Viewing entries tagged
Teaching

BRIEFLY BOLD

BRIEFLY BOLD

I posted a picture of myself on Twitter yesterday and not thirty seconds later I received a text from a friend asking me if doing so had been intentional.  His inquiry struck me as fair.  The picture was of me in a bikini and that’s not the kind of image I usually toss up on social media so it can be consumed and then potentially criticized by the masses.  Still, I found myself yesterday in a rather what-the-fuck kind of mood, one caused by what I’d guess was a fizzy concoction of the glorious dry heat, the festiveness of a holiday that’s all about freedom, and just how much I like my yellow bikini, all of which were mathematically even in an invisible equation that apparently yielded both joy and the briefest ability to feel brazen.

What I didn’t know was that my picture did not appear on his feed like it had on mine, where my smile was in the center of the frame and you could see just a hint of skin that eventually revealed itself to be cleavage.  No, he sent me a picture of how I looked on his screen and the picture was a clear shot of my tits, barely covered by some thin yellow fabric that no longer struck me as so pretty. When I looked at his text, even my focus didn’t go to trying to decipher what exact shade of yellow it was that I was wearing.  And when you find yourself staring stunned at a close-up image of your own tits – the ones you see each and every day at least three times and thereby become rather immune to the sight of them – you begin to wonder at just how bold you’re willing to be.  Or at least I did.  Sure, I knew full well when I posted it that my chest was on display in the picture, but all of a sudden – seeing it through somebody else’s line of vision – I got freaked out for real.

“Should I take it down?” I asked him after sending him a shot showing him how the picture had appeared on my phone, how it seemed just a cute selfie and not like an advertisement for my own anonymous online escort service.

 

AN ENDING

AN ENDING

It feels almost cool outside.  I’m in cropped sweatpants and a grey Grateful Dead tee that I somehow inherited.  I have no memory of who it was that the shirt belonged to initially anymore, but it’s soft and faded and the perfect shade of charcoal; it’s mine now.  I can no longer sense the scent of the hint of smoking fireworks in the air and the trees are still green and lush and I guess all any of this means is that it doesn’t feel like July anymore but it also doesn’t feel like the September that it’s about to be.

My summer officially ends tomorrow morning and, as a result, I am in mourning.  I am also in denial.  I can see it all happening in my head like a colorful fantasy that’s scored by Disney songs played backwards, but I can’t seem to comprehend for real that tomorrow morning I will be walking my dog in the darkness and making coffee out of need instead of out of want.  The dress I’m wearing tomorrow is hanging up on the back of my door and I’ve even picked out my bra, but the thought of slipping it over my head before six o’clock in the morning is making the dress appear terrifying to me.  I guess everything is really a matter of perception and I’d take a moment to be very excited that I have finally mastered this line of thinking, but I’m just way too stressed to be excited by perception-inspiring knowledge right now.

 

THE WASTELAND

THE WASTELAND

Warning:  the cultural landscape, once lush and fragrant, has been plagued by a terrible and long-lasting drought.  The lush foliage has shrunken into pale patches of grimy moss.  The shards of glorious sunlight have darkened into just a glimmer of shadows.  Rainbows no longer include the colors green and purple.  The sociological touchstones that once served to ground us are often now misunderstood or completely ignored. 

It was only a matter of time really.  I saw most of the signs, even the ones I pretended for a while to ignore.  I would show The Graduate to my students and one of them would always ask, “Is this Simon and Garfunkel?” and I would smile and tell them how Mike Nichols had gotten the duo involved with the soundtrack and I’d see some slight nods of recognition and hear at least two whispers of “My parents like them” and it didn’t matter that the kids themselves weren’t fans; at least they were somewhat aware that a group called Simon and Garfunkel once existed on the planet.

IT'S JUNE

IT'S JUNE

I hate Tuesdays.  (Yes, I realize that today is Monday.  I’m going somewhere with this, I swear.)  As I prefer to hate the things that I hate rather loudly, I have made my displeasure with all things Tuesday known to the masses and I have found that many people feel the exact same grrrrrr emotion on a Tuesday morning.  Seems that those I’ve spoken to about it – and I’ll do random things like fix my hair in front of the mirror of the rest room in my school while yelling to someone in the stall about whether or not she also hates Tuesdays and then I make her explain why she feels that way even though I often never know who it is that I’m talking to until the door to the stall opens and even then I don’t often know who the person is once she steps out and sure, maybe it would be good for me to learn her name, but since I’ve already found out why she hates Tuesdays, I think we’re already close enough and I’m kind of done at that point.  Anyway, there appears to be a collective and very real feeling that Tuesday feels very far away from the weekend and that’s where the common dissatisfaction with the day rolls in, but for me, my problem is that Tuesday just doesn’t really feel like anything.  It strikes me as an empty kind of day.  There’s no umph to Tuesday, and even when it comes to something like the days of the week, I just don’t do all that well with anything that that doesn’t radiate.

WARDROBE MALFUNCTIONS

WARDROBE MALFUNCTIONS

You know those months like April where sometimes it snows but usually it doesn’t and then all of a sudden, kind of without warning, a blizzard swoops in and the weather people on the news act like they totally knew it was gonna happen even though their exact words over the last several days always involved expressions like “just a dusting” and you know for sure that a snowy emergency was definitely never declared because there’s still bread on the shelves at the supermarket and, when a storm is threatened, apparently the general public believes that a carbohydrate might be the very thing that can ward off the impending apocalypse?  That’s the environment I found myself in a bunch of years ago on the freezing morning of one of my friend’s engagement parties.

POWER

POWER

Maybe it’s because it’s officially Summer Movie Season and, regardless of what’s actually coming out in theatres in the next few months, I just always expect that when the weather turns warm that I will be seeing commercials for films that involve characters who have some key kind of superpower like the ability to fly or to morph into another object entirely or who can outrun a genetically-engineered dinosaur who has got human spleen on his genetically-engineered brain.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been exercising a lot and I actually feel physically stronger these days.  Maybe it’s that I actually feel pretty okay in my own mind about the actions that I did and didn’t allow myself to take and that I’ve learned that smiling with a shrug is actually a somewhat effective way to move on.  But whatever has caused the thought process – Wonder Twins or running barefoot on a trampoline or the way my shoulders have finally loosened up from all the shrugging I’ve been doing – I do know that recently I have been thinking a great deal about power.

MAY

MAY

About five or six years ago, I presented a workshop during an annual school event to middle school students who were selected to come up to the high school for the day.  As my actual students had written, produced, directed, and edited documentary shorts that the little ones would be watching later (“Is it appropriate for a twelve year old to watch a documentary on piercings that starts with the extreme close-up of a nipple?” I wondered – probably too late.  But then I thought, “Fuck it; it’s a male nipple.  The kids will be fine.”), I did an activity about how to turn a defining moment each kid has experienced into a documentary film.  

I had never taught such little people before, and I was actually terrified.  I was scared I wouldn’t know what to say to them or that I’d make jokes they wouldn’t get or that they would just sit there and stare at me – like some of my actual students do, though after ten minutes, that just feels weird – but the group who toddled up to the high school were kids who had entered and won an essay contest to attend the event.  They wanted to be there.  They liked school.  And they all raised their hands immediately whenever I so much as spoke a sentence that mildly ended with an upwards question-like inflection.

TEARS & FEARS

TEARS & FEARS

I’m kind of easy.  

Get your mind out of the gutter, please – I’m not easy like that (unless you play guitar).  What I mean is that I’m not all that complex or resistant when it comes to having an intended emotional reaction, especially the kind created cinematically.

I am a very easy cry.  You construct a montage sequence lit like the world the characters onscreen inhabit is made out of gold and shine and then you score those visuals with a song that matches the images perfectly and I will blubber like a teething infant in four seconds flat.  
 

BUTTERFLIES

BUTTERFLIES

I used to draw butterflies.

The wings on my pretty illustrated insects would be swoopy instead of pointy and my butterflies always came accessorized with eyes and a smiley face – and, when they were especially fancy, my butterflies wore a bow-tie.  Those non-aerodynamic beings lived in a perpetual state of paused flight on the lined notebook paper in my Science binder, sentenced to live out their days protected by a sticky – and unnecessary – reinforcer.

I wrote lots of my notes to my friends while I sat in all of those Science classrooms in high school.  Science was the only subject where I’d choose to sit in the back of the room, hopefully partially hidden by a stack of Bunsen burners.  My seating choice was a silent plea for anonymity; I wanted the teacher to willfully ignore me, and it’s a behavior I see still in my students today, one that fractures my heart a little bit each time I notice it happening.

CRAVINGS

CRAVINGS

I left my house this morning at 6:11 AM -- and that meant I was running late.  

The leather bag I hoisted over my shoulder as I carefully climbed down my front steps felt heavier than usual.  I could feel the weight pressing the straps against my skin and I knew deep grooves were forming on my shoulder beneath the non-protection of my chiffon dress.  Swirling around in that bag? My laptop, two bottles of water, four Pike Street k-cups from Starbucks, maybe the best banana that has ever fallen off of a tree in whatever nation the banana hails from – seriously, it was bright yellow and fucking delicious – and a few DVDs. I’m usually carting movies around; it makes me laugh that there are days when it makes perfect sense that I bring Boogie NightsAmerican Psycho, and American Beauty with me to work, and those are the times when I can’t fully believe that I managed to carve out a career for myself where teaching clips of those movies is completely and utterly relevant to my curriculum.