Friday, December 26, 2008

Being Jane

I always liked the name Jane. If I ever have a daughter, I just might name her that. Conjures up images of Demi Moore doing one-armed push-ups and a woman in a bandana emerging from underneath a car, covered in grime. Today, I repaired a curtain rod, assembled a vaccuum cleaner and changed the headlight in my car, all before cleaning house and hosting coffee-talk with a good friend. (Changed headlights with the help of my oh-so-awesome brother: Even though I kept saying "Are you sure you're supposed to do that?" he knew exactly what to do, and I drove home safely with bright lights going before me.) Stand back, Rosie the Riveter! I like self-sufficiency.

But I also think of Austen's Jane Bennett, a sweet golden girl who exudes pureness of heart and is loved by a lovely man. I like being in love with another person. This has ony sort of happened to me before now, and I find myself stumbling all over the balance between myself and me-with-him. Naturally, I want to always be thinking of him--what he wants, needs, feels--and adjusting accordingly. Is that so wrong, to want to accomodate a loved person before yourself?

Jane is not a mirror, a mother, or a wishing well. And I know that I am not pure of heart. I like to think I can be very sweet, but I'm definitely not golden. I wish I had a better way to reconcile the two, sometimes. Maybe, I should just aim for bronze?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I Want: Christmas Edition

Merry Christmas, all! I hope everyone is healthy, peaceful, and fulfilled (or some combination thereof) on this day. I've never really had a lot of committed feelings about Christmas--meaning, I don't have many personal rituals about gift giving, decorating, or card-sending. I like doing all those things, but some years are more fruitful in this way than others. Because of travel plans or transportation issues, I rarely participated in caroling or visiting. Parties were usually confined to the work day or after church. All this to say, I've never made a substantial committment of time or labor to make the holidays a festive wonderment.

This year has been one of ups and downs, and I feel a little differently this time than the last. Thanksgiving always felt a little more my speed--a small, yet vital holiday on which I could count my many blessings, naming them one by one. Christmas has often felt like it called on resources I did not have banked--inner peace, abiding faith, joy, financial strength, unmitigated positiveness, joyous creativity.

My resolution today is to spend this next year banking Christmas spirit. I want to be more loving, more creative, more content, more thoughtful. I want to make people laugh--really laugh. Not just with sarcasm or irony. I want to make things for people and not feel self-conscious about giving them. I want to verbalize my best feelings and share them, unafraid of the consequences. I want to work disclaimers out of my repetoire of things to say. I want to memorize poetry and be ready to quote it. I want to use terms of endearment. I want to be self-controlled in my financial habits, and untiringly generous with my love.

It may be very selfish to say "I want" on Christmas. But this is my wish list for the next holiday season. If I can spend even a moment making those around me happy, fulfilled, peaceful, joyous, healthy, then that will be a tremendous present to myself. No one may be reading this, and I could be saying it all to myself. But today and for this year, I love you, and everyone like you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Me-ness run amok.

Holly extends a tag like a scepter, and I must bow to my liege's will:

Top seven signs of me-ness run amok:

1. Whenever I wash my hair, I apply conditioner, then wash my face, then rinse conditioner. Even if my face doesn't need washing. Even if I'm not taking a full shower. I time the length of leaving conditioner on my hair by the time it takes to wash my face. No exceptions. If I do not do this, then I am confused by what my conditioner has accomplished, convinced my hair will begin to break off or fall flat the minute I begin toweling it dry.

2. I walk up and down escalators. Even in West TN. People stare, but I get where I'm going twice as fast as they are.

3. Closet doors must stay shut at all times when not in immediate use. Daylight, dark, messy room, clean room, doesn't matter. I'm sure there is a Freudian explanation for this. All I am willing to commit to is that the closet door must stay shut. Period. I often find myself wanting to shut them when in other people's houses.

4. Whenever I drive to or through Nashville, and I first see the skyline, I say "Hello, Nashville!" or "Goodbye, Nashville!" outloud, depending on whether or not I am coming or going. I always have a good time when I'm there.

5. Whenever I see my 2-year-old niece, I pick her up under her arms and swing her like a bell saying "Ding, dong. Ding, dong." It has conditioned her to run up at me saying "ding dong" whenever she sees me.

6. I don't like visiting museums with other people, for the most part. I want to be left alone to look at things and read all the labels without people talking to me, or making demands on my time or attention. Of course, I tend to point out all kinds of things that are wrong or design choices I don't like, which annoys my companions. They usually prefer to let me go on my own. PS--to all the museum professionals reading this: Please don't sway the opinions of your visitors by using boldface type on your labels. We all know Andrew Jackson was a racist pig for signing the Trail of Tears legislation, but it is not a museum's function to pot-stir at the sacrifice of honest dialogue. End of diatribe.

7. I obsessively love Lucinda Williams' music. Surprise.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Make it an amendment

Jason Mraz's song "I'm Yours". I'm not necessarily a fan of his, but today a lyric struck me. Probably because my Christian university radio station usually bleeps out the word "God" in the expression God-forsaken. First time I heard it was a little jarring, like hitting the bottom step of a staircase wrong. "It's our (big silent space) forsaken right to be loved." Trust me, I don't believe in censorship, but it occured to me just now that bleeping out that word is probably a good thing. Why?

Our right to be loved is not God-forsaken. God created us with the right to be loved. If we are not loved, it's man-forsaken. Either because we won't or can't commit ourselves to caring for each other. As the producers of Love Actually reminded us, true love comes in many forms--from sex to colleagues. I went to school with a brilliant guy who once uttered this brilliant statement:

"The whole problem with the world is that there is only one word in the English language for love."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way to gift giving

It's not needed now. Thanks for the feedback anyway.