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crybaby. crybaby!

10 Aug

My mother tells me that I was born with a frown on my face. I came into the world silently, narrow-eyed and my mouth set in a grim, straight line. Apparently, when the doctor gently smacked me on the bottom to get me crying, my mother said I made a tiny whimper then glowered at him, like the two of us were about to fight like men. This makes sense, as most of the toddler/adolescent photos of me consist of two expressions: (1) frowning and (2) coolly eyeing the camera, like the two of us were about to fight like men. Continuing on, as a teenager and then a young lady, my mother repeatedly told me to stop looking so “fierce.” All this considered and as such, I wasn’t much of a crier.

Yep, Baby Gangsta.

Yep, Baby Gangsta.

What a difference 30 makes. Something funny happened to me when I reached 30 a few years ago. The floodgates, so long ignored–except for the first day of school, K-12-college–were unleashed, rendering me into an emotional, utter basketcase. I found myself crying at everything. Not just moments that deserve tears, like rainy days, Mondays, and This song. Everything. Happy moments. Commercials. Television shows. Friends talking to me on the phone. Everything. Four years later, now and today, this odd, strange exercise in shedding so, so many tears hasn’t changed. It’s worse.

What is it? Weird hormonal stuff? Sad estrogen? It’s not that I mind it, per se, being that, to me, shedding tears is part of shedding skin, letting out, accepting, cleansing. But what do any of the latter things have to do with an Oreo commercial? Or someone telling you how good you look in a dress? Or just driving? Seriously, I cry like a madwoman behind the wheel. Just random moments of endless tears with no real cause (traffic gets more of an endless pounding on my steering wheel, in case you were wondering).

I remember an old friend telling me the following: “You know, [Kitten], sometimes a woman just needs a good, long cry. For no reason. Just a good, long cry. I cry all the time and so should you.” At the time, I was 19 years old, and although I was slightly enamored of her awesomeness, I still decided, however intriguing those words were, that she was a giant weirdo. “A good, long cry”? Why? For what? Even when, during my senior year in college, I threw myself on our kitchen floor and bemoaned all the classes on my schedule that semester–to which my mother succintly informed me to get up, I would be fine, and that I was on the precipice of a bleeding ulcer if I didn’t stop; did I mention how much I love my mother?–I don’t recall crying about it. I just bemoaned. Little did I know how I would take my old friend’s words to heart when 30 came, except all the crying occurred more frequently than not, and seemed to be against my will.

According to this article, there are four main reasons why we cry: natural emotional response; survival mechanism (in other words, something in your environment needs to be addressed); biochemical (a release of stress hormones/toxins); and social function (you draw support from those who see you cry). None of these really explain why the kid in the Cheerios commercial makes me weep. Of course, the article stressed that whatever the reason, don’t suppress it. Let it out. I agree, even if I don’t always understand the triggers.

So, go on and cry, my dears: in your car, into your soup, over that Cheerios commercial, when you find that sweater you were looking for, because it’s Thursday, in the morning, and at night. I certainly will.

I’m FALLing for It. Get it? Get it?

1 Sep

Oh, puns. How I love you so.

It’s autumn, as pictorialized here. Therein lies the pun. Anyway.

It’s not officially autumn, but today is September 1, and that’s when autumn begins for me. Never mind that the weather has never and will never acclimate to my wishes. Although, to my infinite glee, the past few days have been absolutely glorious. Cool mornings and clear, crisp nights. (I don’t know what happens in between. I’m in prison most afternoons, trapped behind a desk, my neck straining to gaze out of my colleague’s enviable window to see what the weather is doing.) Fall is indeed coming—despite the humidity that will be re-visiting us in the next few days, despite my mounting suspicions that the “meteorologists” love to just break our autumn-loving hearts with calls of said humidity, despite the fact that summer always does this to me, like the friend who just won’t go away—and I intend on commencing with my excitement now.

I love fall.

I love those endless autumn evenings, which I fill with long, meditative walks and breathing as deeply as I can.

I love imagining my home in Connecticut (because whenever it’s fall, I have a fake, imaginary home in Connecticut; go figure), where I stare, from my fake, imaginary Connecticut window, at the multi-colored leaves that decorate my fake, imaginary Connecticut lawn.

I love that weird, hopeful feeling that the autumn brings out in me, where everything I set out to accomplish will be accomplished, by gum—based, it seems, on the strange, electric sensation in the air.

I love the people I naturally think about when it’s fall. Arthur Miller, one of my favorite playwrights, who wrote a play called After the Fall, which is such a perfect title, which only endears me to him more. James Taylor, and we’ve discussed why. Every boy I’ve ever had a hankering for, because, well, it’s that weirdness in the air. (Plus, a few of them inspired the hankering when they admitted that autumn was their favorite season, as well. Didn’t take much, back then, for my devotion.) Alice Hoffman, another one of my favorite authors, who has a way of describing the seasons, particularly autumn, in such a hypnotic, almost edible way.

I love the following, autumn-y words: harvest, solstice, equinox.

I love that literary fall feeling. There’s a palpable eagerness to read everything and anything I can get my hands on.

I love that, in many ways, I try to include autumn in my own fiction and poetry.

I love boots and peacoats and scarves and trips to New York during fall and, and, and…heaven help me.

I love that melancholy understanding that my favorite time of year won’t last as long as I want it to. I do. Why? I appreciate it even more.

Sigh. To blessedly conclude this love letter/slightly unhinged ode to autumn:

A poem by John Keats, To Autumn.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

For my few readers: what’s your favorite time of year and why?

there’s a footprint on my heart! there’s a FOOTPRINT on my heart!

2 Aug

Because that’s what crushes are, right? In the end, your heart is crushed, dusty from the outline of the shoe that stamped all over it, you’ve eaten your entire daily caloric intake in one meal, and you’re alternating between man-hating tunes from Alanis Morrissette and tear-inducing tunes from every other lady singer. (Here’s to you, Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Tori Amos, and Joni Mitchell.)

No one can understand love who has not experienced infatuation. And no one can understand infatuation, no matter how many times he has experienced it.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
I thought my first crush was in the fourth grade. He was the spitting image of Michael Jackson, so naturally, I was quickly moony-eyed over the boy. However, my mother believes that my first crush was this guy:
Little Ricky Schroder. (He will always be little Ricky to me, always.) Apparently, as we watched The Champ, my mother says that I walked up to the television and placed my hand right on little Ricky’s televised cheek, stroking it. As far as little Ricky being my first crush, the jury’s out on that one. I may have been trying to comfort little Ricky and his tear-streaked face, being that The Champ arguably has the saddest ending of all time. (Watch it if you dare.) I don’t know if it was a crush then (I was about two years old at the time)…but it became one years later, when this show came out. Sigh…

Infatuation Love – a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker.

From the Michael Jackson look-alike to the thousands that came after, my journey down Infatuation Highway was filled with the usual impossibly long gazes, imagined gazebo weddings, smiles in my direction that propelled me straight to the moon, love letters stuffed in hall lockers (yes, I did that), and so much more. In the end, when reality and heartbreak would invariably finally set in, I would caution myself to never do it again. To let it all go. To stop it. To straighten up and fly right. To open my eyes. To stop essentially breaking my own heart, being that I always knew what the finale would be. To, to, to…until the next crush.

It’s so easy to be infatuated with someone but hard to find that someone who will catch you.
For a long time, however, I did keep to my promise. I was crush-free for a while. It was freeing. It was also utterly boring. So is that it, then? Are crushes a way to keep the old brain occupied? Rather than silence and boredom, do I long for the distraction of a crush? 

I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.Edna St. Vincent Millay

Or is it less about boredom and more about that feeling? There may be a footprint on the old aorta in the end, but my goodness, that feeling in the beginning. The giddiness, the butterflies in the belly, the simple sight of that person, the sweetness and craziness of it all—it just feels awesome. After all, it really has nothing to do with the individual, does it? It’s not love. Love is real. Infatuation is celluloid/matinee idols/8 year-old co-stars of The Champ/boys who may be jerks but are super cute/who grow up to be men who may be jerks but are super cute/so on and so emptily forth. But nothing beats that feeling, does it?

Cinderella didn’t love the Prince. She loved that shoe. – Kitten Heel Marvel

So what is it? What motivates me to break my own promises and allow the stars to fall right back into my eyes, when the outcome is pretty much unavoidable? Is it the distraction? The feeling? Footprint on the heart, remember? Infinitely crushed, bloated, angry because of Alanis, crying because of Joni? What is it?

The essence of love begins when infatuation ends. – Anonymous


Dissecting Europaitis.

7 Jun

This post might be better served on Kitten Heel Marvel’s more travel-y sister, The Lonely Passport. Nevertheless, I’ll take a more travel-y approach on the other post. This is more about how I’m currently feeling.

I want to move to Europe. Now.

Europaitis (noun) – the rapidly growing desire to find my way to Europe and begin a new life there. Synptoms include incessant daydreaming, looking an old photos of my trip to France and Switzerland, and mentally furnishing my apartment in any European city.

First off, I am constantly in move-somewhere-else flux. It’s wanting a change in my life, wanting new surroundings, wanting to meet new people, wanting, wanting, wanting. I wanted to move to California, something I discussed about on here. I wanted to move to Phoenix many moons ago, mostly because I was fascinated by the whole mythical bird thing and thought it would be beyond cool to live in a place that represented this metaphor. I wanted to move to Texas (low cost of living). I wanted to move to Connecticut (Angela Bower, Who’s the Boss, yeah). I wanted to move to Florida (no winters).

Europaitis is not new. But it’s potent. It surpasses all those other places. It’s real. It’s almost tangible. And I want to make it happen.


The voice inside my head: What is it about Europe? What is it about France or Italy or England or wherever? Am I romanticizing these places, based on books I’ve read or films I’ve seen or the fantasies I allow to frequently overwhelm my senses and my mind? Do I have the unrealistic view that a new place won’t mean old problems, old stresses, that blasted “same ole” quality about life that I’ve grown to highly disdain? Is this a want or a need?

The other voice inside my head: I’m going to figure out those answers.


Archie…and Other Things

4 Aug

So Archuleta has a new single. And, despite my raging bias, it’s such a cool song. Catchy, cool, and filled with enough material to transport me back to those adolescent days of old when what he’ s singing about was the constant theme of my day. Title? “Crush.”

What is it about infatuation that makes it both sweet and vomitous at the same time? Actually, that’s a fairly unecessary question. I know the answer: It’s gleeful to think of the possibilities. It’s time to throw up when you think of the realities. Simple. I made a little promise to myself eons ago to leave that childhood stuff alone. For the most part, the childhood stuff has been left alone. Once in a while, though, someone catches the eye and the old brain gets a little excited. But, with enough pessimism and discipline, the brain can be trained to refuse the fluff and return to far more important tasks, like how quickly I can itune Archuleta’s new summer jam. I love it so.



Sincerely, Taj

Dear World, I have stuff to say, so get cozy. Here, I've got cupcakes.

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