Yet Another Post About Temptation…

Whew…hang on a sec.

Whew…sorry…hot flash…menopause and all.

Speaking of being on fire, have you ever looked at the image of Santa Anima Sola and wondered if the Catholic church is correct in their interpretation of the sacred image? I mean, their interpretation is that she is a woman engulfed in the fire of true love, a love so genuine that she promised to allow her immortal soul to burn in the flames of the sacrificial fires…if only her love would reciprocate…

Really?

I mean, I don’t know about you, but she looks to me like she’s intentionally there, burning not in the fire of some sacrifice for true love which occurs all the time with all sorts of relationships, but rather in the fires of temptation. Yes indeed, that gal is expressing her intense pleasure in temptation in all of its forms and glory.

As you well know, I love temptation. It is for me a very temporary state, and it is amusing for me to challenge myself to contests of will, since as you know, I have little willpower when it comes to pleasure. So I enjoy seeing how long I can go without giving in, without losing, without succumbing to that naughty entity in her naughty nurse uniform…temptation. After long enough of resisting, I usually get bored…or give in. Then the next one comes along. It’s a hysterical game and I love it.

There is of course, one exception to my affection for Oscar Wilde’s favorite weakness…as there usually is with any great pleasure…is that temptation, when it is put before you…only vary rarely, and for short moments, glances, and all the while, you know, if you were tempted for only a moment longer, you’d weaken…break your diet, break your word, break your stride, you’d have no sense, and you would be better for it, and let’s face it, you’re already pretty magnificent. You know that it would be something that whether satisfying or not, would give you a sugar rush from hell, just with the wickedness of the indulgence. Whether it was everything that you expected, or whether it was amusing at best, it was most definitely a bucket list moment, a memory for the family Bible, just for that one moment, that giving up and giving in, that satisfaction of eating that second helping of enchiladas.

You know this.

Then…

then the damn gods on high reach down and sounding like hippie parents on crack, slap the shit out of you and then offer you some respite, a way out, a bit of help in your weakness. They totally cock block you and you are left, aching in your belly, but with a lightness of shoulders that you are left to be strong with your usual temptations, you are left with the taste of the sea in your mouth but grateful that your lungs are clear.

That…my friends…is the temptation which I hate, the one that makes you hunger and your mouth water…that which teases and taunts and torments like demons themselves. Ugh…those annoying demons.

Whew…okay…hot flash…

Boooooteafull

We all love beauty. Beauty varies in meaning, representation, media and so forth. We are fond of the deities who represent and rule over beauty. Beauty can be everything from necks stretched to dangerous lengths to unibrows and moustaches. It can be tattoos and it can be freckles. red hair and birthmarks. It can be surgically altered boobies and it can be mystically altered wrinkles.

Beauty is…spiritual. It is a representation of so many things, from genetic influence to social standards, religious practice and cultural norms. Beauty is rarely, if ever, actually understood as spiritual…in fact, in some cultures, beauty has been seen as a curse, as in the most beautiful girl in a village being sacrificed to the gods, women in religious organizations being made to cover their beauty in some sort of perceived reverence to the gods, when in reality, the gods made you beautiful to honor them, to exhibit their greatness, to show off to each other. Hiding it is nothing more than spurning divine gifts, but you know me, I totally believe in the whole adages of “to each their own” and “to thine own self be true” and yet, it does make me sad.

Anyway, beauty…in its spiritual form, is magnificent. It’s all about seeing oneself and others in this way that we recognize this beauty in each…and…every…one.

I love some beauticians, yes I know they aren’t called that anymore but then again, I did say that I was going to buy a Walkman just the other day. These beauticians, including my own, see into the soul not only of the customer, but also into his or her inner self, that part that wants to walk away from that chair, feeling better, feeling changed, feeling as if they had just been baptized by Venus herself. Those magnificent men and women who every day make someone feel better about themselves, not because of a haircut, facial or makeover, manicure, waxing or pedicure, but because they see into what their clients want and need to see in the mirror, what they want and need to feel when they looked in the mirror…and they do what they can to make that image come to the surface. to bring that beauty from the inside, all the way out into the open. Those are the great beauticians, the magicians, the alchemists of appearance.

I know that in this day and age, there’s a ton of discrimination based on looks, there are children on websites rating each other’s beauty, even adults on dating sites can now rate the appearance of other potential matches. In a world where beauty is a focus, I shouldn’t go on and on about beauty…and yet, the great beauticians agree with me, everyone is beautiful, you just have to look.

I Can Bring Home the Bacon…

Okay, it’s true, I can’t fry it up in a pan. The roommate does all of the cooking of meat. Wait…where was I? Oh right…work.

So…I just started a new normal job. This was my first week. It’s a call center job, specifically working for a pharmacy benefits management company. So far, it’s enlightening. I enjoy it, and I am being paid far more than many local call centers pay. However, I am a temp for the time being. No big deal right?

Well, according to many of my classmates in training, it’s far too hard and demanding to make that “little” of money. It’s far too hard and demanding to be temporary workers with no guarantee of permanence.

Huh?!

See, my thinking…and this is even with the fact that I do make money with my mystical and minister and counseling work, is that I am so fucking grateful to have this job! I mean, I make enough to pay my bills and have something extra, I make enough that I could feasibly live on my own. I am not required to cover my tattoos, I have weekends off, I have evenings free, and I type and talk to folks all day long, two of my favorite things. I am grateful to the gods, to the saints, to the demons and the angels and the fairies (totally kidding about that one, the fairies hate me), and whatever spirits may have helped out in my finding and being hired at this job. I don’t care if it’s not guaranteed permanence, and I am thrilled with what I’m being paid.

I don’t understand the current commonality of entitlement that so many people suffer from. I really don’t. I don’t get why, in this horrific economy, there is such a different state of being than there was in the Great Depression. Whereas then, there was a blanket of gratefulness and graciousness, a feeling of gratitude for whatever one might be provided with, job, roof, food, etc. Now, and yes, I do realize that the economy is not what it was during the Depression, but it is pretty awful, but there is this feeling of “I deserve” or “I am owed” and it causes much sorrow and confusion within my little brain, and you know how much I hate sorrow and confusion.

Is this a new thing? Is it because my generation and those which came after were born into eras of MTV and Reality T.V.? I really don’t know…I didn’t get that far into my Sociology studies. What I do know, is that these folks…most of whom claim to believe in some god or entity, in that entity’s ability to bless and provide for them…just don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept of gratitude. They think that because they exist, they ought to just get what they want…and the Stones can kiss their own asses. They want more…more…more, but don’t want to have to earn, work for, or deserve more.

It’s funny, this whole immigration issue is going on and just going mad, but while my loved ones who have issues with undocumented immigrants, themselves on state assistance, in every single case, with more issues than I can name here, my loved ones who indeed are undocumented immigrants, are in most cases, working one or more jobs, mentally healthy, spiritually alive, and grateful and gracious for their every single opportunity.

It’s rough sometimes…where my mind goes. I think I’m going to go have a drink.

Landscaping

I’ll bet you dirty birds are thinking that this post is going to be all about the grooming which is commonly known as landscaping…you dirty birds!

Nope, this post is about yard work…specifically landscapers. I recently heard an acquaintance say that she won’t date landscapers because they don’t have real jobs. I looked at her and made one of my super duper ugly expressions…one of those ones that screams “You’re an idiot!” while still not verbally offending anyone.

“A real job? What’s a real job?” I asked my acquaintance, genuinely curious about what her explanation of a real job would be. She told me that she just felt like field workers, farm workers, landscapers and gardeners didn’t have real jobs, that they were more hobbies or jobs that people get when they aren’t smart enough to get a real job. So I responded with my usual “hmmmm” and waited for the inevitable “Does that make sense?” that came out of her mouth. Cue…my opinion.

“Well, no, not really. I don’t understand how a vegetarian who receives most of her sustenance from the grocery store, a Wiccan who spends much of her life in nature, and the daughter of a botany major might consider those jobs to be less important, less real than other jobs. If you are simply prejudiced and feel that most landscapers and gardeners, field workers and farm workers might be undocumented immigrants, than your socio-political views are tainting your recognition that these jobs contribute to the flora which you appreciate so much. Without these workers, you wouldn’t have most of the things that you live with. So I’m not really sure that your statement makes sense.”

My acquaintance, stunned by that realization, more so than she should have been, then had one thing to say…

“Did you just call me a racist?”

“No, I called you prejudiced. Which is true.”

“I’m not!”

“When you believe a generalization about a group of people, and that belief leads you to a negative emotional or mental response to that group…such as believing that those jobs are not real jobs, it is a prejudice.”

At this point, the acquaintance was flustered and getting angry, and although I do love setting off heightened conversations, I decided that this one wasn’t one that I wanted to have, so I just looked out over the lovely park and smirked, “Wow, this landscaping is just perfect, true art!”

Two Juliets

The roommate’s unfixed female cats are horny for the next door neighbor’s unfixed male cat. The girls squeeze their big hairy black butts up onto the windowsill and lament their inability to push the screen out and be ravaged by the naughty tomcat. They’re completely disinterested in playing as they usually do, and only for a second come and stand in front of us, wailing about our barbarism.

This got me to thinking about love triangles. Not the ones where nobody knows about anyone else, one person keeping a secret from two others, but the ones where it’s all hanging out in the open. I got to thinking about those women, the ones who know that there is someone else, that there is another woman out there, doing things to the same man that she herself does things to…when it’s her turn.

Of course, I’m not talking about single folks, those of us who remain single simply because we’re aware of our inability to commit to only one. I’m talking about those gals who consider that they are indeed in what they consider to be a relationship, but they stand by their men when it comes to infidelity.

There are a lot of reasons that gals stay. The kids, the money, or even the love, can keep them in blinders and binders. They figure what’s a little infidelity if I’ve got a roof over my head and food in my belly. What’s a little infidelity if he still loves me. The other gal…well she thinks the same thing…what’s the big deal, as long as he still loves me.

This is all so far, just fine and dandy. Except, it doesn’t usually end there, does it? It isn’t like the old days when mistresses were simply another person in a man’s life. No, now, gals confront each other, they beat the shit out of each other, they toss curses at each other, and they even kill each other, all over this love which they’re sure that if they could just get rid of the other woman…that love would be impenetrable. Then, when they scare off the other one…guess what usually happens…that’s right, another one shows up…right out of the woodwork. Then it all happens again.

I wonder why that is? Why the Juliets of the world are so content to attack each other, rather than find a Romeo who has hands for no one else? Why she would abandon her desire for devotion, in order to assault another woman who feels the same way that she does?

I wonder why, once a woman has decided that she can live with the infidelity, she does not then understand that she and the perceived other woman share a common commitment, a common adoration, one that is often more powerful than the most dangerous addiction. I wonder why she does not then, after this decision that she recognizes that fidelity is not in her future with the man of her dreams, embrace the other woman, share not only their man, but their sorrow as well, their fears, their insecurities, supporting each other in their mutual love for this man.

Like the tomcat who sits outside the window and smirks and purrs at the roommate’s cats, there are those men who cannot choose, who may not even want to choose. There are those men who, although they do want a relationship, someone to whom they can come home at night, they also want that extra love, that adoration by an outside entity, that place to go when home is not as welcoming. I know, I know, you may think that they are dogs, these men of whom I speak, but admit it, we’ve all loved one of those dogs at one time or another. Like that tomcat, they are charming, witty, seductive and are unusually capable of loving each of the women in their lives, leaving nobody feeling unsatisfied. It is why we love them, it is why we so easily forgive them, it is why they exist.

The Second Amendment

I have a neighbor who has a permit to carry. Now this of course is no big deal, I know a few people who have permits to carry. They do not however, walk around with the loaded guns on their hips and patrol their neighborhoods while terrorizing the neighbors. My neighbor, does just this.

He wanders around the apartment complex, from sundown to sunup, at varying times, with a faux military jacket, a big bright flashlight, a ball cap and yes, his loaded gun. He looks over his big beer belly at his neighbors, tells them to return to their homes, to go back inside, and he argues with police officers about his Second Amendment right.

Now, my pistol packing neighbor also sets off fireworks on apartment grounds, writes the second amendment all over walls, the parking lot and anywhere that he can find a spot on which to write his favorite amendment. He scares off dumpster divers, the homeless folks living in the woods behind the apartments, and tries very hard to scare off those of us who are of a darker skinned persuasion.

I actually feel sorry for my neighbor. I feel bad that his brain is so caught up in this one specific purpose in life, that he doesn’t realize how idiotic he seems, how simply ridiculous he appears.

He could get a community action group together, or a neighborhood watch group, he could get a group together to clean up the cigarette butts, dog poop, and garbage from the grounds, he could join together with his neighbors and his apartment manager and pass out flyers to each door, talking about issues that affect us, such as noise complaints or unattended little ones. My neighbor could make a real difference instead of just tilting at windmills, threatening folks who are no danger to his home community.

Instead, my neighbor simply seems like that crazy old man, we all know him, the one who yells at the kids, moans about how life was so much simpler when Blacks and Whites couldn’t use the same bathrooms, who brandishes his rifle just because he legally has the right to, and swears that he’s going to shoot you if you don’t stop smiling at him. My neighbor just makes me sad, that his life…his purpose in life as he sees it, is to turn his apartment complex, a piece of property which he does not own, into some type of police state, with him as the policing entity.

I feel sorry for his fear, his extreme fear of change, of growth, of modernization and of these times a’changing. I feel sorry for him, that he is stuck in some sort of time continuum, where he believes that he can burn witches at stakes, drown the disabled, and make sure that the pure White race is the leader of the pack.

I really do. I feel sorry for him.

However, this does not stop me from being angry. I am super angry. I am angry that he is not sued by the police to have his carry permit revoked because he is fucking insane. I am angry that the entire neighborhood has not stood up to him and made him move. If he wants to have a loaded gun in his home and protect his own home, more power to him…but if I need protecting, I will choose my protector. I am angry that he has taken it upon himself to police our neighborhood, when some of us could care less about dumpster divers and the homeless looking for tossed out loaves of bread and mismatched socks. I am angry that he has taken it upon himself to tell his neighbors to go back into their homes, making it impossible to stand outside on a warm summer night and have a cigarette or just look at the stars.

He may be developmentally disabled. I’m not sure, I’ve never actually had a conversation with him. His interactions with me have been limited to glaring at me, the tattooed Mexican who has Santisima Muerte candles in her bedroom window. I keep waiting for him to ask me if he can see my papers. I’m going to answer him in the only Spanish I know, which will pretty much translate to “I need to use the bathroom and go to the hospital because you are a mother fucking cuckold.” However, he strikes me as being developmentally disabled. He reminds me of the folks who have lived in group homes and institutions for their entire lives and have very specific things that they like and are pretty disturbed with any change.

Don’t get me wrong…I get the passion for the Second Amendment. I too believe that sane, psychologically healthy folks absolutely should have the right to bear arms and so forth. I get it. What I don’t get is why it seems that the idiots of the country are the only ones taking advantage of that right. I mean, if it isn’t some kid shooting his sister because his idiot parents didn’t unload and lock their gun up, or even teach their kids about firearm safety, it’s some nut case heading off and shooting folks because he needed a hug and a cup of hot cocoa.

See, this is why I don’t take advantage of that right. I know that I would just go over to his apartment, knock on his door, slap him in the face with a leather glove and toss it down onto the ground and challenge him to a duel.

Of course…he’d probably just decline because I’m a woman.

Ennui

I had a pretty interesting dream last night. One of my brothers-in-law was sitting at a coffee shop with me…in fact, it was a former Salem coffee shop which I loved but is now closed. He was telling me that he didn’t love being a father anymore, he never realized being married was going to be so fucking tiring, and that he didn’t know what to do anymore because he was just going through the motions now. So the conversation continued and he told me that sometimes he just wants to leave and start over, and I stopped him, I said “Do you love them?” He said “Yes.” I said “So then isn’t it your responsibility to make your life more fulfilling so that you’re not feeling so apathetic? Or should they just constantly entertain you?” Then I woke up.

Unfortunately, my dream brother-in-law, perhaps physically representing his own apathy, had no face…or at least I was unable to see his face in my dream. Now, this of course means that I can’t call the sister whose brother-in-law appeared in my dream and ask her how things are going.

So, I know it wasn’t my youngest sister’s husband, since they don’t have children and he is a towering teddy bear whose physique could not be mistaken for anyone else. Now, the roommate says that the animals, and they have many, are like children, and definitely exhausting for both my sister and her husband, so I suppose it could still be him. It can’t be my brother-in-law in Tennessee, because in the years that he and my sister have been married, I’ve never even heard him say “shit” let alone “fucking tiring” and his accent is unmistakeable. It could be my brother-in-law in Ohio, I haven’t ever met him so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he showed up faceless in a dream. So this leaves two other potential brothers-in-law…maybe.

Honestly, I am not going to look too deeply into my dream, after all it was just a dream, and I really don’t give a flying nun which brother-in-law it was. I’m fairly certain that it was just a dream, no vision, not a premonition, just a simple dream…but then it got me to thinking…isn’t that true?

I know that I do it…I get bored and I just replace what or whom I have become bored with. I too have been replaced upon becoming tedious…I know, it’s hard to believe.

Why do we think that it is somebody external who is responsible for our fulfillment, our entertainment, alleviation of our apathy?

The truth is, it can’t be anybody else who is responsible for that because well…they don’t ACTUALLY know us. I mean, nobody really knows any other individual better than that individual. My loved ones might know that I love to swim, but many probably don’t know that I prefer the ocean to the pool, they might know that I love the color orange but not know that the shade of orange that I most adore is burnt rust orange.

So when we’re bored, when life has become tedious, when your lover, whom you still love, just seems to be not in your realm of pleasure any longer…well contrary to what Pat Robertson might think, it isn’t your lover’s responsibility to entertain you, to keep your life from being tedious. It’s yours. More often than not, our boredom is of ourselves, not of others.

I despise the song Afternoon Delight. Sorry, I know it’s a favorite, but to me, it’s not a song about rediscovering love, it’s a song about going to cheat, and something divine intervening, some chance happening occurring which prevented the couple’s descent into shame and sorrow. However, I DO like that they realize that they’ve been thinking the same thing, that each of them have been longing for something more, and weren’t even aware enough, responsible enough, mature enough, to mention it to each other.

We depend so much on others to give us a passion for life, an inspiration for something great, we depend on them being our muses, the clearing of our blocks, whether artistic or otherwise. We search for people who will electrify us, who will breathe life into us, who will quicken us. Unfortunately, those others are usually searching for the same thing…and just don’t have anything to give when we need it.

What if we did that for ourselves? What if we were the key to starting our own engines, a self contained entity capable of igniting its own abilities, future, dreams and passions? What if we loved ourselves so much that those around us were party to our lust for life and therefore joined in, becoming active participants, rather than each person dragging the next, trying to figure out what would or might inspire them? Would marriages be stronger? Would lovers last longer? Would the ennui, so common to life, fade into the background, waiting for a turn on the dance floor that would rarely come?

Like the characters sung about in Afternoon Delight, sometimes folks have spent so much time together that they forget that they are individuals, and yet they also forget what they once loved about each other, what they once loved about themselves. Sometimes, like those same characters, they have the moment of epiphany, realizing that they still have many of those same loves, and some new ones as well.

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