Medicine

Someone recently asked me what it is that I think Marijuana fixes for me. And I said, “oh so many things.” I can describe my ailments and complaints very specifically but not as some defined and established diagnosis. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that it helps me with my depression, or my ADD or my gender confusion, but that’s just the least of it, almost the frosting, the ancillary benefits. It’s a reasonable question, and if I make the claim that I use it for therapeutic reasons, I ought to be able to explain that. I anticipate having to explain it, despite that I’m never pressed to explain why I drink coffee, or alcohol, or take vitamins or do yoga or write. I can just say I enjoy those things. But there’s pressure when you think something like marijuana is positive and healthy, to defend it. So I wasn’t unprepared. I think about it all the time. But I was also smoking recreationally at the time of this question, asked by a man I was smoking with, who happens to  be a neuroscientist, and so it took me a minute to gather my stoned ass thoughts. But I thought it was a fair question, and not asked with any judgement, given the circumstances, and so I was resolved to make my best attempt despite myself.

Let me start by saying that the recreational smoking that I was doing at the time of this conversation was not the kind that I’m calling medicinal. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, using marijuana recreationally, just because you like it, and I do that too. But it’s not what I really crave, and it doesn’t address my issues to smoke late at night with friends, and maybe while also having a cocktail. And the more and more I experiment with this the more I feel like I don’t even necessarily like to smoke with people. I don’t like to smoke at night. I don’t like to smoke and drink at the same time.

If I were to use it primarily as a therapeutic aid, and that’s all I need, I would use it differently, and I would argue that for most people in my situation, it should be used less to be used effectively. I’m not saying that all medicinal use should be less, if you’re using if for pain, or for cancer, or for autoimmune disease, or gastrointestinal disorders, or major depression, or anything other than the kinds of things I use it for, then you would have to determine your own appropriate dose, whatever dosage would be considered “therapeutic,” e.g. enough for the desired result, and definitely not less. I think pot is safe enough it’s probably ok to err on the side of too much, but too much can also be a problem.

For me, the high is almost a side effect. I find that if I get up really early, like 5AM, and take a single hit, then I do yoga, write a little, take a shower, masturbate, just kidding, or maybe not, shave my legs brush my teeth all of that, get dressed for work have some breakfast, drink some coffee, then by the time I go to work, it’s been 3 hours and the high has worn off, but I still feel great all day. I like myself. I prefer to smoke when I’m able to be alone for a couple of hours. I don’t want to interact with people while I’m feeling a little paranoid or if I think they can tell I’m stoned. I’m self conscious about it. It’s for this reason that I don’t even like to use it recreationally unless everyone is doing it, and even then it becomes a waiting game for it to wear off a little. But I am less socially anxious if I come to a group setting a couple hours after having a single hit than I would be right after or even if I had not smoked at all.

That’s therapeutic.

So to answer his question I said this. I said that from the time when I was young, 9th grade, when I first smoked, almost daily, and then on into the later years of high school when I stopped smoking, except occasionally, I knew that what I liked about it was not being high as much as how I felt when I had been smoking, but wasn’t actually high at the moment. And I liked either smoking regularly or not at all. I wasn’t as enamored of the occasional. I wanted to get into a managed state of mind. I explained how it resolves issues that have no particular diagnosis, like how when I smoke I feel connected to my past and my future. Otherwise I feel like my past was a different person, and that my future is outside my control. I am more introspective, more meditative, more still. I feel better, physically. I didn’t go so far as to elaborate on what that meant, that I feel comfortable with my body. I stopped short of intimating anything about my gender diaspora. Not ready to tell people that. I also would not go so far as to say it is any kind of cure. What it does do, is helps me to rise above myself a little and observe almost from the outside. I still would rather be a man, but the body I have doesn’t bother me as much, almost as if, outside of it, it is no longer as much of an interference. I can feel a little more like a man, who just happens to control a woman’s body. I become, as a result, a little less judgmental towards myself. 

That’s therapeutic.

I also find myself having more fortitude. For example, so often it’s the case that I am thinking, that I don’t want to be doing something, my job for instance, and just can’t make myself work, almost like it’s a protest against choices that earlier me made, like I don’t want to benefit from her mistakes, or give her credit, or accept even the possibility that she could have been right. Unhappy with the decisions that got me here, I go so far as to say to myself that “I just am and always will be a failure.” Yes, it’s that bad. Then I smoke, or even 4 hours afterwards, it’s like I suddenly grow ovaries.  I’m like, “what a wimp,” and  I just do it. What else is there to do? That becomes my attitude. Can do. I don’t like my job more, not at all, but I force myself, because I know I’ll feel better if I get things done. I still have to fight distraction, but I’m determined.

I don’t see how that can’t be good.

I don’t want to give too  much credit to the people who always tell us to be like that. It’s not that they’re wrong, the people who always tell you to “just do it,” they’re not. It’s that they’re telling people who find that difficult, to “just” do what they find easy. It’s not helpful, and it makes me feel judged by them when I’m already judging myself. I’m sensitive about that. It would be particularly ironic if the same person who judges me for that, judges me for solving it by smoking pot. I suspect that there are parents who discover that their teens smoke pot and send them for help because they think pot is a problem, when pot could be the solution to a different problem. Hopefully, they address the underlying issue. I once told my therapist, my parents didn’t send me to one, they thought it was quackery, that I wanted to smoke pot, and she said, “what’s stopping you?” So I started again.

He tells me, the neuroscientist, that the evidence shows that pot is bad for developing brains (like mine when I smoked in ninth grade). He has credentials. And he’s a pothead himself, which I mention because I’m often, and for good reasons, skeptical of the sources of scientific evidence, so he’s not biased. I would argue, though, that if you suffer from something that would otherwise be treated with something more toxic, antidepressants, or opiod pain killers, prescription stimulants, acid blockers, etc, then pot may be an even more effective, and most likely safer, alternative to the legal drugs that kids are otherwise prescribed.

I, for one, remember the benefits when I was 13 as being the same as what I experience now in my 50s (I hate saying my age – I may also have age diaspora, lol). It makes me wonder how different my brain really was. In the 9th grade, early I know for drugs, I did well academically. And I had a more active social life and better friendships. I still think of it as the happiest year of my life. Now, not being aware of what I know now, I tended to smoke too much, I tended to suffer too much from the negative side effects, the paranoia, etc, and at the end of the year, I decided it was interfering with my life and I stopped, which is something I often regret, or regret that it took so long to get back into it. But I do typically present this as evidence that it isn’t addictive. I smoked it “too much” for a year and then decided to stop and did.

The only negative effects of quitting were not distinguishable from the symptoms I suffered before I ever started.

If you don’t want your children to smoke that young, it’s understandable. Keep in mind that if you would view me as a bad role model, that I didn’t do any other kinds of drugs. Among most of my friends today, though I may have smoked pot at a younger age, I am a lightweight. I’ve never done cocaine, or even speed, LSD or mushrooms, blues or reds or yellows or greens, whatever they were. It might be because I recognized early that pot was constructive only if I did it daily and that I was looking for a permanent solution not a a temporary one, to whatever I thought my problem was. If something were to make me feel better, I’d want it all the time, or not at all. And if a drug would inevitably lead to addiction, then I couldn’t use it that way, and I didn’t see the point of doing it at all.

The conclusion I have come to is that I think pot is the key to my happiness, yet important for me to do it at the right times and in small doses. I am a woman with many things to do. I just can’t afford to be stoned all the time, though there are certain things worth doing stoned, yoga and writing, though I think there’s something to be said for sober re-writing. I find that it’s a good wake me up. A good way to start the day, and a good incentive to get up early. If I know my whole day will depend on it, and if I know that as tired as I am when the alarm goes off, that I won’t be as tired once I take a hit, then it can get me up and keep me going strong. By the evening I’m relaxed and tired and ready to sleep well.

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Happiness

For almost as long as I can remember I have suffered from chronic minor depression. It’s always there either in the forefront or hiding in the shadows, but there. It’s characterized by hopelessness, and a deep seeded disappointment in myself. In an effort to be honest, I have purposefully indulged it, and driven myself to some dark places. At one such time I wrote an email to a male friend from a long time ago who I didn’t even date, and apologized to him for having let us both down. I never got a response.

I call it minor for one reason. I have never been suicidal. I don’t know why. I am lucky. I never let go of this irrational belief that things can get better, despite all historical evidence to the contrary.

I have at times looked forward to when I will die, hopefully of old age. Kind of like when you take a vacation and are ready to go home. You may have days left, but you forge on, and keep trying to enjoy yourself, because you know the end will be here soon enough. That’s how I feel about death. Knowing it will come, comforts me, but I don’t have to rush it.

I’m not religious, so I don’t believe that I get to go “home” in the religious sense, or to meet Jesus in heaven, which I don’t really think exists except in the possible sense that our souls may get promoted to some sort of supervisory role in an afterlife, at least I’m open to that idea. So when I say that it will be a beautiful day, it’s not because I think I’m going to meet my maker, it’s because I will have no obligation, or responsibility. There will be no reason, anymore, to try.

When you know it’s over, that’s when you can finally breath, so to speak. Not literally. Literally you might not be able to breath.

But we will all die. That’s the good news. Why rush it?

But seriously, if our spirits live on, if we are all, essentially, immortal, like many religions believe, and I think it’s possibly true, then suicide is futile. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve never considered it a viable option. It might very well be that I believe it to be impossible to kill yourself.

When I was young, and this may have been before I was depressed, I said I’ve had it almost as long as I could remember, I believed that the purpose of life was to have fun. I reasoned myself to this obvious conclusion, when I was first learning how to reason. This was the theory of a child whose mind was as yet unencumbered by the expectations of society. But It is not so different from Thomas Jefferson’s inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. Could our purpose on this world be anything other than to learn how to be happy? Isn’t that what God would want, if He was unhappy?

If we are part of God, which I also think is a reasonable theory, God would want us to be happy, out of self-interest. It makes sense that the more of us that are happy, the happier God would be. And to the extent it might be possible for us to tap into this collective, if you will, then even more of us could be happy, and God gets even happier. Happiness is contagious!

Maybe this is why people say that service makes them happy. On it’s face, you would have to sacrifice spending time on your own dreams in order to serve others. And yet, those who serve would testify to the opposite. We need everyone to be happy.

My husband thinks my unhappiness as innate. He accepts that about me, without judgement. I ought to be grateful for that but what if it’s not who I have to be? If you accept it, it means you don’t lift a finger to change it. Why I’m depressed wouldn’t matter. It’s just innate. Perhaps it is a defense mechanism for him to think so, so he doesn’t have to take it personally.

I’ll tell you something. At work I often find myself obsessed with trying to figure out why I’m unhappy. It distracts me from working.

Maybe I hate my job, or maybe their are personal reasons. Maybe I don’t like being married, or maybe I just don’t like myself (THAT’S IT!). But why?  

I don’t love my job, but I’m ok with responsibilities. There are sacrifices we make to have the things we want. What makes me unhappy is when I make the sacrifices and still don’t get what I want.

Brainstorming what I want:

  1. Might as well put it out there. I’d rather have a dick. That alone would make me happy, I think.  But it’s not going to happen. 
  2. I don’t have enough time alone.
  3. People judge me, and so I  feel like I need to pretend. I’d like to pretend that I’m pretending. Then I could be myself.

Maybe I need to say things that are so outlandish that people don’t know if I’m kidding.

As for solitude, that should be doable, unless I need too much. I might need less, if I felt free to be myself.

I know. I need to be more honest with my husband. If I can’t be, then I really should leave him. What’s the easier, between two things that seem impossible?

I should tell people I’m unhappy. And when they ask me why I can say “because people judge me.” They can say, “who judges you,” and I can say, “I don’t know.”

I don’t have to tell them that I would prefer to have a dick.

I’ll tell you something else, the only way I can ever focus at work, and the only way I can ever write something that is insightful and true, is if I find a way to be honest.

Wow, epiphany (and duh). I have to be honest to be happy.  I don’t know if that’s good news or bad news.

Potential

The potential we have under the umbrella of youth will not materialize and as we grow old we lose that intangible. It won’t matter that we could have been anything we wanted and we’ll have to settle for what we have become.

That’s the quote of the day.

Yesterday I tried something new. It was Saturday and I woke up early, not quite as early as on weekdays, but 6:15 or so. I went out with the dog and took a single toke, came inside, did some yoga for twenty minutes and started writing. I wrote until about 8:00 at which time I decided I would take a break before heading to the coffee shop and writing some more. So three new things about this.

  1. Got up early on the weekend
  2. Wake and bake
  3. Took a break and wrote again.

I wrote insightfully, about writing, about the process that works for me, and how I approach it, and then I actually did approach it that way. Pot makes me introspective and meditative and imaginative and empathetic and self reflective, and physically relaxed. When you feel good, and when your imagination is in full gear, temptations are more palpable. So I have to be guarded against allowing myself to degrade into writing nothing but fantasies about having a dick. There’s a time for that, I suppose, but it’s not when I want to be productive. And I don’t want to get myself wet at the coffee shop. I took a shower while my husband was still in bed. He didn’t know that I had toked. I could tell him. In some ways I’d rather not, and in some ways, I’d like to get it out in the open so that I don’t have to feel like I’m hiding it, which I’m not.

After showering, I took care of a chore, just something I wanted to get done, so that I wouldn’t have it hanging over my head. My husband got up and asked me whether I had plans. I told him that I wanted to get to the coffee shop by 9:00 to get a good seat.

He offered to join me for a coffee first and we walked over. I had a scone, which I ate slowly (for me).  I was done with it by the time he finished his coffee and left. Then I booted up and wrote. I’m happy with what I wrote. It doesn’t matter what it was. 98% percent of writing is practice. It was a good start.

I left at 1:00. My son’s rock and roll band had a gig. I recorded it.

Here’s the amazing thing. I felt good all day. I was not lazy. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. Motivated? Focused? I did everything I needed to do, none of which is typically easy for me, from getting up in the morning, taking care of chores to writing. Walking home I felt sexy, patient and happy and stayed that way the whole day!

I’m telling you, if I dose it right both in quantity and timing it is medicine for me. More commonly I’ll just take the easiest opportunity to smoke, which is in social gatherings at night, but that’s not how or when I need it. That’s not how or when I want it, or how I like it.

During the day I had a short nap, planned for it, because I had gotten up early. By the evening, I was tired and relaxed but not too sleepy. I didn’t smoke again, despite the opportunity, nor did I have a drink. I thought about it, but I didn’t need to and I didn’t want to ruin anything for the next morning.

I went to bed after midnight, but when I woke at 6:15, I got up.

And toked.

I feel good. I feel happy. I’m back at the coffee shop. Walked over with my husband again. I want to try this during the week too, before work. I typically aim to get up at 5:00 during the week, to practice a little yoga and to write in my journal. Aim. Maybe this will help motivate me to succeed. By the time I’d get to work it will have been 3 ½ hours since my toke. I will have showered, brushed my teeth, shaved my underarms or wherever. The pot will wear off, but I’ll still feel good. I’ll be happy and “not lazy.” I won’t be wishing I was somewhere else, or someone else. It would be like a dream come true. A miracle. Seriously.

I’d be smoking less too. Responsible and happy. Don’t ask me why this works. I don’t know the biology.

A Whore’s Bath

An ice storm came, and in the middle of the night my husband said to me “what was that?” It was as if he wanted an answer but I only vaguely remember hearing anything, if I even did.  It might have only been because he asked me, and in my sleepy state, my mind made something up. He got up, but nothing in the house seemed to have fallen off its shelves, he said to me as he came back to bed.

A few hours later I tried to look at the clock that’s by my side of the bed (yes, we have our own clocks on our own end tables – his runs fast), and I couldn’t see the lighted numbers. It took me a minute before I said, “the power’s out.”

“I know, I told you that,” he said.

“Well shit,” I said. I had brought my computer home, and set it up in our oldest son’s room, since he was away, because we knew an ice storm was coming and I didn’t think I’d be able to get to the office. It was Saturday, but that has nothing to do with the price of eggs in China.

I was leaning on my elbows wondering about whether I could find another place to work, someplace with power and wifi, when he said, “it’s cold.”

“So snuggle up next to me,” I said.

Now I don’t always like my husband.  I know if you’ve been reading me you may have gathered that.  I feel like he judges me, expects things of me, expects me to be a certain person, but it’s more complicated than that. I always feel like that about everyone. It’s not just him, it’s me. I’ll write more about that at another time, maybe soon, but at this moment, he was there, and we have history, and this simple intimacy was nice perhaps because we knew each other and you know how it is with married people.  We have permission.  And in this case there was a basic and mutual purpose for it. We were keeping each other warm. He rubbed my shoulders. He rubbed my breasts and my nipples and then he moved his hand down and and started massaging my pussy.

What could I do?

“You know, there’s no electricity,” I pointed out.

Cause I thought I might have to go to a coffee shop or something, and I hadn’t been planning on showering in a cold bathroom, but I didn’t want to smell like sex either.

He didn’t comment, so I just enjoyed it, in a kind of non-committal quiet way. Maybe we could just rub on each other through our clothes and that’s it. You know, to stay warm.

We re-positioned and I started rubbing his chest and his dick.

He took off all his clothes, but I didn’t follow suit. I rubbed his naked dick and he rubbed me through my clothes. Then our daughter knocked on the door.

“The power’s out,” I said because sometimes they misinterpret “yes?” or “what?” as “come in.” I thought that was what she was coming to ask about anyway, so I’d head off the question. I guess we should chastise them more when we’re not in a compromising position, as an investment for later, because she came right in anyway.  Dad by this time had the covers up to his neck. I still had my shirt on so it didn’t matter.

“There was a HUGE tree that fell in our backyard and DESTROYED the fence and the trampoline,” she says.

“Oh, that’s what you heard,” I said to my husband.

“I knew I wasn’t crazy,” he said.

Our daughter stood there for a second.

“Well, we can’t do anything about it right now,” I said.

And she left.

Now, in the middle of telling you this story, I suddenly remember that we had already been interrupted once that morning.

The dog was barking earlier and since it had been sleeting the night before he had been resistant to his nighttime outing and I had been concerned that he was about to “shit his pants” so to speak.  On the floor.  So I had gotten up to let him out. I did that before our daughter came in. I know that because I remember worrying that one of the kids might wake up and maybe I had a wet spot on my pajama bottoms from the fooling around we had already started, but I didn’t. Then when she told me about the tree I remember thinking that it was funny that, though I had let the dog out into the back yard, I never once looked back there nor seen that the tree had fallen.

So the dog was the first interruption. Then our daughter.

After she left us alone again we got right back into it. I took my clothes off this time too and he ate me. I rotated and sucked his dick while he ate me, and when we were done with that I got on top of him and fucked him until he came.

I’m not cold anymore,” he said.

“Me neither.”

While I was still warm, I thought I’d brave the cold. I told him I was getting up to take a shower.

“A full one, or just a whore’s bath?” he asked.

“A what?”

“A whore’s bath.”

Though I hadn’t heard that phrase before, I figured out what he meant.

“Just a whore’s bath,” I said, laughing.

I had warm water, though the room was cold. Ran the shower over mostly my bottom half, except for when I reached for the soap and water ran down my back. I made it quick so to leave some warm water for him, and got out. The bathroom was a little steamy, so must have warmed up a bit, though it didn’t feel like it. I dried off quickly and as I put clothes on I was thinking maybe I should have taken a full bath after all. I still smelled sex. Maybe it was the bed. Maybe it was the room. Maybe it was my underarms. I didn’t smell it outside my room once I had dressed .It was cold so I guessed it wouldn’t matter. I was wearing many layers.

Then I let the dog in.  Just kidding. The dog had been in.

It was a good way to start the day, and a nice moment with my husband.  I would ultimately find a way to work, at a girlfriends house nearby, and the rest of the day would pretty much suck.

First Post of 2017

It’s a new year.  So why not start anew? My resolution is to figure out who I am once and for all, to be completely honest, with myself and mostly honest with you too.  Speak my mind, do what is right for myself.  

For all of the time I was growing up, living at home with my parents, sharing a room with my sister, I looked forward to when I could move out and live on my own. I made a mistake that I didn’t take more time by myself before I jumped into the relationship that eventually made me someone’s wife. I had my own apartment and I was trying to figure out who I was. I just needed to take a little more time up front and I might have gotten somewhere, but instead I have spent my entire life so far uncertain of who I really am, feeling like I am defined by what other people are or expect. I can assert myself, I just don’t know what I want to assert. Not that I was making shit loads of progress in the half a year that I actually lived alone, living in a neighborhood where I didn’t even have any friends, but it was a start. I hadn’t gotten that far, but I had a long long way to go, as Billie Holiday might have sang.

But, it’s a new year and I haven’t given up. I’m older and wiser and I don’t have to let all these people derail my plans for self awareness. The more I write the better I get to know myself, and I want to spend more time doing that. If only I wasn’t a business woman. That’s fucking time consuming. What did I want to do that for anyway? I’ve got expenses now. The family depends on me. So until I retire, can I really afford to find myself? And when can I retire? If I could start making some money writing, I could retire in 5 years. If not, then maybe eight. But oh shit, Carrie Fisher died and wasn’t she just 60? Of course she was young when Star Wars first came out, but I was younger.I wanted to be her. Actually I wanted to be Luke Skywalker. The point is, we have no guarantees. I could die too, just around the time I finally have the time to figure out what I’m alive for. I want in my old age to be able to look back at something I did with pride. The guy who played the padre in MASH just died too. He was 84. Now he wasn’t a great actor, and it wasn’t even that great a role, but he was a part of something that was great. Even though maybe it was short lived, at 84 right before he died he could think back and say, I got to be part of something that was meaningful and fun and remembered. Maybe that’s it, maybe I just want to be remembered.

I should have been an actress. That’s what I really wanted. Once I gave that up, then giving up became natural to me, because everything else I pretended to want to be was just a consolation prize. Once I decided that I had missed that window, even though I probably hadn’t, everything else was a substitute, writing, music, photography.  The only other thing that might could have come close to making me feel whole was if I had learned many languages and lived in other countries, where I could pretend to be foreign. That would have been the kind of acting I might have enjoyed, even though it was real life. I like to pretend. Because I feel and have always felt so limited by convention. I should tell my husband that I want to role play. But I don’t get the sense that he wants to do that. he’s satisfied with who he is. What’s wrong with him? 

My Life Falls Short


If I wrote an autobiography no one would want to read it. It wouldn’t be inspiring, because it is not the story of success. Ok,sure,I have a lot to be grateful for. I have it good, People on the outside would say so, possibly even chide me for suggesting otherwise. I’ve been lucky, and I also deserve some credit. People love me and I love them (maybe I don’t love myself enough). There are successes, by any objective standard, but my life falls short of some key things that I have always wanted. That would be the title of my story, “My life falls short.” I guess, whose life doesn’t? It would be a realistic story, one that people could probably relate to, but what would they learn from it? Why would they want their own negative narrative reinforced by mine? That is a story they know already, and if they don’t, they will think I am pathetic and want me to get off my fat ass and do something. Truth told, I have no idea whether people can learn from my experience. But bottom line, my life is marked by inaction and indecision and that can’t possibly be as interesting as the lives of people who tried things, even if they failed. In fact, a person can try things, motivate herself to be courageous, despite the fear of failure, particularly if she wants to be a writer, like I do, if for nothing else, for the story. But I do not face things and never have, and I don’t get a story or learn from mistakes. I have never faced anything my entire life. I have not faced much. I occasionally displayed the courage to face something.

So, today I am really feeling like I wish I was different. That’s not new, but some days are worse than others. Is that what draws one to the arts, acting, music, writing, photography, comedy, art? The sense that we wish we were different, that we don’t think we belong, that people don’t understand us, or expect something that we are not? Is the artistic drive born out of a quest to feel happy with who you are, when you’re not? And does it help you get there? I want that. I know it sounds weird, that’s why I don’t like to talk about it. It’s hard to say out loud, it’s hard to know how other people will react. Will they understand? These are the kinds of things I want to explore. I want to have an understanding of the human condition, or at least my human condition. I want to know myself, and I don’t want to hide from everyone. But I’m not sure that I can even understand me.

If I were to write an autobiography, would I simply tell stories, if I even have any, if I can even remember, of things that happened to me? Or will I tell about how I felt about things. It has to be how I felt about things. And it, of course, needs to be honest. Why can’t I just be honest? Judge me if you will. Ex communicate me from your life if you will. And then I can write about how that makes me feel also. It hurts too much, or at least I’m afraid it will.

You know how you’re more likely to admit something if it’s funny? Comedians admit lots of shit about themselves, and no one judges them because they’re funny.

Well that’s for the sake of the joke, because the joke is all that is holy. It’s like when Steve Martin said he couldn’t be a woman because he would just play with his breasts all day, or Ron White said that if you found a lifesize doll of a woman in his closet, you’d assume he was fucking it, and you’d be right.

But even if it weren’t funny, I feel like it would also be easier to admit something if you wrote well about it. It could be moving. The problem is, you have to take a chance, cause you don’t know what will move people. You could totally bomb, and then you’re just out there, all alone.

Honesty moves people. It interests people, or at least I think it would. Maybe it depends on what you have to be honest about.

They Will Learn

All I’ve ever wanted out of life was to relax and to like myself. I wish I realized that earlier in life, but it is what it is. If you know what you want, you can work towards getting it. But if you don’t know, then you keep making the same mistakes over again. Some people relax and they don’t even have to try. Then there’s people like me. Most of the time I don’t even know I’m not relaxed. I even forget sometimes that I don’t like myself. It reveals itself, often in my darkest moments, as something obvious. Am I in the majority here? Or is that strange?

The question we, and I’m not talking to the happy ones now, have to ask ourselves is what do we need to be, to be someone we are proud of? Seriously, lose weight? Then do it. I’m actually working on that myself, and making progress and feeling better about myself. Sounds cliche, but it didn’t start out about weight. Because I just feel better if I eat well and if I eat less. And then I realized that I feel better when I have less fat. And then after that I realized that I also like to look good.

But its not superficial like it sounds, cause when I feel good, that also makes me more focused, my mind is clear, and doing things that are physically taxing is also easier. I can feel inflammation these days. If I eat poorly, I feel the inflammation. It is hard going hungry, hard not snacking when there’s nothing else to do, but at those times when you have something to distract you from it, after you have been good, you just perform so much better, whatever it is. The discipline is paying off, so far.

Spoiler alert if you haven’t watched all of the Gilmore Girls yet. I just got to the episode where Rory loses her virginity. It’s the same episode where Lorelai and Luke finally find each other and start dating. The series has been setting both of those up for seasons, so they both had the potential to be real let downs. but the way they juxtaposed them both in the same episode was very well done. Lorelai’s went perfectly, it was nice and sweet and wasn’t, in the end, fraught with misunderstandings and frustration (I almost want to stop watching now in case they screw it up). For Rory, despite two hot and heavy boyfriends she just never did it. They set up the climax (so to speak) perfectly and in the end, I think more dramatically than any other way they could have done it. It catapulted Rory into womanhood, not because she finally (I say finally like I wasn’t older than her) had sex, but because she did it in a way she will likely always regret. That defines adulthood, to me, more than anything, that we all must learn to live with our regrets.

I regret almost everything. It’s stupid, I know, I didn’t say I wasn’t stupid. I freely admit that. I think if I could relax, and if I could like myself, I wouldn’t make so many mistakes. I miss youth mostly not because I want to be thin, or pretty, or healthy, or full of potential, or even to heal fast, but because I want do overs. That look of wisdom and experience you might see in my eye sometime as I behold the children in my life, comes from knowing that mistakes and regrets are what age you. What they don’t know, and what they don’t learn from us, they will learn the hard way. That’s the way it is.

Am I Old Enough?

I just finished an interesting book by Malcolm Gladwell that someone got me for my birthday, called Outliers. Now I’m not particularly interested in non-fiction, though I have sometimes chosen to read books on how to write, or on reincarnation and other topics that interest me.

But I got the book as a gift, found myself in the house for a week by myself (family on vacation without me woo hoo) and figured I should turn the TV off and read something.

This is the guy that popularized the 10,000 hours concept, that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become an expert. He says he has found that if you don’t have that, you aren’t one of the best, and you are never one of the best without having that under your belt. He has found no exceptions to this rule (don’t quote me – I read the book through once – but I’m pretty sure that was what he said – more or less). The number seems a bit arbitrary to me, and is always based on estimates anyway, cause we ain’t born lawyers and accountants, tracking the time we spend on each client since we’re 10, or at whatever age we start practicing.

But the book was fascinating, and got me reconsidering my position on parents who hold their kids back so they’ll be the oldest in class instead of the youngest. I was one of the youngest and I liked it. I liked going to college when I was still 17. I liked that I didn’t have to stay in high school throughout my 19th year (after I turned 18). That was when 18 year olds could drink, and I would have resented being an adult and still a prisoner in mandatory education (well, technically, I could have dropped out). Nowadays it’s like that for college seniors anyway. They’re the only ones who can drink (legally, I mean, which was true of all of us in high school then – it’s not like we waited).

I still don’t think I would have liked it. But I didn’t like high school anyway. I think I wouldn’t have liked it because I was in a hurry to get out of there. But I also would have been older than everyone else. I would have lorded over the children. I would have felt more mature. I would have been….

According to Gladwell, that would have probably put me at the top of my class, and at the head of consideration for unique opportunities which were available for my grade. No, I wouldn’t have liked it, but I probably would have benefited from it. And in retrospect, what’s a year at that age? So I’m a year older in high school and college. We were all so young.

Let me tell you something about myself. I want to be a writer. I have streaks where I’m writing an hour in the morning consistently before work. I come to the coffee shop on the weekends when I can. And then I go long stretches where I let it go for whatever reason: busy at work, busy at home, tired, depressed. And then I circle back again and start over. I started out a lit major in college, changed it to math, then quit for accounting. But I always came back to writing. I hang on by a thread but I never let go of the idea.

I know we need to write a lot. But 10,000 hours seems like a lot. You’d have to write an hour a day without a day off for 27.397260274 years (approximately) to get there.

Math major.

An aside: It doesn’t happen much anymore, sometimes with economics majors turned housewives, but it used to happen a lot in college, where you might be arguing politics, say, with someone, and they will try to prove their point by saying, “I’m a political science major.”

“Wow, those are some credentials. You mean you’re working towards a degree in it? I guess you’re right then.”

So trust my math. That’s all.

The problem is that it seems to suggest that there’s no way to become a writer without making it your full time profession. No way to do it on the side, a little bit each day, in the AM or in the evening, especially if you have family obligations. You just don’t have the time to get in 10,000 hours. I suppose it’s possible to do 2 hours every day and still work. But it’s hard, especially when you sit at a computer all day for your job, to do it again at home.

And that would still take 13.698630137 years, without missing days.

I don’t believe in the 10,000, but I do get the point. It takes a lot of preparation to become “natural” at something, and I clearly haven’t written enough.

Maybe if I had been the oldest in my class, if I had been held back or if I grew up in a part of the country where I had missed the cutoff, then I would have had the maturity to trust my gut and focus on what would ultimately be my lifelong obsession when I still had opportunity to rack up the hours. Maybe I would have believed in myself. Maybe I would not have thought, “everyone is better than I am.”

Yeah, Malcolm. You have a point. But someone has to be the youngest. I must have at least helped someone else succeed. Someone less talented than I, dammit.

I’m 52 now. I hate telling y’all that. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t relate to me. Cause to you, I should be nothing but words, so why do I have to be old? I was always the youngest, so one thing about is that I still feel young. Young and still insecure.

Here’s something I know, Oprah. I have an advantage. Because even though I have fallen short for 50 years, it’s fortunate I didn’t want to be a professional tennis player. My biological clock alarm would have rung already. But I don’t have to say I missed my chance. Writers have more time.

I’m still young enough. Or is the question whether I am old enough?

Gender

I never really liked the street definitions of gender. I never wanted to be a tomboy, but I have masculine traits. I sometimes wish I were born male. I’ve always felt that way. I’m not a lesbian. How you would prefer to identify and which you’re attracted to are two different things.

In fact, I am not attracted to the female form. Could be why I’ve always been so modest. I have a hard time believing that others could find me attractive, even when I’m in good shape.

At some point l stopped suggesting that I be Batman or Superman in games we kids played. I hid it. I’m not transgender, I would not define myself that way, but it leans that way. It is like saying I am a gay man in a woman’s body, but it’s more like a tendency. I don’t want an operation, even if I had unlimited funds. I would say I often think I would have wanted to be born male, the real thing. But I am in many ways, a typical girl and that must come from my genetics. But in other ways I am untypical. I sometimes get confused for male when on the phone with customer service agents of my credit card company etc. And it pisses me off, just because I’m already quite possibly pissed off when I call them.

“I’m not a sir!”

“I’m very sorry ma’am.”

“Does Rye sound like a boy’s name?” (actually with Rye you probably can’t tell, but, Rye isn’t my real name).

I’ve wanted to be a guy anyway. But when I was very young I was sometimes teased because I looked or acted like a boy, and so I’m still a little sensitive about it. Now it’s not that I don’t want to be masculine, it’s that I don’t like the way the suggestion had made me hide a part of who I am. And now I’m trying to coax him back out. The guy I have treated badly, suppressing like there is something wrong with him.

So here’s the difference between me and someone who wants to have surgery. I presume that he would probably feel like a guy, stuck in the wrong body, so when he gets himself corrected, he can believe in it and feel normal. I don’t feel like I am a guy, just that I’d probably prefer it if I were. So it would still feel fake to me. And I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, and would end up clouding the whole authenticity thing. I would be neither. So in other words, nothing would change. Rather, I would prefer to be free to embrace my masculine side, and to admit that I have one. I can live with my body as it is, if I can just be honest. I honestly think it isn’t about the physical. Because I’m both, we’re all both. I have masculine traits for sure. But genetically, it’s not just my body that’s female. It’s my brain too. I have personality traits that are more typical of girls and if I were suddenly male, I would have feminine traits. Now,if I could switch back and forth, that would be the super power I would want, even over indestructibility and super strength. Selfish, I know.

I Forget

I don’t want to pass away into the night without ever even realizing what I was doing here. I want to write autobiography and make sense of my life. I feel good when I remember something, anything. I don’t know why that makes me feel good. But I get depressed when I can’t seem to remember who I used to be and am not anymore.

I went to a college reunion recently. I didn’t graduate (I transferred), but I still went to the reunion. There was someone there who remembered me, and I had no idea who she was. She told me that she lived across the hall from me in the same dorm my second to last semester. Then half-way through dinner, she started seeming familiar, and then I suddenly remembered what her hair was like then and even some conversations we had and common interests.

I imagine there are other things I could remember that must define, to some degree, who I have become.

What I remember more easily, seems to be whatever made me angry.

Things that I enjoyed, but no longer enjoy, ended up being irrelevant and are lost to me. I can’t even help my son with his math homework.

“Did you ever take calculus, mom?” he asks.

“I was a math major.”

I took Calculus in high school, then again in college, then Calc II, and Calc III after I declared it as a major, but that was with a teacher who was probably the worst teacher I ever had in any subject. I still did well in it. I taught it to myself. But I didn’t do well in all of my other math courses that semester. The good teachers left (there were only two), just as I declared my major, though I don’t think I was the reason. Honestly,they liked me. And they were encouraging in their enthusiasm for teaching the subject. After one semester as a Math major I also left, feeling like I had no other choice, and ended up studying accounting. I was good at math, but I don’t remember any of it. I had a co-worker who went to his high school reunion and told someone he was an accountant now and that person said, “and you weren’t even good at math.” That’s because accounting isn’t math.

So this is all that I remember. I remember this girl, who studied math, because she was good at it, and may have even enjoyed it. It seems like she was not me, and wasted time on things that became irrelevant. Of course she was only a math major because she had given up, feeling discouraged, being a lit major. False starts were my specialty. I don’t even know who I’m angry at for that, but I am.