Wednesday, June 23, 2010


On Tuesday I had a great idea for a Post.
High off the endorphins of an intense workout, my mind began to string together all the various discomforts we willingly inflict on ourselves and for what purposes. I was going to deftly draw lines of profound similarity between exercise, dieting, body piercing/tattooing, pursuing higher education, cosmetic surgery, and the Mormon penchant for monthly ritual caloric deprivation, to name a few.

Then Wednesday I discovered I had strained a few choice muscles in that workout. And I accidentally got a bad sunburn (sunscreen fail!) And I stayed up late several nights in a row working against a deadline (can no longer do that like I once did). And my body was starting to hate me and I was not be so excited about writing a post about pain.

Then Thursday, while stretching my arms over my head, something horribly wrong wrenched/tweeked/pinched/popped in that little area between the right shoulder blade and spine... so I currently have the range of motion of a plank of wood, with lovely rivulets of dull (and sometimes not-so-dull) pain radiating out from that shoulder-blade area.

Anyhoo... today doesn't hurt as bad as yesterday. And maybe by tomorrow, or Sunday, I'll be able to actually turn my head (Ice packs, heat pads, ibuprofen...). Maybe then I'll try to revisit that original post idea about pain.

(or, maybe not)

btw... here's a sketch I did last year when dealing with a very similar pain.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

we are not our faces

While thumbing through this book, I ran across this essay about fantasy writers by Neil Gaiman.

An excerpt:
"...Frozen in black and silver for you now, these are simply masks. We who lie for a living are wearing our liar-faces, false-faces made to deceive the unwary. We must be- for, if you believe these photographs, we look just like everyone else....
Read [our] books: sometimes you can catch sight of us in there. We look like gods...
Read [our] books. That's when you see us properly: naked priestesses and priests of forgotten religions...
[Our] words describe [our] real faces: the ones[we] wear underneath. This is why people who encounter writers of fantasy are rarely satisfied by the wholly inferior person that they meet..."
It's a fascinating statement on many levels. (Gaiman is just pure fascinating in general.)

a few of my random thoughts:
~Wow, aren't writers an audacious bunch: "we're not like other people."

~Actually, yeah, writers (and artist, creatives, scientists, etc) AREN'T like everyone else. That's true.

~Really, humans in general are an audacious bunch, inclined to feel "not like other people", what with our cliques and religions and social/political groupings (not to mention geography, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc etc etc...)

~Gaiman's statement was oddly reminiscent to me of blogger Stephanie Nielson's statement "I am not my body" after being badly disfigured in an accident. (minus the Monster God aspect.)

~Gaiman's statement touches upon one of my more cherished beliefs as a Mormon; that we are more than what we look like, that underneath the ordinary looking skin mask, we are God.

~It was a painful/hard/difficult time when that audacious sense of I Am God dissipated. When I realized that, in actuality, I might be nothing more than meat. (Neil Gaiman is meat too.)

~I am meat that likes to think of its self as "not like other meat."

sensitivity, insecurity, thick/thin skinned...

Today Sean wrote a bit about insecurity, being thin skinned, and avoiding rejection. (Random coincidence, so did Wendy.)
He basically just took the words out of my mouth.

As an interesting joiner to that revelation; I'm meeting with an old friend tonight; he is convinced that if we do a brainstorming session on the subject, I will come away from it knowing how I can make at least as much off of my art, as I could off some run-of-the-mill day job (a prospect I am considering as money gets increasingly tight for us.)

I agreed to this brainstorming session with outward enthusiasm, but feel I should confess a good deal of... nervousness? Just how to I explain to this enthusiastic friend all of my insecurities, my fears, my lack of experience and knowledge and my low self-esteem, my inadequacy... Already pinging around in the back of my head are all the usual excuses I feed myself about lack of time, means, business savvy... Plus the usual line that I may be better off doing this 'thing' I do on the sidelines as a 'hobby' (hate hate hate that word)...

I've written about my insecurities on this topic before.

Nevertheless, I am curious about what we will come up with during this brainstorming session.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

god and sex

The following are excerpts from a post entitled We Believe There is an Actual living God Who Exist in 3-D Reality- Monitoring our Genitals" over at Betty Dodson/Carlin Ross's blog, which is a very sex positive blog and very NSFW so consider yourself warned. The author had some very provocative thoughts on God; those excerpts I shared here. Also, the author alludes to religious shame regarding sex/genitals and while I didn't share those portions here it is, nevertheless, interestingly congruent as Mormon Matters just did a post on Sexual difficulty between spouses, and Feminist Mormon Housewives recently had a lively discussion about genitals and orgasms.
Therefore, without further ado...

"So many people argue about the existence of God. To me, this is a complete waste of time. Clearly God exists. There are images, texts, statues, paintings, buildings, cities and countries, and entire world religions devoted to God. God exists.

The problem is this: God is a symbol. Symbols exist. God exists as a symbol. However, because our brains lack the most basic ability to distinguish reality from symbols and sensations in our head, we believe that there is an actual living god who exists in 3-D reality who cares about our genitals.

This is incorrect.

There is no actual, living, 3D reality god - much less one who cares about our genitals. There is only an infinite amount of ever expanding symbols for god - created by us sexual mammals. We love god like we love sex because they both flow from the same place in our head.

A symbolic place....

....The only thing we can say with certainty is that we are symbolic mammals who have lots of sex and believe in gods. We believe in the symbols we create, and we are willing to live and die by our beliefs in these symbols. Remarkably, the symbols in our heads can even mess up our own ability to experience sexual pleasure.

In reality, sex and god are one in the same. "

Monday, June 14, 2010

random books and stuff about beauty

This fascinating article led me to put Deborah Rhode's book The Beauty Bias on my reading list. Interesting quote from the article's review:
"In the most troubling chapter in her book, Rhode explores the feminist movement’s complicated relationship to eternal youth. The truth is that women feel good about competing in beauty pageants. They love six-inch heels. They feel beautiful after cosmetic surgery. You can’t succeed in public life if you look old in America. Of the 16 women in the U.S. Senate between ages 46 and 74, not one has gray hair. Rhode cites one feminist icon after another who changed her mind about the evils of cosmetic surgery, hair color, and Botox the instant the sagging, graying, and wrinkling set in."

Then, a friend recommended Survival of The Prettiest: The Science of Beauty by Nancy Etcoff, which, according to the amazon review,
"argues persuasively that looking good has survival value, and that sensitivity to beauty is a biological adaptation governed by brain circuits shaped by natural selection..." and "Rather than denigrate one source of women's power, it would seem far more useful for feminists to attempt to elevate all sources of women's power." (Plus, Publishers Weekly promises that with "Topics as wide-ranging as penis- or breast-enlargement surgery and the basics of haute couture [treated with wit and insight]... Etcoff's arguments are certain to initiate a great deal of discussion.")
I'm sure I'll have all manner of conflicting ideas and cognative dissonance about beauty after reading these two books. (HA! As if I didn't already.)

So anyhow, random bit of personal anecdote; today I didn't have to ride my bike to work. So, on a whim, I dressed up: A skirt, heels, (a corset too), a little extra make-up. Just because, woohoo! And I admit, I felt hawt.

Then DH refused to kiss me: "ew, you're wearing MAKE-UP..."


So go figure.

(BTW... was SO relieved to finally take off those heels/corset/skirt at the end of the day and hang out the rest of the evening in t-shirt, shorts, and bare feet. Yep.)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

bonding over sweat

(I wrote this last year but kept it in the slush pile.. however, as I just finished my third triathlon and am participating in the weekly local aquathlon, I thought I'd go ahead and publish it.)

I think I may have found my thing, my niche, my community. Maybe. We'll see.

After visiting multiple church groups, political discussions, feminist book clubs, artist cooperatives, etc, looking for a community to fill the gap left by removing myself from heavy activity in the church, I think I finally hit pay dirt.

When attending all those aforementioned activities, I find myself sitting back, silently listening in awed and slightly intimidated shyness.

But yesterday I did a triathlon (update, this week I did my third triathlon). And I had no less than 6 lively conversations with various individuals. (A rather unusual occurrence for me.) Some were with people I had met in previous races or at the gym, some were just complete strangers and we bonded over our sweat and our aches and our tired muscles. I'll probably see some of these folk at the next race. Strike up conversations with a few more as well.

Perhaps it's because it is a community removed from the more controversial/divisive elements of politics and religion that I feel more at my ease (yep, got a lot of scar-tissue from previous involvement in politics/religion). Perhaps it's just the endorphins.

Don't get me wrong, my tendency is STILL to observe silently from the background; life of the party, I am NOT. I'm also a pretty pathetic athlete.

But still.
We'll see.