Sunday, May 31, 2009

Scaredy Cats Anonymous

They say that "the brave may not live forever but the cautious do no not live at all." Well if that's the case than I haven't lived for about 15 years since the last time I remember not being fearful or cautious was at the tender age of three. I was the girl on the playground who didn't pump her legs on the swings because she was afraid of going too high, the girl who would avoid the jungle gym for fear of heights (and lack of upper body strength but that's besides the point). Hell, if you gave me a red wig and violet rectangular glasses I could well as be Chuckie Finster.

I must admit, it's not an easy life for us Scaredy Cats, everything becomes more worrisome, more complicated, normal proceedings become obstacles, things to endure rather than enjoy. It's not to say that scaredy cats don't have fun, it's just more of a process. And if fear is my addiction than clothes are like my nicotine gum. They take the edge off. Despite the fact that I am fearful, cautious and calculating to a tee I garner no apprehensions on what people will say about my outfits of choice. Sartorially speaking, I don't fear sticking out in the crowd . Which from a logical standpoint goes against everything I stand for. With clothes I am not cautious or fearful. I am clear thinking, decisive and strong minded. Even though I do not agree with many of the supeheros' outfits of choice (underwear as outwear? head to toe leather? capes in general?) I understand the empowerment of the costume. Batman didn't wear latex leather just to show off his hot bod nor did Superman wear visible underwear to just attract the ladies (though I'm sure those were top priorities). The function of these costumes was to transform them into another person, a more concentrated version of themselves. So even though I am not a superhero, at times I can identify with their fearlessness. It's almost as if the fabric acts upon me like a spider bite, transmuting me into a caricature of myself. Because even though by nature I am timid and shy, when I put those clothes on my body I become more confident and less contrived. It's as if in one area of my life I'm not thinking of what everyone else's reaction will be. For once, I'm just thinking about myself.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fear Factor

I always find it funny/interesting when people reveal their fears. Some times their confessions are poignant but in most cases they're just downright bizarre. I don't know if this is because I am horribly insensitive or if it's because people tend not to reveal their truly frightening fears to a girl with a notebook. Here are some of the fears I was able to weasel out of people:

  • " Horses, they are like these reptilian dragons without wings."
  • " Mediocrity."
  • " Dumb people, I'm afraid about what they will do or say. It's embarrassing."
  • " Getting old. It's inevitable and really depressing to think about not existing."
  • "Compromising my integrity to do something I wouldn't have done in the first place."
  • "Doctors."
  • "Thinking I'm making the wrong choice. That I will hate school and my roommate. To think that your life could turn out completely different if you just make the other turn instead, but the thing is you don't know which turn is the right one to take."
  • "Becoming a suburban soccer mom."
  • "Bad dreams, it's like your mind has put you in this torture chamber and you are helpless to get out."
  • " Miss Hannigan, the orphanage owner from the movie Annie. For the longest time I thought she was going to steal me away from my parents."
  • "Not being able to get out of a bad trip."
  • "Rejection. Failure. Inadequacy."
  • "Animals attacking your face."
  • " Rita and Lord Zed from the Power Rangers."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Three Little Myths

Greek Mythology will forever be ingrained in the brain of my sixth grade self. Yet my memories of Zeus and Athena need not be confined to the company of Junior High Dances and unsightly teeth misalignments. Greek myths focus on gods and goddesses. These fabled illusions of perfection that graced the pages of our Language Arts textbooks have also found their way into our everyday life. For don't we all create idealized conceptions of normalcy, of our ourselves even? Most people don't want to completely change themselves, they just want to be a more enhanced, flawless, barely recognizable version of themselves. It seems that, sartorially speaking, our world at large has created three myths of perfection. These myths are the individuals we wish we could be. These myths are broken down into 3 distinct categories one of which most of the female population identifies and/or envies. According to our specified tastes we choose one of these ethereal figures to clandestinely and unconsciously model ourselves after. It's like asking yourselves what's your favorite ice cream flavor is. So what flavor of myth are you?

1. The Whimsical Quirksters: The object of envy for the free spirited among us. These creatures of whimsy seem to have been dressed by little birds in the morning. They attract envy for their dresses that seem to float away from them, their hair that is perfectly windblown and their cheeks that suggest that they have just been running through a field of flowers five minutes before. Not as cliched as the infamous bohemian, quirksters have a life filled with thrift shopping, organic food and usually some niffty hobby life photography or indie folk music. Ah if only all of us could be like Zooey Zeschanel.

2. The Night Life Kids: An abundance of tight rompers, leather pants and generally anything from Alexander Wang seem to be synonymous with these rebels without a cause. These individuals are the ones that every buttoned up librarian type secretly wants to be. A look perfected by models, a la Kate Moss, this look just seems to be simply put, cool. I mean how else could black eyeshadow, unkempt hair and under eye circles (especially under club lighting) look so good?

3. The Sophisticated Urbanites: With their meticulously coiffed hair, refined clothing and extensive knowledge of art, music and food these mythological creatures can be a bit awe inspiring if not intimidating. You may witness them at a wine tasting, a gallery opening, or in some erudite conversation about foreign cheeses but they always seem to unruffled and polished. To put in more complex terms, they have their stuff together, a stark contrast to that broccoli cheddar stain on your sweater. I guess you missed a spot.

And we all thought Athena was the pinnacle of perfection.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hey Bully!

Oh I don't think I could ever forget what I looked like in middle school. I was a fairly breathtaking figure with eye brows that could rival any Russian man's, hair that's geometric shape was taken from the Egyptian pyramids and clothes that hung away from my lank little frame as if it rejecting any association with my body. I was a vision of awkwardness.

I took this little saunter down the rather-not- remember lane during a certain conversation in math class. My friend was discussing the latest episode of the Tyra Show (the stimulator of all intellectual conversations) which concerned the hazing between popular and unpopular girls at high school. I asked her "So were you a bully when you were younger?" Her affirmative response triggered me to questioned a variety of people about their browbeating past. Their responses certainly surprised me for they lied at extreme ends of the spectrum. It seemed like it was either bully or be bullied. Now I'm not referring to the take your lunch money type of bullying but moreover the let's make fun of your magic school bus sweatshirt type of bullying. I wondered what triggered these reformed aggressors. Traits like popularity, wealth and domineering physique are the commonly accepted notions . Obviously these stereotypes are superficial but they do hold clout in certain analysis since their is a certain confidence that is associated with these traits and a certain confidence is needed for bullying. But what exactly makes someone a bully? As someone who was on the other side of the predator-prey relationship I have made some of my own theories:

1. It's genetic: Is it just me or does popularity/bully-esquenss run in the family? As someone who has an older sister who went to the same exact schools as I did it seems as if the younger sibling filled the place of their older predecessor. It's as if popularity is some sex lined gene that is passed on through a lineage line. Well at least popularity is a better trait to pass on then hemophilia, just ask Queen Victoria's kids.
2. They've got the goods: You know who 'm talking about. It was those kids that got exactly what you wanted. Maybe it was that barbie dream car that you desperately wanted (or still want if you're like me) that they had. Or maybe it was the trampoline that they got as an early birthday present. But it certainly seemed like some kids had everything you and everyone else wanted. Maybe all those material acquisitions made them have a sense of entitlement, a right to rule so to speak.
3. They just watched too much Angelica Pickles as a kid: if someone was a bully in 7th grade doesn't mean they are Hitler's right hand man. Because everyone's mean sometimes. Maybe they were just confused or maybe it was for laughs. In 8th grade someone wrote in my yearbook "Start being mean, it's much more fun that way." Well one thing is for sure, being called hairy four eyes certainly wasn't.

I guess it's pretty irrelevant whether you were the oppressor or the oppressi in the day's of finger paint and first junior high dances. Since it doesn't so much represent the person you are as the person you've become. But even though their isn't a line separating those who bullied and those who were bullied I still think you can see the stripe in people's character. Because when someone is bullied it's not just the magenta magic school bus sweatshirt that is being made fun of it's the most weakest part of them that is being exploited. Targeting someone on their looks, or their possessions, or simply their personality is attacking their most vulnerable side because it is something that is specific to them, something that makes them an individual, something they are helpless to change. Even though being bullied wasn't one of my most shining moments I think it has been solidified as an integral bone in my body. Being bullied makes you more sensitive, more insightful and more perceptive to other people's weaknesses. When we're in the boardroom there isn't going to be a scarlet letter attached to the former bullies since it doesn't represent who they are now. But I like to think that part of us will be able to tell who was bullied, that something in their antibodies will trigger a self recognition in their fellow underdogs. If not, a bad reaction to magenta sweatshirts and frizzy hair will certainly tip us off.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Aesthetes Lexicon

Wikiphillia: (wikk-a-feelia) a severe disorder characterized by a dependence on wikipedia

I love Wikipedia. It must be noted that my feelings for this search engine are far more intense than most chemically balanced people. Unlike your average procrastinator student I don't appreciate wikipedia simply on the nights before a big research paper, I appreciate it everyday. It is a constant in my life, I mean if I had to choose my Verizon top five it would be definitely be number one. Because why would you want to call anyone else if you could find everything you need to know in one simple, user friendly, non elitist encyclopedia? I use Wikipedia for everything. What is the first thing I do when I hear a band I really like? I Wikipedia them and read about how their musical history, their collaborations and discography and criticisms of their recent albums. I may even Wikipedia each individual band member to read about their early life. It may just seem like I'm a stalker and want to read every bit of information that I can about a particular person. But the thing is my Wikipedia mania is not just utilzied for specific individuals, but anything that captures my interest. Just finished watching a movie or reading a book? I have to go Wikipedia it. I don't why I do this but it gives me a feeling of validity. My interest in something is suddenly seems much more legit and clarified after I read that page long excerpt. It is almost like a parent constantly filled with reassurance and authority. Now it has become more of a dependence really. I cannot even write anything without referring to it (I even wikipedia-ed the actual word Wikipedia). Something about seeing a source of information delegated to that one particular word or topic sparks my creative process, I guess it is comforting to see that what I'm writing about is grounded in something other than just my own musings.

Yet it is more than just an information source to me, it really is like a diary filled with the most obscure information, written in the handwriting of different people. Just yesterday I rediscovered a show (Life as we know it) on youtube that I had really enjoyed. It had gotten canceled after its first season. After watching a couple of episodes I had to Wikipedia it, for some reason I had to see that the talented actors of the show were somewhere. doing something and not teetering on the cliff of their "almost" big break. I guess that's the reason why I love Wikipedia so much, because it's comforting, it proves that nothing is truly obscure, that everything can be tangible, recorded and read. It gives you the sense that you find important is important to someone else as well. It's strange because many people say that the onslaught of all this new age technology has left people isolated from each other but I think it is the exact opposite, it makes you feel less alone. Now if only I could find Wikipedia's number in the yellow pages my top five would be set. But who needs the yellow pages? I'll just Wikipedia it.