Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sucked into the vortex

Post TG cleanse--no alcohol, caffeine, meat, dairy, refined sugar, refined flour; yoga every day, Zen practice every evening. I have had a caffeine-withdrawal headache for FIVE DAYS now. Someone suggested the headache could be detox dehydration, and it is true that drinking 2 liters of water in an hour seems to help.

But that's boring.

Rape politics, though, that's interesting! Got sucked into a much more highly trafficked region of the blogosphere, yesterday. My, my. Such drama. Listen to this:

I'm just curious what basis the moral relativists have for condemning rape in the first place. If I deem the slaking of my desire for lust - or violence, if you prefer that theory of rape - to be an intrinsic good, who are you to condemn it? Certainly, one could argue that it is a violation of private property rights, but then, what of those moral relativists who reject the notion of private property. If all property is held in common, then how can a woman object if I decide to make use of that which belongs to me?

Someone else, of course, took the guy apart:

So in case you ever wondered how conservative assholes like Vox Day actually view women, it’s as straight-up property.

But maybe Vox is just a nut. I mean, surely the readers of his blog, being decent human beings, will condemn this, right?

Actual rape is another area in which the feminists shot themselves in the foot. Back in the day, women had the protection of their fathers, husbands and brothers. Their fathers, husbands and brothers usually had guns. So what have the feminists been trying to do? Get rid of the men AND the guns! I’d take the protection of a man or a gun over a chastity belt any day!

Ain’t that the truth. Because you know that married women, or women who live with their fathers or brothers, are never ever ever raped.

And so on. Round and round and round and round. It's endlessly amusing.

The more I read, the more I looked for a place to put in my 2 cents, the more I realized there wasn't one. Because my 2 cents involve a paradigm shift. What is REALLY going on in these people's minds?

Caroline visited last week, picking up the last of her stuff on the way to the Course in Miracles academy. (This is relevant.) Caroline said, "I'm just not so interested in sex anymore. I realized I was using it for all these things--to prove how cool I am, to make someone happy, to release anxiety. I'm kind of over it." She said she owed me an apology for the time she and my ex-boyfriend spent the evening ragging on me about "sex drivers and sex passengers; we're the drivers, Serena's the passenger."

I said, "I always saw sex just as a way to connect intimately with someone I love."

She said, "I see that, now." Wow, vindication.

Course in Miracles lesson: I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

This is also relevant.

The way I see it, any paradigm that frames sex as an interaction between bodies, each with a separate and uncommunicated agenda, is doomed to failure. As I read more and more of this fascinatingly angry and violent libertarian Christian blog, I wondered, 'what the hell makes someone think like this?' Because the guy is obviously not dumb, and if he identifies as Christian, I'd like to think he's trying for something that could be construed as virtue. Many of his points, moreover, made some sort of sense, however offensively expressed. It bothers the hell out of me when people capitalize on victimhood to gain the moral high ground; I've been on the receiving end of this myself. It's tantamount to blackmail.

The most disturbing thing I saw, though, underlying the diatribes, was a nearly frantic desire to avoid seeing women as human--to reduce them, in a sexual context at least, to expendable bodies with confused and contradictory agendas. But again, the guy's not stupid, nor do I believe he's evil. So WHY would he want to do this? What if I went up to him and asked, "what if you tried having sex ONLY as a way to communicate deeply with an equal, who loves you and whom you love? Wouldn't that make the idea of 'rape' impossible and absurd?"

Well, I've tried this with folks of my acquaintance, and been greeted, frequently, with explosions of derisive laughter, snorting, rage, expostulatory abuse, eye-rolling, all manner of expressions of contempt and disbelief. I've heard all the arguments. Spare me. I don't believe them--at least, I do believe them, but with a caveat. I believe that the need to objectify another human being stems from a deep and hidden sense of personal shame.

Because it's humiliating to be rejected by an equal. More than that, it is terrifying to consider making any sort of deep connection with another person when there's something about YOU that must be hidden at all costs. We use sex to prove something to others that we don't believe about ourselves. As long as we keep a certain distance, we feel like we've gotten away with it.

Now, on day 5 of det0x-week, I'm remembering that I used to always feel like this--lucid, balanced, sort of floaty and serene. Back before moving to Mexico, upending my universe, moving to New York, getting sucked into the samsara of abusive boyfriends, failed business plans, steak tacos, crippling injuries and macaroni and cheese, I worked out every day, and meditated sometimes for hours, and used soy products. One day, I recall, I was meditating in my studio and the top of my head opened up, there was light everywhere, and the next day I went to work and got the angst of all my co-workers straight in the chest. The boundaries between self and other started to disintegrate, and I backed off.

I was hoping this detox week would help me tune into some guidance about what the hell I'm supposed to do about my financial situation, which is dire. Dreams and telephone are equally silent on the subject. However, during daily yoga practice I've started to gain a sense that this body, here, is merely a drop in an ocean of consciousness, and a small part of me is starting to tune into it. I notice that when my mind is there, in that subtle airy field, the yoga gets easier. It's not a dense little awkward body fighting against the world to remain upright in some ludicrously twisted position; it's a large, gentle mind subtly encouraging a single cell of itself to dance.

Regarding feminista outrage against right-wing nutcase rape apologists--yes, of course. But paradigms are always a choice. I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me. Identification solely with the body makes 'rape' a permanently scarring, irrevocable experience. Shall we, as violated women, hold onto our wounds, forever bludgeoning the attackers with our morally superior anguish? Or shall we reach for an understanding that we are more than our bodies, we cannot be destroyed, we are endowed with the supreme powers of love and forgiveness? Just putting that out there.

While visiting, Caroline brought along this other woman Glinda, a fellow student at the CIM academy. Glinda gave me hives within ten minutes of meeting her; she's the type of New Age evangelist who spouts repetitive platitudes as though she's personally responsible for enlightening the doddering masses. "It's all love, all there is is love, really, it's all just love...we should all be grateful for the infinite gifts of God. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you."


It's not, precisely, that I don't think this is true. Two things, though; 1) you can't force it and 2) I can't STAND being spiritually patronized. From what Caroline indicates, and from what I gleaned from my ex-lover who disappeared into the Mount Baldy Zen Center, a truly enlightened master knows what's going on with YOU. He then targets his commentary to your particular blocks and buttons, wisely and gently opening a path for you to experience the infinite love and unity of God, not just go along muttering, 'yeah, I know, I know, God's love is infinite. How am I going to pay my rent?' Glinda's one-size-fits-all technique just presses my 'be-polite-to-the-idiot' button. She's not taking the trouble to find out the first thing about me before hooshing me with her need to play Buddha, and it's exhausting and gets us nowhere.

Which is why, for the most part, I keep my mouth shut about my spiritual practice.

Not to belabor a point, but whenever I've gotten started on the sex-politics issue in any conversation for the last twenty years or so, I've been accused of having no sex drive. Ergo the "sex passengers" episode. People, This Is Not So. I have been through enough episodes of advanced horniness to feel a profound compassion, respect and sympathy for men, who, if science is to be believed, feel like that ALL THE TIME. It's shocking that they ever get any work done.

No, I have a sex drive all right--it's just that it's integrated with all my other drives. My heart drive, my mind drive, my soul drive. Spiritual practice only increases it. Last time I really opened up to it I found myself stomping around the apartment, growling "Want mate. Want decent, loving, smart, interesting, sexy, faithful, committed mate. Want mate NOW." *throw pillow at cat, fetch vibrator*. It's very annoying. But no way am I going out to rape somebody. It just doesn't interest me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Crass marketing ploy

Look up at the advertising bar! Hey, Google! "Sexy lingerie, sexy lingerie, sexy lingerie!" Maybe I'll make some money this month.

Dirty secret: Judith Krantz is a good writer. A friend clued me in when I had the flu about ten years ago--she brought me a paperback copy of "Dazzle," which I re-read, more than once. I didn't read any more until finding "Lovers" on the dollar shelf at the Strand on Sunday. I am Deeply Immersed. I love her character studies of twisted, self-invented people, the way she goes deeply and logically into the machinations with which they invest themselves in shallow lifestyles. The luscious sex scenes don't hurt, either. I might even like Judith Krantz if I met her socially--anyone who can invent so many varieties of irresistible people must like people.

I see by her book jacket cover that she's tried to minimize her lower lip by applying lip liner too far inside her lip line, though. Judith, there's nothing wrong with having a pouty lower lip! You, of all people, should know.

Sometimes I look at my book shelf and remember that once upon a time, I used to be an intellectual.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Embracing frivolity

Today, to reward myself after a bruising week wherein I arose @ 6 AM to teach art and self-esteem to inner city sixth graders, and also did a passel of outcalls, and also volunteered to sell raffle tickets at a benefit in a bar in Manhattan, I slept in, made cranberry/orange/buckwheat pancakes, and then in the impossibly warm, sunny afternoon, biked across the B. Bridge to the South Street Seaport, to cash in my coupon at Victoria's Secret. I figured I'd get something practical to replace the old disgusting trashed bras, surviving from my last undergarment adventure at the outlet mall in San Marcos, and then splurge on something frivolous.

Once again, after nearly an hour of circling the store, I realized that if I am ever to own a drawerful of exotic lingerie, I will have to start consorting with discriminating European billionaires. The reason I don't get into sexy underwear has nothing to do with uptight prudery, whatever a certain insecure jerkwad (you know who you are) might have to say about it, and everything to do with an emotional allergy to black-and-purple polyester. Particularly polyester with a $78 price tag. I mean--plastic sequins, scratchy bows in bumpy places, excessive padding, badly-constructed hooks, hot pink chiffon ruffles with black ribbing, lurid blue spandex, orange nylon, stiff black-and-fuchsia fake corset thingies? Hello? This is not sexy. If I were a lingerie designer, I would be all about foamy layers of silk satin and Brussels lace, in shades of antique ivory, smoky bronze and dusty rose. Things that a Venetian courtesan might own. I know there are cubbyholes on the upper East Side that sell this sort of thing, at prices comparable to what I paid for my car, but there you go. The pink and lavender cotton bikinis I finally settled for weren't too terribly depressing.

I say the week was bruising, but it was magical too. I kept having those moments where I realize that I am living a life of infinite variety, wonder and intrigue. Driving way the fuck out Atlantic Avenue just after dawn, for example--there are all sorts of manmade constructions out there that you can't even tell what they're FOR. It might as well be one of those lucid dreams where there's stained glass in the library shelves and scrolls of eggplants underfoot. Then I get to wrestle with a pack of beautiful brats with names like Daysia, Hakim and Solange, teaching them to layer pastels and make Chinese paper puzzle books; then Horley and I go for strawberry pancakes at Tom's Diner, full of fifties kitsch and seasonal decorations; then I get a call to massage a startlingly handsome, mysteriously quiet man in Brighton Beach. My Saturday evening clients shower me with homemade chocolate macaroons and invite me to next month's tea party. Life is good.

Friday evening I had a wonderful time selling raffle tickets to the few hapless souls who turned out for the open studios closing party, simply because it never occurred to me not to. Commercially speaking, the event was a failure. All the sponsors flaked, the bar pre-empted the film festival for basketball, several unrelated events were happening simultaneously on the same turf, and most of the artists left when they found out there wasn't any free beer. I do not understand the Manhattan predilection for throwing parties in commercial establishments, where you get to pay for the privilege of screaming yourself hoarse over music you didn't choose, fight strangers for uncomfortable chairs and run the constant risk of being thrown out if your clothing isn't hip enough. It's worse than my seventh birthday party at Rollerland, and that is saying a lot.

But dammit, I spent Friday afternoon bleaching my hair and digging out the glitter gel, and this was not going to waste. I primed my pump with a fancy beer and commenced saying fatuous things to strangers, who quickly became friends. Before long I was channelling Universal Love, always a thrill. Renee asked me if I'd lost weight, and Jerry's brother was flabbergasted when he found out I'd been an adult for eighteen years already. Yes, I HAVE lost weight--the burden of carrying other people's shit. It means I can be friendly to everybody without having to calculate how much it's going to cost. What joy, what fun! I kept breaking off to do hip-hop or salsa in the middle of the floor, regardless of whether anybody else was dancing or not, and skipping through the room like I did when I was four. Do I look silly? Do I care?