Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Half-Baked

"I don't want to be one of those writers who puts out a book every 18 months . . . . I feel like a book should be a report on something actually new . . . . I think it's not good for American literature to put out books that are half-baked . . . I am annoyed on behalf of books that we're fighting for an audience . . . it really should be all hands on deck." -Jonathan Franzen

Just over a year ago I wrote the first of my now 35 blog entries, and I somehow managed to crank out 20 of those in the first two months, leaving the other 15 to be written across the subsequent ten. For some odd reason, I thought I was doing a good thing by producing blogs en masse. I truly believed I had found the writer in me I never knew existed - I was exiting the cocoon that captured my creativity and spreading my newfound writing wings.

A year later, after having recently reread most of my eccentric essays, I find my perception is quite different. Even if I was an ostrich, I don't think I could have buried my head in the sand deep enough after that experience. While I am surprisingly proud of many of those essays I eked out, I was incredibly embarrassed over a handful of others . . . . Hindsight, as they say, is indeed 20/20, and as I read I began to realize that a particular portion of that writing came out of self-imposed pressure to find an audience, and not from the uninhibited inspiration I would have preferred the source to be. In those moments of desperation, I just tap, tap, tapped away at any spec of an idea that came to my mind, whether it I felt inspired by it or not, in the hope that if I wrote them, people would read. Unfortunately, in those instances when I chose quantity over quality, I produced some very half-baked blabbering that I rather wish no one else's eyes ever examined.

The thing with me is, when I find something new, I tend to think I'm great at it, and I want others to think I'm great at it too. I get overly enthusiastic about it, and then light the candle at both ends until it burns out before it's time. The result is usually projects upon projects left unkempt or uncompleted. Whether it's dedicating myself to writing regular blog entries, making scrapbooks of my thousands of photos, clearing out the clutter from all my closets, or buying all those crochet books with the intention of making at least half of the published patterns in them, one thing I never seem to fail at is diving into a billowing pile of hay head first and never considering what it's going to take to dig myself out.

I spend a lot of my life thinking about the myriad of ways to dig myself out of my messes and ways to reach my goals . . . never spending enough time working on them. At the age of 33, as I strive for self-awareness, I've become uncomfortably aware that running the distance is not something I do often, that I begin each marathon with a sprint, exhaust myself, then make very little effort, if any, to ever finish the race.

Jonathan Franzen (popularly known as the author of The Corrections and Freedom) seems to be someone who knows how to pace himself and finish at least one race in his life. While I watched him speak to Oprah Winfrey in an interview, explaining to her why it took him 10 years to write his next long-awaited novel, I became instantly inspired, and I quickly typed the quote above, which I believed it to be perfect way to explain away my lack of blog production over the last several months. As I started to eke out this eye-opening essay, my intention remained as such as I watched the excuses flow onto the screen before me. However, the moment I began to justify my actions with my obstacles in life and proceeded to give my audience the "woe is me" fest of the century, I became acutely aware, as I glared at the lame lamentation before me, that I was only trying to convince myself that I have not put off or given up on yet one more thing in my life . . . and I quickly began to hit the backspace key repeatedly.

Lightening couldn't have struck me any harder than the stark realization that giving up and saying "maybe later" are two things I've mastered recently, and that the aforementioned quote could be applied to so much more than books. It's really difficult to look in the mirror and face the terrible truth that the effort I put into most things is half-assed – ultimately making most of what I produce in life half-baked. I may begin with all hands on deck, but that doesn't mean they are still pumping hard half-way through the race, let alone all the way till the end.

It seems I'm constantly slapping myself with a switch I picked from the tree in my own yard, making it next to impossible to keep my hands on deck for a hard-earned win, and I too, like Mr. Franzen, am annoyed. While he is annoyed on behalf of books, I'm annoyed on behalf of this barely visited blog page, and the piles of yarn and half-finished crocheted projects in my basement. I'm annoyed on behalf of the boxes and computer files of pictures that never were made into the scrapbooks for which I bought supplies, and I'm extremely annoyed on behalf of my closets which are long overdue for an extreme cleaning and de-cluttering. I could continue on this route, creating a list a mile long of the uncooked crap in my life, but by now I'm sure you get my drift . . . the ambition to begin something is not much of anything without action to finish it.

Action hasn't been a consistent part of my life in a long time, if ever. I continue to disregard that dreaming does not equal doing, and dreams will never become reality if I don't act upon them. The fact that I keep ignoring this makes me by definition crazy – I'm constantly doing the same type of thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. I continue to turn a blind eye the reality that true success comes not from hope alone, but hard work inspired by such hope.

I've reached a point where success, in every facet of my life, is something I deeply desire, yet I continue to tip-toe around the hurdles on my racetrack rather than face them head on and leap over them with full force. I am reminded often that there are plenty of people in this wretched world with a number of more obstacles, and more difficult ones at that, than I encounter daily, and yet many of these people are far more successful in their lives than I could ever imagine myself to be. I'm not sure what happened to the young girl who always imagined being the inspirational independent woman that I never manage to see when I look in the mirror. It seems as though she's made far too many excuses and allowed life to beat her down along the way.

Excuses, no matter how justifiable they may be, have been interfering with my success for far too long, but the time for excuses is coming to an end. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. The shit that is keeping me down can take a long walk off a short pier and just fade into the distance . . . forever. The time has arrived for me to keep all my hands on deck, no matter how hard they manage to get slapped. The last thing I want is to be someone who just tip-toed around and only did what I needed to get by, and I certainly don't want to be remembered that way . . . . I want to be remembered as someone who ran the distance and finished the races in my life, and did so crossing the finish line looking great and smelling fantastic, making sure that everything I cooked up along the way entered the oven fully prepared and exited it fully baked.

"Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them. But do not let them master you." -Hellen Keller

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Well Jingle My Balls . . .

Somehow, somewhere, I became too old for this shit…I'm being knocked into, being glared at for plugging my ears…my legs and feet hurt from standing for four-and-a-half hours…for three-and-a-quarter hours of those hours the music is not only mostly unrecognizable, but awful. I come home grouchy and exhausted, with my ears ringing and buzzing so much that I can't sleep. I have a headache and I'm sitting here now kicking myself because I keep forgetting I'm not 22 anymore, I'm 32, no wait, recently 33, and going to WNCI's Jingle Ball just isn't as much fun as it would have been 10, maybe 11 years ago.

But I didn't go to Jingle Ball 10 or 11 years ago, in fact, I've never gone before, ever. It ironically wasn't my kind of thing then, so even in my naivety, I don't know why I was a fool to think that this event would actually be entertaining to me now, rather than a mere occasion to provide all the twenty-somethings of Columbus, OH, with the opportunity to get drunk, mosh, and perhaps even hook-up with some unknown someone at the end of the evening.

The thing is, while 95% of the crowd was under 30, there were indeed people there my age, and even older. We saw a few in their forties and a handful more in their fifties, albeit some of them were sitting down in the back of the crowd, probably only there for the same reason Jon and I were, to see the headliner band, but there were more than a handful of the "older ones" who having a grand old time…which causes me to scratch my head and ask myself, am I really too old for this?

Well, age is indeed more than a number, its state of mind, and my state of mind says you are too old for this event when…

…Jesse McCartney is the MC, and is not someone you are familiar with, but the majority of the crowd is, and they go wild when he walks out on the stage as he flirts with all the girls in the front row, and brags about meeting some of them at the bar…and you are annoyed.

…you have no idea who the first two bands to play are, but there is a mosh pit going crazyfor them. They sing songs about long distance relationships and teenage heartbreak…and you are annoyed.

…you are excited to see Charice come on the stage because you have seen her on Oprah, but her leg is sprained from an accident that occurred while playing basketball and she is tired, so she only sings three songs, leaving an hour long break of party music to blast between acts…and you are annoyed.

…you are excited to finally see Michael Posner come on stage because you think his song "Cooler than Me" is, well…cool, but he sings a bunch of songs that you not only don't know, but think rather suck, and then when he finally gets to his one-hit-wonder you've been waiting for, you begin to think the "Cooler than Me" guy is not so cool after all as he peels off his shirt, beats his chest, and has the audience do most of the singing, ruining the only decent song he's "sung"…and you are wishing he'd put his ego away…and you are EXTREMELY annoyed.

…by the time Train, the band you have really been waiting for, comes trucking in, the under 25 crowd, minus those under 15 who have come to hear "Soul Sister" not even knowing who the Mister Mister is, have mostly left and you are standing there exhausted wishing you would have come three-and-a-half hours late…and you are exceptionally annoyed that you haven't.

In the end, while Train did a lovely job, and we enjoyed every moment of their performance, Jon and I decided we would have much rather have been at a quiet coffee shop doing a crossword most of the evening than standing in that portal of puberty and pestilence. I may be 32, no wait, 33, but at this Standing Room Only concert, I felt more like 50. So, you can Jingle My Balls . . . but call them saggy, because I've become an old fuddy duddy and it is highly unlikely we'll be attending this Jingle Ball event ever again.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Double Your Potter

(WARNING: SPOILERS INCLUDED)

I've spent much of my time (the little free time I've had that is) over the last few months with my nose in random fiction, particularly in that of Potterland in preparation for the day that finally arrived over a week ago . . . the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1 (otherwise known as HPDH1) finally made it's to a theater near you, and near me too.

Despite my desire to see long awaited seventh Potter flick at midnight with all my fellow HP devoted fans, the hubby and I settled for a 7:15pm showing on the day it opened, and I managed to impatiently pass the time by declaring my favorite quotes from the book on my facebook and twitter pages.

When we arrived 45 minutes before the movie began, tickets purchased several days in advance, we unfortunately were part of the last handful of people to arrive for our show time (due only to time constraints with babysitting arrangements), and subsequently were stuck with not so great seats in a dinner movie theatre with waiters that made a better door than window . . . . Nonetheless, the time had come, and I was super excited to see the film I have been waiting to watch since introduced to the books and movies in summer of 2009.

Upon leaving the theatre though, much of my excitement had abated and I felt quite confused and bewildered and decided that if I could sum up HPDH1 in one word it would be…rushed.

It's amazing to me the amount of detail that JK Rowling was able to convey with her writing if they could split the books into two movies, leave out the content they did, and still have to rush through the scenes the writer and director chose to include. I often found myself saying, "What just happened?" and feeling sorry for the ones who never read the books, because this movie would have been very hard to follow w/o having knowledge of the novel(s) to support the story at hand . . . for if you chose to skip the written word of HP you may be asking yourself the following questions: Where did Harry get that mirror and what the hell does it do? Who on earth is that Bill guy and how did he hook up with Fleur? When the hell did Ron start having the hots for Hermione? When the hell did Harry start having the hots for Hermione (which is not in the book, just so you know)? But I digress . . . .

After the first viewing of the flick I was prepared to pick apart all the things I found wrong with it, particularly the sins involving Ron and Hermione (otherwise known at R/Hr), since they and their relationship are my favorite part of this epic tale. I planned to go on about how Ron has been given the shaft and misrepresented, and as such the R/Hr story was not properly developed, making Ron's sudden love and devotion toward Hermione quite surprising and even out of place. I was going to rant and rave about Harry and Hermione (H/Hr) getting to dance and give longing looks at one another, allowing many to misunderstand the true nature of their completely platonic relationship in the book, while R/Hr's book written dance never made it to the big screen . . . Alas, I got the see the movie again before I had the chance to type it up, and have since improved my opinion of this now on-screen story.

Putting R/Hr aside, next to Sorcerer's Stone (SS) and Chamber of Secrets (CoS), HPDH1 is the closest book to screen adaption of this seven story series, and splitting it into two movies was the right thing to do, in my humble opinion (imho) anyway. Despite many of my favorite moments from this popular fiction not making it to the movie, it overall stayed true to Rowling's tale, and more importantly, finally gave Ron his storyline back and the veneration he deserved, but hasn't been getting since PoA, and maybe even before that.

If you've been keeping up with my blog, you know that Rupert Grint (Ron) is my favorite actor, so I am probably a bit biased in saying that he really brought it to this film . . . . happy, frustrated, angry, and in love . . . . his face, his voice, his body language conveyed it all. Mr. RG, you are amazing. Emma Watson (Hermione), whose acting hasn't impressed me since CoS, stunned me with her range of emotion in this film, only disappointing me in her reaction to Ron's return – she could have been far more ballistic and banshee like – imho. Dan Radcliffe, the hard working soul he is, has never awed me with his acting ability. As in all the other HP movies, he lacks feeling and remains nearly expressionless throughout the film. However, his best HP acting achievement to date is the scene of the seven Potters in HPDH1. He did a great job convincingly playing the Potter polyjuiced friends. If you are a Harry/Dan fan, that scene alone may be enough reason to buy your $10 ticket to see this motion picture now showing near you, and near me too.

All this being said, I'm not a film critic, and never proclaimed to be one, so if you are looking for a professional review, you're in the wrong place . . . and if you are inclined to argue about cinematic this, and adaption that, I want to remind you that I'm simply a citizen of society that happens to be a book purist, who is just sharing her opinions of the movie that was made out of her favorite book, EVER, and whose only hope since reading HPDH was that this notable narrative was given the proper respect . . . and for the most part it has been, if you consider them having to work with the sins of the past Potter screen plays.

In sum, I recommend you "Double Your Potter," because if you leave scratching your head and focusing on the negative after seeing it once, you will leave loving it after seeing it twice, imho anyway. :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine

Is your world dark and rank? Do you feel as though you are bathing in an abyss of excrement? Do you find yourself surrounded by shit and want to rid yourself of the reek in your life? If so, here are some hints to help wash away the rancidness wrapped around you:

Start by considering what is causing the crap to compile in your personal space? To find the answer you must first search through the brown fog and locate your head.

Upon finding it you will surely make the keen observation that your think tank has not been resting atop your shoulders as you once thought, rather, has unequivocally been thrust up your ass. This dim prospect may be difficult for you to accept, but you must do so before moving onto the next step.

Once you are ready, you must voluntarily pull your noggin out from between your buttocks, regardless of how long it may have been there. I know this will be hard to do, as you have lived with your head stuck in your hind-end for so long, but it is an essential part of the process. If you believe it is too trying to do on your own, find some friends within reach willing to help. They will be the ones who stuck around while your head was stuck in your lower most orifice.

Upon your primary attempts to free yourself, there will no doubt be some resistance, as your anal retentive instinct is to keep you brain firmly in its place – it is now comfortable in the home you have created for it. However, I'm sure you will find that after a bit of buoyancy, a tad of tugging, and perhaps the aid of an amigo, your skull will soon easily slide out your backside and resume its position on top of your shoulders where you can clearly see what is going on around you.

If you should succeed in returning your head to its original home, take a deep breath and make some observations. Has the odor changed? Does the world look brighter? You might detect the faint aroma of roses and see something called sunshine . . . .

Don't be alarmed if you feel awfully overwhelmed. The ability to change your outlook on life is something you haven't been acquainted with for quite some time. It will no doubt take some getting used to, but eventually you will begin to enjoy the light of day and take pleasure in the smell of sweet things around you, and perchance even prefer it to the pungency of your pooing porthole.

If the time should come when you again feel as if your life is headed to the shitter, you will predictably try to disrupt the flow of life and poo as you have done in the past. Resist this at all costs. However, if you end up experiencing an encore of your excrement, unable to see the luminosity in your life, repeat the steps above and remember, when engrossed in pessimism and unable to put things in proper perspective, that the sun doesn't shine out of your ass. Shoving your head up there further is not going to make your day any sunnier, and if you don't make every effort to put it back where it belongs, will find yourself festering in your feces and drowning in your own dung.

Good luck to you on your journey out of your ass. May you behold the beauty that exists outside of it . . . .

Side effects of following these helpful hints: You may no longer have stomach upset, bloating and/or constipation. Your head will probably stop aching and a sense of calm may overtake you. There is a chance you will sleep well and want to get out of bed in the morning, and possibly even experience happiness and joy. If you have any questions about these changes in your life, and a friend is unable to talk you through them, call a respectable therapist that is able to explain these new sensations to you.

I dedicate this to those like myself, who spent much of their lives sulking about their supposed sad state of affairs, refusing to revel in the redolence of the roses. This serves to remind me that "sunny days sweeping the clouds away" do indeed exist, and that I have the ability to enjoy them if I just remember to look up.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

“My Hell Is the Closet I’m Stuck Inside” . . . Still

This closet is my brain; it puts up steel traps and won't let me out.

I've never been out west, west of Chicago that is. You know why? Part of it has been lack of opportunity and funds, but mainly it's been because of my fear to fly.

I've taken six flights in my life – three dreaded flights to get to France and three even more dreaded flights to get home – all of them within 10 days of each other, all of them with fellow classmates of mine in the French club.

One month after the aforementioned trip, on July 17th, 1996, TWA Flight 800 crashed. I stayed up all night watching the coverage. Sixteen students from a Pennsylvania high school French club were on that plane. All of them were to tour with the same company my French club toured with – all of them died in the crash instead.

I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that if that crash had happened a month before my scheduled trip, I never would have gone to France from fear of the same fate. I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that if my trip had been scheduled for a month later, I probably wouldn't be around to think about whether or not I would have gone to France.

At 18 years old I was frightened to death of death. At 23 years old 9/11 happened and those fears deepened.

I'm afraid of heights; I'm afraid of flying. I'm pretty sure in a past life I died from some kind of fall or plane crash, because no amount of logic, rhyme, reason, or rationalization will allow me to believe that planes are safer than cars, even though they are and we all know it.

But at some point I was able to move beyond TWA Flight 800 and 9/11, I got older, and my fears started to dwindle. I dreamed of traveling the world and considered flying again to get to where I wanted to go. My brain was rational . . . if only for a brief moment.

I managed to screw it all up.

A few months ago I started watching a little show called "Ghost Hunters", which led to watching another show called "Ghost Adventures". Both investigate the afterlife of souls trapped here on earth, souls that didn't move onto a better place, souls living the virtual hell of the closet they are stuck inside.

The fear of death consumes me again, but for different reasons this time. The death I once feared was not being able to see my loved ones again. The death I now fear is being stuck here to watch loved ones move on while I can't.

So I'm afraid to fly again, just when I was getting the itch to spread my wings.

I need to stop watching those effing ghost shows!

Yes, I'm unequivocally aware that I'm insane, no need to remind me. I write this for therapeutic reasons, and FUCK I need therapy, lots of it!

Monday, August 23, 2010

“My Hell Is the Closet I’m Stuck Inside”

I'm at an impasse. The lyrics from that one Dave Matthews song keep rolling through my head, "So much to say, so much to say, so much to say, so much to say . . . ," yet somehow I cannot find the words to say it.

Do I talk about the Gatlinburg trip I took a month ago? A trip which at this point has left me bereft of any statements of substance.

Do I express my thoughts on a Mosque that many find misplaced? Do I really want to piss off at least half my minute audience?

Do I talk about my impending personalized autographed photo of Rupert Grint and go on and on about my ardent infatuation . . . again?

Then there is this week's big event - Aidan starts school full-time. At this I realize I'm long overdue for my ode to Aidan that I promised so many months ago.

I've started blogs involving my fickleness about my features, raving rants, my obsession with Oprah, building bridges between us, and quirky questionnaires. All of them incomplete.

"So much to say, so much to say, so much to say, so much to say . . . ," and so many things left unsaid.

"'Cos here we have been standing for a long long time; can't see the light. Treading trodden trails for a long long time . . . . I sometimes find it easy to be myself. Sometimes I find it's better to be somebody else."

You know, I used to just like Dave Matthews for the groovy music. Through their lyrics I find something much deeper . . . now I appreciate them.

More to come . . . eventually. What's to come - I don't know, but stay tuned and we'll both find out.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

To Have or Not to Have

"It's so hard to love; there's so much to hate – hanging onto hope when there is no hope to speak of, and the wounded skies above say it's much too late, so maybe we should all be Praying for Time."

The "Praying for time" I did on occasion in my youth was never in the context of that in the quote above, in fact, except for when I was behind on my homework, I didn't really pray for time much at all. I was far more apt to pray for things.

I somehow got the notion that I was poor in my younger years . . . . Growing up in a farm town, living in a mobile home, never going on vacation, not usually being able to make purchases at the mall, I always thought I was one of the have-nots. I was depressed when my friends would begin to leave for their summer travels. I would sulk because I couldn't have the latest pair of Guess jeans or K-Swiss shoes and would drool outside the window displays of Express and Gap, considering it a really good shopping day when I could buy something from the clearance rack. Life was "tough" for this teenager and I was going to do everything in my power to make sure my kids didn't "suffer" the same simple life I did.

So you can imagine my excitement when my husband came home last week with the news of being offered a new job – it meant many more opportunities for our family and no more worries about a company take-over at his soon to be former place of employment. We started talking about how we could now go see Wicked for our upcoming 10th wedding anniversary (barring it being sold out). We salivated over what posh restaurant we could eat at to celebrate this new endeavor. We even discussed using the extra money to travel more and perhaps finally remodel our bedroom . . . .

A few hours later reality sank in and we began to feel quite guilty and ashamed of our exuberance over our good fortune.

Jump back to two days before when I received an email from my pastor announcing that Lutheran Social Services, otherwise known as LSS, was interviewed for the July 25th episode of Dateline NBC, and there was a chance the interview would survive the chopping block and be included in the show. I set my DVR to record the Sunday episode and sat down that Monday night to watch it. Unfortunately LSS was not specifically mentioned, but I'm glad I tuned in anyway, because I needed to hear what Dateline had to say.

The episode, titled America Now: Friends and Neighbors, was about poverty in Appalachia Ohio, poverty very unlike my experience growing up . . . stories of families working hard long hours, yet not having enough money to eat, some not even having enough to put an ample roof over their heads:

One woman was working a fulltime nightshift at a bakery to support her two kids and husband (who has been unable to find work for over a year), only so that they could live in a camper without electricity or running water. They have to walk to the neighbor's mobile home to shower.

One man, an air force veteran, used to be a well-paid crane operator for a company that laid him and five thousand others off about 25 years ago. This was the first of 10 companies he worked for that went under. He has two children who live with him in a tumbling down house lent to him by a friend. It has no heat, so in the winter this man sleeps in short stints in his basement spends the rest of his night stoking the fire in the wood burner to keep his boys warm. He is so distraught over his situation that, thanks to supplemental security income, he thought he would be "worth more" to his children dead than alive.

According to businessinsider.com in an article they published in July of this year, "Half of America owns 2.5% of this country's wealth. The top 1% own a third of it." The New York Times also noted in an article they published in March of 2007 that ". . . the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980."

The vicious cycle of these statistics will likely continue – there's no money to go to school to get a better job, and no job providing the money for the next generation to get a better education . . . . The gap between the rich and the poor will grow wider, and perhaps soon there will be no middle ground left in sight.

So when I'm sitting on my comfortable couch watching my amazing flat-screen TV (with cable to boot) in my heated or air-conditioned home (weather respective), I feel both grateful and guilty – grateful to be blessed with all the luxuries in my life, and guilty that I have them while so many others truly suffer.

When I reflect on my childhood now, instead of seeing myself as poor, I see myself as incredibly ungrateful little midget. I had a roof over my head, food on the table, enough properly fitting clothes (brand name or not) to get me through a week or two before the laundry was done for me. I had a mom who managed to provide me with dance lessons, a flute to play in the band, and the required supplies and money to be a part of the majorette squad. I may not have had as much as my friends, but I had a lot, a hell of a lot more than I could ever comprehend.

After watching this episode of Dateline and taking some time to reflect on our lives, Jon and I decided that we were going to stop viewing "charity as a coat you wear twice a year" and stop "living hand to hand with legitimate excuses". The unwanted things in our shed waiting to be tagged for a garage sale are now in the process of being donated to those who need them, those who will probably appreciate the used items so much more than we ever did when we bought them new.

"This is the year of the guilty man. Your television takes a stand, and you find that what was over there is over here."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The ED of Peculiar Pickiness

I'm going to start by pretending you all don't know this already and state something obvious - I'm a bit of an odd duck. Despite my denial and abnormal attempts to fit in the mold of those around me, I've never even been "next to normal", a facet about myself I started to deny from an early age. Had I accepted the fact that I'm just not the popular kind and embraced those more like me, I might have sidestepped the critical cruelty of my peers in my teenage years and actually accumulated some decent memories to share with my kids one day. Sadly, what I'm left with are stories which would force my fingers to tap and type for hours on end, producing pages upon pages of therapy to assist in alleviating the tempestuous unease of my adolescent angst barraged with bullying and banter . . . but I won't succumb to that measure of stress relief, not today anyway. Instead I choose to spare you, my fellow readers, if only for a moment and save the seething for another day . . . .

So, I will sidetrack by saying that my severed seams from long ago are pretty much sutured up, and for now I choose to ignore that fact that they fray every once in awhile - today I am, for the most part, a woman who has accepted that being not near normal is not only absolutely adequate, but somehow flawlessly fantastic. I have countless crazy quirks, many of which I have covered in some of my bellowing blog posts, particularly in Webwork of a Wacky Woman
where I ink out many of my idiosyncrasies (feel free to return there and review if you like), and among the myriad of my mental mannerisms I list in said post, there is one I would like to discuss in greater detail today . . . . My freakish foodisms for which I have already admitted are as follows:

Texture is huge. I like tomato sauce and ketchup, but not tomatoes. I like grape jelly, but not grapes. I pass on foods with rubbery skin and mushy insides

I like peanut butter, but not peanuts.

I don't like strawberries or coffee.

I was asked a question [in a survey] about my favorite salad dressing; my answer was, "Light Italian, on a shredded carrot salad. . . . I'm not a fan of lettuce folks, so give me a bed of shredded carrots and I'll put all the salad toppings on it."

Alas, that is only where the list begins. This too is a topic that my finger tips could type endlessly about, producing yet again pages and pages of peculiar pickiness that you would rather pass on perusing. However, I cannot breach this topic w/o giving you a bigger picture of my battle with my taste buds, so I will somehow summarize what needs to be said and hopefully reach my point (if there even is one) sooner rather than later.

I hate cilantro; in fact to me it tastes like soap.

I don't eat Mexican, Indian, or most other ethnic foods that are not American or Western European.

Peas make me want to vomit, and I hate most vegetables in general, even fear them, because they inevitably show up on my plate at most restaurants and dinner parties.

Beer and dry wine are bitter and I will never get drunk off them. Sangria please!

I love eggs, but never sunny side up . . . runny, snotty yuckiness!

So yes, in case you haven't cracked this code already, I will again state something obvious – I am a picky eater.

Coincidentally, upon perusing the tweets of the 24 I follow, I happened across this "scientific" statement a couple of weeks ago: "Picky eating in adults may soon be classified as a specific eating disorder
http://on.wsj.com/cmazc3".

Upon seeing this proclamation and clicking the link to the article, I believe it's accurate to say that "WTF" was the first thing that came to my mind. Surely this cannot be correct – my taste buds don't like things, so I must have a psychological disorder, an eating disorder in fact, worthy of being mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders? The DSM, a manual in which I examined more than once in my four years of studying psychology at Capital University, is also a manual that once classified homosexuality as a psychological disorder . . . just sayin' . . . again pages and pages, but moving forward . . . .

I've tried foods I don't like over and over again, and the result is the same, I still don't like them. I have built a better tolerance for foods I don't care for over time, but eating such items is in no way an enjoyable experience. I force such foods down for two occasions, when invited to someone's house for dinner, and when attempting to persuade my children to try such fare, but in any other case peculiar pickiness overrules and I say "pass please".

I cannot deny there are indeed some issues mentioned in this article for which I relate – dinner parties do undeniably make nervous (though not so much I won't attend), the range of foods that I eat (which extend far beyond 10 or 15 choices, btw) is no doubt limited, and I think it's fair to say I have some OCD tendencies – but I couldn't disagree more with the conclusion that has been drawn. Beyond potentially loosing vital nutrients (which is why I take supplements), being particular about food isn't a major issue in my opinion, avoiding social situations because of said issues is, and I am rarely one to turn down any social situation, food fears or not.

One of those who commented said it with the same sarcastic eloquence I wish I would have expressed myself:

I'm so glad that this country is still properous [sic] enough to develop more new "disorders" at a seemingly increasing rate. If you dont [sic] like it, don't eat it.

Next disorder please.

Americans, in general, don't seem to share the passion for soccer that the rest of the world has. I suppose we should look into this disorder of our national psyche next . . . .
(Tom Crozier, comment post #21)

There is a difference between being not quite "normal" and not being able to cope with that abnormality, which seems to be the case for many of those discussed in the article. For example, I have Crohn's Disease, I'm left-handed, and I've been told by my doctor that I get tendonitis frequently because my legs are "anatomically incorrect", but you don't see me being committed to therapy or a psyche ward for said "abnormalities" (or for any of my many unmentioned others for that matter). I've learned how to deal with them and move forward. I've used this quote before, and I will use it again: "Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference" –Virginia Satir.

So I say to those wasting so much money studying such things to stop. Treat for anxiety or OCD those who suffer if you must, but leave a potential ED of Peculiar Pickiness out of it, because I embrace this as part of who I am, and I'm okay with that.