Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Scheherazade Project: Theme for 6/19-7/3/2006

The Scheherazade Project: Theme for 6/19-7/3/2006
If interested in participating in this stimulating little writing exercise, follow this link. My submission is the post titled "Emptiness" below.


3:07 a.m.
Ripped out of bed by the caustic blare of a pager. The dull voice from the answering service told me the cops would be there too. Ten minutes to mentally prepare. Ten minutes to drive to the ER. Damn. Just open a vein.

It was simple to spot her when I glanced in the waiting room. She was noticeable because she didn’t want to be. Amongst the screaming babies and broken noses, she picked at her nails absently, trying to pretend nothing was wrong. I’d never seen her face before, but I knew her well. She’d been drained. Eviscerated. I felt the vacuum tug at my middle. Wouldn't it be easier to open a vein?

I nodded toward the officer as I sat down next to her. He knew to leave us alone and let me do my job. Right now, she needed someone who didn’t care about anything else but her. I told her who I was and what I would do for her. I told her what she was feeling and why.

I told her it wasn’t her fault.
It wasn’t her fault.
Not. Her. Fault.
Fucking sick empty feeling. Christ, just open a fucking vein.

Her used and exhausted body followed me to the exam room. While we waited for the doctor, I explained what would happen. Her eyes were far away but she seemed to understand. Now, her body was a crime scene and she was a witness. More shame and humiliation lay ahead. More would be taken from her.

There it was, pulling my insides again; wanting to take it all back, make it not so, undo the damage, save her, save just one.
Could I ever bleed enough?

No blood or guts or miracles.
When they put her feet in the stirrups, she reached for my hand instead.

We Got Our Dick Back!

Here at 2 Hot Chiks, we make it no secret that we love Dick. Go see his new blog here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Fine Art of Avoiding Success

** (time-out for a report from the real world) **

Yesterday, my company Division Director was patrolling my podville neighborhood (Hot Chiks, South). As usual, he couldn’t pass by without flipping me some shit. At the time, I was sitting extra close to my monitor because I forgot to wear my reading glasses (which were conveniently located on top of the monitor). My proximity to the screen gave him an excuse to jokingly accuse me of sleeping.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I should have to put up with that kind of crap. Mr. Smarty-Pants Big-Shot received the following memo from me earlier today.

Dear Mr. F,

Although I wasn't napping yesterday, later in the afternoon, after a sizable lunch, I thought about it and decided it was a pretty good idea. One of your best, actually.

Since management typically provides the necessary resources for all work-place activities, please stop by sometime early this afternoon with a pillow for me. As you so wisely pointed out, we don't want to risk an injury if I bang my head against the monitor.

Thanks ever so much.

Insincerely, Theresa

P.S. Be sure to get a hypo-allergenic pillow. You know how sensitive I am.

This is why I’ll never get promoted. At the same time, I’ll probably never get fired either. It's an art, I tell you! I bet I can work the rest of my life in corporate America and never be given any additional responsibility whatsoever.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Addendum: The Diversity Committee also rejected my idea of celebrating the wide and varying range of Sexual Fetishes with a visual display on the cafeteria bulletin board.
Damn Tight-Asses!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Update: Later today, Mr. F made a special visit to Hot Chiks South. He informed me that he was unable to locate a "non-allergeric" (his word, not mine) pillow.
Even though I wasn't surprised that he'd shown up empty-handed, I replied "and, I suppose you still expect me to show up for work tomorrow?"
He mumbled something about being happy with my other benefits ... 401K, stock options, blah, blah, blah ... but by then, I'd already interrupted him to ask if he had time to wash my car.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

She Wanted it Bad

Helen spent hours thinking about what her life would be like when she finally had it. She believed in the power of the mind. If a person visualized their desires, they could make them a reality. She focused on every detail. She knew exactly what she would do, how she would feel, what she would say, the way other people would treat her, and most importantly, how her life would change forever. Everything was all planned out. She just had to focus and be patient. Once it happened, nothing else would matter.

It was something she worked on every day. She was committed and diligent. She knew if she missed a day, if she gave up hope, the opportunity she’d been waiting for might slip through her fingers. So, just like the morning before, and the morning before that, Helen pulled into the gas station. She shifted into park and chanted a sacred prayer, "You can’t win if you don’t play".

She was prompt and predictable. The attendant had her rung up before she walked in the door. And just like every other day, she mumbled good morning, tossed a five on the counter, and seized the tickets with a lusty thirst.

Before she reached the car, Helen had already ripped through four of the tickets. She couldn't help herself. She had to know right away. She pressed them into the palm of her hand and methodically scratched the silver game blocks with her lucky nickel. When she got to the last one, she paused, held it in front of her lips, and whispered, "please, please, please". Leaning against the hood of the car, she scratched slowly and deliberately. When she finished, she stared in disbelief. Defeated once again.

Settling into the worn seat of her Taurus, Helen sighed and tossed her purse onto a blanket of last weeks losses. She lit a cigarette. "Not today", she exhaled. "Maybe tomorrow." And just as she'd done countless mornings before, she resolved to use her will to make it happen. She turned the ignition and turned a page in her mind, imagining the elation of holding her winning ticket tomorrow.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Elemental Longing

I felt the Wind
Filling my lungs with new breath
Reminding me of deserted time
Stirring a familiar Eros song

I felt the Sun
Kissing my lips with courtly fire
Burning me to flushed ruddiness
Branding the mark of his presence

I felt the Earth
Enfolding me in her abundance
Touching my ache with compassion
Infusing perfumes of mortality

I felt the Rain
Chilling my skin with iced lingering
Waking me to gentle honesty
Bathing scars of pain and remorse

I felt a longing

Overwhelming the stir of the Wind
Enhancing the burn of the Sun
Owning the touch of the Earth
Belittling the chill of the Rain
A longing beyond longing

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Please, Baby

It’s been driving me crazy all day
It's right there,
In the middle.
If I twist my arm just right
I can kind of reach it with my fingertips.
But, not enough
Not enough to ease my torment.
If you gave me a hand
Sunk your nails into my flesh
I’d tell you exactly where to scratch.
It would feel perfect

Divinely satisfying.
Please, Baby

Whatever Gets You Through the Day

We went to work in the fields just after breakfast. By most people’s standards, we’d already done half a day’s work. Before the sun rose, the three milking machines were cleaned and attached to forty-five cows. If it weren’t for the oppressive summer heat, the low, churning, pumping sound might have lulled me back to sleep. It only took a couple hours, but at 5:30 am everything seems to take much longer.

Breakfast was always the same. Lots of food and noise. Afterwards, the men would drink coffee and talk about politics or the weather. They masterfully pretended the women tidying up around them were invisible. At 15 years old, I didn’t mind being unnoticed in that house.

I must have been daydreaming again. Someone hollered for me from the porch. It was already 8:30. We were getting a late start. I adjusted a pair of bibbed overalls and ran out the door. They wouldn’t hesitate to leave me behind to walk out to the field. That would give them something to laugh and joke about for the next few days.

It was haying time. The work was hard. The tractor moved slowly along the pre-cut rows, pulling a bailing machine behind it. The bailer cut and tied the rectangular bails and fed them to two of us on the wagon. We stacked them neatly until they were well over our heads. Once loaded, one of us would use the old John Deere to haul the wagon back to the barn. A machine with giant hooks lifted eight bails at a time and deposited them in the barn loft above. Later, before dinner and milking, we’d climb into the loft to stack the bails properly.

By the end of the day, my entire body was covered in layers of alfalfa, sweat and dirt. Bits of prickly hay were in my hair, eyes, ears, the crevices of my neck, my clothes, under my nails, absolutely everywhere. There was no escaping it. It itched and caused little scratches all over my body. The only thing that got me through the day, the only thing that made it possible to tolerate that torture, was my secret scheme.

Whenever I thought I was too tired to go on, the heat was getting me down, or the itching would make me go mad, I reminded myself that it would all be better soon. No matter what, I was going to a place where I could forget about the heat, dirt, stench, and noisy, annoying people. And when I reached my destination, when I made my dream a reality, every part of my mind and body would feel right again.

Once we got back to the barn and finished the evening milking, I could grab a quick dinner and make my escape. The light would last til 8:30 or 9, and no one would notice my absence. Even if they did, I could always say I’d gone for a walk. They’d never suspect me of anything questionable. I was a good girl. So, at my first opportunity, I stole away. It was easy once I made it under the electric fence and behind the barn.

I knew the paths into the woods as well as anyone. One went through Jake and Anna’s farm and down to Marshmiller Pond, and the other went back to the Chippewa burial site and around to the stream. If I followed the stream far enough, I’d get to a deep pool where I could finally enjoy the relief I craved.

As I walked along the path toward the stream, my legs seemed to go faster and faster. I forgot that I was dead tired. I almost forgot to stop and pay my respects to the dead Indians. Once or twice I looked behind me, delighted that my plan was working. I laughed out loud with the knowledge that I wasn’t being deterred. Perhaps I’d really get the luxury I’d been dreaming of all day. In minutes, I’d be soaking up to my shoulders in deep, cool spring water. It would be just me, alone amongst the trees, bathing every inch of my weary body in my private sanctuary. It almost seemed too good to be true.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

For What it's Worth

I waited for him to return from work
Read books
Wrote my papers
Made myself the best I could be
And when he came home, we made love
Until I found out he was married
I was more angry than hurt.

I waited for him to figure it out
Cried a lot
Focused on work
Challenged my limits to be better and better
And when he realized what he had
I’d already moved on
I was sad that he’d been afraid.

I waited for him to notice my sadness
Endured empty spaces
Found substitutes
Became a master of deceit
And when I choked on the lies I told myself
The future looked vague and uncertain
I grieved the loss of our dreams.

I waited for him to make up his mind
Paced the floor
Looked into my soul
Discovered chilling frailties
And when he chose someone else
I had to stand on my own
I was stronger than I had imagined.

I waited
And the whole time I waited
I lived

I’m good at waiting
And hoping
There must be something worth it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I Believe...

I haven’t been blogging as much lately. Instead, I’ve been working on some other projects, thinking about stuff, and tossing some garbage out of my head. For lack of anything better to post, I've decided to share a few thoughts.

I believe most people are good. Most of us want to do the right thing. And, even when no one else notices, we feel good about ourselves when we do so. I also believe evil exists. There are some amongst us who are simply no good, self-serving bastards.

I believe that even though I don’t feel ambitious right now, I still have rewarding work to do. I don’t know what that work is, so it will be a nice surprise when it reveals itself.

I believe I have a responsibility to discover truth and strength within myself, even when it’s a difficult, frightening process.

I believe the word accountability has been abused in our society during the last 15 years (maybe longer). It’s been used to blame victims and deflect co-responsibility during opportunities when we might otherwise have created solutions. The practice of blame-slinging doesn’t solve problems. It simply creates a sense of self-righteousness.

I believe I spend too much time blaming myself. Ahhhh, but I don't feel self righteous about it. It's a whole bullshit-control thing I do with myself.

I believe if there’s a god, it’s the energy that connects all of us to one another. A bit of it exists within each of us. That’s why the experience of gathering together is powerful; whether it’s a crowd at a football game, a political rally, a family event, or a Sunday church service.

I believe there are soloists and ensemble players. Despite the fact that I’m somewhat charismatic and occasionally draw attention to myself, I definitely prefer to share the stage. I like to be alone, but I don’t like to live alone. I need my independence, but I also need to be inter-dependent with others. I know what my strengths are, but I gladly let others take the lead when they are stronger, better and more knowledgeable.

I believe I know what I want, and the things I want are attainable.

I believe in true love. It’s the kind of love that lasts forever. It’s the kind of love that fills your heart, makes you crazy, and sometimes hurts like hell. I believe it doesn’t come around often. You have to want it and take care of it, even when it’s hard. I believe I’m very fortunate to have loved, to know how to love, and to do it well.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Overcoming My Affliction

I’m one of thousands of American woman who suffers with a long term, life-altering, painful affliction. It’s a baffling and illogical thing, but it’s very real. Some women suffer more than others; even losing their lives due to extreme manifestations of the problem. There’s been much public discussion and research about the subject with no real solutions on the horizon. I’m referring, of course, to body hatred.

I’ve been at odds with my body for almost as long as I can remember. Despite the fact that I like myself, and my likeable self exists within this flesh, I haven’t been able to consistently make peace with my perceived physical flaws and imperfections. I’ve spent a good amount of time and energy trying to convince myself that it’s okay to be just as I am, but the logic doesn’t always stick. Likewise, reassurances from others are often fleeting relief. In the past, I’ve spent a good deal of time exploring all the reasons why this sort of thing happens to us, but right now all I’m interested in is how to get rid of it.

REALITY: Like it or not, I’m stuck with this body. It’s mine, and perhaps I’d enjoy it more if I made friends with it instead of being harsh and critical. There’s only so much I can do to change it, and as I age, it’s going to become less and less appealing based on the rigid standards I’ve set for myself. As such, I’ve spent a lot of time lately making a comprehensive assessment of all my bits and pieces. I’ve concluded that I should stop my belly-aching and be thankful for what I’ve got.

I’m damn lucky. Other than a mild eyesight impairment, all my parts work. As a matter of fact, they work quite well. I’m strong, healthy and completely able-bodied.

I have some large visible scars on my left ankle from a series of surgeries after a very bad fracture and dislocation several years ago. Instead of thinking those scars are ugly, maybe they should remind me that I endured a really difficult time, worked hard and beat the odds. After the accident, the prognosis wasn’t good. I wasn’t supposed to walk without a limp, and the doctors said I’d have limited mobility and lifelong pain. I stubbornly refused to accept it and worked my ass off in rehab. My stubbornness paid off. I wear 4" heels without a problem and within 6 months of my last surgery, I didn’t have any pain at all.

My hands are huge. My sisters and my Mom have sweet little delicate hands. Unlike mine, they’re so pretty and feminine. I have big, giant, strong, functional hands. I once surreptitiously started a rumor at work that I was really a man. Actually, my friend Ruth did it, but it was my idea because I like to screw with people when I’m bored. I told Ruth to say, "I heard that Theresa is really a man. I think it might be true. Look at her hands. They’re huge, like man hands." Other than stupid jokes, there are a lot of advantages to having big hands. For instance, I never have to ask a guy to open a jar for me, and when I grab a handful of popcorn, I get more than most people.

It’s not just my hands. All my bones are big. I’m just BIG. Good ol’ Iowa farm stock … except I avoid rural areas. I’m very afraid some industrious Amish farmer will hook me up to a plow if I get too close. However, despite my fear of the buggy-folk, being big isn’t a bad thing. It could be a definite advantage if I ever really decide to go into the Super-Hero business. I think the general public has more confidence in a big strong Super-Hero than a tiny frail Super-Hero.

I’m overweight. Now, this is one of those qualities that I have the power to change. However, do I really want to wait to like my body until after I lose weight? Maybe I should like my body now. Liking it won’t prevent me from losing weight. In fact, it might even help.

I’m getting those funny spider veins on my calves. I’ve come to understand that these are age-related, genetic sorts of things. I should have expected it. I dodged the cellulite bullet, so sooner or later I have to pay. Lucky me! I got these little roadmap beauties instead. Hey look! I think it's a map of my town. I can see my house!

Seriously, these things are tough to love. However, as I was reorganizing my closet this weekend, I pulled out a fantastic little skirt with dark purple embroidery. I completely forgot I had it. I also discovered that I have a pair of really sexy shoes to match. As I was looking at the two together, I wondered if I’ll have the nerve to wear them with my veiny legs. However, it dawned on me as I looked at the ensemble next to my skin, Wow! the purple in the skirt and shoes is an exact match to the veins in my calves! It couldn’t be more perfect.

Make friends with your body. Do it now. It’s yours and it’s the only one you’re going to get this time around. Why spend another minute feeling miserable in it?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Silly MEME

Here's a meme I picked up from Andy T. The instructions are simple. You type "(your name) needs" into Google and write down the first ten results. Some of mine were funny so I included a dozen.
  • Theresa needs to be punished.
  • Theresa needs to take care of her ill mother.
  • Theresa needs to get used to the fact that she will remain the Ketchup Queen.
  • Theresa needs to seriously start thinking about what she is doing before she acts.
  • Theresa needs images of the month.
  • Theresa needs to call me so I can get her …
  • Theresa needs to come back for a visit.
  • Theresa needs to renew her body whole and to heal.
  • Theresa needs a lawyer.
  • Theresa needs to know the surface area of a box.
  • Theresa needs mental help.
  • Theresa needs a pair of cheetah print frames!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Making Love to the Moon

While looking for you
In the waxing moon,

I happened upon a smile
You gave me yesterday,

Wondered if I’ll ever know you
When you were a child,

Heard your far away voice
Dancing in my ear,

O’ night sky,
Bathing my pale skin

In damp whispers.
Stealing my breath
With drifting phantom fingers.

I lie naked beneath you
Earnestly impatient,
Inhaling your abundance,
Exhaling a wish, a dream, my love.