Week #34: Boy-quets

“No, really. Just do it. You have some kind of weird reasons that are okay.”—Paul Thomas Anderson

I don’t typically wear makeup because I value any amount sleep more than being sort of cuter (& blinking 10 times more frequently because my eyes are irritated). But as a girl, I’m glad it’s socially acceptable to have the option of painting my face sans being an extra in Braveheart or supporting my favorite sports team. Being a woman isn’t easy (reportedly, neither so is being a man), but we do have some awesome perks. We can choose pants or skirts, no problem (though Scottish men have got me there too), be enchanted by butterflies, rock a Bedazzler & a table saw, & chocolate? Can guys lay claim to an entire flavor—bacon doesn’t count, it’s God’s gift to everybody—but I think you get my point. Girls have it pretty lucky. We get to be pretty, pretty princesses & boys are generally supposed to spend money on us.

One of my guy friends recently gave me a book for my birthday with 1,000 ideas for AN52 things in it. So, as the last hours of the week approached without a project, I flipped through the pages & stumbled across one that was coincidentally poetic. Add to the fact that same guy friend wasn’t having the best day & I had to get groceries anyway, I bucked the norm, did what the book said & bought the boy a bouquet.

For such a small thing, I definitely got some good experience out of it. First of all, what flowers to choose? Piddly flowers wouldn’t do; like a floppy-armed hug, that would just kind of say, I don’t really want to do this. But an extravagant bouquet would be weird(er). I ended up picking some brightly dyed daisies with a majority of blue blooms (hehe—blue blooms—I like that), figuring it was a neutral-ish bouquet. I stopped by his house on the way home & his dad let me in. I explained to his parents what I was doing & also bribed them with ice cream so they wouldn’t feel left out. Waiting for him to come downstairs, I felt kind of strange standing there holding the flowers. All of the examples from history & cinema of such moments were running through my head & it seemed as if I was breaking some unwritten girl code. Luckily, he didn’t think it was (too) weird & no womaninjas came out of the woodwork to see that it never happened again. The weirdness feeling was gone (smiles will do that) & it was just good to see a friend having a little better day because of something goofy.

As one of my smaller, yet weirder AN52 projects, I think I’ll brand ‘Bouquets for Boys’ as a success. Flowers make almost all people smile & I like that—I think this perks sharing thing might become a habit. But chocolate’s still just for girls!

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Week #33: In which I melt

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” – Mark Twain

 

I’m currently re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy & it’s caused me to wonder what I would have done if I was put in Frodo’s place. After twirling around in my cloak & being horribly disgusted at my feet, I’d probably freak out. You see, I’m an avoider when it comes to most types of conflict, & lean much more towards If I can’t see it, it can’t get me than *draw Sting* & Attack!! When I’m uncomfortable or upset, I just don’t think about it; I distract myself or put on a smile. I know this method isn’t perfect, but it works for me because there aren’t a lot of things that stress me out. But once in a while, when I’m busy ignoring something, my body will speak up & say, “Hey, this really does bother you & I refuse to cooperate until you deal with it!” This week I somewhat addressed that, dealing with the physical results while simultaneously not really dealing with any of the actual problems (avoider double score!).

One of the main points of AN52 is to push myself into doing new things outside of my comfort zone, so I’m rather pleased with this week’s thing since it was definitely outside of my comfort zone. Getting a massage was never something I considered for myself; even though I’m a huge touch person, I have a weird thing about being touched sometimes. For example, I love giving scratching my friends’ backs (literally) & have no problem rubbing their feet or heads. It’s relaxing for me & is one of my favorite ways of sharing love. However, when someone offers to reciprocate in a similar manner, all I can think is, Oh, no, that’s weird :SJust guessing, it could be related to an acne problem I had when I was younger, but I don’t really know, & I’m fine with it because, hey, I’m quirky like that. But I digress…

After some online research, I set up appointments for a friend, her mom & I at a local massage parlor. With no idea what to expect, I just made sure I was showered & didn’t smell weird. The lady masseuse led me back to a small room where I nearly fell asleep on the massage table as she rubbed my back, neck, shoulders, feet & legs. It was weirdly wonderful & I wasn’t always sure whether I should say something or not (they say whatever you need to relax, but I just wanted to make sure that she knew I valued her as a person & not just for her hands (so glad I didn’t try to say that to her, I’m so weird…)). We ended up having brief conversations punctuated by me trying not to drool. It seriously was one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever experienced. If only everything outside my comfort zone made me melt in a puddle like fully programmable flesh matter….

Week #32: Frivolous, fantastic facts

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” – Dr. Seuss

What’s the purpose of a salad fork? Is it just unnecessary extravagance or is there a higher calling? We love to have things customized, specialized to be just right. Like when I was in elementary school & was convinced I had like 10 different laughs. The donkey, the giggle, the hyper-ventilator—each one had its own purpose & specific use. It was all bupkus, but enjoyable bupkus nonetheless.

Frivolity & nonsense on small things is one of the rights  we should all take payment out often, I think. Even though I believe this, explaining this next AN52 thing to interested parties was a bit ticklish on my embarrassment bone. A bunch of my friends are LARPers & I can now say that I am one too. LARPing or Live Action Role-Playing is where groups of people come together in a grand adventure of make-believe & duct tape. It’s not all ‘lightning bolts‘ & crazy costumes, but it is at least some, because that’s part of the fun of it.

With my typical style, I created my five characters each to have customized outfits, accents, weapons, specialties, etc. At least, that’s the general idea; as is also my style, I ran out of time & had to cut corners on a few things (hemming went right out the door). The general idea of the LARP was a medieval world inhabited by humans, elves & darklings (malevolent tree huggers); for an added interest factor, assassination & general roguishness were encouraged. Rosie was a somewhat vacuous, yet romantically-inclined & well intentioned to a fault barmaid. Huna the Peddler picked the middle of a battle to sell trinkets & then got slaughtered by a wraith. My token darkling, Orem, wandered around the woods for a bit & re-deaded a zombie. Phil the thief was shaping up to be one of my favorite characters in the first & only minute of her life right before she got assassinated. Gwenog was a deceptive assassin with a dark secret & the only one of my characters to actually score a kill. Even though I died & died (& died & died &…), the LARP was hot, dusty, scratchy & a ton of fun. I didn’t know several of the other LARPers, but the ‘into-it-ness’ was evident from the guy wearing the entire get up (including leather ankle armor) to the 11-year-old boys who were living & breathing their characters.

LARPing has taken hold as the epitome of dorkiness, geekiness, weirdness, & dances on the outlying social standards of acceptability. It’s superfluous & yet gets tons of time & money poured into it (like fantasy football). It’s frivolous, fantastic & totally necessary.

Week #31: Food for thought

“Just because we don t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.” – Madeleine L’Engle

As has happened several times in my AN52 experience, the end of the week rolled around & I still wasn’t quite certain as to what my project would be. I was super swamped this week (Thursday was an 16-hour workday), but I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t acknowledge my penchant & proclivity for procrastination (& altogether avoidable alliteration). Lights were beginning to flash “Red Alert” as Saturday had arrived & was slipping by hour by hour when, as they’re wont to do, things just worked out.

A college friend had invited me to have lunch with her & a couple of local friends since she’s leaving soon to serve as a missionary in South America. I was a little late, as usual, but she reassured me that she that it was fine, she was still waiting on another mutual friend of ours. When our friend finally showed up, he had brought his boyfriend with him.

Now, I don’t always pick things up, because my brain is usually busy being entertaining, but when our friend started talking, he mentioned getting a marriage license & traveling to Iowa or California somewhere & I slowly began to understand the situation. Just to clarify, before today, I did not know this guy was gay (we knew each other from college, but hadn’t been in touch for several years). I had met his partner before, but he had never been introduced as his significant other.

Homosexuality is not something that I have been hugely exposed to on a personal level & thoughts along the line of, How should I react? Should I say something? What’s the best thing for me to do in this situation? immediately began racing through my head. Christian & homosexual subcultures have been battling back & forth for at least the last decade in a complicated blend of agendas, social acceptance & buzzwords, but as to what overall answers &/or guidelines on day-to-day behavior have been produced, I cannot say.

As a Christian, Jesus calls me to love & love fiercely & that is something I strive to do, but haven’t quite figured out yet. As my friend & his partner were with us at the table, I thought of how my disagreement with how they had chosen to live their lives wasn’t going to change their minds or save their souls. The idea that silence is consent played through my brain, but I also knew that that these men were not asking for or needing my consent. The only thing that I could accomplish with my time with them was to reach out to them as I try to do with everyone whom I encounter & to interact with them in a way that says, I value you. That’s it. No “Come to Jesus” moment or deep, philosophical talk on why they are homosexual or how it’s wrong or why they should care. Just, “What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you at work?” & “My nickname in high school was Tooters” & crazily enough, I left the table with a peace about our time together. Maybe I had failed & maybe I didn’t do all that I could have. But I’ll cling to love, as imperfect of a handle that I have on it, & do my best to heed the Spirit’s guidance the next time I meet another person who’s just like me—messed up & loved outrageously by the God who holds all hearts.

If that’s not intentional enough of a AN52 thing for you, I also tried beef tongue today, something I have never done before. While I didn’t have a problem with the taste (reminded me of pork chops), it’s not a dish I anticipate returning to (eating something with taste buds just throws me off) in the future.

 

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