Friday, February 16, 2007
eye candy friday -- boys in the front
Maybe it's leftover Valentine's sentimentality, or maybe it's the monthly hormone shift, but today I am thinking about how much my life has been shaped by men. Not just shaped, but gifted. I am not a woman who can't have female friendships, thank God, and my life is as rich as it is because I am deeply connected to a number of unique, spirited women. But there is something about that Y chromosome that presents me with particular growth opportunities. I am calling them opportunities for growth rather than challenges to overcome because I like to keep things positive like that. (I've been watching Oprah since 1782, I'm no dummy.) I have known frustration, yes, but I owe so much of the tender way I've come to see myself to the men who saw me that way long before I could.
Perhaps it's because they don't have to deal with the aforementioned monthly emotional blitzkrieg that the men I know pretty much play it as it lies. I don't know for sure. But what I do know is that, with them, there's not much flare for the dramatic. Don't get me wrong, to me a life without a bit of Sturm und Drang is a life unobserved, but who can live in that space all the time?
Years ago, before I crossed over, I bought a Mac laptop. I was a struggling graduate student trying to make ends meet with the help of student loans and I knew I'd be paying for that Mac a few times over before it was all said and done. So when the thing came I felt like my entire future hinged on its performance. The moment I laid eyes on it, there were, well... expectations. More accurately, I opened the box and waited for the laptop to hop out and propose to me, then whisk me off in its jet airliner to my favorite Caribbean hideaway.
Not only did this not happen, which, when I think about it, was a wee bit unrealistic, but when I went to put in a CD, the drive wouldn't open. I tried and tried to get the thing to pop, but it wouldn't, and eventually its door fell off. This left me in a simpering heap, where I stayed until Schmin happened along. He looked at me there, crying and poking at the computer, and asked calmly, What's the matter with you?
I blubbered something about God being against me and all the fates and the saints conspiring to force me to carve out my ovaries because my brand new out-of-the-box laptop was no good and now I was going to lose precious life moments in sending it back and waiting for it to be repaired and hopefully this wasn't the beginning of a long period of scourge, drought, and locusts attacking the earth.
Schmin looked at the laptop, but not as long or as intensely as I wanted him to, then looked at me again and said, You didn't want a broken one, did you?
Through his words, the wisdom of the Universe finally began making to me: Shit happens.
A broken laptop was what I had, there was no other reality, and if I didn't want it, why was I crying over it? Especially when the thing I did supposedly want was just a phone call away?
I would have to accept the Great What Is -- not my specialty, I tell you -- and send the laptop back, because no, I did not want a broken one, I wanted one that worked. Planning hara-kiri because I couldn't let go of what I'd never had was over the top.
But I couldn't let it go because I had already developed an attachment to the pain I felt over it. Schmin, who was maybe 12 at the time, saw this right off the bat.
Years later I still hear those words: You didn't want a broken one, did you?
I see the way my son looked at me, the way his expression conveyed This is the fact of the matter, deal with this instead of illusion and you will be okay. I hear the lesson he wanted to me to learn -- Go easy. On myself. On the world.