Just throwing up a flash fiction piece I wrote for a blog contest. 100 words on a bullying situation:

Buttons backed up against Master’s legs, trying to squeeze through the crevice made by calf touching calf, seeking a type of reverse birth where he could retreat back to the safety of the womb.

Across the dog park the huge white poodle, curly coat tamed into meticulously shaped puffs, glared at him. She trotted over, mouth slightly open to reveal her sharp incisors.

“Go play!” Master sounded annoyed as she pushed his bulky pitbull body forward into the dusty enclosure.

The poodle stepped forward delicately and appraised him.

“Please don’t,” Buttons whimpered.

“They’ll blame you,” she said as she lunged.

I emailed my dad (who is a lifelong soccer player/fan) a picture of Michelle Obama doing a soccer clinic on the lawn of the White House.

He replied “That is great. For a moment I thought that was you!”

What an awesome reminder that even though the country seems divided and politics can be frustrating, right now there is someone in the White House who, on the most basic level,  looks like me. That’s pretty damn cool.

I recently started re-reading Herman Hesse’s Demian, a book I read a few years ago and really enjoyed. Much like my experience in reading Hesse’s Siddhartha, the book made me really examine myself, my inner workings, and I felt that I came out with a better understanding of myself and my place in the world when I was finished. It’s not that it changed me, but it changed my perceptions and interpretations of myself. Besides Hesse, the only other author who affects me on this level is Haruki Murukami (in general, and Wind-up Bird Chronicle in particular). But I digress.

Upon re-reading, I felt the same sense of happiness and understanding that I had derived from the book the first time, and found a passage that really helped me to bluntly address some of the stuff I’ve been going through over the past two years:

But where we have given of our love and respect not from habit but of our own free will, where we have been disciples and friends of our innermost hearts, it is a bitter and horrible moment when we suddenly recognize that the current within us wants to pull us away from what is dearest to us. Then every thought that rejects the friend and mentor turns in our hearts like a poisoned barb, then each blow struck in defense flies back into one’s own face, the words ‘disloyalty’ and ‘ingratitude’ strike the person who feels he was morally sound like catcalls and stigma, and the frightened heart flees timidly back to the charmed valleys of childhood virtues, unable to believe that this break, too, must be made, this bond also broken.

Everyone goes through the experience of drifting away from those you considered closest, and I ‘ve known and acknowledged how unhappy these events made me. But sometimes, having someone else articulate exactly what you know to be true can be a big step in not just acknowledging it, but moving past it as well.

As I was walked to work, I pondered the fact that I’m one step closer to the age of 30, one step closer to death, and needed to go buy a spanx bodyshaper because I had failed to keep up with my ab workouts. Suddenly a voice, male and vaguely Borat-like, rang out behind me:

You’re very skinny!

…I don’t know if it was meant as a compliment or not, but thank you Euro catcaller, for saying just the right thing to an old lady on her birthday.

Hi. Haven’t blogged in while (which isn’t really surprising, given my attention span), but here’s a little something I wrote during my subway commute today:

The blister on Lainey’s big toe was a scab now. She hadn’t even noticed when it had stopped being soft and aqueous and turned into a hard, dark oval.
She sat down the hardwood floor, cross-legged so she could cradle her foot in her lap pick at the thing.
A month earlier, she had never known that her pretty, pale toe could turn the color of a sun-ripened plum.
“That’s a blood blister ya got there,” her father had said from the side of her hospital bed, staring at her plum toe and avoiding her eyes. He’d held her small hand in his roughened one, clenching so tight that she could feel his pulse throbbing against her fingers. She had pulled her hand away.
“Will they have to cut it off?” she had asked, feeling a pang of pleasure at the possibility. This was a traitorous toe, a stupid appendage that had caught the edge of the steps so she fell into the man’s strong grip instead of up and away from him.
“Like in Cinderella?” she added, closing her eyes. “They cut off the stepsister’s big toe so her foot could fit into the glass slipper.”
Her father had looked away from her blister, away from her completely, and Lainey saw that there was something tight and tender in the way his face screwed up.
“Fairy tales,” he had muttered, his head jerking awkwardly toward her and his gaze landing somewhere over her shoulder. “It’ll scab and fall off.”
He chanced a look at her arm, but flinched at the bruises and looked away again.
“No prince charming in this story anyway.”
And he had been right.
Now, Lainey pulled at the scab, tearing it off in little strips until the dark spot was gone. The skin beneath was soft and new looking. The skin of a baby.
She stroked the skin, reveling in the feel of it, in the knowledge that this part of her was fresh and unsullied.

That ain't right.

This is why advertisements shouldn’t be allowed to go under the headline on news sites. Terrible juxtapositions such as this could be avoided.

Osama Bin Laden is dead. Some people are saying that we shouldn’t be celebrating this. This news didn’t make me want to run into the streets waving an American flag. It didn’t make me want to ululate in front of the Times Square Jumbotron.

But it did make me think of being shaken awake by my dormmate nearly 10 years ago  as she asked “Doesn’t your Mom work by the Twin Towers?” It makes me remember watching in horror and disbelief as the towers, which had always loomed large and seemingly ever present over my hometown of Jersey City, fell as if they were plaster models. I remember hearing my father’s voice break as he told me “The second tower has fallen.”–he was watching with an unobstructed view from his Harborside office, without the buffer of unreality provided by a televised news feed. I didn’t hear from my mother for hours because the cell phone towers were overloaded. I remember hearing the words “al Qaeda” for the first time.

So, no, I’m not going to dance in the streets. I know there are many other problems facing this country, none of which can be solved by the death of a man who had become little more than a figurehead. But if people want celebrate, I certainly won’t be among those judging them.

It’s been quite a while since I posted. I’ll try to be more prolific in the coming months. I’ve been stuck on the winter train to Depressedville for the last few months, but Spring is here now! I have great friends! I have love! I have a good life! Basically: time for me to hop off the train and get back into the business of being happy.

I don’t have much to say now, so  I’ll just share my favorite ee cummings poem.

since feeling is first

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
– the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

Maybe this is just some bullshit faux realization, but I think part of the reason I fall into funks (of the mood, not the body) so often and so consistently is that I have super high expectations of everyone else, but have consistently set the bar pretty low for myself. So, as part of my “2011, I’m gonna rock your world” campaign, I just signed up for a month of unlimited yoga classes via Groupon, and I’m going to try to go a lot. Ok, at least two times a week. Maybe this will be the start of a calmer, more centered Shaunasaurus? Although my mantra is still gonna be the same:  “I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubble gum.”

I’ll be lazy and copy-and-paste this comment I left on a feminist site I read:

I am really impressed with Fresh Direct today. I have never used their services, partially because I have been the subject of constant street harassment from one (or more) of the guys who loads their trucks at a loading point near my job, so I could not feel comfortable letting one of their workers into my home. I finally got tired of being yelled at (literally) by some asshole, so I wrote their customer service this morning.

I got an email from one for their directors about an hour later, giving me his cell phone number. I called him and he was really great–totally supportive and he promised to come out to the site today and tomorrow morning to speak to all of the workers and let them know that this behavior is unacceptable and if he finds out they have been harassing again the offending party will be fired. A cash incentive is being offered to the workers so that they will report any instances of sexual harassment. He also told me to save his cell phone no. so I could call him if anything happens again.

It was so reassuring to get a positive response, especially when people are usually dubious of street harassment claims, that I have to let people know that Fresh Direct is a company that cares–or at least the director I spoke to does.

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