Category: Me

I’m Cool Like That

There are some things in life that are inherently uncool: Taking advantage of people who trust you. Farting at the dinner table. Bad tipping. Posting pics of people on facebook without asking them first. But there are other things in life that are only uncool for some people. For those who can work it, well, they MAKE it cool. Think Debbie Harry and her dark roots, Andre 3000 in a bowtie, Steve Martin playing the banjo. They work it like Hilary at a fund raising rally. It takes real chutzpah to make the uncool cool. And i LOVE it when i see someone do it!

But today… Today i am thinking about those things that i either wish were cool or wish i could rock hard enough to make cool. Things i do without thinking, they are so much a part of me, that embarrass my children and become the subject of funny family stories. So here they are: Momma Hol’s list of Stuff That Should Be Cool…

1. Dancing in the supermarket. I can’t help it. The background music gets inside me and my legs start to bounce. Before i know it, i’m standing in the pasta aisle practicing the electric slide as i push my cart. Sometimes i just channel Bert and do the Pigeon. I have seen and heard people giggle. Rather than feeling stupid, i choose to view my contribution to their laughter as adding sunshine to their day. And that is cool. FLASH MOB AT THE PIGGLY WIGGLY! EVERYONE DO THE HUSTLE!

2. Moderate hoarding. I wish people came to my house, saw the obscene number of books, yarns and tea (my top weaknesses) and said, “Man, she is AWESOME! It’s like Granny’s attic in here! How cool is that?!” I realize that is unlikely to happen, but a girl can hope.

3. Penny loafers. They were cool once. How hard can it be to bring them back? I love my Bass loafers. They are comfy. They look very New England prep (which my weedlings seem to think is synonymous with “dorky”). I won’t give up wearing them. Even if they never come back. Blame it on New England of the 70s and 80s. Or blame it on my dubious fashion sense. But i still wish they were cool.

4. Wrinkles. Even if i had Madonna’s plastic surgeon, i’d still have lines. I have spent more money than i care to admit trying to erase them, but like rumors of Tom Cruise’s sanity, they refuse to go away. Now, i admit, there are wrinkled people who are cool: Sean Connery, Judi Dench, Morgan Freeman… But they are cool in spite of their wrinkles, not because of them. (Ok, i admit, i’d settle for in spite of too). But wouldn’t it be fantastic if aging was just, well, cool? Something to strive for…

5. Random singing. Especially Christmas songs. Yes, i do this. My “go-to” song is, Let It Snow, but i have also been known to break into Born Free or the theme from The Love Boat. Song taste aside, singing makes me happy. I’m not Streisand, but i’m not tone deaf either, so it’s not like i’m gonna hurt anyone’s ears doing it. Usually, people laugh and roll their eyes. Unless they know me, and then they ignore it. Or they are my weedlings, and then they join in. It would be so cool if everyone joined in. Like that old coke commercial at Christmas (You know the one i mean…. And now it is stuck in your head. Ha!)

6. Bum-less-ness. I have tried working out: squats and lunges and bikes. I’ve danced my whole life. I walk. I flex. All to no avail. I’ve got a tiny butt. Ugh. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find jeans that look good if you have no bum? Might as well try to find a self-frying chicken. Pants are made to make butts look smaller or perkier. Make mine look smaller, and from the back, i look like i need a penny collection box on Halloween. But that is only because the world reveres a BeyoncĂ© bum. What if the desirable thing were a rag doll bum? Wouldn’t that be a great change for those of us gluteally bereft? TOOKIS DEPRIVED WOMEN UNITE! Let’s make scrawny butts cool! (And once we accomplish that, lets go for saggy boobs and bunions!)

7. Snoring. I’ve been sitting here for ages and i can’t think of anything that makes snoring sound remotely cool. Maybe i should just beg my kids not to make fun of me for it and hope they take pity.

8. Being a morning person. Some people live for the nightlife, but as i read on an e-card the other day, “I am the life of party… As long as the party ends before 9 O’clock.” I prefer mornings, all fresh and crisp and full of promise. I am one of those who generally wakes up in the morning with a smile on my face. And yes, i usually do it before sun-up. That’s when i’m at my creative and energetic best. Once the sun goes over the yardarm, however, i’m about as peppy as a roadkill possum. It’s unfortunate, since all the good parties and movies start after dark. The morning people of the world, all 23 of us, are unable to give our full enthusiasm. It would be nice, for a change, if all the cool stuff happened in the morning. Liam Neeson is throwing a Charity bash at 9 am on Saturday! And you’re invited! Man, i’d be at all the cool events. Might even get my picture in the social column of the paper. Give the city a chance to see my cool wrinkles in print.

None of these things is ever likely to be cool. But i am. Kinda. Well, a little, anyway. To someone. Somewhere. I mean, everyone is cool to someone, right? But it’s not like it matters. All these uncool things are a part of me. And just like that nasty fish sauce they use in Thai cuisine, the final dish isn’t quite as flavorful without it. A spoonful of sugar may make the medicine go down, but a sprinkling of sea salt makes the caramel more sublime. If i were a wiser person, i’d say that i wouldn’t change any of the things on this list… They help make me who i am. But i’d also have to be a more deceitful person, since i honestly would love to wake up one morning and have a spectacular ass. I can live without it, tho. I have other traits that make up for it. I can’t make the rest of the world suddenly love mornings, but i can pull up next to you at the stoplight and start belting out the songs from Rent, and that might make you smile. Or laugh. At me. But go right ahead. Laugh at me. I can take it. I’m cool like that.

It’s Mine, And You Can’t Have It

I was talking to a friend about my new tattoo this morning. And he asked me a question that i really had to think about:

“Why?”

I’ve heard other people answer that question. “It’s artistic expression.” “I wanted to honor an event/person important to me.” “I like them.” “Why not?” … But none of these things is my reason. And i think there is a good chance it isn’t their real reason either. After all, tattoos are expensive, painful, and not always socially acceptable. Seems to me that it would take more than “But i really like Dumbledore. He inspires me!” to get his portrait tattooed on your boob (The one on your body, not the one you dated for 3 years.)

Given that i am about to dedicate most of a day to being needled, i started giving the answer to this question some hard thought. Why AM i doing it? For the fourth time, no less.

The answer, when i dig deep, is both selfish and therapeutic. I get tattoos because it is essentially inscribing my body with a serial number, marking this body as MINE. Just MINE. Not yours. Not his. Or his. Or his. MINE. I have claimed it, decorated it to suit me, placed my mark upon it so no one can ever again take it from me. I OWN IT. ME. GET IT????? ME!!! MEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry. I got carried away.

But this is important stuff. From the literal perspective of being molested or abused, to the more foggy vision of a society that dichotomously imposes both chastity and sexualization; as a woman, it takes bravery to take a stand, make a choice, reclaim what is ours. Whether flappers showing their knees or Kate Hepburn wearing pants, history is resplendant with women making choices about their appearance that disquiet others. I suppose you could argue that, in a sense, you are marking it so no one else will want it. And i do believe there are some who are so injured and broken that they do. But most of us still have vanity and pride. We don’t want to be ugly. We want to be special. Unique. OURS. And when someone comes along that is worthy, they will think it as beautiful as we do. But they will always know that our body is OUR home, OUR posession, OUR self. And if they get a piece of it, it is by OUR choice. And the ink is proof.

I will never be a woman totally covered in ink. I’ve spent a lifetime learning to love my body as it is, and that would defeat the purpose. And it’s not my style. Even when i paint pictures, i like to leave a lot of white space. That being said, each tattoo does change the way i look at my body. It becomes more MINE. My thoughts are broadcast outwards so anyone astute enough to my wavelength can see how my mind works. But even if they “get it”, my body doesn’t become any more “theirs” than any other work of art. They are just able to appreciate it on a deeper level.

Each of my tats has special meaning to me. My first one was designed by my daughter as a gift. One is a rendering by a girl who was working hard to draw instead of cut. One is a sweet reminder of the softer parts of my childhood. Today? Today is a reminder of my force within. Strength, beauty, magic. My artist “gets it”. She has brought it to life. Now there can be no dispute as to who i am and what i am worth. It is displayed in a mural on my back. A blood and flesh and ink declaration of content and ownership. The manifest of my bodily ship. A delineation of the soul inside the skin. My soul.

Maybe to some, a tattoo is just a tattoo, and a cigar is just a cigar. But i like to think that i am not alone in my “why”. I like the idea of a sister- and brotherhood using the art form as a way to break a chain. To stake a claim. To draw our line in the sand. This body is no longer a generic Honda Civic. It is a custom car, built of God/Goddess/Universe’s love and painted with flair and personal style. It isn’t for sale or rent. I have the only key. And you have no say in which roads it travels. This body, this unique and wonderful work of art, this is mine. All mine. And now the world knows.

I’m An Expert

Twice today i was asked for advice. One was on a topic i am well-versed in. The other was about something that, well, i had to ask myself if they sent the text to me by accident. Surely no one who knows me would use my take on the subject as anything but humor. In any case, it got me to thinking… In my life, i have seen a lot, been thru a lot. I guess that makes me a decent source of advice for quite a few things. But i’m not the Highlander, so there are still many life experiences i have yet to deal with. Shall we rummage thru a general list, in case you should ever need my advice?

– I have traveled quite a bit outside the country. If you need advice on compact packing, surviving layovers, approaching locals, or how to carry your money safely, i’m your gal. But my sense of style is based on practicality, comfort, and looking classier than i am… So if you want advice on how to fit 4 pair of slut shoes into your carryon, you’ve got the wrong broad.

– Given my line of work, i can give you a decent explanation of tests and conditions relating to Cardiology, Radiology and women’s health. And as a mother of three with long term MDD, i have a reasonable grasp of childhood ailments and mental health. I am happy to impart what knowledge i can. But please don’t ask me if your neurologist is taking proper care of your brain tumor or if you should see a dermatologist about that boil on your bum. I have no flipping idea. (And i REALLY don’t want to see that boil!)

– I spent a generous part of my childhood in a home where alcohol, drugs and various types of abuse were routine. I will help anyone i can to deal with those circumstances or the scars they leave, as my sister and i are living proof that you don’t have to succumb to statistics. But after all we went thru, please don’t ask me to help you put another person thru it. That just makes me want to hurt you.

– I have been married and divorced three times. Two of those, with the fathers of my children, remain amicable. So if you want advice on how to keep a civil relationship after divorce or how to co-parent with an ex, i can give you some ideas that will hopefully get you started on a good path. I can also tell you what i know about divorce law. But if you want my advice on marriage, you might want to request my advice on mental health instead. Just sayin’.

– I have studied and taken extensive college courses in comparative religion. I love good discourse on faith and spirituality, and i am blessed to know people of various religions who are good walking examples of their faiths. If you need a sounding board for your evolving faith or need someone to accompany you to a new religious service, just ask. But if you want me to condone your defamation of a religion that you don’t like, just go ahead and kiss my arse. That’s what it will come to.

– Since i minored in cultural geography in college, see the last bullet for other cultures as well.

– I am a Star Trek fan. If you want a good old-fashioned debate on Kirk vs. Picard, the evolution of the Klingon Empire, or why i think Jadzia Dax was the sexiest ST character EVER, i will be more than happy to do so. Especially after a glass of wine. But ask me about Star Wars, and i’ll start quoting Space Balls on you.

– I can quilt, crochet, sew, and tat lace… But i don’t have the attention span to do large or intricate projects in spite of the fact that i keep my closet stocked for them. So if you are in need for chartreuse yarn and the store has already closed, give me a call. If you want to learn to make a granny square or how to do Irish Chain, invite me over for coffee. If you ask how long it would take me to alter and re-line your brother-in-law’s authentic Civil War reenactment uniform… The very real answer is, “Longer than it takes to read Crime and Punishment.”

– I am a 48 year old woman with kids, curves, and scars. If you want some brand names of large-cup bras that do their job, i’ll let you rifle thru my bureau. If you slip your 22 year old size 2 body into a pair of see-thru jeggings and ask me if they make your ass look fat, my only advice will be some authentic Italian hand gestures.

– I am a tea whore. Seriously. I love the taste, smell and tradition of tea. I buy from a Master Blender, and i can identify the teas “notes” like others deconstruct wine. Tea is my both my caffeine and my valium. The making of it is therapeutic to me. If you are looking for a perfect blend or want to put together a tea gift basket, i am full of ideas! If you want to know how many lipton bags to put in your windowsill iced tea jug, you are out of luck.

– I am a writer. I love words. Especially ones that make you laugh or think. If you received a thoughtful gift and want to word a special thank you, if you are doing the crossword and need an eight letter word for “unreal” , if you got a snarky email and need a witty retort… Honey, i’m all about it. But if you ask me to proofread a message that is essentially a string of texting vernacular, expect to get a raised eyebrow and a witty retort.

– Lastly, what i write on here is who i am. For better or for worse, this is me. If you are having to host a dinner party that includes a rabbi, a Croatian fish farmer, and a transvestite, i’d be happy to attend and keep everyone involved in the conversation. Hopefully, i will also keep them all laughing and help them realize that we all have a lot in common. But if you need someone to speak on the tragedy of orphan beatings at a general assembly of the Papal council, for the love of God, don’t ask me!

We all have our areas of expertise. Every single human on this Earth has a gift that is meant to be shared and wisdom that is meant to be imparted. Most of us have a fair idea of what we can speak intelligently about in times of crisis. To identify the ones who have no idea? Ask them what they can’t tell you about.