Sunday, August 26, 2012


He wants me, but only part of the time. He wants me, if he can keep me in line. Hush hush, voices carry.
-Aimee Mann

I am a Dallas Cowboys fan. I always will be. Being a Cowboys fan is hard for many reasons but mostly because I fear suffocation while wearing the paper bag over my head that being a loyal Cowboys fan requires. Nonetheless, it’s who I am . . . and I like me. I won’t go changin’ for Billy Joel or anyone else.

I don’t have Glamour magazine or Vogue or Cosmo or any other girly girl type magazine delivered to my house. This doesn’t mean I don’t read them, it just means I don’t pay to get them in the mail. Believe me, when they’re plopped down in front of me, I read them, because, you know, they’re chock full of oh so valuable information on how I should live and how I should look. Also, as is readily apparent, I am an internet user which means every time I turn my computer on there is some sort of headline telling me what I need to know about men and what they like, and, again, how I should dress and talk and carry myself. I’m a sucker, I admit it, I’ll read that before I’ll read about the war on drugs, the disappearing middle class in my country, or the latest college football scandal. Let me go on record as saying that I also happen to read Sun Magazine (a non profit magazine for writers) and The Atlantic and The New Yorker, all of which are delivered to my home. But I still read crap too. And sadly, I can tell you way more about the crap I read than I can about the more cerebral things I read.

According to these magazine articles (the crap, not the heady stuff), both hard copy and internet, I fall short in pretty much every area imaginable . . . and according to the world of fashion magazines, so do you, on any given day. It’s ok, just wait until the next day because you will find favor and be approved by the powers that be once again. You can read an article telling you (me) that you should always be dressed in your finest, right down to your underroos, always . . . ALWAYS, do not leave the house if you are even slightly underdressed and you are not wearing make up. You can also read an article, often times within the same publication, telling you (me) that you should be more natural, don’t overdo it, go outside in sweats with dirty hair . . . you’ll be adored! Men love red lipstick! Men hate red lipstick! Men hate needy women! Men love to be needed by women! It can all be so confusing, if one were to take it seriously, and some people really do. Witness the unbelievable amount of eating disorders and anxiety issues in our country. We’re living in an eating disorder and male entrapment learnedness Mecca. God bless America.

When you look down at your cotton Fruit of the Loom granny panties and then read that you’re supposed to be wearing a lace tanga in melon color this season, don’t you go feeling bad about yourself my pet. Now if you want the melon colored lace tanga then get yourself out there and have it . . . but only IF YOU WANT IT. Don’t do it because a Prada wearing devil that you don’t know, and doesn’t know you, said to. And don’t do it because an imagined partner, whom you’ve not met, may or may not come along and have read the same article and get pissy about your not having a melon colored lace tanga. If you’re happy with your cotton wrapped booty, then you just stay that way and be who you are. (I’m starting to regret my decision to go with undergarments here, but I’m too far in to change course now.)Anyway, love your undies.

If we all were to take all the advice we’d been given in our lives, how much of it would be worthwhile? How much of it would be consistent with who we are, on the inside? How much is a crock of crap? I read an article the other day that in one paragraph said “just be natural, be yourself, have fun, it’s all about having fun” and, I shit you not, not two paragraphs later it said “don’t have too much to drink, don’t be too casual, don’t be just the cool fun girl.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry so instead I vomited in my mouth a little. Now see, that was crass and if I was trying to hunt, track, and trap a man that would just be wrong, or would it be? I’m just being me and that’s good, right? Only Glamour magazine knows for sure, or maybe it’s Harpers Bazaar. Who knows? But the bigger question is, who cares? Well I just so happen to have the answer to that question for you; you. You care about who you are and don’t waste your precious time worrying about what others say because someone’s always going to tell you you’re wrong no matter what you’re doing . . . but you can also always find someone who sees what’s right in you.

It’s not just about women and it’s not just about appearances. Got a funny accent? Pronounce a couple of words a little bit goofy? Whatever, it’s who you are. It’s what makes you, you. But people will harass you and tease you about it. That’s fine if it’s good natured. You’re unique! Embrace it! How boring would the world be if we were all so homogenized? What would we talk about? What if I agree with everything you say? What will you know about me then? What will I know about me then? Who will I be? I’d be no one, or more accurately, I’d be everyone . . . and that’s a snore-fest.

I was already writing about being yourself this month and then I read “The Paris Wife”, a novel inspired by Ernest Hemingways first marriage to Hadley Richardson. She was herself. Despite being surrounded by beauties draped in Chanel and sporting the requisite bob haircut of that time, she was herself. She was reportedly plain in her looks, straightforward in her words, and traditional in her ideas of love and marriage. Did I mention she was married to Ernest Hemingway? A guy you may know as being not so traditional in his ideas of social mores and customs. They lived in Paris . . . in the roaring ‘20’s . . . and spent time with the likes of Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Convention was not abundant. But Ernest loved Hadley. You may be thinking “but their marriage failed.” Indeed it did, as did three more for Ernest, well, only two more failed I guess since he committed suicide during his fourth. Hadley went on to have one more marriage that lasted the rest of her life. I am not pissing on Ernest here, though it may seem that way. The point I’m making is Hadley knew who she was. She knew herself to be different than all the other women surrounding her and while it proved difficult at times and she questioned herself at times, in the end she was true to herself and led a happy life. Ernest was always questioning himself, never sure of himself on the inside, always needing external approval. The same holds true for many artists and our world would be so much dimmer without the contributions that their insecurity, their neediness, and their passion gives us. The artists of the world are who they are and Ernest Hemingway has given us astounding literature . . . and also an illuminating life . . . be who you are. You could turn out to be a quadruple married genius . . . but let’s not see you end your life as Ernest ended his, ok? They were both true to themselves.

And if you are an artist of some sort? If you paint, write, draw, sculpt, play music, any creative venture, you can rest assured you will get plenty of unsolicited advice. What one person finds too edgy, another will not find edgy enough. If you are writing a book you will get plenty of rejection letters. If you take pictures you will hear that your subject matter isn’t interesting. If you write music you will be told it’s too sappy. You will be told this by people who matter to you, you will be told this by people you could not care less about, but your art is yours. It’s yours to share with the world should you care to and someone, someone will like it, and even more than that, some will love it, and even more than that . . . you will love it. Express yourself Madonna.

To be yourself in our ever shrinking world is hard. It’s hard to come here to our country and wear the clothes of your native country because, God forbid, you not look like everyone else. It’s hard to come here and have an accent, because you’re supposed to sound like everyone else don’tcha know . . . unless it’s a very chic accent, British or French or something equally high brow sounding, then you get the stamp of approval. We are not taught to celebrate our unique characteristics. Teeth are straightened, noses are shrunk, accents “corrected”, and the crazy artistic side of you needs to be put away and you should just straighten yourself out and fly right little bird. I hope none of y’all do though. I hope none of y’all decide that just the way you are isn’t good enough. There’s always room for learning new things and growing and evolving so please don’t misunderstand me, always grow and learn. But do it because you want to, because it will fulfill you, because it’s your choice in your life for your happiness. Never, ever, ever, sacrifice who you are for someone else. Have some dignity and take pride in who you are, just as you are. When you do, you won’t even think about sacrificing yourself, and no one around you would even dream ask, because they love you as you are.

And with this I say to all my friends, I love you as you are, and I am deeply blessed that you all love me just as I am . . . and will administer CPR to me when I have a paper bag over my head this fall.

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