9/11 Pandemic Insight

This tee shirt I bought at a street fair in the West Village 12 years ago.

It was my chosen outfit with black jeans to wear to the dentist on 9/11. Using clothing to protest or make a statement is my preferred way of getting a message across.

Though I was afraid to have a cavity or need a terrible scraping of my teeth I was in luck. The cleaning was quicker than usual.

Before opening my mouth wide I told the dentist that I have no energy at all. That in the evening I haven’t been brushing my teeth.

“Everyone has no energy. They’re under stress. The coronavirus is no joke. Some people have it together. Others lost it altogether,” he cut to the chase.

The pandemic has been a game changer in this regard. My dentist was right about everyone being stressed out.

There should be more openness and willingness to talk about mental health issues. No one’s immune from cracks and fissures in the mind these days.

If human beings cannot be honest with each other then we’re living a lie. Game over.

We cannot go back to the way things were before.

It was hard for a lot of us to not resort to snacking on potato chips and pretzels or drinking vodka and gin while holed up in our living rooms.

None of us should feel guilty and ashamed.

Not about our bodies our health our sexuality. Nothing.

Everyone’s doing the best we can with what we were given.

To coexist. That is the only way to live.

To have compassion for each other. Even better.

Weight a Minute

Yes–I get it that OKCupid is set up to attract romantic partners.

Everyone should have my kind of dilemma:

I’m resigned to the fact that I’m a tiny person. As in a woman who would be called “thin.” Only 5’0″ I fit into a size 2 Petite.

So–I removed the words “fit and active” to describe myself in my profile essay.

I don’t want to attract men who are fixated on my figure.

You can check off “prefer not to say” as an option when it asks you to click how much you weigh.

Only why be coy? I’ve decided as a rule to not lie and live in hiding.

So–I reluctantly checked off “thin.”

You should not be afraid to check off “full-figured.” Yet go right ahead and click “Prefer not to say” if you want.

IRL you won’t fool anyone about your weight. Why not own up to your beautiful body in whatever size or shape it is?

If this gorgeous earth we live on is round why can’t a female body be round?

I’m not naturally thin by the way. I got this way because I’m muscular. For over 10 years I’ve engaged in intense weight-lifting routines.

Plus I don’t eat meat. Only (mostly organic) chicken, seafood, vegetables and salads.

My father had Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver. The cancer killed him.

It’s because of this that I exercise and eat well as consistently as possible.

Being “thin” is not something to covet or be proud of. Whether a woman is skinny or voluptuous no one should be commenting on her body either way.

Oh–I suppose I could’ve clicked “Prefer not to say.” Why not? Only no one should feel guilty or ashamed because of their body and how they look.

In fact you might be able to not answer this question at all and leave it blank.

The double bind is: why should there be a need on OKCupid for the website to ask this question in the first place?

Dressing Up for Dating

The photo above I used as a match photo on a dating website.

Red is a color that attracts men. So you’re supposed to wear red if you want to boost your luck.

Seems innocent enough right? Yet it poses a dilemma. I received 55 “likes” and I wasn’t interested in any of them.

They click “like” after seeing only my match photo. I read a guy’s profile before clicking that I “like” him.

This is the conundrum: attracting men I’m not interested in.

Like the guy wearing only swim trunks and no shirt whose breasts were as big as mine.

Sorry–though I lift weights I’m not attracted to bodybuilders with bulging bodies as big as boulders.

The tee shirt is my oldest item of clothing. It’s a Product(RED) offering that went on sale the first month Bono created this campaign.

Proceeds from Product(RED) items go to support men women and children living with AIDS in Africa.

Years ago I also bought a Product(RED) red-rubber spatula.

I wish a guy who was hip to this sales campaign would send me a message referring to the tee shirt. Only that would be an impossible stretch.

My computer crashed 2 years ago. The files documents and photos on it disappeared. There were no photos on my cell phone either that showed “lovely legs” like a ZZ Top song.

I even dared upload a recent photo where I’m wearing a purple bandanna, lavender marled sweater, black coated skinny jeans, and black boots.

Men who expect me to wear stilettos are not in my target market.

On my end I don’t go by how a person looks. I read their profile essay first.

Coming up: More Fun in the New (Dating) World? Not exactly.

Date or Dud–You Decide

Re: my Dreaming and Wanting blog entry:

My dream was dashed that I tried to make happen in February.

Would a woman invite a man on a date? I invited to lunch a guy I was interested in that I met over the summer.

He thought my offer to meet was fra amici or between friends.

While eating my French toast he told me he had a girlfriend.

This is how it is in modern life:

You must be bold and say: “I would like to take you on a date. How about we go to lunch?”

Otherwise.

I went on an accidental date 20 years ago.

A guy asked me to go to the Brooklyn Museum. Thinking it was to be a friendly affair I said yes. Little did I know he was angling for a girlfriend.

The way it is a modern guy or gal will think you’re just being friendly.

You must specify: “I would like to take you on a date.”

This makes it easier for a person to turn you down. Rather than having them waste your time going on a “date” that will lead nowhere.

You’ll want to pucker up the next time.

While they’re searching for an exit door when they realize your true intent.

This is how it rolls.

Do I have a Plan B?

Yes. And a Plan C.

For better or worse [and I think worse] I have gotten the reputation as “the woman who is looking for a boyfriend.”

This after over 12 years of writing a newspaper column about living and loving in the Big Apple.

Trust me. You do not want to meet a person for the first time and the first words out of their mouth are:

“So–you’re the woman looking for a boyfriend.”

This is not what you want to be famous for.

TJ Maxx Jewelry Maxim

I bought this necklace easily over 7 years ago in TJ Maxx.

My mother has told me: “Racism is terrible.” I too have a strong aversion to hate.

As an Author and Advocate I seek to promote healing and recovery. I believe that a person can recover from whatever obstacle they face.

They could be a victim of a microaggression or actual racism. They could have an illness mental or physical. They could have been born on the wrong side of the tracks. They could be not the brightest bulb in the lamp.

Whatever challenge a person faces–whatever obstacle either internal or external stands in their way–I believe a person can rise up and change their life for the better.

The way to fight stigma of any kind is to dare to act true to yourself. To show up as [insert your name here] in every interaction you have with another person.

My M.O. is to show others by acting true to myself that you have the right to be who you are without being hated or judged for who you are.

I ask you:

Why can’t a person decide to love others in the face of being told not to?

Why can’t we refrain from hating and judging people we haven’t met?

My intent is for this blog to be a respite from the real world.

To be a place where followers can take joy in what I write.

Where what I write contributes to making life on earth better.

I’ve decided to take this blog in a more positive direction.

Choosing carefully what I write to send a message of hope and optimism.

Though the year has just begun I believe each of us can overcome whatever struggle we might be facing.

You do you. And I will do who I am. Together we can change the world.

Celebrate Instead of Tolerate

On the radio last week a therapist talked about celebrating others in the culture instead of only tolerating or accepting them.

I didn’t ever like the word tolerance precisely because I thought merely tolerating someone’s difference didn’t go far enough.

I have been turned off interacting with a man who turned out to be homophobic.

In my future OKCupid profile I’m going to list open-mindedness as one of the 6 Things I Can’t Live Without.

As I referred to recently in a blog entry here I have been writing about the beauty of individuality for years now.

Friday, June 19 is Juneteenth–the day of Freedom for African Americans in our history.

For awhile now I haven’t liked to celebrate the Fourth of July.

No only do I detest sitting around a patio table at a barbecue.

It has always rubbed me the wrong way that we were celebrating a holiday that didn’t guarantee every American their freedom.

And I don’t eat hot dogs or burgers–yet that’s another story.

We need to celebrate each other every day.

We should take joy and pride in everyone’s true nature.

We should hold in high esteem the culture they come from.

I have a couple of fashion binders and a beauty binder.

In the beauty binder I insert pages with tips on makeup taken from magazines.

In the beauty binder I insert photos of women of all colors.

I like to look through the photos for inspiration.

Everyone being ourselves makes the world wonderful.

I think every person living on earth is beautiful.

That a lot of people don’t view others this way is sad.

In coming blog entries I’m going to talk about what I think in more detail.

I’ll talk soon about a remarkable discovery I made two weeks ago. And about one of my earliest experiences in life as a teenager.

By telling my stories I hope to give others permission to tell their stories.

Plenty of Fish-y

I haven’t found Mr. Right. Nor have I found Mr. Almost Right. And I haven’t found Mr. Not-Right-Yet-I’ll-Take-Him Anyway.

Yes I’ve tried–OKCupid, Chemistry, How About We, Plenty of Fish, eHarmony, and Match–I’ve tried them all.

I only met one guy in person. He was a personal trainer yet curiously wasn’t certified as a personal trainer.

In his profile photos he had black hair. In person he had gray hair. So his photos were 10 years old.

His online requirement was that he sought to meet:

“An intelligent woman who loves life and likes to laugh.”

Though I fit this criteria he wasn’t interested in me. He acted like I was a charity case–like he was doing me a favor sending me messages.

To meet him in person I wore a sleeveless denim dress with an ombre hem and cut-out back like a keyhole. I had on navy-strap platform sandals.

His idea of “intelligent” involved reading James Patterson novels.

This date took¬† place 3 years ago. It’s the only time I’ll spill details about a person.

After I met this guy the better highlight of that day was shopping at a fish market to pick up dinner.

It pays to stock up on plenty of fish in your refrigerator when you dine alone.

I turn 55 in the spring and will be treating myself to a birthday feast for dinner in my apartment.

Complete with a new set of flatware, dishes, and cloth napkin.

And yes a lobster tail should I be able to get one.

Serve yourself. Don’t wait for a mate.

Get dolled up and dine like you’re in a restaurant when you’re at home.

 

Rising in Tune

I’ve read the book In a Single Garment of Destiny the collected essays and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

From what I remember it was said that after civil rights were gained King wanted everyone to break bread together.

He framed obtaining civil rights as a cause benefiting all Americans not just African Americans.

Reading about acts of hate has the effect that I’m in actual pain even though I’m not the victim.

Still I think the rhetoric in opinion pieces in the New York Times and elsewhere only serves to sow division rather than uniting Americans.

Since I value Education I’ve made the positive dissemination and use of information a choice to adhere to.

Continuing to dwell on the negative offers no hope. And I think that hope is warranted.

People can change. This is a fact. I’ve seen this with people I know.

You have the choice. You can decide to love others

I’d like to be proactive and positive in talking about what’s going right in the world.

I’ll end here with a link to the Black Lives Matter organization website.

They sell a tee-shirt.

My goal is to seek out the stories of innovative individuals making a difference. To write about these people in the blog.

To tear the borders down, break the walls, and create a better world I think IS possible.

In coming blog entries I’ll talk about my own experiences.

If “every eye is a mirror” I’ve seen with my own eyes that people can be open-minded.

The Beauty of Individuality

The online Merriam Webster definition of stigma is “a mark of shame or discredit.”

I’m not keen to use the term stigma to describe what is in effect a lack of compassion for people who are different, who might not look like you, who might have an illness.

Too often the word stigma is framed as the cause of people not seeking help for mental health issues.

My memoir Left of the Dial chronicles my own fear of not being normal.

In 2020 I would like to be part of the solution to what’s going on in the world.

For too long narrow-mindedness has ruled in society.

I can identify with individuals who were subjected to “conversion therapy.”

I can relate to people who were told to conform and give up their dream of being an artist.

What I’d really like to do is contribute to the dialog about how to heal from stigma.

No one should feel guilty or ashamed because they don’t fit the mold of what other people think is acceptable.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of internalizing this stigma.

On the cusp of 55 I’ve decided to promote individuality as the remedy.

The only way to succeed in life is to be who you are not who others would like you to be.

In coming blog entries I’m going to talk about the beauty of individuality in more detail.

Choosing to Be Grateful

In this gloomy weather I find that having an attitude of gratitude imbues my life with hope for the future.

Every other day I write down 5 things I’m grateful for in my grateful journal.

It’s a hardbound spiral journal that I write entries in.

First I reread the last two or three selections. Then I write a new entry.

A research study reveals that keeping a grateful journal can help a person ward off blue feelings. It might have even halted people from being depressed.

Gathering around the Thanksgiving or other holiday table¬† you’re bound to interact with people that don’t share your worldview.

I’ve found that the remedy is keep my cool and talk about other things.

I’m too jaded to think that anyone in our government–not Liberal Democrat Republican or Conservative–can help ordinary Americans and do the right thing for everyone on the planet as well.

The part of Thanksgiving that I can accept celebrating is the “giving thanks” part of the holiday.

I’m grateful to be happy and healthy and healed. I’m grateful for every experience I’ve had–good and not-so-good. I’m grateful for everyone I’ve met along the way in my life.

One change–it could be called the fourth changeover–had the most impact on my happiness.

In recent months I’ve been able to make peace with reality and to make peace with other people.

What I’m able to do now is to understand that there’s no “right” or “wrong.”

I am who I am. You are who you are. Others are who they are.

The goal as I see it is to give each other a wide latitude to express ourselves.

What alarms me is that there are people who think the government can actually help them. They have fixed beliefs about Mr. Toupee and about everyone else who has been elected to serve us.

So–they sharpen their knives and cut you to pieces along with the turkey.

I turn 55 soon. The older I get I’ve come to believe that compassion is called for.

We must have compassion for the haters, for those who are less fortunate, for people who have done us wrong, for ourselves if we feel poorly about something we did.

Having compassion for others who don’t think, believe, act, live, and identify the same way you do is what’s needed in this often sad and angry society we live in.

My therapist is fond of saying that everyone being different makes the world interesting.

I’m grateful that there’s no other person like me walking down the street.

And yes–I’m grateful to live in America in a city where I’m free to walk down that street.

Those of us who benefit in the world should be doing things to help people who haven’t had any advantage.

This is the message I bring to you in this season:

Choose to love. Choose to be grateful. Choose to do your own thing without fear.