A Spankin’ Fresh New Year

Happy New Year!

I live in NYC where you’re often measured in terms of your accomplishments: books published; awards won; promotions earned; marathons ran, etc. That’s how we often think of personal growth–in terms of the externals. Or maybe that’s how it seems to me because that’s how I was raised and so that’s how I valued myself until recently. The problem with this outlook is that, while it can be tremendously rewarding, sometimes all the work you do does not necessarily garner public recognition. And then what? In this day and age, with Facebook and Twitter, I get the sense that if you don’t talk about what you’re doing, writing, training for, then people get the sense that you’re not doing anything at all. I feel a loss of respect and regard from some quarters and my little ego can get very bruised if I get on that train. I acknowledge that the problem to overcome here is my own proverbial Latin bourgeois fear of “el qué dirán”, what people will think.

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I realize that I sound like a grandma for writing this, but recently I realized that, as great as the new TV series are, binge-watching them is making me feel beat-up. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a tough Fall –by which I mean September through October, not that I’ve fallen–, but I can’t watch another show about a serial killer or a tortured detective. Even shows in which nothing violent happens are often written in such a way as to be emotionally disturbing. I binge-watched Transparent over the weekend and while I think it’s truly terrific, I also feel… soiled and tired. Watching people behave horribly and selfishly toward others might be part of being human. It’s reality, I know. But it can also be completely disheartening. Or am I too sensitive?

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The Age of Glamour


Annex - Loy, Myrna_01Today is Myrna Loy’s birthday. It just so happens that yesterday was my birthday and as a fellow Leo girl, I thought I’d write about glamour, or at least my definition of glamour. The word automatically brings up images of black and white photos of starlets from Hollywood’s golden era: luminous skin caught in glorious black and white, shot through a gauzy, loving lens that faithfully imitates a lover’s dazzled gaze. The old style glamour is all about being seen, ourselves in the eyes of others. There’s a little bit of mystery, yes, and with it a certain otherworldliness. The very beauty of the shots evokes the idea that these women are figments of our imagination, and therefore not real.

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Paper Dolls

You know what I hoppaperdollse the next wave of feminism is about? I hope it’s about how we women are human. I don’t want to be a superwoman or an archetype. I just want the right to be seen and treated as a human being who is good at some things, clueless about other things and who sometimes needs a little help and other times knows just the right thing to make things better. A human being who sometimes has a bad day and doesn’t feel like smiling all the time like a Barbie doll when, say, she just had to meet last minute deadlines at work, and has just gotten scary news from the doctor. A human being who sometimes doesn’t know what the hell she is doing, who makes mistakes, who tries her best and often falls short, but sometimes is unexpectedly brave and strong. Just a person, not an object of desire, not a heroine, not a goddess, not an Earth Mother.

When do we get to be that? When will people accept us as just people who happen to have female reproductive organs? Is that really too much to ask?

The Diabolically Solicitous Friend

There’s a certain type of person who thrives on making even the simplest request into a huge complicated mess. For instance, if I ask for something, instead of giving me a Yes or No answer, they’ll provide additional options that, in their view, are so much better than whatever I originally wanted. Like, say I ask for a glass of water. They’ll tell me: “Are you sure you’d like water? Because orange juice quenches your thirst AND supplies your daily requirement of vitamin C.”

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