jump to navigation

B.S. Subtitles April 13, 2013

Posted by sarahsfate in Thoughts on People, Writing.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Image

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.

Image

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?

Advertisements

Let’s Vacation July 23, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People, Writing.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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.

When I Was a Young Warthog May 31, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Everyone says growing up is hard to do. What they don’t tell you is that you will never stop growing up. As a child I was teased mercilessly for the size of my eyes and the length of my toes. That was over 20-years ago and I still recall how devastating that was. Throughout junior high and high school I was beset with such rebellion against my fellow classmates that I absolutely refused to see myself as anything other than beautiful and strong. My attitude about my capabilities and general awesomeness clung to me until my mid-twenties when, when no longer confronted with hateful kids, fled. I was on my own.

I don’t mean I was on my own because I moved out of my parent’s home, had a job, and was raising a family ‘on my own’ — I mean my self-image, my behaviors, my auto-self-defense mechanisms were all on me. If I felt ugly, I was to blame. If I felt I failed on something, I had only myself to blame. I could no longer look at myself in the mirror and defiantly claim to be better than ‘so and so’ said I was (regardless of its truth)…because, well…because it was no longer necessary to do so.

So instead of telling myself I was good enough, I went about turning my life into what I really wanted it to be…something that wasn’t some obscure reflection of what was popular or anti-popular (as would be more the case with me). Over the years I learned that what I liked was organization and cleanliness…structure. Sure there was time for random activities…sometimes. And everything would be great in my life and I would be happy, as long as that image of my life remained sturdy in my mind.

Today, sometimes it seems life is going just as I mean it to. It’s not some effortless thing when you work hard to make things go the way you mean it to. The house is clean and organized, dinners turn out well, the kids do exceptionally in school, work is smooth. These are the moments in which you can breathe…really breathe. You may even stop and smell the roses. I have these “perfect moments” infrequently, which is not to say few and far between…I actually have them once or twice a week. My problem is I want that feeling just about every day, which is silly. I know. But when everything is humming along its never just a small thing to slam into you, uprooting your level-footing and tossing all deck hands off the side of the ship — it is always something big. Always. 

And this is what I find bothersome. It’s like relationships in which you feel everything is going along all nice and dandy when one day your partner goes off on you. WHAM!  You never see it coming and it throws you off. The bigger the problem, the harder it is to regain your footing and move forward. I hate those moments. I hate reeling. These moments remind me of being a teenager staring at my hated visage in the too-well-lit bathroom mirror. I feel awkward. Unacceptable. Obviously, I prefer sure-footed-ness.

When I wore the clothes of a younger woman I always thought life would get simpler and smoother the older I became. It’s like that assumption that pimples go away once you turn 20 and are safely away from being a ‘teen’. Pimples don’t go away and life doesn’t get simpler. What does happen is you gain insight and maturity — things that will enable you to deal with the crap that comes your way. It doesn’t get easier. You get stronger.

How Great Change Can Be May 20, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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?

Dear You… May 19, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Writing.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

Dear You,

Today I told you I was bored. Exceedingly bored…so full of disinterest I had begun to compare myself to an elderly person just waiting for “it all” to end. I told you I couldn’t find a spark…that little fluttery thing to ignite my interest. Every day is the same thing, all day. Ho-freakin-hum.

You told me to find something that excites me, some event to entertain — to relieve the boredom. As I drove home, I put serious thought into it.

What, for the LOVE of God, would I find entertaining?

The question is harder than it seems. When the boredom creates a feeling of lethargy from the top of your head to your toenails…how do you convince your blood to boil…your heart to beat a little lot faster?

You suggested sex, which of course is an obvious thing to get the ole heart going and, as you are a man, completely predictable that this would be the first suggestion offered. But aside from that…what?

So I drove, lost in thought and completely uncertain how I managed to drive the entire route on auto-pilot, and I thought I was just like Winnie-the-Pooh…think, think, think. And so I did.

I thought about all the things in this world I find pleasure in — like dancing when I vaccuum and finding that perfect scenic spot for a picnic. I thought about playing boardgames with my kids and having coffee with my sisters. I thought about all the times I laugh with my friends or scream on carnival rides. I thought about the movies I see on dates and the photographs I take when I go somewhere to be alone.

I thought about the sound of dozens of different voices laughing over the years. And I thought about you. I thought that perhaps all I really needed today was to hear from you and be reminded of all the pleasure I already have, just in the every-day.

And then I thought I would Google sky-diving.

The Robot Never Dies May 18, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

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 Invisible Voyeur May 16, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

1flirt verb \ˈflərt\ intransitive verb — 1: to move erratically : flit2: to behave amorously without serious intent

Today as I trudged through the office corridor, weighted down with purse and book-bag while juggling a travel mug of stale coffee, a styrofoam cup of ice chips, and my keys, I thought about a conversation I’d had with a sometimes friend. I considered how my life had changed since the day I met him, and all the ways I had changed. It seems our conversations remain the same, however, and this (at least) is something I can count on. I heard his voice in my head as though he moved beside me in that lumbering gait of his I find charming.

I was distracted from my thoughts by a woman’s laugh and I glanced up. Twenty or so feet ahead of me she moved towards the outer office door, leaning toward the gentleman who walked beside her, and laughed again. I was struck by her body language…not to mention the sparkle in her eye I could just barely see. Or maybe I imagined it was there. It was difficult to look away — mostly because I was following them toward the parking lot but also because I was struck by a memory.

She laughed in such a way…that flirtatious, throaty way, that a woman does when she’s charmed by a man. While moving steadily forward, she leaned toward him in an intimate way that he didn’t really reciprocate and I figured she liked him well enough but he wasn’t really on the bandwagon just yet. She laughed again, though I could not hear what he said to her, this time louder and the sound bounced around the tiled floor, travelling back to where I moved like a silent voyeur.

I thought about that memory I mentioned, about how I used to walk beside a man while laughing and gazing at him with sparkling eyes, somehow hoping and dreading that he would see my feelings. Or my appeal. Or…something. Today I considered the risk of body language. To me, it was obvious she liked this man walking beside her. So obvious he should also have been quite aware. Maybe he was but he didn’t seem to be. And even though her body language was screaming ‘I like you’…they just walked on with him murmuring whatever it was he was saying and her giggling like a 40-something-year old school girl. But for what it was worth, she was putting herself out there…trying to make a relationship out of nothing at all.

And this is what single people do every day. Meet new people and try to turn something out of nothing. Sometimes it works, and kuddos to the people who find the connections. It just seemed…lonely, to me. A lonely thing to do. I don’t know why. But I was struck with the feeling and turned my eyes to the cement as I trudged toward my car. The feeling remained long after I’d climbed into my car, turned on my GPS for traffic updates and made my way home.

There is fun and enjoyment to be had in flirting and engaging in pleasantly unaware obvious body language. There is a feeling that consumes you when someone looks at you and sees you. It’s quite possibly one of the most incredible feelings. I suppose the problem is…when no one looks at you, no one sees you. It’s like being an invisible voyeur.

The Momentum of MY Life May 14, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

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?

Writer’s Block May 13, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People, Writing.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
7 comments

People of the world have various no-no subjects. They don’t talk about abuse, or drugs, or the devil. They don’t talk about interracial relationships, or sex, or the end of the world. And perhaps its weird, when compared to these other life-effecting subjects, that some people won’t talk about writer‘s block.

WRITERS BLOCK.

Big no-no subject. At least it is for writers. When I stare at a blank page desperate for the fledgling of an idea to take root…to grow legs and become words on that blank page, I never ever refer to my issue as writer’s block. No, I’m just thinking. Brainstorming. Waiting for the right way to express my thoughts. It’s not writer’s block. *shudder*

But why isn’t it? Why do I sit here spending my ‘thinking’ time coming up with excuses for why I can’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were) instead of really coming up with the story? I would like to think it’s the amount of pressure we put on ourselves as writers — especially if you have ever taken a writing course or attended a writer’s group. We know how important that first paragraph is…indeed the first sentence of your story could mean the difference between overwhelming success…and a dusty manuscript in an equally dusty box in a ridiculously dusty attic. So we stare at the blank page waiting for some absolutely fascinating sentence to appear there.

They say when you begin to write your story you should write as the words appear in your mind. Drawing a picture of the images, of the characters, of their trials, so that readers can see what you see. After your manuscript is complete then go back and edit it for perfection’s purpose. How many people manage to write this way? I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that I wrote a 850-page manuscript that is accumulating dust in a box beneath my bed. Why? Because I wrote it as I felt it and saw it and thought it. Then I went back and edited it. And edited it again, which is tiresome. And eventually…it is boring. So I set it aside and, taking with me all that I know now about the right way to write a novel, forged ahead.

Forged onward to the next story that can be written correctly the first time around with few editing and changes necessary afterwards. It’s a great idea in theory. So…a great theory (because they’ll tell you in the writer’s group that you can remove the ‘idea in’ and be more concise. But I’ve sat in front of my bright white computer screen now for a month watching the cursor blink, blink, blink at me blankly like a deer in the headlights. And instead of writing that opening sentence, I’m staring off into space thinking about writer’s block

I’ve read books about how to get past this anomaly, which I find humorous…writing a book about how to write a book when you can’t write a single word. But it isn’t really an anomaly at all…in fact it’s pretty damn common. But the suggestion for moving past the blinking cursor is to start typing. Type anything because as long as you’re typing, the story will shape itself and you can go back and edit it later. I like editing almost as much as I despise its necessity. 

How boring a book would it be if I began it in the same manner most of my childhood books began? How must dust would that manuscript accumulate? Tons. No one wants to hear “once upon a time…” because well, obviously it was once upon a time and you’re really not supposed to state the obvious. So, what isn’t obvious? “Jane Doe turned out to be Sara Crawford, who single-handedly ran the city prostitute ring for almost 50 years, and was probably recognized the moment she was brought into the morgue but her body decomposed for two weeks because no one wanted to admit they knew her face.”

Fine. So I can type nonsense. 

So, which is worse? Writer’s block, or typing nonsense?

Dear You… May 11, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Writing.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Dear You,

I miss the way you used to look at me. Like we were the only ones in the room and I was the only woman in the world. We never said much in those moments — I just watched you watching me. I wondered what thoughts lay behind the expression in your eyes…as I have always believed the eyes are the windows to the soul. Your soul was dark…fathomless, it would seem.

I miss the way we could talk about anything — existing in tandem without barriers to deflect certain subjects that with other people we might hold back. I used to wonder what it meant…being at ease with someone I hardly knew. But…it was your eyes. I would look at you looking at me and just knew that somehow, I knew you.

But that was a lie, of course. Always has been. Once I got to know you better I learned there was nothing about you I knew for truth. I learned the things you told me were highly fabricated…grandiose versions of what really was. And still I liked you. I liked your laugh and the way you scraped your hair out of your eyes. I liked so many things, which was at odds with what was quickly becoming my dislike of you.

It took me years to figure out what it was that encouraged me to continue calling you friend. It was that image of you, stuck in my head like some bug that burrows in your skin that you have to suffocate in order to be free of. But I couldn’t suffocate it…couldn’t even bring myself to try to snuff the life out of the image. I liked the image too damn much.

Tonight I sit here thinking about that image. About your eyes. About your voice. And the things you said. The things you didn’t say. The things I never said…and never will. It’s a terrible thing…missing something that never was. But that’s what I do when I think of you. I think of all the laughs and all the conversations, and the way you moved. I begin to smile for the smallest of moments before I remember, over and over and over again, that every moment, every gesture, every word was contrived.

I miss the man you never were.