Friday, December 3, 2010


i'm seeing black swan tonight. not gonna lie; i'm pretty excited about this. i like to read reviews of movies that pique my interest, usually from the new york times or the washington post. when a smart publication raves about a movie, it makes me that much more excited to see it (and conversely, when a movie gets panned in that kind of review, it disappoints me that i was even interested in the first place).

but the one theme i keep noticing about this movie is the heavy emphasis all the articles place about the self-injury that runs like a river through the whole thing, apparently. look, folks, this is a movie about the upper echelon of professional ballet. it may look pretty, but that is a brutal, harsh, cutthroat and, yes, painful world. hell, when we were teenagers dancing for fun, we used to have a saying: "the more it hurts, the more you smile." (some of us know this well, don't we? one word: mazurka.) so multiply that by about a million once you get to the top of the top. competitors in physical disciplines hurt themselves. we talk about how honorable football players are when they sacrifice mobility for the final fifty years of their lives to be successful in their twenties. but it's funny how the discourse on ballerinas has such a psychodramatic twist, eh? no one calls what defensive tackles do to themselves "self-mutilation," but doesn't it end the same?

now, in the case of the movie, it's clear that this is supposed to be a descent-into-madness thing. i get it. but the whole women and self-injury thing has me thinking. men, when things go sideways in their lives, always get portrayed as lashing out at others. you know the image: dad loses his job at the plant, gets drunk and beats mom into oblivion. but when a woman is hurting, she's always shown as taking it out on herself. papa roach notwithstanding (and i apologize for even bringing that song up), men are not often cutters. women are. why?

i think it's cultural. we're trained to view aggression and anger as male emotions, and thus only men are "allowed" to express them freely. we all know the cultural vocabulary for angry women: ball-busters. bra-burners. (for the LAST time, NO ONE BURNED BRAS. can someone PLEASE teach sarah palin et al to READ?) bitches. words i won't even use that slur women both straight and gay. so what do we do? women swallow anger. we tamp down rage, frustration, disappointment. finally, though, you can't swallow any more; it's coming out one way or another. and all too often, it comes out with the swift, savage pull of a blade across our own skin. the pain, the blood, the action itself brings a form of release, the only way to manifest the darkest recesses without running up against taboos bigger than ourselves.

we've come a long way, baby, as the old cigarette ads used to say. (and the fact that i remember when cigarette ads provided pop-culture memes shows that i'm getting old.) but we haven't come far enough to allow women to just be mad in public. the whole "mama grizzly" thing back in '08 wasn't real anger; it was a stylized temper fit designed to market an ideology. you ever see those women do anything from a place of rage? nope. that's because it's not allowed. if we really want to claim a victory for fairness for everyone, we can make it okay for every person to be healthily angry in the way he or she sees fit. that way, we can eliminate this whole sad cycle of lashing out, either at ourselves or others. maybe then it won't be an issue anymore.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


being a filthy no-account heathen, the whole reason for christmas - the birth of jesus - doesn't really register with me. but that is not going to stop me from eating up every single second of the secular-cultural fun side of the winter holiday carnival. i freaking LOVE christmas. it's the one thing that justifies the existence of winter weather (well, that and hot chocolate with marshmallows in it).

i went to dinner with the man last night. when we got back to his place, i noticed that his neighbors across the street (the nice, responsible ones with the baby, not the horrifically obnoxious drunken 20-year-olds) had strung tiny multicolored lights in the tree in their yard. nothing outlandish; in the ex's neighborhood, there's one of THOSE houses. y'know, those people who seem to thrive on being a) unspeakably tacky, b) as ecologically wasteful as humanly possible, and c) visible from freaking space with all their lights, inflatables, moving things, etc. just a simple arrangement of pretty lights in a tree. so unbelievably beautiful.

there's nothing like christmas decorations. the non-religious parts of the holiday are things that everyone can agree on: love, friendship, warmth, and light.  the good, small things that make this life worth living. that's the best part of this year. and we could all use a lot more of it, no doubt about it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

regrets, i've had a few

i love a lot of things in my life: family, boyfriend, friends old and new, etc. but one thing i do not love, sadly enough, is my dream graduate program. i mean, it's brought me some great people, and it's getting me a REALLY valuable credential that will help me get where i'm going. it's certainly not a waste of my time, and i will come to appreciate this. but my god, this is painful. not the academic demands - i've been challenged before, i'll be challenged again. child's play. it's the... worldview, i guess, from which the people who are teaching me this body of law approach their jobs as lawyers and advisors. let's just say that this little baby lawyer is turning into a world-class rebel.

i went to law school not to chase the atticus finch, law-and-order dream of the crusader. hell, i study tax law; it's a different ball game. but i did see, firsthand, the good work you can do with some knowledge of the tax code and an aptitude for helping people. you can get out there and help farmers keep their land in their families. you can set up a plan such that the teacher and the insurance salesman won't have to put mama in a cut-rate home when she's too frail to live with them. you can write a will so airtight that there's no way that the spiteful sister can step in and take granny's brooch from the dutiful sister. you can make sure sissy and bubba get the home on lake verret when daddy dies.

i did not go into tax and estate planning to help the scions of the top 1% shelter their inherited wealth in foreign trusts and family LLCs so that their scions' scions can continue to live off of never-ending streams of untold millions. those people don't need my help. noblesse oblige is dead; these folks, by and large, only give to charity to the extent they can write it off on their taxes. they perpetuate their wealth at the expense of their daddies' employees. i am not interested in that kind of service.

the longer i have to listen to my old-money professor, who winters in foreign country A, summers in foreign country B and works as a hobby, refer to laws passed to catch tax cheats trying to hide their money in secret bank accounts as "witch hunts," the more i become the second coming of huey long. i grew up the daughter of a man who worked, HARD, to give me what he could. i busted ass to help put myself through college; what my brain couldn't get me, my feet did. i've worked hard all my life. i have funded all four years of my legal education by myself. no one gave us anything. to sit here and listen to these people talk about tax problems from the perspective of the uber-rich? yeah, forgive my lack of sympathy.

it's ridiculous. i don't want to be that kind of lawyer. i want to help, y'know, REAL people. let the psychotically wealthy either figure it out on their own or - gasp! - own up and do their civic duty as recipients of untold privilege. i'll seek a career path doing what matters to the 99% of us who don't have our opportunities given to us with no effort. that's what being a steward of the law is all about. meanwhile, i'll slog through the rest of this elitist foolishness, and i'll gladly take the credential. i'll just use the knowledge i gain to do good, not to recklessly, shamelessly, and - yeah, i'll say it - whorishly chase money.

my daddy raised me better than this.

news: #reverb10

i just wanted to give y'all a heads-up that i'm joining the #reverb10 party this december! i know for a fact i won't post all 31 days, mainly because christmas will be spent in a part of the country with neither broadband internet nor AT&T service of any kind (i don't know how i'm going to survive that, by the way; i won't be reachable by PHONE, for god's sake). i'll probably do a catch-up series when i get back from the 19th century.

but here's the deal: i'm doing it as a project at my tumblr site. i'd rather save this space for freeform writing, and this is a directed-prompt thing. besides, this seems too multimedia to do here. i may have pictures or other weird ramblings to use. so check me out there for all of this.

and i'll be back later with some writing to do. it's a reflective kinda day.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

a rich, full day

so here it is. thirty days, thirty posts. (i am so counting the double post the other day to get me over the hump. i wrote it; it's valid.) and what a day to finish, too.

i write you today basking in the glow of my first successful court case as a practicing attorney. who cares that it was only getting my client out of traffic tickets? i WON. and it was a beautiful, amazing feeling to call up the client and say, "congratulations! you won!" that made him so happy, and it was something i could help him get. that's what being a lawyer should be. (i write this as i sit in my private wealth planning seminar, where we're talking about how to legally shelter millions of dollars in the uber-rich's cash and property from as much tax as possible. yeah, there's a lot that's not so nice about the law.)

the peak-and-valley cycle has hit a peak. i'm so happy. i'm tired as hell, because i had to wake up at the crack of dawn to drive to the pastoral wonderland in which my client got his ticket, but i'm so freaking pleased. i know i've made the right choice in my career. things will be... okay. it'll take awhile, but it'll be okay. let's do some blessing-counting (yeah, yeah, an atheist counting blessings - it's weird).

1) i'm alive, in basically decent health.
2) i can feed myself (with some financial help - not great, but okay).
3) i have an amazing family that rallies around me and admires me.
4) my boyfriend is... well, he defies categorization, really. he's perfect for me.
5) my friends, far and wide, real-life and digital, ROCK.
6) i have a good career plan, with possibilities to get great soon.

see? it's all... if not good, then heading there soon. days like this encourage me, give me faith, and keep me going. not to mention the fact that i am going to sleep the sleep of the just when i get home tonight. it's a damn good day, full of damn good things. sometimes, it's just that simple.
woo-hoo, and this is post #200 to boot! fun. thanks again for hanging out with me in my little corner of the internet. i love my readers dearly; y'all are FABULOUS. :)

Monday, November 29, 2010


gaah. nablopomo failure yesterday. i think i'm going to take hannah's idea of a bye day, because i had a lot going on. i feel kinda bad that i fell short so close to the goal line. it was day 28! but hey, that's the way it goes, i guess, when you're out there living experiences in order to be able to write them. and it's been a pretty amazing weekend.

i'm dating outside my religion - by which i mean college football team - for the first time, and it did not work out well for my beloved bayou bengals. it did, however, work out well for my beloved razorbacks-supporting boyfriend. (sigh.) so a large portion of the remainder of the weekend was spent with a) me pouting, b) him gloating and c) me fulfilling a bet i just won't get into details about. suffice it to say that while betting on sports is wrong, this worked out well for both of us.

but it's all about fulfilling obligations. and i am glad to do that, not only for selfish reasons, but because i love making the man happy. his dedication to me makes me want to return the favor to him. it's absolutely perfect; i couldn't be more thrilled with the way our relationship has evolved over time. we're cut from the same cloth, and we want nothing more than the best for each other. always have, always will. my obligation to him is simple - love him as well as he loves me, no matter what. easy as pie.