Thursday, September 21, 2006

I think that twenty-[three] is gonna' be a good year. . .


It's time for it to be Friday. I am ready. I've been ready. I am about an hour and a half from the exact anniversary of my birth--1 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time, on the dot, the 22nd of September (which was the first day of Autumn, the hottest day of the year, and the last day of Virgo, in 1983--the appropriate year). And I was done with 22 somewhere back in April, or so. Done, done, done. Ready to be 23. Not sure why. Prime number, odd number, odd number. Half of 46, the transposition of 64, my favorite number of all. .

But pulling at it, biting at it. . . I've never been so impatient for a year change, silly number change. So, so ready to be twenty-three. So ready I changed the number in the profile blurb a week ago. So ready I told the teller at the market. And the one at the fish counter. And the fruit stand. Champing.

So ready I didn't want to have anything to do with Thursday, usually my favorite day of the week (I don't know). So ready I wanted Wednesday to be Friday. So ready I wanted Thursday to be Friday. So ready I can't get it out of my head. Waiting for the reality of it to line up with my sense of it.

This is the first year in my life I've anticipated rather than had to find my way into later. That is, I've been 23 since I was 22 and a half. At 18, I still thought I was 15 or 16 ("jailbait" was a common defense mechanism, for me). At 20, I didn't remember I could rent porn. At 22, I didn't remember I could buy liquor. Or vote. Though I still remembered to vote. But never did I think at 14 and 3/4 that I was as near as 15. 17 and 340 days was not 18.

I suppose it's not very surprising.

I was told it would happen. Things would change. Is this my turning point? The famed time in one's life where one stops being "n and 1/2" or "x and 3/4" and such, and starts becoming either precisely the year one is (and nothing else) or the year marker one is nearest?

I suppose so.

It's becoming that kind of year.

My luck with even numbered years has been suspect, so I'm ready for an odd one. 8 was the downhill for my dad and I. 14, he'd just passed away. 20 was a very poor birthday, indeed, for utterly mundane reasons, and 22 was strange. And the last two years have felt like transition--wonderful and terrible, stressful and exalting, and it feels like it's finally coming into itself. It? Itself? Maybe my life, I mean. I'm not too sure.

But two is supposed to be the magic number of years. After two years in a relationship, they say, you stop seeing the glamour and start seeing the person. Or the worst. You know, your lot--the scales coming off of the eyes and all. And after two years, maybe, the sting and edge comes off of tough times, too.

Lately, remembering tough stuff has felt. . distant. It's been just long enough, maybe, finally. Enough time has elapsed that I don't feel so sore, so tender. I can see things in a more fuzzy abstract. I'm forgetting.

And starting into the third year, my lover feels absolutely, wonderfully right.

Is this what getting comfortable is like? I don't know that we've ever hugged so much, kissed so much. Just. . . warm and tight and perfect. I feel right. Hopeful. Steady. Good. Coming up against him and pushing my arms under his, stretching my forearms up his back, my palms between his shoulder blades, my face at his collarbone, his arms snug, bellies close, just fitting. Inspired.

I'm ready for the third year.

I've been living with Chris for two years, two months, and a few weeks, now. Everything annual now is the third. The third time we celebrated his birthday, or mine. The third school year starting. It'll be the third Halloween, the third Thanksgiving at my family's, the third Christmas.. The third Autumn, the third Spring!

I can't explain why that delights me so much.. . . but something about it does. The third is magic. 23 is magic, good juju.

I'm ready to be 23.

I feel arrogant.

No, not arrogant, but. . beautiful. Capable. I am in my best time.

I refuse to let my youth be wasted on me, if that makes sense. I was 40 when I was 14 (and was also very much 14). My age felt discordant in both directions--I forgot my chronological age had progressed and felt my emotional age was vastly forward, but I feel a kind of nexus, now, a kind of focus--I am feeling absolutely correct.

I am in some kind of best time, I think. I am young and know I am young--I know I have progressed through the physical maturation and into the pool of stasis before the charm of decay. But I am an adult and know I am an adult--I have, potentially, a lot of life left to look forward to, a vastness of experience and change. Somewhere within the next 80 years, or so, sooner or later, I will die, and be dying, and this time will become "before"--isn't that a strange thought? I am young in the way that will still be young when I look back from age, but which is not so young as child, as before.

This is the time of my life that my body will be best. Statistically speaking. But I feel it, too. This is the strength and beauty portion of our show. 23! It can come at any time, I know, but this is mine; not pubescent, not fading. I am in bloom.

I look at pictures of my mother, my aunts, everyone's mother and everyone's aunt, when they were "young," and see beautiful people, perfect and lovely, just by virtue of being caught in that moment, that loveliness that people have in them.

A few months ago, I caught it in myself.

I looked at myself, and knew it, somehow. I was as beautiful as I was ever going to be. I was the most lovely I had ever been.

It wasn't a smashing kind of beauty, nothing someone would put on TV or any nonsense like that, but exalted; I have my beauty, now. This is the time that someone will take a picture of me, and twenty years from now, my neices and nephews will go, "Wow, that's Aunt Lu? Dude. . . " because it will have been that time, for me. I think everyone has it. But how many out there can say that they knew how good their bodies were when they were best? I think I will. And maybe in another year I will still be as lovely, and maybe in forty years I will be that kind of older lovely, but I have an idea that actually appreciating my body and my face and self, now--and that it will change and fade and that that, too, is fine and natural and good--will do me unspeakable good. It cannot hurt me. If in a year I'm an even sexier bitch, so be it. I have never liked myself well enough. I have never thought I was good enough. I will.

I will now.

I will not look back in a year from now and regret the vastness I have missed. In twenty years I will not be one of the masses who wonders why I didn't realize what a wonderful thing I had going when I was younger, who didn't realize how cute I really was or how I really wasn't so bad at things as I thought. Why the fuck should I? I am not flawless, I am not infallible, I am not blind--I'm not that kind of young, I am not hateful of the future and invincible--and I'm not out to burn myself out or destroy myself. But I am not going to live waiting for the shift, either. I have it in my hands.

From 12 years old, my joints have been achey and weak. When I am 60 my joints will be achey and weak. But I am strongest, now. I am stablest, now. I am prime, somehow. My knees are not giving out on me, now, like they did and will. I have at least a few years of that owed me, and I think they are now. I owe it to myself to take care of them. To enjoy them, use them, exalt them. I am learning. I am growing. I can more clearly envision the consequences of my actions and surroundings than I have ever been able. I know I'm going to fall down these stairs, because I fling myself down them too carelessly. I can tell when I'm ovulating. For two weeks, now, I have been able to cook and bake at will, and get pretty much exactly what I want from it. Whatever I want to cook or bake! For a month I have been starting into the time where I will be able to grow food. I can create beauty in my surroundings. I am in synch.

23 is my magic. For now. Next year there will be a new balance, a new weight, but this is what I have for this year. A Major Arcana year. A seeing year.

I am ready. I am well.

23 is the age at which 40-60 year olds will stop being surprised at my actual age, and my age relative to my partner's. 22 sounded too young to them--23 is just young. 23 is what they expect. Wink.

Christina is coming over for movies and a delightful birthday dinner, tomorrow. We're having sustainably raised lamb, halibut, salad (including peppers and cucumber from my own garden) with homemade blue cheese dressing, and blue potatoes. And a strawberry tart without so much rat in it.

This is the first birthday I have (a) told people about beforehand, (b) thought about at length, (c) been pleased at the thought of since I was probably. . . seven years old, or so.

I am very, very happy.

Even the battery power on my laptop is lining up: I have plotted my time absolutely precisely.
Edit: No, really. It hit zero percent and fell asleep the very second after Blogger said it had published. Things have just been happening that way (see the previous post). Oh, and (for the moment) I measure a whopping 5'4". That fits in this post, somehow, too.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The world has conspired to do me a very good turn.

One of my favorite things in this world is singing.

I am, admittedly, a depressive. It just happens to me, sometimes, and the habit of it sneaks back in on me before I can quite tell it's there. And when I get depressed, I get tired and complacent; I stop writing. I stop wanting to walk and romp and play. I stop singing.

Unfortunately, writing, walking, romping, playing, and singing are some of the best wards I have against depression. Thus begins a cycle, you see.

Now, I was encouraged to come join one of the local choirs, after I graduated. Other choir members, my Lover, my mom. . . It would keep me singing, it would give me some kind of post-partem structure, it would be fun, I'm good at it, etc. I couldn't/wouldn't afford tuition at my alma mater for one or two classes, so the Stanislaus choral ensembles were out, but MJC has one (and has low enough rates for their courses that it'd be affordable tuition), and Modesto has a Symphony Chorus that performs with their Symphony Orchestra. I didn't feel I had much hope for the latter, but I wondered. But they both meet evenings, once a week, up in Modesto.

In addition to being a depressive, I am also a little agoraphobic (can you be a little phobic of something? Is that paradoxical? If it's irrational and crimps your life, but maybe only comes on sometimes, or very particularly? In and out with the seasons?), which means I can't stand to leave home alone, most of the time, especially for unfamiliar surroundings. And I am anxious. And car-fearing. And road-fearing. Which means the prospect of driving to Modesto--alone, at night, in the season that will devolve into such thick fog I almost couldn't find my way to the freeway, the last time I tried it--is terrifying. And also means that I very gladly sent my Focus back down with my mother to LA for my brother to drive, and have not sought out insurance since I was removed from hers. Which furthermore means it would be illegal for me to drive, anyway--something that I find highly favorable, as it gives me a strong excuse not to do it. Sure, I have my moral objections to much car use, too, but I do understand that there is an element of "crutch" in there, somewhere, in inventing the system whereby facing my fears could put me in jail.

Anyway, given all of those little charmers in my personality, I declined to join any choir whatever in Spring. General self-doubt and fear of responsibility put in their two cents per, as well, to that end. And it frankly didn't look as though I would be joining one, soon.

That is, until Daniel, the choir director of both the Stanislaus choirs I had been in and the Modesto Symphony Chorus I didn't think I probably ought audition for, ran out on his meal when he saw me from a cafe window to call after me, catch me, tell me I should come sing for him in the Modesto Symphony Chorus I hadn't thought I should audition for, and (since I'd be unable to get there on my own, as Chris has a night class at the same time) even offer me a ride with him and another few of us here in Turlock every Monday to get there and back.



No driving? No driving.

Familiar persons.

Once a week, when I wouldn't have Chris home, anyway.

A virtual demand that I keep a sort of schedule (a plus in fending off depression), interact with other human beings (another plus in fending off depression), and sing, goddamnit, sing (etc.)?

I didn't have to do anything. I didn't even have to come up with the motivation or confidence to go seek it out. This FELL INTO MY LAP. We were just out walking to pick up milk, cilantro, and rice noodles. And you know I was still trying to come up with some reason I couldn't.

But I failed gloriously.

So, as of tomorrow, I'm going to start spending Monday night singing. I will be terrified, self-doubtful, shy, anxious, and probably guilty if I can manage to work it in somehow. I know that because I'm already working on it. But it's free therapy for all of the above.

I will also be thrilled, excited, exalted, enriched, and invigorated. And I'll get a boost to the old self-confidence. I know that, because I'm already working on those, too.

I am moved. I am disproportionately flattered and generally overwhelmed. I feel very silly, and very happy, and very sheepish. And I am duly surprised that I can still hit the G an octave and a half above middle C pretty reliably, because I wasn't exactly operating under the assumption that I'd be going to join an operatic chorus, rather than just continuing to sing folk songs in my living room.

Och, I have a lot of practicing to do. But that is wonderful.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Okay, sorry I've been so scarce. It's frankly been a really busy summer. But maybe I'll get back into this, one of these days!

For now, we amongst the Faithful Felber Fans™ have been asked to plug, and when Adam Felber says "Plug!" I say "How high?!"

Well, no, not really. But it did occur to me that I hadn't yet pumped this book, and that I have been meaning to, and that it is the book I've read in the last several years that I believe most deserves it. It's not that I haven't read other great books, because I've read some pretty great books, but most of them, frankly, have been serial jobs with pre-established fan bases and well-established authors and publicity and the deck generally stacked in their favor, by the time I got to them, rather than an author's first novel with an alarmingly green cover and the promise of perverted physics, sex, geeks, lunchmeat, and the strangely undiminished dead thrown in.*

So, I feel plugging is more than deserved. Adam Felber's Schrödinger's Ball has become one of my all-time favorite books. Please, go check out the website, check out the book, get ahold of a copy, and don't let the spectre of quantum physics scare you--it was a fantastic read, incredibly weird and funny and warm and delightful, and I absolutely adored it. It was refreshing! It was surprising! It was silly and touching and dark and terribly light.

As I value you all as intelligent people with senses of humor, I'd like to think that you'd all like it, too. (Sorry, was that too shameless an appeal? Ah, well.)

Anyway, I do strongly suggest you pick it up, it was truly a delight.

*In that sentence, I now realize, the adjective "perverted" could just as easily be read to apply to all nouns in the series, rather than (as I had intended) just "physics," but I suppose that that vagueness is also appropriate.