Sunday, January 31, 2010

Getting Rich

I want more money. I realize that's rather an ungrateful thing to say given that my income still puts me in the top seven percent of wage earners world wide. But it's true none the less. I want more money. Given my current situation, I'm always teetering on the edge of financial disaster. I mean, I pay my rent, my childcare, my bills, every month. I feed my kids, though perhaps not as healthily as I'd like to. Thankfully they get most of their meals at daycare each day, and they're able to provide a more balanced diet than I am. I'm able to get a few extras here and there. I can buy an album of music I like from time to time. Every once in awhile I'm able to buy myself or my kids some new clothes or shoes. But if one of us gets seriously hurt or ill, or in the case of my youngest, needs more medication for existing conditions, then I'm pretty much screwed.

But that's not the only reason I want more money. I feel powerless. I admit that ideally, there are some things I'd like to be able to buy without hesitation: music, art from friends, and admittedly new clothes from time to time (although I'm really not that big a clothes horse. I keep all the clothes I own in my closet, and it's not even crowded). I don't need much more out of life than these things. I don't mind small houses; I eventually hope to live and work somewhere where I won't need a car for daily transportation. I don't want to get rich so I can accumulate more stuff (except for where the music, art etc. comes in). But I do want more money so that I have more freedom and don't spend a lot of my time worrying about what happens if something disastrous happens.

Perhaps the last reason I want more money is that I'm tired of not being able to help out. When the earthquake struck Haiti, when the hurricane struck New Orleans, when the tsunami hit India, I wasn't able to give really anything to the organizations over there providing aide. I did contribute a little. Don't get me wrong, I realize that if I can afford a new album here or there I can also afford to give some money to charity. And I try to make sacrifices in my personal wants when I feel like someone else needs my money more immediately. But I'd like to do both some day. I'd like to be able to surround myself with the beautiful things in life as well as help others have those things.

Those of you who know me in real life know that I'm making a move toward hopefully improving my financial situation (I have to be vague as I don't want this getting to my employers yet). But am I being naive? Does more earning ability automatically make one greedy? Am I going to forget this desire to live small and simply and compassionately when I'm bringing home a bigger pay check? Also, for my readers who may still be working toward being settled in, what do you hope for once you feel like you've reached a point of financial stability? For those of you who feel relatively well established, what do you enjoy in life? What are your concerns now?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I want to talk about hair. The hair on my head, the hair under my arms, the hair on my legs and the hair "down there" (read that phrase in a Vogue magazine one time and liked it. Dunno why).

I'm recently learning to love the hair on my head. As you can tell from my profile pic, I'm a brunette. What may not be quite as obvious, is that it's also curly. Not kinky curly, not wavy, but an odd mixture of curls and waves that have a mind of their own. Now, the color of my hair has never bothered me. I'm not one to get highlights or colors put in my hair. I've done it before and liked it, but it seems impractical given my budget and time constraints. But as I said, recently I've learned how to take care of my hair and what products keep it in some semblance of order (or artful disorder, as the case may be). So it's longer than it's been in years, and I'm generally satisfied with how it looks.

I'm really not sure what the hair under my arms looks like. I started shaving it when I was about 14 (I was a late bloomer. I'm sure it's earlier for a lot of women). So all I know about it is that it's dark and gets stubbly after a couple of days without meeting my razor. However, since becoming familiar with Amanda "Fucking" Palmer and her brazen ways, I'm considering changing that. It's not that I mind shaving. Many, many men shave their faces or at least parts of their faces everyday. This isn't necessarily an issue I'm spending a lot of feminist energy on. But I'm tired of shaving under my arms. I'm not entirely certain whether I will or not, but watching a woman like AFP be successful and confident and beautiful all the while having hairy pits... Well, why not? It'd save me that much more time in the mornings (I am not a morning person. I get up in *just* enough time to shower and get my ass out the door).

Now for the hair on my legs. Honestly? I like my legs to be bald. I like the way they feel when I rub them up against each other and they're all smooth. And I like how even cotton sheets feel like satin after I've shaved. So chances are, I'm gonna keep shaving them. I didn't start shaving them til I was in my mid teens. I simply didn't want to mess with it. But if I recall correctly, my leg hair, while dark, is rather fine. So I think I could probably go without shaving them. But I'm not gonna. 'Cause I like it :)

While I like my legs to be bald, I do not like bald pussy. These words by Eve Ensler (in the first chapter of her Vagina Monologues) were incredibly comforting to me, "You have to love hair in order to love the vagina. You can't pick the parts you want." And yet, most underclothing and bathing suit styles nowadays insist that women should be completely bald, except for their heads. Well, sorry. I ain't buyin' it. I mean, I do buy bathing suits and panties. But I don't buy the idea that I should have to be bald. Not down there. However, as I said earlier, I haven't been expending a lot of feminist energy on this. I'll be quite frank, I do some maintenance down there. I mean, folks trim and shave the hair on their heads and faces (or legs and armpits). So I don't see it as being far fetched to do the same to pubic hair. But I refuse to shave it or wax it into non-existence.

Ultimately what I'm saying is that from here on out, my hair will be about me. About what I'm comfortable with, enjoy etc. I'm tired of it being about a larger cultural beauty standard. AFP tweeted this today, "hopefully ... we'll change the cultural beauty & shaving standard this year." And that's what I hope for as well. I have enough things to worry about. I'm tired of this being one of them.

How about my few readers (bless your enduring, "omg, here Lessie goes again, and we're reading anyway" hearts)? How do you all feel about your hair? All of it? Do you like your hair long? Short? Do you like smooth legs or a more natural look? Are you a wild and bushy type down there? Or do you like a hairless look (cause seriously, I really don't care either way)? Do any of these things bother you? Worry you? I wanna hear.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sorting Memories

So my ex moved to a new apartment this weekend and found a few boxes of my things that had inadvertently gone to him when we split. Living in a shoebox as I do, I've been going through the boxes all day long so I can get them out of my livingroom as quickly as possible. It's been a trying day.

At this point in my life, I still see my marriage as something that I failed miserably at. I went through the boxes and found receipts and pamphlets from the several get-rich-quick and personal business opportunities that A and I invested in. We literally dumped thousands of dollars on Mary Kay cosmetics, ACN phone company, real estate investment companies and financial advisers. I winced each time I pulled out an item we had put so much hope and expectancy into and that had ultimately only caused us to lose more money. I'm not saying these businesses have never been successful for some, but my ex and I had to learn the hard way at least three different times to figure out that we're just not good at sales. What's worse, each of these ventures caused all kinds of friction in our marriage as we would blame the other one for wasting so much money and time on something that we knew they weren't going to succeed at.

Other boxes are full of cards and letters. Some of them from well-wishers when we got married, some of them to and from each other when we were dating or first married. Some of them from my mom. But most all of them painful reminders of a me that I don't really even remember. I look back on the time that those letters recall as one of doubt and fear. I don't remember the happy, love-smitten, spiritual giant that they describe. It's kept me wondering all day which was more authentic, the person all those cards and letters are talking to or the person that I remember?

Still other boxes are full of baby blankets that people made for our oldest son when he was born. I assume I received these simply because my ex didn't want to have to store them anymore. Still, they bring back ambivalent times. The months leading up to, during and after T's birth are some of the most painful and dark in my recent memory. They exposed a side of my ex that I hadn't known existed up to that point. The happy puppies and teddy bears on the blue and yellow backgrounds just seem flat and burdensome now.

So I guess ultimately what I'm asking is, what do I do with all this stuff? I have such limited space. My little apartment is already bursting at the seams with papers and pictures that the boys bring home from school and daycare. There's not a lot of room for much more. But at the same time, I'm reluctant to get rid of everything in those boxes. As painful as the memories are, they were a real part of my life, and I feel a need to hang on to some of it. Suggestions for sorting through all this mess would be great. How do you decide which memories to keep and which ones to toss?