I have massive insecurities about my body. Like many people, these insecurities stem from lots of teasing/taunting from childhood into adulthood. I wish compliments permeated as well as insults. It doesn’t matter how exhaustive the time spent on my body/nutrition is; it all comes down to one thing: it’s never enough. I rarely view my reflection with affection.
I have gratitude though; yoga gave me a different angle. My mat became an extension of me. I’d gaze down at my body in movement, or holding a pose (asanas, yes?) and feel pride. But the self-doubt consumed me – the obsession with image disturbs me. And the search for perfection continues (or whatever my brain has deemed perfection).
Really, I love all bodies; all sizes from the super skinny to the larger scaled. I have a different point of what I like for myself. My most wanted figure is athletic, tiny chested, with an ass that says, “I did 100 squats for breakfast.” And the journey toward that has been long, man. Mostly KO’d by disastrous affairs with prosecco, and a self-medicated relationship with chocolate.
We’re all beautiful. I love every single person for what defines them, physically and intellectually. I just wish I gave myself the same love.
My Grandmom Gert smoked Winston’s. I would sit outside with her and she would tell me stories about her childhood that would make me laugh and feel sad all at once. She was an expressive story teller; her eyes would widen, her hands would gesture, her laugh had a ripple effect. She could be crass, snarky, and brutal with her depiction of people who let her down.
I feel close to her ’til this day.
When I was (maybe) twenty years old she had been dead for a year and I can recall laying on the side of our pool with a pack of cigarettes I had purchased on my own. I chose Marlboro Lights; the brand my best friend was using before she finally quit. I was never a smoker, but felt the drive to be a part of whatever made the people I love do it. I lit it up and probably didn’t inhale properly.
I let the cigarette burn up quickly as it sat inbetween my fingers, half of my leg dangling in the pool. I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel my grandmom’s stories sweep over me and take away the loss. And I never smoked again.
via Daily Prompt: Smoke
I’m cranky and the car in front of me isn’t helping. They are moving slow, and I’m sure it’s on purpose. Despite my annoyance I’m careful to never tailgate people; I don’t like road rage in myself or in others. I like to ask myself: what if they’re sick? What if someone in their lives is sick? What are the circumstances in their life? Are they in pain?
Even if they are none of these things, who am I to dictate how other people drive?
I keep a good distance but I remain annoyed. I look over to my right and there’s a man on a bicycle. He’s dressed in dark khaki shorts and a black and white striped top. It looks like he might even be wearing sandals on this (relatively) chilly Florida day. I see him reach for dangling Spanish moss from the trees he’s passing under. As he flies by me he lets it dance in the wind from his hand in a childlike manner.
I watch him eventually discard it, but this moment quiets me. It quiets my irritation, and makes me long to be surrounded by people who look at life with wonder.
There it is, that familiar feeling of bubbling anger. It’s always a slow boil for me. Sometimes I’m not even sure if it’ll even start boiling. A lot of times I take the pot off the stove and abandon the dish entirely. Hey, I’ll eat it cold.
I deal with anger by talking myself out of it. I like diplomacy, I like to tell myself I’m wrong and handle things with care. Diplomacy outside of politics is defined as the art of dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way. I think that’s beautiful. There are other ways to react or feel, and to be quick to anger seems unnecessary.
But sometimes it can’t be helped, and before I know it the water is all over the fucking place. Hissing and staining the stove top. Telling me in an insensitive yet very effective way: I didn’t take care to watch my pot.
There is a very uniquely styled, plus-size, sea foam green hair sporting Asian who works four doors away from my office. She wears a-line dresses with a variety of patterns, and tights which never coordinate, with colorful sneakers or boots with thick socks. Her expression is often solemn and indifferent; she never really looks back at me. She does not say hi and when I walk by her or with her to the restroom we are closest to, we never exchange niceties.
My favorite dress of hers is dark purple with constellations all over it.
Her roots have grown in and they are marked by the way she styles her hair. Often in two sloppily styled ponytails or some braids. When her hair is down her bangs fluff up into random directions.
I find myself wondering how wildly dull I am to her, but my hello stays in the back of my throat and I wash my hands as she dries hers and we resume our respective work days.
I have a recurring nightmare about a great wave approaching, and like any reasonable person after said nightmare I immediately set to the task of googling what the wave symbolizes every time I dream about it.
My dream is always a bit different. Sometimes I’m on a luxury ship (once with my three year old niece, another time with my boyfriend) trying to protect them as the wave s l o w l y builds from a distance. Other times I am a victim, being chased by an unidentifiable man while the wave approaches to alter the circumstance in which I’d be (happily) killed by it instead of him.
This time was completely different. I was on a beach I had never been to. It was dark, yet crowded with people sitting on the surf, much in the way people would at a night concert. Everyone was looking at their smart phones, and while this would seem strange to real-life me? Dream-me waded in the water unblinking. I was with my mother and she did the same, but she was also looking at her smart phone. I don’t recall having mine.
I looked straight toward the horizon and I saw the wave as it began to grow. I remember thinking, “Is this really what’s going to happen? I thought I was done with this nightmare.” But it washed over everyone and we were swept away with it. More waves grew and hit us relentlessly; we were thrust about and I allowed it to happen, I didn’t have a fight in me. I don’t think I wondered where my mom was, I knew she could take care of herself.
My nightmare shifted into something strange. I was living under the water, walking on the ocean floor. Others were doing the same, I even found my mom happily sorting through her handmade Ravello ceramic pottery. It was in that moment I realized all of my possessions were around me, but I ignored them. Instead I looked intently for my boyfriend’s PS3 which was recently gifted to him (though he rarely plays with it) and became frantic thinking I destroyed it with the waves.
I woke up wondering if this was a strange sort of resolution to the fear of the wave overtaking me. But unsettled over what it meant to survive and live with it.
There is a woman who every day at a quarter past twelve leaves her office building and lights up a Virginia Slim. I only know it’s a Virginia Slim because of its distinct narrow and long appearance (it was also my grandmother’s brand of choice).
The woman also looks like her name might be Virginia.
Virginia let’s her cigarette dangle elegantly from her mouth as she enters the sunlight and walks purposefully toward a small pod in the complex. Once she arrives she will pace and intermittently take drags with her two fingers very close to her mouth.
Virginia always wears mid-length skirts with low heels. The pattern and color of her outfits vary; she has no routine palette. She has a slight backward arch to her torso and she moves languidly, yet there’s a strange alertness to her. Her face, masked with sunglasses, rarely looks anywhere but directly in front of her. Sometimes she chats softly on her phone, other times she simply lets her cigarette dangle from her mouth.
Her age is observable by some faint wrinkles on her tanned arms, always exposed under Florida’s persistent heat. Her hair is light blonde (perhaps dyed but never neglected) and freely maintained in that she allows wisps of it to frame her face.
She walks back to her office in a timely manner, and I’m left wondering what her life is truly like outside of this mediocrity.