Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Here are just a few interesting moments from working in the shop this past weekend.
-Customer walks to the counter with a leather bound journal to purchase and hands me a credit card to pay for it.
Me: May I please see your ID?
Customer: I am old enough to buy a journal. Look they sold me beer *holds up his beer to prove he is of age*
Me: *Raises eyebrow at him*
Customer: *looks confused for a moment before look of realization comes across his face* Oh...you want my ID to make sure the credit card isn't stolen. You weren't carding me for the journal.
Me: How many beers have you had this morning?
-Two customers looking at the statues of different Gods and mythological icons.
Customer 1: Why do they have two Poseidons?
Customer 2: They don't. One is Poseidon and one is Neptune.
Customer 1: Aren't they the same person?
Customer 2: Not exactly. One is a Greek God and the other is a Roman God.
Customer 1: So same God, different name?
Customer 2: Pretty much. Like Hades and Ares, both gods of the underworld, one is Greek one is Roman.
Random customer eavesdropping: Wow you really killed that smart vibe you had going there for a minute.
Customer 2: What?
Random customer: Hades and Ares are both Greek. Hades rules the underworld, Ares is the war God. Pluto is the Roman God of the underworld.
Customer 2: *looking flustered* Whatever *walks away with customer 1*
Random customers friend: Dude how they hell did you know that?
Random customer: *shrugs* I watched a lot of Xena as a kid.
-A man in his mid 40's and his mother are looking at rings and he has the typical wide eyed reaction to me in a bodice.
Man: How do you get your boobs to do that?
Me: I get dressed?
(The mother referred to me as Big Bada Bosom the rest of the time they were in the shop much to her sons dismay)
-Two middle aged women looking at the jewelry in our case and see the tray of silver pentacles.
Woman 1: Are those Jewish?
Woman 2: Stars of David?
Coworker: The Star of David has six points, these have 5.
Woman 1: So are they like evil devil worship signs?
Coworker: No not really.
Woman 2: Well why do they always show it in movies when evil devil worshipers are doing stuff?
Coworker: Well Hollywood tends to like to use symbols people don't understand for whatever they like.
Woman 1: So it isn't evil?
Coworker: Well you can take it to mean whatever you like, but typically no, not evil.
Me: A five pointed star in a circle is meant to be a sign of protection and peace.
Woman 1: Oh I like that.
Friday, November 7, 2014
I am not really picky about the format my stories come in. I am just as happy to pick up a book as I am to turn on the TV or go out to the movies. The rather impressive collection of books and DVD's in my house is proof enough of this.
I am also not really a genre snob. You will find a little of everything on my shelves. High fantasy books sit happily next to leather bound classics, which are in turn nestled up against my collection of paranormal smut. If you look at my movies shelves you will find Bram Stokers Dracula sandwiched between Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog and Easter Parade.
As a lover and collector of stories there is one thing that I find so incredibly vexing that I have actually lost sleep over it; unfinished stories. There is nothing worse than having an author stop writing a book series for whatever reason or having a TV series cancelled before the story has ended. I have actually been known to watch shows I don't particularly enjoy or books I am not fond of just to see how the story ends. So you can imagine how distressing I find it when a series I enjoy doesn't ever get its ending.
Early on in my relationship with the husbeast he introduced me to the Wheel of Time book series. I believe at that time Robert Jordan was somewhere around book 8. Jordan was one of those authors who took his time writing each of his books. He wasn't as bad as George R.R. Martin is (or so I am told, I don't read those books) but it was enough to make most of his fans overly anxious.
I stopped reading the books around book five because it had gotten to the point that I needed a flow chart to keep the characters and their past lives straight. I was still interested in the story though, so I would have the husbeast just tell me what happened in the other books to satisfy my need to know. It was a system that worked well for us.
Robert Jordan sadly became ill before he had finished the series and all of his fans were left terrified that he would pass away before he had finished telling this epic tale. Luckily for us he managed to write out several key chapters for the last few books as well as audibly tell the end of the story to his family and another author so that the story could be finished.
While the Wheel of Time got its ending, there are so many other stories that will never have an end. Authors die unexpectedly, shows get cancelled, or any other number of things happen that cut short well loved stories before their time has come. We the audience are left to forever wonder how the story might have ended.
Sure I could just use my over active imagination and write my own ending to the story. That is always an option, and it is one I have employed on several occasions. It is never really satisfying though. I am always left to wonder where the original author or creator would have taken the story. I want to know what they intended for their creation.
While book series that end prematurely are often times because the author has passed away, TV shows and movies are often given an early termination because ratings do not please the financially concerned executives that give them life. I wish, in this situation, that there was a place where the writers could go and just tell the fans, no matter how small the fan base is, what they had intended to do with the rest of the story.
I would love to see a place where the answers to the pressing questions that are left behind are answered. I mean most of the time when a series is cancelled there was some form of cliffhanger at the end of the last season. Farscape fans were horrified by the last episode of the last season and until Peacekeeper wars was thankfully made their last image of the story was incredibly unsatisfying and disturbing.
Not every series is going to get that wrap up made for TV movie. Most series are just going to leave you wondering if the character that was left bleeding on the floor of a basement actually died, or if the bad guy was ever caught, or if the boy actually gets the girl. Most cancelled series will just leave you full of disappointment and questions and that is sad.
I know some writers don't want to tell the ending of the stories without actually telling it. Just blurting out the ending without actually creating the story in some medium seems wrong to them, which I can understand to a point. This still does not stop me from really wanting them to just tell the ending anyways because in a way I feel that their audience deserves it, but more importantly the characters deserve it. I try not to be one of those demanding sorts of people who expect things of others but seriously don't start a story and then leave people hanging.
Alas a magical database of the endings to unfinished stories will never be. Characters will forever be left in limbo and questions will forever be unanswered. I will have to be content with the endings that I created in my own mind and move on to the next story.
Thankfully there are always more stories.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
We measure our lives in time. Whether it be the smallest second or decades we only know this unit of measurement for telling how long it has been sense an event has occurred.
The problem with time is it is not accurate. Sure you know technically how many minutes or days have passed but when was the last time when you were waiting for time to pass that it felt accurate?
We have all lived through the two hour second or looked back on a single year and were unable to fathom how you could do so much in just a year. Time really is just an illusion. It is what we do in that time that is real.
Today, for me, 10 is the number that matters. Ten years to be specific. Ten years which marks almost 1/3 of my life. Ten years which encompasses so much more than that measure of time can describe.
Ten years ago today I said I didn't care about pretty dresses or girlish dreams. Ten years ago I said that all the fluff and trappings didn't matter. Ten years ago I said the only thing in the world that was important was being married to my husbeast come days end; and it still is the only thing that matters.
Since that night ten years have passed but I am here to tell you that it has been so much more than that. Truly I feel that a lifetime has passed in this time. I can not wrap my brain around how we have shared so much love and so many adventures in such a short amount of time.
I know there are people who would argue that a decade is a long time. Surely in an age of famous celebrity marriages that last barely a month ten years really is a lifetime. For me though it seems like a drop in the bucket.
This last decade has been hard at times but more often it has been good. Together in this time the husbeast and I have gone on many great adventures, done many scary new things, and laughed enough to power the world for ten generations to come. I don't know how we managed it all in just ten years.
What I do know for certain is that time might not seem real but everything that has happened is certainly the real McCoy. It doesn't matter how long they took it just matters that they happened.
You say ten years. I say an immeasurable lifetime.
To my love, my friend, my husbeast; here is to this lifetime and so many more to come no matter how it gets measured.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Where have you gone?
I find as I look around myself you are nowhere to be found. I can remember a time when you were so vibrant and real, living in the world with such enthusiasm for life. You were always creating such wonderful ideas, joyful music, and even melancholy prose at times. I could never miss seeing you as you would not be hidden by even the largest of shadows.
Now you are gone. Now you seem to simply exist on the surface instead of being an active part of this fragile fleeting thing we know as life. You have been reduced to shared infografics, marginally accurate personality quizzes, and cat memes. Your original content has been lost in some faceless algorithm which now defines you more than a poorly thought out profile bio.
Even when we are together you are not there. You are trapped behind a wall of pixels and the shackles of free wifi. The non goings on of a society of robots takes the foreground to reality. An electronic thumb symbol has replaced a genuine smile or simple touch.
I watch as you lose your empathy and grow your narcissism with every vain selfie that you vomit up. You try and show yourself to the world by removing yourself from the here and now with every snap of the lens and Instagram filter.
Perhaps I am to blame as I too have disengaged. I am just as guilty of hiding behind the home row on my keyboard eagerly awaiting the next bit of digital voyeurism to come my way. I too have found the safe malaise of what we have come to accept as life.
I want to be better, I do. It is just lonely here now. You have all gone away and I am not sure you even realize it. I miss you.
Please come back to me and to the world. Say your own words instead of puppeting back the seemingly profound words of others. We have stopped creating anything new, and it is destroying all of us. Make your own music, write your own stories, be your own philosopher.For your own good. For the good of the future.
Start living again. Do not be a slave to your job and to your life; live it. Even if it is only in the small moments, live it. Make the most of everything you can because it will all be gone far too soon. In the end you won't lie waiting for your last breath thinking of silly cats, annual incomes, or whether you are thin enough. You will remember a gentle kiss, joyous laughter, painful tears, and smiling faces.
Make sure you have a full lifetime of these things to remember.
Please come back to me, I promise I will be a better person.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
I should seriously learn to not underestimate the depth and breadth of a subject. I have been pondering on this post for almost two weeks now and I still haven't come up with a satisfactory answer to the question of 'What is love?'.
Here is the problem; love is complicated. I think that love is perhaps the most complicated simple subject in the world. I could give you the Webster definition of love but after reading it I realized that it is completely lacking in accuracy. It makes the whole concept far too simple to be a true definition of what love is.
English uses only one word for love, which is a problem in some ways. We use context clues, inflection, and adjectives to determine the type and severity of love instead of mucking about with multiple words to mean love. Most other languages do the opposite and assign a different word for different types of love; Sanskrit, ancient Persian, Eskimo, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Arabic, and the list goes on.
What all of these languages point out by having multiple words for love, is the fact that love is very complicated. There is not just one type of love. The love you have for your significant other is different than the love you have for your children, or for your parents, or for a friend, or for a book series, or for your pets, or for those really cute sling back sandals, or for cheese.
When it comes to love of a person you can love someone but not be in love with them, which adds an entirely different layer of complication into the entire love scenario because loving and being in love are two different things completely. Of course it is hard to explain the difference to someone who has never actually been in love with someone before. Quantifying the concept of being in love will typically leave you with analogies to bright lights, fuzzy feelings, butterflies in your stomach, radiating warmth, contentedness, and joy, but nothing truly concrete.
So what is love?
Love is unpredictable. Love is messy. Love is caustic. Love is terrifying. Love is one sided. Love is fickle. Love is fleeting.
I bet those were not the things you were expecting me to say. Allow me to elaborate.
Love is this ridiculously complicated emotion that has no real rhyme or reason to it. You feel love towards people and things generally because they make you happy and feel comfortable and good. This is a wonderful thing. The problem is that just because you love something or someone does not mean that your affection will be returned. It is a total crap shoot.
Whether it is love for a friend, a family member, or a lover, there is absolutely no guarantee that they will love you back or that their love will remain true. This is why relationships end; people fall out of love all the time. Those warm happy feelings that we initially have for people can fade over time. They call time a test for a reason people; not everyone passes that test.
This is a very sad truth about love that you have to be willing to accept. It is not all sunshine and lollipops and if you don't accept that, you will someday be in for a very rude awakening. At some point in your life you will feel the bitter sting of lost love.
And that is enough from the cynical realist side of things.
Once you move past the downfalls of love (which I desperately hope you can move past them) you are left with all the good happy things. Love is a wonderful thing that fills you with joy and happiness. At its most basic form, that is all that love is; happiness. Loving someone or something means that they make you happy. Easy peasy.
I had a friend in high school who used to get freaked out when I said I loved him. It was the truth, I loved him. I was not IN love with him, but I loved him none the less. I come from a family that is very big on loving people and letting them know that you love them, so sharing this affection with others is in no way weird to me. He wasn't from such an open background.
We finally came to the conclusion that there is love (with a lower case l) and then there is Love (upper case L). Lower case l was designated for love of a friend and far less serious (in his mind). If you used the upper case version of the word it was more romantic and toward being in love with someone. He was comfortable with me saying I love you once we gave it strict definitions. In the end I would just say 'little l' and he would get the idea.
Some people don't choose to designate the feeling they have for their friends as love, and that is fine. Again I was raised in a family where loving your friends was just what you did. I heard the words 'I love you' so constantly that it is second nature.
It never devalued the term to me though. Just because I love lots of people does not mean that the love is any less. I do not have a certain quotient of love that I have to dole out in a lifetime. If I choose to love lots of people the love won't thin out and become smaller. True I might love some people more than others but that is just dependent on our relationship.
Love is also not something that is made less valid with time or distance. There are people that I love without question that I have not seen or spoken to in years. Love has no set expiration or use by date, it is not a dairy product. Much like friendship does not have to be constantly engaged for the friendship to remain valid, neither does love.
Love still is not always going to be reciprocated. I have friends that I love dearly who would not share that sentiment with me. They would say they are fond of me but love is not the emotion they would choose to describe our relationship. This is perfectly fine. I have no intention of defining a word or an emotion for them. It doesn't change how I feel about them though, that isn't how it works. I can love them even if they don't love me back.
So love is a risk, and it can end terribly, and cause pain and a whole host of messy problems, but love is completely natural and totally unavoidable in the end. Despite your best efforts love is something that will creep in when you are busy doing other things and slap you upside the head so hard you see stars. You can deny it all you like, but it will be there.
In the end I have come to the conclusion that love is not something you should define or control. It is a force that defies words and logic and simply exists. The best we can do is embrace love, cherish love, accept love, and try and find it in as many places as possible because in the end love is the most wonderful thing in the world.
In the immortal words of the Beatles:
In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.
Monday, July 14, 2014
First of all everyone's definition of a friend is different. It is an incredibly subjective term seeing as how different people need and want different things out of people. With that in mind I started with a broader look at what a friend is supposed to be.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary the definition of friend is as follows:
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
I would love to say that my negative reaction to my own visage in the mornings is due to the fact that I am just being cranky about being awake. I would love to say that it is caused by the way my curls have matted down to one side of my head while the other side is standing up at strange angles making me look a little like Yahoo Serious. I would like to say that it is the pillow lines that are still set into my cheeks that cause me to frown.
I know that none of that is true.
I know that those excuses are just that; excuses. I know this because I have a similar reaction pretty much any time I look in the mirror. I know that typically the best I get out of an encounter with a mirror is the thought of 'Close enough', 'This will have to do', or 'As good as it is going to get'.
Most of the time I stand in front of a mirror it turns into a time for me to catalog my flaws. There is the obligatory gut check where I suck in my gut as much as humanly possible, turn sideways, and then with a breath let my gut back out so that I can lament how fat I am. There is the fingers brushing through my hair trying to adjust it so that it looks somewhat flattering and less like the mess it is. There is the squinting at my face where I notice every bump, blemish, line, and the increasingly dark and puffy circles that live under my eyes.
Now don't get me wrong, sometimes I look in the mirror and am satisfied with what I see. Some days I am having good self esteem, and good hair, and put a lot of effort into my makeup and outfit, and I think 'Damn I am fabulous'. Some days that happens, just not most days.
I know that I am being stupid. I am being completely ridiculous when I look in the mirror and judge myself as harshly as I do. I know that I can step away from the mirror and feel good about myself and who I am and how I look. When I can't see me I can have confidence which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
The thing is that we are always our own worst critics. Every single person on this planet suffers from this problem. If you show me someone that looks at themselves in the mirror every day and sees nothing but perfection I am going to call bullshit. They are lying to you or taking so many mood altering drugs that they are chemically blocked from thinking negative thoughts.
Time and time again I hear my friends say that if anyone treated them the way they treat themselves they would beat them up. Most of us would not stand for someone constantly telling us that we are fat and ugly and imperfect. Most of us would tell that sort of person to take a hike. Most of us would call that sort of relationship an abusive one that we should get out of.
Of course we can't break up with ourselves. We can't end a relationship with the person in the mirror without suffering some sort of psychotic break. We have to learn to accept ourselves, flaws and all, and learn to love what we see.
I am not certain this is a task that we are truly capable of once we are adults. All the self hate and loathing and judgement is so ingrained in us that it seems like an impossible cycle to break. How do you love yourself when all you have ever been taught is hate?
At faire, as costumer for the cast, I inherited a lab called Smoke and Mirrors. The purpose of the lab is actually to share tips and tricks with the other women on cast about how to make it through the hot sweaty day of faire and look picture perfect the entire time. It is a lot of talk about hair product, makeup, and chafing prevention.
The surface maintenance is not the only thing the lab covers. The lab goes deeper than that with one simple exercise which always proves to me that women don't love themselves or see themselves clearly. I do not know who started this exercise, but it is truly a thing of beauty.
We all stand in a circle facing in. One person is picked to begin and they turn to the person on their right and tell that person one thing that they find physically attractive about them. You can tell them anything you like about them as long as it is a physical aspect of the person and is positive. The person receiving the compliment has the harder task of simply saying 'Thank you'; no more, no less.
Taking a compliment and just saying thank you is so incredibly hard. Our instinct is to deny what we are being told. Our instinct is to make excuses for what they say. You are told you have perfect skin? You want to tell the person that it is actually really oily, or that it is just the makeup you use. You are told that you have amazing hair? You want to tell them how it takes hours and tons of product to look like that, or point out that it is frizzy and you have terrible split ends.
Simply, we do not want to accept that other people find us attractive without any questions asked. To simply say thank you without making comment or excuse makes us accept that at least someone appreciates us for the way we look.
The things that are said always amaze me. You sit and watch each person and think to yourself 'well what would I say to her?' You think that they have the most amazing eyes in the world and are certain that is what this person will say, but are shocked to find out that they are admiring her lovely high cheekbones. Then you look and think, 'Yea her cheekbones are sort of amazing'.
Even more amazing though is to see the reactions of the women in the group. Women that I think are stunning with their sleek hair, dusky exotic skin, wide sparkling eyes, gentle warming smiles, graceful swan like necks, adorable button noses, and cheek bones of the Gods, are rattled to the bones by these revelations from their peers. Women who I would be certain have to be happy with themselves because they are so beautiful burst into tears because they are just as insecure as I am and are struggling to believe these things to be truths.
There is always a lot of hugging and crying at the end of this exercise, but I like to think we all come out of it a little stronger. I also love that months later, when I am trying to brush off a compliment, that my girls will fix me with a stern stare and parrot my words from the exercise; "What do we say?", "Thank you." I reply sheepishly knowing they are right.
Our society is overly focused on physical beauty. We are fixated on what people look like and trying to fit everyone into set ideals of what beauty is. In doing so we have irrevocably damaged ourselves to the point where no one thinks they are beautiful. Even women that are considered the most beautiful women on the planet are airbrushed in photographs to make them more perfect. We are always striving to meet an image in our minds that isn't real.
We should not be teaching our children that beauty is what is on the cover of the magazine. We should be teaching our children, and ourselves, that beauty is what we see in the mirror every single morning. We should be teaching ourselves that there is no 'ideal' beauty or proper mold. We are not little plastic figures coming out of a factory in Taiwan. We are humans and we are all so vastly different which is precisely what makes us so amazing and beautiful.
It is our differences and our flaws that make us desirable and attractive. When we all start looking like carbon copies we become ordinary and boring. In nature it is the brightest feathers that attract attention, it is the flower that is just a little different than the others that draws the eye. We shouldn't want to blend in, we should want to stand out.
So when I look in the mirror in the mornings, or any other time, I should not frown and be unhappy with what I see. Yes I am fat. Yes my hair does not behave in any way shape or form. Yes I have circles under my eyes from not sleeping enough.
I have long thick lashes that frame my slightly exotic shaped eyes that are a strange color that shifts with my mood from the brightest of greens, to the softest of greys, to the deepest of blues.
I have the most adorable little button nose.
I have perfect bow shaped lips and a warm inviting smile that reaches all the way to the corners of my eyes and lights up the room.
I have insane curls that induce jealousy and a widows peak that gives me a dramatic and classic look.
I have skin that needs little to no assistance from make up to look stunning.
I am beautiful and unique.
I know it is not what is on the outside that truly matters, but I know that what is on the outside matters still. I know that I am beautiful even if I don't always like what I see in the mirror. I know that I am seeing myself through tainted lenses and that when my friends look at me they see the truth. I know that they are the mirrors that I should be looking at for the truth.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?
We all are.