Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bless Me (A Parting Shot to 2008)

Or maybe I should say that I have been blessed. Not just by appreciative friends, but by the Big Kahuna, the Universe and Everything.

My life is largely perfect... it's true. I have a job (knock on wood) and I have multiple ways to get there (knock, knock). I am by and large healthy -- despite being somewhat large. I have a lovely all-white cat who puts up with me, even though I often don't want to play when she does, I never give her enough tuna, I won't let her outside, and I don't sleep when she wants to, thus negating the sleep-cuddle. It's actually a lot like having a girlfriend, except that there's no sex (wait, that's kinda like having a girlfriend) and I don't feel nearly as bad for ignoring her needs.

I have a home -- nicer than I should be paying for. I bring down the curb appeal value just by having all my shit in it. I spend more money than I make, which makes me a great American, propping up the economy with the dreams of money I might have. I am surrounded by great friends. People love me and I love them back.

What else could you ask for?

I mean realistically. Sure, I could have a partner or spouse, but being partnered isn't the end-all be-all... trust me I know. I know it's just as valid to go solo. In fact, it might a requirement for me. Successful, by many standards, what does a human then do?

That is the grace of our time, isn't it? We've mostly figured out the food, clothing and shelter part of existence -- at least we the privileged have. Now we can delve into the other parts of our psyche.

My boss has a new painting on his office wall. It was painted by an orangutan at the National Zoo, Bonnie. He said that there is a study about animals who paint. Apparently orangutans and elephants in particular have a penchant for painting. (Not cats, because the book "Why Cats Paint" was a joke I didn't get until years after selling it.) Not all elephants and orangutans want to paint. Only some.

One part of the study showed that once the animals were done, they were done. They'd just as soon eat the painting or use it to wipe their butts than to matte and frame it. So apparently there needs to be some sort of human intervention to rescue the artwork. Bonnie selects her own brushes and colors, although she's not using a canvas stretched over the a frame. Her work was in greens and purples, and involved some sort of folding over, along with detail work . Facinating.
So I ask him, my boss the I-O psychologist, does this mean that there is something natural, something inate about the "human" need to create art? And what I didn't ask him but also thought: is it the actual humans who have inserted their ego into what they create, so that they should want fame, glory, and adulation for their work?

Two months ago I didn't have this blog. I had, and that was it. Jahbear is a stripped down website, completely built by hand, by me. It is completely alterable. There is no template. It also takes me WAY longer to change and update, so that doesn't get done as much.

It was the extreme transformation that Facebook perpetrated on my life. Connecting me with people whom I had almost forgotten, Facebook has been a space-time vortex, sucking hours away from me with the vigor of a good video game. It's also made my affliction for the passive voice horrific. I try, I do, to pry myself away from it, to stop looking for the people that made my life possible through the formative years. I have learned to approach folks from high school slightly cautiously. Either I am much farther out than I used to be, or I just don't understand as well. People from college click with me quickly or not at all. I guess we've all learned what we want since then.

The other thing I got from Facebook: a muse. Part competition, part infatuation, I am compelled to write it all down, like never before. I've always been a jotter. Okay, not actually jotting it down, but in my head I'm writing all the time. I'm flipping out phrases and comparative statements like breathing in and out. Now, between the ease of updating and the desire to connect, I'm prolific. For a few weeks it was all I did. Literally. Especially over my vacation. Happy as a pig in mud, I've been rolling around in the twisted English of my friends and splurping out quips of my own. What would you call that? Verbal interaction in writing? It's lucious, that's all I know. I love it. It loves me back.

So... another skin is shed, another part of life begun. Where I used to count my years out in girlfriends, I'm now responsible for the meaning in my life. Just me. Free to be. It's a horrible responsibility, really. And yet... today, right now, I'm not afraid. That's about as good as it gets.


  1. Shel-I love your writing! More, more! I am greedy.

    Couple random thoughts for you as I shuffle off to work:

    1. Some folks have larger bodies b/c their soul requires are larger dwelling place.

    2. Wait 'til you discover the joys of Twitter!

    3. I have this intense urge to Google "orangutan artwork" and spend all day looking at it. I will force myself to wait until I get home, however.


  2. oops- #1 should say "a larger dwelling place" I wish sometimes I was still on the caffeine!

  3. Can't think of a better New Year's post, baby. Brava. And always, shalom. xoxoxo