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B.S. Subtitles April 13, 2013

Posted by sarahsfate in Thoughts on People, Writing.
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Today I watched a movie called “Dakota Skye”. The main character is a girl named Dakota Skye who can tell when people are lying to her. She refers to it as her superpower although I think, and she says frequently throughout the movie, it’s more of a curse. I’m not sure I would truly want to know when someone lied to me. Especially in a world when the truth is so hard to tell.

Dakota is obviously surrounded by people who lie to her, including her boyfriend of 9-months who tells her he loves her while they are having sex and she sees this little subtitle at the bottom of the tv screen that says he means he loves sex. Her boyfriend’s good friend from back in the day shows up one day for a visit of a few weeks. He and Dakota end up spending a lot of time together, due to her boyfriend’s busy schedule with his band and her lack of a car. This friend, when he first turns up in the movie…I thought, no this can’t be the guy they’re talking about in the movie info on Netflix. He’s so not like Dakota’s boyfriend and really not like her either (that I could tell at that point). Plus, he’s kinda goofy looking, disarming really.

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But as it turns out, this friend, Jonas, never lies to her. Which perturbs her. Confounding, really, this anomaly of virtue. But he’s insightful and considerate…and honest. I found myself actually liking him. No–not just liking him, wishing for a Jonas of my own.

At one point in the movie she thinks he actually lied to her but somehow the lie flew under her superpower radar, leading her to believe she can’t tell when he’s lying. So when he tells her he is in love with her she says “but how do I know?” He is naturally confused by her question, her superpower being a secret of epic proportions, and says “because I just said it?”

But really, how do any of us know?

ImagePeople say “haaaa Sarah you’re so funny!” sure, I think, but…why aren’t you laughing? They say “sure I’d love to pick you up from the airport at 11:30 at night on a Tuesday” but, let’s face it, who really loves that? Obviously not. The lies don’t hurt anyone but in the long run we’re all a bunch of dishonest people who expect dishonesty from other people and therefore have no faith in people. We all become more self-reliant, more self-involved, less socially interactive, less loyal, less governed by an understanding that we are all in this together. Because we isolate ourselves by carving out the b.s….because it’s all b.s.

Technology being what it is…the b.s. is all there is. People put on their Facebook profile they went to college. You think that means a college degree but in reality they dropped out after the third semester. People on eHarmony put on their profile they absolutely adore spending time with their children or dogs…the reality is those comments are what people want to hear. That doesn’t make it true. It just makes someone an idiot for not seeing through it.

And if we do see through it…if each of us sees through all the b.s. with little subtitles at the bottom of the screen–what then, will we have?

Spinning Wheels April 12, 2013

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials.
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I haven’t written in a while. I imagine my thoughts would be as boring to other people as they are to me. The truth is there are too many thoughts…the act of trying to streamline everything into a focused conversation seems…arduous. I’ve remarked, over the years, the various changes I see in myself. Lately I’ve expanded the circular quality of the reference to those around me. To those that are nowhere near me. Just wondering. Do other people look inward as I do and remark upon the changes? Am I one in 7-billion? I’m not suggesting I’m unique, please don’t think so. My morphing is obvious if you ever have cause to come to my home. Over the years my changing interests make themselves visible on my bookshelves. I remember the day I bought “The Girl’s Guide to Absolutely Everything” by Melissa Kirsch. It was at Barnes and Noble in Plano in 2007. I was newly single, likely the reason why it’s so memorable a purchase. I got married right outside of high school and had kids…stayed that way for 10 years. How the hell does one be a single girl?? At the time I was struggling to figure myself out. I loved Dr. Pepper. But…I figured out I loved it because my husband of 10 years loved it and I had acquired the taste. Before him…I was a Pepsi girl. I liked rock and roll. Did I? I don’t know. My husband did. I spent two years ironing myself out. This girl’s guide book was a necessary purchase. In 2008 I expanded my single girl book collection to include “Life is Short, Wear Your Party Pants” which was a fun read and made me feel like a fun girl again. In 2009 I bought a book called “Anthropology Explored” because I’d watched a mini-series on tv about anthropology and decided I loved it. I also bought a book called Walking with Cavemen. Very interestingly realistic photographs of said cavemen. I even looked into a degree in the subject. But…that was a short-lived phase. I have most of the Allison Weir books on the King Henry’s, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Anne…because in 2011 I became fascinated with the British Monarchy. This year I’m reading “The Warmth of Other Suns” and “The History of the Ancient World”. Historical books. Naturally they have nothing to do with anything. But less frou-frou party-types. You know if you have to tell people you’re a fun person…you’re probably not. As in the case of me. I consistently work on my goals, increase my skills, work on learning new tasks like hemming pants and putting puzzles together. But…for the most part, it feels like spinning wheels. And no one wants to hear about that.

Take note...I'm the one on the right...

Take note…I’m the one on the right…

Let’s Vacation July 23, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People, Writing.
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I had forgotten how saltwater effects my ears but, for the first time in years, the hearing in my left ear has returned. And so as my children squabble over the television channel, space on the hotel bed, and the hot tub, I can hear every octave of their shrieks and even their mutterings.

It’s currently almost ten o’clock at night and the children are finishing a long day with a dip in the hotel’s indoor pool. Well, two of them are anyway, my fourteen-year old daughter, having espied a good-looking boy with a mohawk in the hot tub, has decided she’d like to swim after all and has gone back to our room to change. After a short period of time she returned clad in her yellow bikini with her hair nicely combed.

My ex and I then began a conversation about the dating ritual and concerns of youngsters. My ex, Ben, referred to the kids (teenagers and all) as “carefree”, to which I replied  “who, in that room, is carefree?” My argument being that a 14-year old girl is extremely sensitive to her expression, hair, laughter, outfit, swimming technique — every nuance of behavior matters. That’s not carefree — that’s all care.

And then Ben says how silly that is because guys that age don’t particularly care about any of that. She’s cute and that’s the be-all, end-all. He says the majority of men, as well, are this way. Good to know, I say.

It was nice, though, that we were all completely unconcerned with all nuances of behavior (other than behaving in a socially acceptable manner, that is) at the beach today. I didn’t even notice other women being particularly concerned with their persons. What I noticed, instead, were the families building poorly constructed sandcastles, flying kites shaped as hawks, and wading deep into the intense waves slamming to shore. The temperatures remained in the nineties, a lovely change from the over-100-degrees for three weeks weather back home, and the breeze remained constant.

My son, upon his first experience with the ocean, deemed it acceptable entertainment in his 6-year old mind with the exception of all that pesky salt in the water and, therefore, perhaps the hotel pool was better. Kids. My 11-year old daughter has outdone herself in remaining positive and atop our non-schedule. Directly after dinner tonight she, my son, and Ben went outside to be free of the arctic air conditioning system of the hole-in-the-wall we found, and my 14-year old and I sat inside, eating ice cream and discussing the benefits of moving to the coast.

We decided it was difficult to judge the benefits because it’s easy to enjoy a vacation spot when you don’t have to work or go to school because then there’s no stress or responsibility really. But if we moved to the coast, the stress and responsibility would simply follow us to the coast and then…would we still enjoy the coast better than home? It was too difficult to decide so we simply finished our ice cream, pondered the intensity of the waves some more, and then stepped out into the ocean air.

My Spectre Around Me… May 21, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in Poems, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People, Writing.
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***William Blake (1757-1827) uses the word ‘spectre’ to refer to his constant, redundant inability to embrace love…or the object of his affections. When he vows to ‘turn from female love’ he is not suggesting becoming homosexual or ascetic, but to give up the act of embracing love. He wants to be happy and decides that the constant attempt to embrace love is making him unhappy, so to break himself from the cycle of inability, he is giving up the pursuit.***

My Spectre Around Me Night and Day – William Blake

My spectre around me night and day
like a wild beast guards my way
my emanation far within
weeps incessantly for my sin

A fathomless and boundless deep
there we wander, there we weep
on the hungry craving wind
my spectre follows thee behind

He scents thy footsteps in the snow
wheresoever thou dost go
thro the wintry hail and rain
when wilt thou return again?

Dost thou not in pride and scorn
fill with tempests all my morn
and with jealousies and fears
fill my pleasant nights with tears

Seven of my sweet loves thy knife
has bereaved of their life
their marble tombs I built with tears
and with cold and shuddering fears

Seven more loves weep night and day
round the tombs where my loves lay
and seven more loves attend each night
around my couch with torches bright

And seven more loves in my bed
crown with wine my mournful head
pitying and forgiving all
thy transgressions great and small

When wilt thou return and view
my loves and them to life renew?
When wilt thou return and live
when wilt thou pity as I forgive?

Never, Never I return
still for victory I burn
living thee alone I’ll have
and when dead I’ll be thy grave

Thro the heaven and earth and hell
thou shalt never never quell
I will fly and thou pursue
night and morn the flight renew

Till I turn from female love
and root up the infernal grove
I shall never worthy be
to step into Eternity

And to end thy cruel mocks
annihilate thee on the rocks
and another form create
to be subservient to my fte

Let us agree to give up love
and root up the infernal grove
then shall we return and see
the worlds of happy eternity

and throughout all Eternity
I forgive you, you forgive me
as our dear redeemer said
this is the wine, and this is the bread.

How Great Change Can Be May 20, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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No one likes change. They want to change one thing — just one — but a great many other things change as well. The pebble in the pond theory. The idea (or dream) of winning the lottery, for instance, sounds great. Being able to fearlessly pay your bills is awesome. But, what about the ripples? Those little waves being users, disasters, strangely predictable bad luck, etc.

This is one area where my over-analysis really pays off. Knowing what to expect, for the most part, and considering the possibilities, makes change a little more palatable. Having change foisted on you is, yes, a tad different…or, the same, because it presents the unknown and unexpected.

I’ve had conversations with people who landed a great job they applied for — a huge pay increase, benefits, insurance, family-friendly — and they resign from their current job, in favor of the new one. Seems the obvious choice. Within weeks the eureka from landing such awesomeness turns into a daily complaint about the commute. Pause. Tilt head to side in imitation of confused dog. You didn’t know how far a drive it was when you applied?

Every action has a consequence…causes a ripple. In fact, even inaction has a consequence. Every step, every word, every action has an effect. Your actions force change on dozens of others every day. Change of thought. Change of direction. So it makes sense that occasionally you will be effected by someone else. It simply is. Life is.

Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing and doesn’t deserve its stigma.

During my 10-year stint at a company, I was forced to read “Who Moved my Cheese?”, which actually wasn’t too bad of a read but the reason for why I “needed” to read it wasn’t the same as what I got out of it. The purpose I deduced was that I should make change to improve myself or my situation. I was the mouse who went looking for cheese because I was hungry — not the mouse who had to be brow-beaten and then abandoned because he would not change.

The whole point behind instruction to read it was because we were being taken over by a stifling new management. So, because I’m the first mouse, I left the company. 🙂 And met some great people I would otherwise not have met.

See how great change can be?

The Robot Never Dies May 18, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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This weekend I was dancing with my son to the new J-Lo song. Grayson said I should dance to the girl parts and he would dance to the boy parts. So, I did my best dancing when J-Lo sang and Grayson…well, he did the robot. Being a 6-year old, he should have absolutely no opportunity in which to have witnessed the robot being performed so I’m not at all certain where it came from. He interspersed the stiffened dangling arm movement with variations of old-school break-dancing.

I wish I’d had a video camera on me, it was that great. He smiled and blushed in self-consciousness but I just smiled and told him he was amazing.

But it got me and my ex-husband to discussing the self-consciousness that effects people as they get older, especially when they dance. Sure, no one likes to look like a fool (and understandably because people are jerks). But man to be a kid again with no real concern for how you look…just out there having fun. That’s how I dance, too, when I go out. Who the hell cares how I look? I want to have fun and I’m going to have fun.

I hope I’m not the only one who thinks people are amazing when they dance. Not because they have great moves or because they’re reinventing the robot or break-dancing, but because they think enough of themselves to get out there and dance regardless of anyone else.

The Momentum of MY Life May 14, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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pur·pose  (pûrps)    n.    1. The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal.

I imagine, as different as we all are, that every one of nearly seven billion beings frequently considers their purpose here on Earth. In this life. The object toward which one strives or for which something exists. Why do I exist? Sure, my parents met each other, fell in love, and wahlah–Sarah was born. But why do I exist? What is my purpose here? Do I have one? I think many people are terrified to find they have no purpose at all and are simply here. For no reason at all…as though by chance or accident. It is my opinion that these people are easy to scope out…they’re the ones who have no real motivation in life, have no goal towards which they are striving. No purpose.

 

I understand that some people believe that life is just meant to be lived. Life is a terribly cruel chance of fate that is nothing more than hardship, pain, existence, and ultimately followed by death. I also understand that some people believe their existence is so purposeful that to fail in any one endeavor is the be all end all of all things. They say the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can effect a tsunami on the other side of the world. Can one person truly alter the course of the world? I believe the answer is no. You may have one person as the face of the movement but there are hundreds of other faces, hidden faces, supporting the one.

 

But my course is not to change the face of the world…no it is not my purpose, not my goal, not even a dream of mine, and not because I fail to see the possibilities but because I know that is not why I am here. But I do not know what my real purpose is. Will I accomplish anything at all or will I spend my life spinning wheels and then simply die? Become dust in the ground, remembered by a few, forgotten by many. One hundred years from now, no one will know my name. Or…they’ll know my name but they’ll not know the person behind the name. 

 

Sometimes I feel that wheel a-spinning. I clean my house, wash clothes, complete homework, make social niceties…and for what? What is the purpose of any of that other than to fill my hours? Fill my calendar? Complete a degree to get a better job so that I can spend every day completing the same tasks? I will not save lives in my chosen career, nor will I teach children to become our future, and I certainly won’t save the planet from the eventual explosion of our orbiting sun. I won’t invent time travel or space travel or the Jetson’s cars. Being an accountant certainly doesn’t own to greatness. 

 

So, one day (maybe one day soon) I’ll lay in my death bed and think…what? That I accomplished something? Did I use my time here wisely? Would it matter if I spent my time wisely or squandered it away? In a way, I think this is what people fear about death. Not the dying, not the leaving the family behind, but that we didn’t do everything we meant to. But if we don’t know what we’re meant to do, how do we ever accomplish it?

The Color of Rain May 10, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011.
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I’m sitting on my  back porch, listening to the fall of a thousand little rain drops. I know they’re small because the sound they make can best be described as a pitter patter as opposed to the blop plop made by fat rain. Over the course of the last four weeks I’ve watched my yard become a bright green paradise of natural foliage. Neon green vines with wide leaves have wrapped themselves around my fence as if to say ‘i own this’ and I don’t want to fight so I let them be. I haven’t raked the erstwhile dead leaves in my yard as of yet but the wind has pushed them securely to the edge of the fence so they sit in piles of burnt brown and mauve at the edge of the green vines.  My yard is fueled by wind and rain. The numerous trees dotting the land have sprawled their branches as near to the center of the yard as they can, desperate to receive the most light, the most rain, the most wonder. And, as green is my favorite color, I stare in wonder at it all.

From the safety of my covered patio, that is, because it is raining again. I love the sound of rain. I bought a homedics spa alarm clock, which provides rain storm, waterfall, crickets, forest, and ocean wave sounds for waking purposes…not that any of those wake me up. Usually I just turn the sound on to soothe myself.

I was thinking today about all the noise that surrounds me all day, every day, beginning with the annoying alarm on my cell phone. The sound of running water while I wash my face, brush my teeth, make my coffee…the gurgling whisper of my coffee maker brewing. The radio in my car as I listen to NPR.org on my way to work…nevermind the honking and whoosh of tires as cars pass. At work it’s the other people around me talking, the sound of high heels on the tile floor, the phone ringing, and oh so many other things. I could go on all day about sounds. But sitting out here on my porch I hear only the sound of tap tap tapping on my laptop and the rain falling.

Other than the laptop, I think this must have been what it was like before technology transported us all into the noisy-est existence possible. Are we ever afforded the nice solitude of silence? I don’t mind the rain. It’s nature, a thing that has occurred for as long as water has been around to swoop up into a cloud. The sound of rain, surrounded by no other sound, transports me back in time and for a minute…for the smallest of minutes…I exist in the first American settlement surrounded by tall weeds of grass and lonely willow trees. I imagine the wind rustling through my long hair, lifting it from my back, allowing the sunlight to drape across my shoulder…just so. Perhaps I can hear a frog, or a bird, or the neigh of a horse.

I imagine so many other things about what life must have been like when we weren’t surrounded by a constant cacophony. I imagine it was easier to think and perhaps the reason why new inventions have fallen on hard times is because we can’t think. Too much noise. Too much activity. Too much entertainment. Just…too much.

My thoughts are cut short by the entrance of my daughter asking about dinner so I sigh. Inside, I know, the television is on too loud and I won’t be able to think any more. Won’t be able to imagine any more. And will soon forget the color of rain.

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up… May 9, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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I can’t tell you how many times I bemoaned the fact I was a child, when I was a child, nor how many times I was told to appreciate being a child while I could.

Phewy! Phewy I say! Who would ever want to be a kid? You can’t drive anywhere, go wherever you want, eat whatever, do whatever, or say whatever you want. Forget seeing childhood as a gift…I wanted to be an adult every day. It wasn’t even one of these things where the situation had to be me not getting my way in order for me to throw out my bottom lip, cross my arms over my chest, and make claims to being an adult someday. (said in my head, of course, because I didn’t need to be smacked for giving my parents lip).

Why is it that from a young age we immediately want to be the King of the Castle? Feel the need to be in charge and do things our own way? Are we born with some explosive independence that, from minute one, is fighting to get out? For eighteen years (some less than that) we live with our parents. Why, for the love of god, would we be born with independence? What a laugh someone must be having up there.

Babies turn their head away from the spoon when you try to feed them something they don’t want. Toddlers insist on picking out their own clothes…man, to have such a fashion opinion at 4. Incredible. When they ask you for help on their homework and you point out a couple of things, all the sudden “okay, I can do the rest on my own.” Not that I’d complain about this one, but…really. I feel used. 😉

As a kid I was even okay with the idea of having to hold down a job…figured I’d look snazzy in a suit anyway. And I was smart and capable (and slightly delusional). I tell my kids the same thing my parents told me…appreciate being a kid while you can. Seriously. Do you think you’ll have another opportunity with a built-in exuse for laziness? I would never, ever say that school is easy — the curriculum may not be all that tough but let’s face it…kids are jerks. So no, school isn’t easy. But it isn’t like working. It isn’t like having to work to feed yourself and other people; to pay bills. I imagine it must be pretty darn cool to have someone else buy everything you need, make your dinner, and fold your laundry. OH! And this 3-month summer vacation? Say adios to that. Unless you work for the ISD. And while we’re making a list of all the things you’ll lose once you become an adult…might as well add the guilt-free pleasure of naps.

Today I am 32-years old and now that I understand what all those old stodgy people were telling me when I was a snot-nosed kid, I make sure to sing along every time the Toys R Us commercial comes on. For a minute I can pretend I’m five-years old, riding my rocking horse and really mean it when I sing I don’t wanna grow up…

Won’t You be my Neighbor? May 3, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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Look at me. Squint your eyes. Perfect, now you can’t really see me all that well. Now listen. I am beautiful. I am intelligent. I am funny. I bake some killer cranberry-orange muffins. I love to laugh and wash my car and mow my lawn. When you need a friend I will listen to you and laugh with you, offering a cajoling shoulder. You will love me. Do you want to be my friend? Won’t you be my neighbor?

Hopefully you won’t notice that most of what I’ve said is a lie…but eventually you will notice because lies can only be upheld for so long. Soon you will notice that I don’t laugh all the time. Sometimes I cry and sometimes I am infuriated. Like when your dog craps in my yard. Then I get mad. But I won’t tell you because I want you to like me. Want. No, need. I need you to like me. So I won’t say anything. Did I say my kids are perfect? (damn lies, I can’t keep up!) Oh yeah? I did? Awesome, well…they are. Only, my oldest son is a closet alcoholic and my elementary-age daughter was caught smoking in the school bathroom. But I won’t tell you that. Indeed, you won’t even see the worry on my face because I am so busy laughing at everything you say. Have to keep that joviality in place, dammit!

Ever since my husband left me for that tramp who is half my age, taking everything I had in the bank as well as my hopes and dreams, I haven’t been able to sleep at night. But that’s what concealer is for. Sometimes I drink nyquil to help me pass out. Actually, I drink a lot of nyquil. Nyquil and concealer. What? You want to come over and chat about how your son broke his leg in football and how it has ruined his career chances? Sure, that’s fine (great, even) let me just…um…hide these bottles and open the blinds. I’m a great listener. Did I tell you that when we first met? No, well I should have. It’s a great quality to have. People love me. Everyone but my husband. And my kids. But again, I can’t tell you that because I need someone to love me.

*********

*********

 

I know many people like this. People really do talk to me because I really am a great listener and so I see how they are with other people as opposed to what I know about them. It’s confounding. But on some level…I completely understand this inalienable desire to be loved and accepted. But, if you’re not you then they can’t love you…they don’t even know you. And if you let the real you out, if you allow the tears to leave silvery tracks on your cheeks and the weariness to show in your eyes, if you sit beside them and weep just for a minute…and they condemn you for it, then to hell with them. No one needs a fairweather friend. Not everyone has to like you. Not everyone has to like me. Nor will they, ha ha, because I know how to offend and I will never be perfect. I have come to realize there are people around me who expect my jokes, expect my laughter, expect my emotional and mental support to any and all their heartaches and endeavors. But when I have a moment in which I cannot breathe or eat or see…they are at a loss as to how to handle me and instead of doing something, anything, I am abandoned. It makes me angry but I get over it, just as quickly realizing that some people simply cannot handle someone else’s grief. Sobeit.

At the end of the day, we all need someone. Sometimes, several someones. This intrinsic discomfort with isolation is as old as time. We move in packs. We hunt in packs. We live in packs. We need the sound of laughter. The sound of musical crooning. The sound of a murmured ‘I understand’. Because, even though we may not understand exactly, we all understand. If not the situation, we understand the pain. 

The one truly human thing we can do, is not abandon our neighbors.

The End of My Rant