Vain Attempts

As you know, Women Are Fascinating. We have the potential to do and be Everything. With this comes the good and the bad.

This is also the same passage as "OMG, I talked to Zoetica today and she actually talked back". I don’t know where I found Z, but it was probably some day years ago when Warren Ellis was drooling over one of her photos online. After following the appropriate links I was immediately hooked on her with a strong girl crush – she had amazing art, she established her own empire online using her entire self and she ran it very successfully. Lavish makeup. Style. Cybette Icon.

I spent countless hours developing this blog, recording every dream, memory and after thought. I used pieces of myself to build Great Dame. There have been times when this has brought me joy, and times when this has brought me down. I quickly added Zoetica  (and nothing else associated with her) to my feed reader for all the ways that I related to her and all the ways in which I didn’t…

…but wished that I could.

Being a social science geek, a picture will fascinate me. I want to know how much went into making it and how accurate it reflects something in existence. As Z’s words, products and images began accumulating in her own storage space within my brain, I began noticing peculiar things. Everything would look so beautiful and there was so much excitement captured,  but –

"Look at that", I’d think. " "In this reception collage she’s making the exact same face in most of the shots. Exact same pose, chin tilt, lip purse, why the heck is that? Is she aware of that? What’s the psychology, there?" That brings into question, how much self-consciousness goes into such an evening out and how much fun are you having when you look the same in so many different ways?

A lot of what I get out of her blog, I look to myself for answers. The questions I’m asking her, I’m really asking myself. Girls, haven’t we all found our best angle?

But this morning was different. This morning was bad. I knew she had been mentioning the arrival of No Makeup Week but I was still unprepared. As I choked down a Lean Pocket, pushing through a tough day, Zoetica’s No Makeup Week Photo loaded into my browser:

(What, you want to see it? Go look at it.)

And I nearly choked on my rubbery concoction of low fat cheese and pepperoni. WHAT?!

All I saw was makeup. Styling. Flattery. Contour, shadow – the product. I was really upset. While she only wanted to exhibit pride in what was missing, it was what was showing under the title "No Makeup Week" that lead to this comment:
One of very few who said something…


Of tears and toys.

I’ve always had a lot of toys. My mom said "sorry" with presents. I understood this at an early age and accepted it graciously. She said "I Love You" with presents. Presents stacked to the ceiling on birthdays. A town of boxes to maneuver through on Christmas. They were awesome, they were fun, they were love.

To this day, I collect toys. Some are games, some actually work the brain but lots of them just sit around, looking sweet. I keep these things in the bedroom, on shelves and in boxes. You don’t know how crazy I am when you walk into my house – until you see the bedroom.
(Okay, there’s a Hello Kitty toaster in the kitchen. But that’s your only hint.) Pink chandelier, pink Legos, pink Scrabble, Furbys, Tamagotchis, ceramic cupcakes, over-sized jewels and stuffed toys…

Sometimes I just sit in there and hug all of my things. GOD I LOVE STUFF. And there are probably over a dozen reasons why, from emotional attachments materialistically to symbolic explanations. Retail therapy is good for the soul – especially when you get it in the kids’ aisle.

Tonight I was Ebaying nostalgic toys (along with more modern versions – thankfully, we still have My Little Ponies and Ninja Turtles) and one item in particular triggered a powerful memory. The present was from 1985. I was four years old.

Lady Jane, my parents’ border collie named after the Stones song, was moping in usual form on her floor mattress. Mom was explaining that it was Time for me to say Goodbye. I addressed her, though I never bonded to her like I would to animals once I grew older, and I listened to Mom explain how she was going to be taken to a place where they would humanely cause her to not be alive anymore.

Just four years old and my mental camera was rolling. Dad would be staying home with me and I made out the reason that it was because he simply could not "do it". My mother would do the very hard part alone. The dynamics – my father’s love for Lady Jane, his weakness and my mother’s drive and responsibility – I felt it. I said goodbye. And I quickly became very sad.

Before she left, Mom pulled out a big present for me. The distraction was not a bad idea, as I ripped into the thing and immersed myself with Baby Bonnet’s School Of Dance. A large, plastic bonnet came up like a stage background and there were little rotating gears for your pony to sit on and twirl around. That quiet hour, alone with my thoughts, my dad quiet on the couch, I placed my energy into the pony stadium as if I were standing inside it, but I did not disappear – I was processing everything that had happened and was happening. I contemplated death.

Baby Bonnet’s School Of Death.

Happy and sad, I played away with tears in my eyes. My little pony had eyelashes and leg warmers. This pony was not from the movies I liked to watch over and over, but it was still pretty good. Definitely interesting. So was having to say goodbye to someone. I even understood that the toy was given to me to help me feel better. It definitely helped.

The toy would be abused and discarded a year or so later because I would not fully understand how important it was until much later. But the memory is there – and, thanks to Ebay, the toy is still out there, helping me to place a date on the event. It is not lost, nor is it only a memory. The toy is not far away.

And that’s comforting, to me.

When I had that toy, my parents were most like a team in my eyes. I had yet to peel apart the layers. Perhaps my parents, as well, had yet to develop so many. That was back before school, in those years with just my family, in a sea of bliss. Free time. Fancy, long night gowns. So much dreaming. And singing.

And toys.

My sweet lady Jane,
when I see you again
Your servant am I,
and will humbly remain

Just heed this plea, my love.
On bended knees,
my love.

I pledge myself to Lady Jane.

Our connection is static, but the static is still there.

Tonight I felt my hand clasp the cold, metal handle and as the door slid SHUT, I looked around the dark living room.

Have you ever found yourself standing in the middle of your life? Perhaps a puppy was tugging at your long skirt, too, but you felt a distance away – looking down and noticing as if for the first time,

I got another dog. This is my home.

Green data is burning from inside the entertainment console. The time, the station, the power is running to your plugged-in present. The silhouette of a cat greets you on the ledge into the kitchen, and you scratch his furry head.

You walk past the closed door holding Someone Special who went to bed early. They are contained, unaware that the night air let something in on the other side. They will not know that you were awake, saturated in everything that has happened up until this point in time.

No one has ever seen you like this, but you get this way, sometimes. If anyone happens to connect as long as You are here,

They will see straight into you.

It’s best that this happens at night.