Tuesday, April 19, 2011

naked=freedom, maybe

for the last year or so i have been making choices to better myself and love who i am not matter what...part of this process was to move away from seattle and end up in los angeles. which i did eight months ago. in addition to the move i have been  moving forward into living my life as an artist, specifically in the areas of film making, sculpting, painting and maybe music (thanks to emily scott).  in the realm of personal progression i have been changing my diet and becoming aware of the foods that don't work with my physical make up (specifically dairy, sugar, and most grains) and which ones do (veggies, meat, soy, fruit, corn) as well as learning more about taking better care of my appearance...so that i can wake up most mornings and say "i like me"...working on the "and you should too damn it!" part of the equation.

reading life and fashion blogs by women of various shapes and sizes that upholds a broad sense of what beauty is has also been a space of healing....which leads to the thoughts of this post. on two of five blogs i read consistently, a good portion of the women post tasteful nude photos or pinup style photos of themselves to affirm the fact that women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, attractive and sexy. this idea reminds me of a film i saw a few years ago called "difigured" the story of which is about two women and their friendship...a plus size woman and an anorexic...what was most impactful about the movie for me, beyond the attempt to address body issues, was the fact that the sex scene was with the plus size woman. it was the first time i had EVER seen a film that featured REAL people expression sexuality and desire in that manner! so often most of us are shamed because our bodies don't fit into the narrow incarnation of what some asshole in some office looking down on the world deemed to be beautiful. and like lambs to the slaughter we all follow this fools negation of the broad and dynamic beauty in which the first creator designed and named as good! for various reasons we have been shamed into thinking that our bodies and bodiedness is bad...i could go off on this but won't let's just say that the greeks had a major part in this split between the body and the spirit and leave it at that for now.

 what strikes me is that as an artist there is something about natural forms of the body that i find interesting and freeing. when looking at older painters and sculptures there are so many incarnations of women who has weight and diversity to their physical form. while we were in las vegas, the land of tits and ass and exploitation (outside of the little nest here), i was impressed by all the "grecian" styled statues which held this more classical view of the body. some of my favorite pieces of art are well done nude photographs or painting.  yet as a woman and a former bulimic i have spent along time hating my own body railing against it...while also crushing the desire to be wanted, to have someone come a long and love what i saw as unlovable. i honestly could not answer the question, "what do you love about your self?" when men would show interest i would wonder which of my friends they were wanting to get to because of course they couldn't see me as anything more than a friend. this has been my flawed vision i see everyone around me as beautiful and capable of greatness but not myself...hell i'd be that person who is saving everyone else while drowning.  


over the course of the changes this year God has been working to offer me a different vision when it comes to how i see me. what that means is that i have needed to get in touch with who i am and what i want, instead of hiding it under the rug and hoping that when i pull it back in spring cleaning the fixing fairy will have come and made the repairs with out me having to deal with it. funny how that doesn't happen, instead i get to walk through my fears, to speak out the desire and fear that i bear in regard to me and who i am in relationship to others. as two of my best friends often says i get to "romance and fall in love with jessi". i am thinking that part of that process included becoming comfortable with my body in all it's naked glory...it means creating art that images the beauty of my unique form...it means being secure when the times comes to be naked with a lovely man, instead of fearing his disappointment....above all else it means that i will be able to yell from the roof tops that i am a wild, vibrant, talented, sexy, desirable, creative, attractive, smart, and wise woman who is uniquely gifted having much to offer to the world and those around her. and at some point being naked just might be a sign of freedom instead of mounting dread.

playing music in a room (NFTPL #48)

tonight after class i went and hung out with my friend who works at a practice studio...which in and of it's self is super cool! we talked about music and life and what not while bands came and went, she's a incredibly sweet, kind and talented lady. towards the end of the night she pulled out her guitar and we attempted to co-create music...and in moments it worked. we're both a bit nervous about our skills, she in her singing and guitar playing (both of which rock) and me about my voice and tendencies to miss the rhythms or whatnot. it was lovely to find those sacred moments of getting beyond your self to a place of connection. and now an hour later i am still wired with the desire to try again, well that and the diet coke i had after class. ever since i have come to los angeles i feel like i have embraced a freedom that is allowing me to be aware of open doors and take risks that i would not have taken before. just the act of being in a room with a friend and creating music is a HUGE risk for me to take. yet i did and hope to again soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

learning to play (NFTPL #47)

this video taken in my old home town of seattle was perfect for tonight...i love the passion of slam poetry and women who are not "typically" whatever the hell that means attractive shining brightly and this embodies it all.

watching this poet made me think about myself in regard to the battle i still have in seeing beauty and value there as a sexually attractive, vibrant, and desirous woman. one of the best things about living with my best friend is that the family mantra is to tell things strait and then tell the person they need to and can over come whatever is blocking them. this morning while driving home from the doctors shiloh told me that i needed to remove my glass see-through walls and embrace the fact that i am a talented, vibrant, yada yada woman...i want to do that. and yet there is this part of me that is holding back, still feeling safer in hiding behind things and under tables than coming out and allowing myself to play.

its the push pull of desire and fear the same reason that i have been thinking about pulling out my guitar and tuning it so i can begin to practice since last sunday morning but haven't as of yet actually done that. the same thing that makes me fall for men who i can't have because part of me deeply wants to connect with another person and well let's face it get to make-out and what-have-you but the other half of myself is holding hostage with the fear of failure and rejection. when my friend emily offered to set me up with a very cute musician she knows this week, part of me says "like yeah totally...why not" while the other half yells "fuck no that poor guy's gonna be so disappointed" it's the latter voice in my head that needs to get hit with a mack truck and then run back over until it's ding dong dead like the wicked witch in the wizard of oz. i mean seriously i am thirty one (oh my) years old and i still battle self-hatred and fear of rejection like a twelve year old on the first day of junior high school. come on, while i don't feel successful i have three degrees and am working currently on a fourth, i am very close to completing my first film project which incidentally is something i have wanted to do since i was nineteen and i want to keep doing until i die, i live in the city of angels and LOVE IT, i am well read, have great taste in music and film, and i create things, i am beautiful and a damn good friend and girlfriend (when the chance arises) there is no reason at all that i shouldn't be attracting wildly interesting and talented men! oh and last but not least i smell f-ing amazing in tobacco scents what's not to love!

and yet i can't seem to keep all that list and more in the forefront of my head most of the time...when i come with in range of an attractive and interesting man two things happen 1. i start pawing the ground like a submissive puppy b. i send off the i'm a bitch, i hate men don't fuck with me sign...either way no bueno. oddly enough men don't like those reactions. so why? why does this often happen when in reality i am so not like either of those incarnations...is it just that i need something like weed or valium to chill me out taking away the barriers? is it conditioned pavlovian response created from years of rejection? whatever the case it is something that i am having to retrain my brain to process.

i think a lot of what used to construct these walls comes from growing up and being raised to be a good fat girl who doesn't make waves and is submissive to those around her because she should apologize for taking up space and wanting and being good at something...yeah totally not me and yet i am still so bound to it. some where along the way i imbibed the idea that i couldn't be fully me because of yada yada yada reason and because i was a woman, what that meant was that i needed to not outshine the men in my life so i had to become less so they could become more...then i translated that into other relationships as well and thus began the lie machine. for years i feed myself a steady diet of this shit using it to cut away at my power and strength...well no more i can't live in this space anymore. i am choosing to move beyond fear in other areas of my life so why not this one too.

i plan on some day soon standing on a stage to sing or talk or paint or read poetry about freedom and beauty while being able to embrace it in myself...to say you know what buddy i am talented and beautiful and everything you thought you wanted and everything you didn't realize you needed all in one great lovely fire-cracking sex goddess...because i have said and believe it myself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

sex and death and tomorrow

i sit contemplating john updike and how for him in his writing sex and sexuality was a means for transcendence and connection to God...it seems fitting somehow in the moment. there is something so innately tangible about the connection between two people...maybe that's why in some of my worst moments i crave that kind of intimacy with another something real to bring me out of the pit and darkness that washes over me like a riptide or tsunami.

one of the lines from the film version of "high fidelity" that has always personified this need for me comes out of  the character laura after her father's funeral. she looks at rob and says "will you have sex with me? because i want to feel something else than this. it't either that or i go home and put my hand in the fire...unless you want to stub cigarettes out on my arm" now i get, having taken courses in counseling and psychology, that there is a bit of the destructive in these words. yet also being one who has suffered from depression i get the need to feel something other than sorrow, a sorrow so great that you need some kind of physicality that can jolt you back into the day light if only for a moment.

this evening i am holding the reality that my best friend is going to have surgery tomorrow, and in my own inhabitlity to handle this i understand updike's view of transcendence...because there is a space in my brain and heart which can't handle the fear and faith and chaos of this reality. so this little traitor camp just wants to connect with another or smoke until i am literally blue in the face or drink myself into a blitzed out state just to not have to sit in the presence of my fear and the reality that sometime in the future (possibly near) i will once again be faced with the loss of someone i love dearly and can't imagine my life without. this doesn't mean that my best friend will have any complications in fact she can't because i believe God has called her to so many more things which wouldn't be possible if she is gone...so everything will go well and after two long years she will catch a good break. but that still doesn't mean that i have processed the emotions and whatnot that this specific situation has brought up in me. no rather i am faced again with desire and want and need and very few outlets for those to be explored, which to some extent is all i want....exploration and fun to make sure i am ok.

updike also writes a lot about death...sex and death seem to be those things for him which jar us into the reality of life and spiritual presence. i find that in a sense he is so very true, both sex and death remind us that we are but humans the creative imago dei but not those who are able to live forever. in his story "lifeguard" updike writes this about sexual connection and there is something about it that i find i am drawn to..."To desire a woman is to desire to save her.  Anyone who has endured intercourse that was neither predatory nor hurried knows how through it we descend, with a partner, into the grotesque and delicate shadows that until then have remained locked in the most guarded recess of our soul:  into this harbor we bring her.  A vague and twisted terrain becomes inhabited; each shadow, touched by the exploration, blooms into a flower of act.  As if we are an island upon which a woman, tossed by her laboring vanity and blind self-seeking, is blown, and there finds security, until, an instant before the anticlimax, Nature with a smile thumps down her trump, and the island sinks beneath the sea.
There is a great truth in those motion pictures which are slandered as true neither to the Bible nor to life. " 
while i don't agree about the saving part it's the statement he makes about sex that feels like a bit of truth....which is possibly the reason that sex is a place where transcendence and connection is desired...especially when one feels disconnected or overwhelmed.

Monday, April 11, 2011

loving and it's cost..(NFTPL #46)

there are tears sitting on the back of my eyes waiting to get out...i realized that once again i can loose someone i love. as i lay there i thought about anne lamott who's book "all new people" i had just finished reading and how much loss she has suffered, her parents, lovers, friends and how she still moves forwards fulling risking her heart and loving God in her beautiful and honest way. i am so scared to loose more people i care about and love, yet i also don't want to be closed off to the incredible things love have to offer. as i write i think about my sage friend who loves well, has suffered great loss and continues to not only seek love and life but also encourages, in his own way, others to risk for love and life as well. there is something of Jesus in the choice to risk love with the possibility of loss...it is in a sense the dying to one's self. the self that is so scared of being hurt and left with a gaping hole that they don't even allow the person who goes into that hole to enter....love and intimacy is a risky bet, one where in the end there is always losses but like joy davision lewis said to her husband c.s. lewis "the joy now is part of the pain later".

lewis in his life took both approaches to love and loss, the first time he choose to close himself off to hurt, the second he choose to love even while knowing that death would bear his heart away with in a small amount of time because what he would have for that time was so tender and needed. even when it comes in the guise of a flower that blooms only for a brief moment and then is gone love is worth the cost...i remember as a child of six sitting on the playground bearing the weight of loss. my mother had miscarried my new baby sister six months into the pregnancy...even so young i was stabbed to the quick by the pain and ache of loss...even to this day twenty five years later i remember the sorrow of my child's heart. and yet i wonder if that is based in my own personal battle with dispare and loss...whatever the reason i know that risk for love is worthy and beautiful and in spite of my fears i can't imagine not loving and the gap that would exist in my life without it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

(NFTPL # 45)

this last saturday i FINALLY got to see ani difranco play...ani concerts and i have a long history. since my junior year of high school i have tried to see her play three times, each unsuccessfully, the last being the summer of my junior year of college which culminated in my breaking my foot the morning before i was going to go.

all of this to say i have waited a long time to see her play...through that time i have seen many concerts some which were incredible and some which left something to be desired...and while she and her band were lovely this show feel into the latter category. first of all the show was at the house of blues (which by the way i refuse to see another show at...unless it's brmc because honestly I would see them anywhere), the show was sold out (ie over sold) and we ended up standing literally in the doorway. secondly, which i admit was my fault, i was running on very little sleep from the evening before and feeling a bit cracked out which kicked my claustrophobia into full gear. then there were the drunk sorority girls in front of us who thought that it would be a lovely idea to dance in a f-king packed show and then get bitchy to everyone who they ran into! needless to say it was not a good way to enter a show. what was good about the show was watching how incredibly generous and aware ani was in regard to sharing/showing off the other three musicians who were playing with her...the renditions of the songs defiantly held a bit of the vibe of her current home new orleans...with jazz and blues undertones. my heart filled with tears of nostalgia and joy when she played "you had time".

yet what was interesting for me as my friend becca and i talked about the show after we left was how much i have gotten so used to the psychedelic rock, alt-country, indie-folk, and whatnot...especially concerts where there is such a profound connection between the audience and the artists...and often becoming a spiritually transcendent experience. the ani show was flat in comparison to these, and in that i realized that i now expect that kind of experience at a concert instead of being awed and blessed by the opportunity for transcendence. i find myself hoping for the black ryder show to come soon or for brmc to play somewhere around town just to get another transcendent music fix.

if you are interested in another's description of the concert here is a pretty well written review http://www.neontommy.com/news/2011/04/ani-difranco-doesnt-get-personal-house-blues

going back home...(NFTPL #43)

for the last few days i was visiting places that used to be home. it's a weird thing going back to places that used to be so familar and are no longer so...it brings an odd sense of recollection. it is true that one can't go home again, in my life home is not a place that is even capable of recreation. as i journied along these places which for a time were home i realized that for me home will always be that place where i am feeling most alive and connected. i hope and believe that home will always be the people i carry in and live with through my life, looking on ward i realize how much i want to travel and move about the world encountering beauty and life and friendship and love. with this desire i realize my life will be rooted in a people and a place but will be teathered by love as i venture to far off spaces. already i have been able to travel and experience some far off places...each one had beauty and history and connection.

as i flew back into los angeles last week and watched the clouds play peekaboo the island of catalina welcomed me home. for me right now los angeles is home, the place that i spent so many years wanting to live in and has become a place of flourishing. it is so weird to finally be at a place of loving my life and enjoying what is being offered.

a dream realized (NFTPL #44)

this weekend i acomplished something that i have been wanting to do for over ten years...make a film. after six months of work, shiloh and i produced and directed a short film and with that experience begins our production company. we still have much to do, editing being the first task at hand, but a lot of the process is completed. with in the next two weeks we will be submitting the edited version of this film to one of the bands that we would like to create with...same band we have been in communication with over the last two months. all of this has been filled with the balance of struggle and wonder...often with us turning to each other and saying something like "what the hell are we thinking...who does this?" yet we have been encouraged and blessed throughout this whole process and really believe to the core that we were called, this is not something we could have done on our own.

i find that with the coming completion of this project, i am looking towards what happens next? what is the next film project we will do? how can we convince my brother (our cinematographer) to move down and work with us more? what will happen with this band? who is the next band we want to work with?

it is such an odd place to be having realized a dream....