Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jesus used all the toilet paper

My 7-year old created a nativity scene recently, and I was forced to relocate it from one table in the house to another to make room for impending Canadian guests. I wasn't paying too much attention, and I thought it looked nice.

But then I looked more carefully a few hours later while pretending to dust.

Instead of three wise men, I saw one wise man standing next to a freakishly smiling blond, a praying Mary, and some camels. One of them was upside down.

Another wise man stood on the roof with a sheep. They both had their eyes closed.

And beside baby Jesus, Joseph stood dumbly on one side and a palm tree stood on the other.

But if I hadn't looked carefully, I would not have noticed this folks. From afar, it looked like any other toilet paper nativity scene. I felt blasphemous.

And then I was ashamed. Briefly. To place an angel next to a dude with a crown, that seemed like the premise of a porn-o. And her grin, well, let's just say it's not too far off what I would imagine a porn star's smile to look like.

To place a palm tree where Mary should be, well, that just put objectification of women as objects into a whole different realm. Do women matter at all? Or are we just manipulated into looking pretty and standing guard over the young ones?

And. The other wise man beside the tree, two men beside a baby, clearly we aren't in Utah. Don't make me pull out my favourite shirt.

Yet baby Jesus seemed blissfully unaware throughout the whole ordeal. Like he usually does. He sorta looks the same in granite, on canvas, and in toilet paper. That oblivious grin. Or is it? That grin seems so innocent.

Truth: When I was a child, in the images of Jesus I saw a simple smile that said, "All is well, you are safe, there is no monster in your closet." When I was a teen, it was a reassuring smile that said to me, "Don't worry, I still love you, even though you make a lot of bad choices, and are quite reckless." And then, older yet, I saw a smile again: "You will get what you want. Someday. Even though you're such an idiot. Just wait." And a few years later, it was an "I told you so, you idiot," smile. But now. Now as a 40 year old, the smile seems to mock, but in a way that taps my elbow, as in, "I know. I knew you'd be ready to get to know the real me eventually (you idiot), I've been waiting for you to sift through all the BS. Let's start again. This time, put away what you think you need to accomplish, what you think you need to be, look like, have, etc. Let's drill down to what all those desires really tell us about life. And then let's get to the good stuff."

And that's a scary yet lovely smile.

An innocent smile that knows you more than you think.

So I left our Nativity scene. Just like it was. To remind me of what I think Jesus and Christmas is all about. All kinda mixed-up: a mirror to what I've imagined religious and sanctimonious b.s. to represent, and now that the disrespect is out of the way, let's finally say and search for what is real and what we need. Because I think if I don't do it this way, there is no point.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

the perverted mormon who lives in my phone

Do you ever use your house phone to call your cell phone to discover its whereabouts? And then, when you find your cell, relieved, you look at the screen and wonder whose call you missed, only to realize, it was you? I do this often.

Has your phone ever converted a voicemail to text? I received one such from a friend who does adoption advocacy...we were dialoguing about a board meeting and brainstorming ways to make money to support nannies who work in orphanages in China. This is how my phone interpreted her message:

"It's Saturday night it's 6:30 my time I have to run out tonight to my husband fucking party youre in hot key thing but I will be around tomorrow and yea I got some grease and stuff to do actually some video-stuff load so anyway can gimme a shout anytime bye."

Or have you ever been laying in bed and texted yourself a reminder, perhaps because you were too lazy to get out of bed and get an actual pen (while realizing that the chances of looking at a piece of paper were not as likely as looking at your texts)?

Yes, me again. I am not proud.

I was however, rather shocked when I texted myself the other night, and then rolled over to go to sleep. Couldn't sleep (not uncommon) and so checked my phone to see the time (and to check Instagram) to find that I had gotten a text back from myself.

I'm not kidding. Here's the transcript folks. I couldn't make this shit up.

Me text-jotting a writing idea to me at 1 a.m.: "You know youre old when you get 5 scarves for 40 birthday, like cover your wrinkly neck already woman, one from mom was the least fav per style and fabric, she should know I'm allergic to wool, dammit...but ironically, it is the one that had the most time invested she said she thought of me during each stitch I wonder if she thought mean things like I hope this itches the shit out of you... am I thoughtless or her...and there it hangs on the bedroom chair, staring at me like hangover guilt...and someone had to remind me recently that our own parents see us like we see our children and I told Thys that all I want for Christmas is him and he didn't believe me, it's hard to believe a parents love because it seems so obvious and yet so absent at the same time"

Me back at 1:30 a.m.: "I'm sorry you have the wrong number"

Of course hubs was out of town at the time and I wondered if a creeper had snuck into my house and stolen my cell to fuck with my brain. It took me 10 minutes to figure out what the hell was going on...


1:40 a.m. : me back to me: "Oh! I'm so sorry that you received my old phone number in Denver!"

1:42 a.m.: New me back to me: "No problem."

Then... me being 1:45 a.m. generous (delirious? perhaps): "If anyone else is looking for me, you can give them this number. I hope inheriting this number hasn't been too much of a burden."

Hoping for a litany of publishers and long-lost friends and interviewers who have all been desperately trying to reach me... but then...

1:47 a.m. "OK. Thank you. It's not a burden."

1:48 a.m. Lonely me still not sleeping, "Thank you."

1:52 a.m. New me: "You ought to check out the mormon messages on youtube--lots of uplifting and inspiring messages about life and family. Have a good night"

Friday, December 13, 2013

Oh Canada, I'm sorry

Christmas concert tonight.
Little girls picking noses in shiny skirts. Little boys tripping over bleachers and waving.
Moms and Dads pushing ipads in my face to capture aforementioned nose-pickings and waves.
It was all rather, well, nauseating.
My son got on stage. Then. I must admit. I felt this little well of water form in the bottom half of my eyelids. And this does not happen very often. And I have no idea where the fuck it came from. It was this weird pride mixed with this crazy disbelief that this little 7 year old doesn't nod to shenanigans because he wouldn't let me comb his hair and he dressed himself in what he called his "Sunday best" (without having a clue what that means) in jeans and converse and a white shirt untucked with chocolate milk stains all over the front. And next to the shiny girls, he looked mighty awesome.
And he sang his bloody heart out. So loud. So enunciated. All while stifling a smile in a most awkward way (he accused me later of looking at him too much and making him embarrassed).
I am supposed to be writing a paper. But I don't want to the way my sons never want to do, well, anything that does not involve an ipod or a hockey stick.
I want to write here. I miss writing here. Here I can write honestly and I don't have to quote someone every other sentence. Quoting someone else every other sentence is tedious (me, 2013).
Here in Canada, people apologize for everything.
I bumped you. I'm sorry.
I asked you for something. I'm sorry.
I stood on this piece of earth. I'm sorry.
But they're not sorry for things you'd think they should be sorry for.
Like... these remarks: A few people asked me how I was doing with school, etc. and I told them the truth (it's hard, brutal, busy, humbling, etc.) and one responded with, "Oh, you sound so cynical" and the another with, "wow, I won't ask you how you're doing again." And I found myself almost saying, I'm sorry. But I didn't. They asked me. I told the truth. I told my truth.
But Canadians don't seem to like the truth.
They're really "nice" here. So nice that they don't seem to like too much honesty. And by "they" I simply mean the few people I talked to. Yes, I'm generalizing (but I'm not generalizing about the I'm sorry thing. That shit is true.)
I fear that the "niceness" is a bunch of BS for not dealing with tough shit. I detest the heroic, I'm fine, I'm good, I'm doing okay, when you're clearly NOT. What happened in the world to make people think that they have to be so "okay" with crap? My husband has a horrible disease. I'm fine! My mom is dying, I'm good! My kids are out of control! I am A-okay. My neighbor is a racist! No problem.
These heroics are not for me. I'm sorry, Canada. I may start to apologize more than I should. But I will not apologize for being honest. Someone needs to be honest. We're not all "fine" most of the time. Most of the time, I suspect we're all dealing with devils in the closet and demons on the kitchen floor. To deny this and say we're fine smacks of hypocrisy, as if we're so in control that we can handle it all, no problem. Well, I'm sorry, again. I don't think we're meant to handle all of this, no problem, by ourselves. I tend to think that we need help to handle life. Maybe that's "American" of me, but I don't care.
No, but really, right now I am doing well. That was not a twisted cry for help. I'm not asking for sympathy. And I do mean that. Honestly.
Thanks for letting me rant. I hope you find time to snatch silvers of honesty this holiday season... if you can't, you can call me. Maybe I'll even mail you a new t-shirt for Christmas like the one I just got for myself.