transparency of masks
Always wavering, allowing me to see you
Like this, even as day breaks.


This was inspired by a happy dream I had just before waking this morning. In it, I was hanging out with some friends and family in a gorgeous old seaside house, made all of mahogany inside but full of rich light. I went from room to room, talking with all of these people I love. All of them--my mother, a friend from college, More Fun, my sister--were as content and happy and bright and calm as I had every seen them. I had this incredible feeling that I was having a conversation with the most essential part of each person, the most basic and joyous and untouched by any troubling thing in this world.

In the last part of the dream, the part most specifically referenced in the poem, I was rolling around in bed (not like that) with my friend, Feste, giggling and chatting about nothing. I woke up missing him and all the people in the house but feeling very content and happy and lucky indeed.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I got nothin'

And so, a meme. These are the ten questions the great and creepy James Lipton asks each guest on Inside the Actor's Studio. (If you have never seen the show, this will give you a good idea of what it's all about.)

1. What is your favorite word?


2. What is your least favorite word?

Begins with a "m" ends with an "t" and sounds like "hoist." Will punch you in the arm if you say it out loud.

3. What turns you on?


4. What turns you off?

Earnestness without passion or wit or whimsy

5. What is your favorite curse word?

Fuck. It's fucking fantastic, for fuck's sake.

6. What sound or noise do you love?

The sound of propane firing a hot-air balloon. Wind and things creaking in the wind, for example the sound of the wind on the top of Tesuque peak and the creaky sounds of the chair lift.

7. What sound or noise do you hate?


8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?


9. What profession would you not like to attempt?


10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Join me at the bar, won't you?



Monday, August 06, 2007

Quivering with guilty anticipation

I think I have admitted my pathetic love of The Ghost Whisperer here before. The J.Lo Hewitt, the endless supply of peignoirs and matching gowns (because the ghosts, they come at night), the false eyelashes worn at all times, the sensitive aid in resolving earthly crises and paving the way for the crossing over . . . I could go on but then I would have to admit even to myself that I am actually 82. Anyway. Now? On Friday nights? Right after the J.Lo Hewitt? This:

A charming vampire detective with a postmodern sense of humor, a rakish smile, a caddish sensibility, and none of the luggish morality of Angel! (Sorry, Angel fans, I'm a Spike girl through and through.) And just when I thought it might be a good idea to spend more Friday nights out socializing.en I thought it might be a good idea to spend more Friday nights out socializing.

So to review the initial list of things that will be keeping me sane during the tenure-hell year:

1. Buddhism
2. Big rigs
3. Imaginary Vampire Boyfriends



Oh, the soul-crushing anger and resentment

I cannot really blog about the ins and outs of my particular situation as I prepare to go up for tenure, except to say that there are certain elements of it that are completely out of my control and that bring on big nasty feelings of anger, resentment, and frustration.

I am sure there are going to be many moments of quiet seething when I would like nothing more than to vent here. Last week I wrote a post about stumbling across Pema Chödrön a lot over a very short time and feeling like that encounter meant something. Since then, I have been reading a few of Chödrön's books and learning how to meditate. Instead of blogging the unbloggable when I am having one of these tenure hell moments, I think I might blog something from the Pema stuff I have been reading or along those Buddhist lines (maybe even as it relates to the big-rigging, who knows). So, each time you see a Medusa going Buddhist post, you will know it is a sort of code for MY HEAD IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE AND I WOULD LIKE NOTHING MORE THAN TO RENT A HOLE IN THE UNIVERSE WITH MY SCREAMS OF RAGE. (I know, the irony, but the Buddha strikes me as having a perverse sense of humor so I think it's okay.)

So here's today's lesson. What to do with feelings of frustration, anger and resentment? First, meditate. I have been learning the technique that Chödrön teaches. It's simple:

1. Six points of posture: Sit on a flat surface with legs crossed comfortably if you are on the floor and flat on the floor with knees a few inches apart if you are in a chair. Your torso is upright, with a strong back and an open front. Don't lean back or slouch. Your hands are open, palms down on your thighs. Your eyes are open, awake, and relaxed to all that occurs. Your gaze is directed slightly downwards four to six feet in front of you. Open your mouth very slightly so your jaw is relaxed. The tip of your tongue can rest on the roof of your mouth.

2. Light attention to the out-breath: Rather than clearing your mind or meditating on an object, all you have to do is put very light attention on your out-breath. The attention should not be forced and your out-breath should not be manipulated. You should be in the present, aware of your surroundings, with only a certain amount of attention directed to the out-breath. The philosophy behind this is that the out-breath brings you as close as you can come to "to simply resting the mind in its natural open state" while still having an object to which to return.** If you get distracted at any time, bring your attention back to your body and run through the six points (seat, legs, torso, hands, eyes, mouth) of posture. Then return to the out-breath.

3. Label your thoughts with "thinking": This meditation is not meant to be used to avoid or repress thoughts. You will find your mind wandering and sometimes you will find yourself "planning, worrying, fantasizing--completely in another world made completely of thoughts." That's fine. Just say to yourself "thinking" and return to the out-breath. Don't judge yourself or any of the thoughts. In this way, you learn maitri, which means loving-kindness or unconditional compassion. In this case, you are practicing unconditional compassion toward your own thoughts.

That's all I have learned about the technique so far. I have been trying it out for 20-30 minutes a day, and I have found it to be incredibly helpful. I am not as anxious and I feel more focused throughout the day.

As for dealing with the anger and resentment specifically, I have been trying to keep the following (from Chapter 11 in the book I mention below) in mind:

Any obstacle we encounter has the power to completely pull the rug out, to completely pop the bubble of reality that we have come to regard as secure and certain. When we are threatened that way, we can't stand to feel the pain, the edginess, the anxiety, the queasiness in our stomach, the heat of anger rising, the bitter taste of resentment. Therefore, we try to grasp something pleasant. . .There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride.

**This is the technique Chödrön learned from Rinpoche. It's described fully in Chapter Four of When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

More about my hair (and a little about Van Gogh). . .

. . .because on the heels of serious thoughts and moods come bouts of obsessive attention to the superficial. For example, I might call the time just after I successfully defended my dissertation and just before I got my first job the "Paint it Black" period. During PiB, I dyed my hair again and again and again until it was the darkest black to found in nature and or the imagination. I also re-painted multiple pieces of furniture black, and I began "Gully," my largest and most ambitious work of art in painting, an acrylic in deep blues and purples depicting an ominous mountain scene. A small village at the bottom is indeed threatened by the crazy ravine with water madly rushing through the center of the painting and toward the village church steeple. The water stops suddenly, close to the village, about three-quarters of the way down the painting. How does it stop, you may ask? Through the careful perspectival depiction of it slowing into a more gentle stream winding into the village? But no! That would rob it of its mystery. I would post a picture of it, but few understand it. Once you get past the impression that it may have been painted by a baby chimpanzee (purposeful, of course) and find the actual mountain and village within the highly original and transgressive mode of representing three-dimensional perspective, you feel vaguely uncomfortable and slightly confused--a probable sign that you are forever changed. I will post a picture of Van Gogh's "Ravine," which "Gully" brilliantly visually quotes in theory but of course looks nothing like in terms of composition, color, or style.

(By the way, did you hear that they recently found the lost Van Gogh, "Wild Vegetation," underneath "Ravine"? How cool is that?)

Anyway, back to my hair. Many of you offered me excellent advice in response to my recent hair query, and I have decided to go for the big dramatic rocker fringe/bangs. This can't happen for a few weeks, because this cut requires the services of my fancy and expensive hair stylist and because the coffers are currently pretty much, at least for hair purposes, empty. In the meantime I am collecting photos of the haircut translated to curly hair. Here is my inspiration so far.

This is the conceptual, hairstyle mag version:

I am not sure what is going on here. Is that a comb-forward? I can't tell how exactly the hair is cut. I also think this is not actual curly hair but rather fine straight hair with curling ironed spirals. Anyway, it gets at the look in theory.

Here's the real stuff, from some fabulous street fashion blogs (By the way, does everyone in Europe have the thick dramatic fringe/bang? Because from what I can tell they basically do):

My hair is not this short, but she is amazing and those are some big curly bangs . . .

image from Style Scout

This is a longer version, but I am not really digging the side-swept thing . . .

image from Style Scout

This next one is awesome. My curls are not this tight and so the bangs would not be this short, but I think the cut might be perfect . . .

image by Stockholm Street Style

By the way, I also found a picture of what I call my Imaginary Perfect Haircut. . .

image by Pike/Pine

You might also recognize it as Jean Seberg's in Breathless. . .

I have had this Imaginary Haircut (but only in my imagination) since I was about 19. When I walk down the street imagining I have the Imaginary Haircut, I am fierce. Because of the texture and curl of my hair, I do not believe I could pull it off in Real Life but I encourage any of you who could to go for it.

You might notice that my Imaginary Haircut is largely the opposite of the haircut I am planning to get. That's because my hair obsession is such that it can not be confined to cuts and styles I actually do wear or could wear. With the Imaginary Haircut, I can have at least two haircuts at any one time. (Yes, I know, the wig stage of my life can't be far behind.)



Friday, August 03, 2007

Poetry Friday, Sylvia Plath


I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see, I swallow immediately.
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike
I am not cruel, only truthful –
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me.
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

News of Theresa Duncan's suicide threw me for a loop this week. It also got me thinking about writing, depression, and creative identities. I only discovered Duncan's blog this past Spring, and I responded strongly to the voice and persona I found there--complex, vital, brave, astute, wry, and extraordinarily sensitive. I was perhaps most attuned to the undercurrent of depression, a palpable note of being utterly heartbroken by life, that ran through the posts. Stronger than that note of heartbreak, its consistent echo, was a refusal, a persistence, an insistence on finding beauty--no matter how complicated or dingy or ironic--in this world. There was not anything I would call hope there, but there was a determination to remain aware, awake in the face of pain. That's the voice I heard anyway. Whether it had anything to do with her "real" identity or who she "really" was I have no idea. But it was her creation, a sort of mirror in which we might catch glimpses of her, ourselves, and our world.

I chose the Plath poem not only because of the struggle with identity it contains but also because I am thinking about my own creativity, my own depression, and the identity I have created here. I have not posted about mirrors or mirroring or why I am a "professional mirror" and what that might have to do with Medusa in a long time. The short answer in regard to my professional self is that my work has to do with mirrors both literal and figurative. There is no real short answer in terms of my personal life.

I began to describe myself as a "professional mirror" in a kind of jokey way during the greatest (and most doomed) love affair of my life. What I struggle with in relationships is a tendency to serve as a mirror, reflecting the person I love as he needs and wants to be seen, or more precisely providing a kind of bubble in which his needs and desires are supremely present. In the mirror-bubble, his most desired image of himself and his desiring self are completely validated. You might ask what's wrong with two people in a relationship loving, feeling loved, and respecting one another's feelings as valid. Nothing, but that's not what I am describing. The mirror-bubble is a trap. What seems to be happening is that two people with compatible needs and desires are supporting and loving one another. What is really happening is the needs and desires of the one being mirrored are the only reality. The mirror must and does remain blank, empty of its own needs. The mirror's need to be loved is met but only as long as the mirror mirrors.

Yes, this a pretty screwed-up dynamic. Though it was my most intimate reality, I only learned to articulate it in this precise and detailed way after years of therapy. I still struggle with and question terms like "inverse narcissism" (the mirror) and "narcissistic personality disorder" (the mirrored). Maybe I romanticize it with talk of mirrors and shields and illusions and bubbles. I do not think the dynamic completely defines me or characterizes my every relationship. I am of course aware of it now. I tend to be able to spot a narcissist at fifty paces, and now I usually head in the opposite direction as fast as I can. Every once in a while, though, the person is such a big and fascinating presence (e.g. The Grand He, for those of you who have been reading for a while) that I am drawn to him and to the safe space of the mirror. Part of the problem for the mirror is the danger of showing oneself rather than showing the other; another is the fear of being seen. That's where the Medusa part of the equation comes in. For Medusa, the mirror is one of the weapons used to kill her. Perseus is warned not to shield himself from seeing her or being seen by her but from allowing her to return the gaze. The last thing she sees is her reflection in the shield. Her gaze, separated from the mirror that reflects him, is deadly.

I am beginning to question the identity I have created here in various ways and for many reasons. I wonder about my voice. I wonder if the depressive overshadows the joyous. I worry that I come across as cynical and caustic and unstable. I worry that this persona does not convey how deeply I care about my family, my friends, and what I do for a living. I question the wisdom, for personal and professional reasons, of keeping this blog. Sometimes it feels reckless on both levels. On a personal level, I am obviously deeply conflicted about revealing myself. All this self-reflection feels sometimes suffocating, sometimes frivolous, and sometimes scary. It's difficult to talk about my experience with things like depression and therapy and unhealthy relationships. On a professional level, I should not be talking about any of these things.

At the end of the day, I know that this mirror-bubble that is my blog does not represent the "truth" of me, no more than Duncan's blog can be read to reveal her as "deeply disturbed" or "paranoid" or any of the other ways people are trying to represent her. I can see myself, according to the pathology of the mirror I describe above, as one messed-up girl. But I can also see how that same dynamic has made me acutely aware of the ways we see and need to see ourselves. I know no mirror is silver and exact. I understand the pain of finding your own heart as only a flicker on the screen of another's desire. I know the dangers of getting caught in the mirror, and I understand the importance of stepping outside of it and ourselves.

Part of me would like to use this space to represent a self who does not struggle with these issues, a more perfect self, but part of me wants to show and to honor the struggle. I am beginning to think that life might not be about overcoming the struggle. Perhaps life is about the struggle. Maybe life is the struggle, and maybe that struggle is not a burden but a beautiful and vital and creative act.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Feeling ever so sleepy on this Thursday afternoon?

Remember the scene in The Breakfast Club when everyone's heads are dropping ever so slowly toward their desks to the sound of an ever so slowly ticking clock? That's how I've felt since about 2 p.m. today.

You too? Here then. Let's dance.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Secret message to the Mac Genius Bar genius guy

Damn your cool blue eyes, your faux-hawk, your swagger, and the way you totally ignored that woman who was next in line (I mean it was right there on the crazy Genius Bar wall-o-monitors, dude, "Next Mac customer: 1. Woman next in line; 2. Medusa ") to take care of me! Damn you, you cute cute cute cute cute cute CUTE genius man. No one has ever been able to persuade me to back up my data, much less to buy an external hard drive for said job. Damn damn damn you! I will not be so susceptible to your charms next time. Oh no. No I will not. I am onto to your Genius Bar Lothario ways! (See you next week for those tests on my logic board.)



Greetings, viva la Chalupa friends of the internets!

How are you on this fine morning of the day?