July 28, 2011

Toe-Chi and the Pedi-Bitches

People, these are serious times. Some major shit is happening in the world, which is why I feel compelled to discuss my toes. I have ten of them, and mostly they look normal. In fact, I was once told by two hunky podiatrists at a Lake Travis marina that I had absolutely beeeuu-tiful feet. Of course, I had on a bikini and they weren't exactly looking down when they said that. Still, I think they look okay.

But because my feet are so sensitive, I avoid drawing attention to them. What if someone decides he simply can't stop himself from petting them? Cuz that is like lighting my ass on fire. Touch the "dogs" and I pretty much teleport to the next galaxy over.

So you can imagine how I feel about pedicures. Those pedi-bitches are all combat on your feet—like ancient toe-chi warfare—scrubbing and rubbing and exfoliating your tender insteps with the zeal of a Canadian seal clubber. Plus, my pedi-bitch speaks zero English. She nods a lot, smiles and giggles at me—all innocent and friendly like—which only prods me to reciprocate in a feeble attempt at polite communication. But what she's really doing is conning me into letting her engage in her Vietnamese torture tactics. She then turns to her cohort doing my friend's pedi and hai-ching-dows something totally gossipy about what a silly, squirmy white girl I am. Obviously, I speak hai-ching-dow, so nothing is lost on me.

Then with my feet in her grasp, the pedi-bitch deftly sets me to writhing and wriggling and recoiling and grimacing. And even though it's consensual? I can't watch. I'm too busy fighting with an industrial-strength massage chair that tenderizes my back into pulpy flank steaks and vibrates my eyeballs with the ferocity of a jackhammer. By the time I get out of that chair, I'm exhausted and a little ready for a barbiturate.

Given my clear aversion to such cruelty, why would I go through this? Simple. My plain jane feet look awesome all dolled up. Something about buffed, polished, shiny toenails that make you feel sexy everywhere else, as if you might use those feet for something, you know, provocative later.

And then someone completely HAWT and utterly kissable recently said he liked "Red, always red." And I thought, hey, that's an invitation . . . Red it is. Plus, that same boy thinks my feet look symmetrical. I'm pretty sure he meant my feet look like a celebrated international rock star's, but he cagily downplayed his—I think we can safely assume—insanely bizarre fetish with the always charming "your feet look symmetrical" card.

To be honest, my feet are not my best feature, but all dolled up they're darn close. Here, have a look at my roomie's and my feet, shown here after a particularly torturous toenail treatment. I'm on the left with an Asian-inspired, diamond-studded black flower on my hallux (that's "big toe"—you had to learn something while you were here).

Note, Roomie's second toe is longer than her hallux. She tells me that's an indication of advanced brain activity. Clearly, I belong on the short bus. But that's okay. My feet are symmetrical, and that's something when there's some serious shit going on in the world.

This was also seen over at Studio Thirty Plus, where we still know stuff

July 11, 2011

Heaven's a Bad Place

“Heaven’s a bad place.” So says Miss America as we cuddle on the sofa watching Shrek2.

“What?” I say, refraining from spouting my jaded philosophy on heaven with a four-year-old. I stick with the basics. “Heaven’s a good place.”

Miss America shakes her head and looks up at me with big brown eyes that reveal how much she’s learned of life and death in the recent months since my sister died. My sister Dee and Miss America were very closean understatement if ever there was one.

“I don’t want to go to Heaven,” Miss America says firmly.

“Well, you don’t have to go there now,” I say.

“Only people gets dead there.”

I can’t argue this point.

“So I don’t want to go,” she continues. “Heaven’s a bad place.”

She reaches for her brightly colored spiral notebook, opens it in her lap, and informs me: “I’m going to write that down in my diarrea.”

Some days, that's the only viewpoint that feels right.
This is a Fragrant Liar rerun from April '09. Thanks for indulging me while I devote time to writing deadlines that actually net me cash.

July 6, 2011

Are You Vulnerable? I Know You Are But What Am I?

Lean into discomfort. I'm inspired by that idea. Oh, and the fact that I'm inspired by something? Means you should brace yourself.

Dr. Brené Brown talks about discomfort in her spiel about The Power of Vulnerability. She says vulnerability is at the core of our shame, fear, guilt, grief, and struggle for worthiness—and probably insanely bizarre fetishes, although I'm not going to say which insanely bizarre fetish so you don't think I'm picking on you, or so I'm not the first to tell you that the fetish you revel in most is insanely bizarre—no, I wouldn't even bring that up. Obviously. Ahem, so this core of vulnerability is also the birthplace of creativity, joy, belonging, happiness, hope, gratitude, and love. Think of it as, Out of a nasty, slimy oyster springs a double fudge chocolate cake.

People with a strong sense of belonging, love, and worthiness are "whole-hearted" people, and they also have these things in common: courage, compassion, and connection—plus a willingness to let go of who they thought they should be to be who they are. Which is totally where "to be or not to be" comes from. Shakespeare was whole-hearted, though he probably wasn't the whole of who he said he was. More like a pseudonymous shell for other-hearted Bards. With fetishes. But stop distracting me.

Brené Brown says that making connections with other people is why we're here. Also to enjoy ice cream and cookies, but treats weren't part of Brené's study. She says to allow connections with other people, you have to allow yourself to be seen, and for deeper connections really seen, which leaves you wide open and vulnerable, sometimes excruciatingly so. Cuz like, what if they notice your flaws? I totally have this weird freckle on my back. What if someone sees it and gets all judgey? But it's not just being seen physically; it's revealing who you are inside as a person. For instance, how did those insanely bizarre fetishes come about? Who instilled them into you, and was he ever prosecuted? And why have you embraced them as your go-to means of, you know, satisfaction?

I think I'm a whole-hearted person. Whole-hearted people fully embrace their vulnerability. Check! I admit, I am often right out there, pretty much letting it fly. Though good manners do rein me in. Usually. When I have self-doubts, it's not easy to blast through them, but I know I gotta if I really want something.

Whole-hearted peeps believe their vulnerability is neither comfortable nor excruciating, just necessary. Check! Like when you need to go from A to Z, you have to stomp on LMNO to get there and you can't be all squeamish about it.

Whole-hearted peeps are willing to do something, to risk being vulnerable, without a guarantee of the outcome. Check! Like I'm seeing this guy, and OMG, who knows how it could end up. He could have three wives in four different countries. One in a Gobi Desert tent cultivating an insanely bizarre fetish; one swinging from the tree canopy in the Amazon—herself an insanely bizarre fetish; and one buried in two places. Still, I feel compelled to engage in judicious risk-taking anyway because, well, I like him. A lot. And I own my story here, as Brené says. Plus maybe I just want what I want when I want it. That has been said about me before… with that tone.

Thing is about vulnerability, you can't selectively numb out of it. You can't numb yourself to what makes you feel bad without also numbing yourself to what makes you feel good. Plus, pretty sure feeling vulnerable means you're alive, and human. Probably. Of course, I numbed out once and totally screwed myself into thinking I was going to die. At any moment. Never having enjoyed a single insanely bizarre fetish. Well, I wouldn't call it insane.

All that to say, be brave and lean into your discomfort, people, and then you can lean into joy. I hope we've all learned something here today.

July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth!

Fragrant Liar has been deep in the throes of freelancing and day-jobbing and breathing and having a little fun (mmmmm, fun . . .), and she has nothing to write about today that doesn't involve all manner of intensely personal shit, which requires censoring, which involves indecision, accompanied by copious amounts of giggling, fueled by a teensy amount of Malbec.

Plus, since she lost a box of summer clothes and it is sweltering in Texas, she is on a mission to find shorts. Therefore, she must shop. Yeehaw.

But because she's proud to be an American, she wanted to wave the red, white, and blue (this photo from the Wounded Warrior Picnic 07/02/11), and wish you all a happy Independence Day for the 235th time. It just never gets old, does it?

Y'all have fun and stay safe.

P.S. I'm the featured blogger this week on BlogHer. Woot!