Black Nail Polish

I wear black nail polish sometimes.
I ran into my childhood piano teacher. It took her a moment to recognize me. When she did I was greeted with this, "Black nail polish!"
One of my kids called me emo and wanted to check my wrists for cuts.
Black nail polish is high fashion, not a sign of a disturbed mind. To support my thesis, a brief history of black nail polish. In ancient China black and red polish were reserved for royals and was ultra hip in the sixties and seventies. In the mid and late nineties the beautiful black polish was usurped by scary creatures such as Marilyn Mansen, heaven help us. But then Gucci models sported it and Chanel came out with a version (running $100 a pop) and everything was ok again. And I've seen Stacey London wearing it. Granted, the black does give a rebellious air but I think regular, chic people can pull it off. So let's just own the black nail polish.



I’m able to feel emotions. I would even say that sometimes I am neurotic. But I struggle to feel the emotion behind art.
In college I took an art class which I hated. The book was ginormous and overwhelming and all I saw was church-approved porn. Although I did fall in love with impressionism, especially Degas. Later, talking with Crolace, I realized that there is so much in poetry that I do not see. There is so much that I miss in novels; though heaven knows I enjoy novels more that any poem. Architecture is art. Movies are art. Fashion design is art – and you know it must be ‘cause ain’t nobody wearing some of those creations for real (or at least they shouldn’t). Cuisine is art. Nature is art.
When I hear people, like Crolace, or Azir Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, or Julia Robert’s character in Mona Lisa Smile talk about art – in all forms-- I see the deficit that I have in relating to it emotionally. I think too concretely.
I think it is largely an issue of education. When the emotion behind something or the story behind something is explained to me, then I get it.
But what good is it if I always require commentary. I wish I could just feel it.


A thought

I was driving today and saw a white VW bug. It felt ... blank.


Dear Diary

Dear Diary,
I am in Idaho visiting my brother and his wonderful family. We visited Halle's grave. I'd never been there before. Halle is my niece who died at birth; I wasn't there for anything because I was on my mission in Germany. On the headstone, under her name and the date, it read, "The crown without the conflict." I can't even begin to describe the impact of the statement. It's kind of weird. I mean, I wasn't here for any of it -- pregnancy, the tests, the outcome, the funeral. And I'm the aunt, not the mom or sibling or anything. But I'm still really bummed about it. 
I also went for a bike ride with my eight year-old niece. I haven't ridden for at least two years. And I remembered how much I enjoy it. There is something earthy about riding. I'm not into mountain biking or cycling, but around-the-town stuff is idyllic and quaint and lovely. Resolved: repair bike; buy basket. Then we jumped on the tramp which is the only exhilaration my circulatory system has experienced for months. It was fall-like weather and we sat outside and watched my brother play football with my nephew and some cousins. Sitting outside is so enjoyable. And I was thinking how if everyone had a childhood like this then there wouldn't be so many problems in the world.
Later my thoughts went downward. I began thinking, I don't want this life. It seemed like nothing was getting done, we were just living. And although pleasant, it felt non productive (Save me any lectures on how being a mother is a great responsibility and job and you are saving souls because I believe you). I did the dishes while everyone got ready for bed before crashing for a movie. I told my nephew that the best way to work was with loud music. I turned on Natasha Bedingfield's Love Like This and went to work. And had the epiphany that while absolutely nothing was wrong in the way my brother and his wife are raising their kids, not everything about it was my style. And I can do family life in my own style - with loud music. And chintz. And more dancing that is probably good for my kids' social status.
Also, I reread a text message that made me happy. It was from a dear friend who wrote simply, "I love you so much angel face." Good times.


Valentine's Day

I was in Germany, near Frankfurt in a small city called Bad Homburg. It was February 2006, just before Valentine's Day. We were window shopping. We went into Butler's, which is basically a store dedicated to the dinner party. Clean whites, deep reds, soothing pinks. It was magical. My eyes had never before beheld anything so wonderful. Indescribable. At that moment I knew that Valentine's Day was my favorite holiday.
It's not just a celebration of romantic love, but of the day when pink met red, when friends celebrate knowing one another, when family members say that which matters most. 
I had a fantastic day.
First, my boys were really sweet today. There's one kid who asked if I would be his Valentine. "In a therapeutic way?" I asked. "Like friends." Ok. And in group we watched the Office ("Conflict Resolution") and I was laughing even before we chose the episode, which was -- in my opinion -- very therapeutic.
I met the Queen at Starbucks for hot chocolate. What could be better? I listen to some of my favorite music on the way over to her house (including this song). Being happy and listening to your favorite music is my idea of euphoria. Then we watched She's the Man -- quite possibly my favorite comedy: hilarious physical comedy and, two words, Channing Tatum. I was happy all day long. 
Additionally, the writer's strike is over. 



My life is really constant chaos. I kind of struggle when people ask me how my day was or if I enjoy my job. Well, I'm a therapist. I'm not dealing with pleasurable things all day. In fact, my job is probably really depressing (but I really do like it). Someone once asked me if I changed any lives that day. I thought to myself, "Well, I put one kid on suicide watch so I guess I changed his life." 
I get to work everyday with an agenda and then I do something other than what I planned because someone's in crisis or I have a bad session or I didn't get enough sleep so I'm crabby. Well, maybe just right now. My caseload is going through some hard times (as in worse than normal). I'm new at this but my supervisor says that it's just how things are: phases. 
I think that helping others clear away their psychological "stuff" really begins with having my "stuff" in order. So, in order to really be effective as a therapist I need to be doing ok myself. For me this means applying the principle of "centering."
Centering means coming back to your real essence. It means remembering who YOU really are. I'm me and I like to decorate and read. I like theatre and classical music (and other stuff too!). I'm more than someone's therapist. It means focusing on me for a little while. 
There are a few ways I become centered. I might bake something.
Another way is to do things I enjoy. Watch a movie, blog, be with friends.
Cleaning is always good. And organizing.
Tonight, I blew off Family Home Evening in the hopes of centering myself. I came home and got centered. Sometimes, FHE is a centering activity but not tonight.
I made myself a real dinner, listened to calming music, and read a book about bipolar disorder (which normally would not be centering but this book is a pleasure read and coincidentally helpful to my job). Then I did a closet organizing project involving baskets. And put together a night table I got from Ikea this weekend. I chatted with a friend on the phone. I found a movie clip for tomorrow's group therapy. And took a shower. I'm going to bed at a decent hour. And I feel centered. 
The thing is, I also feel closer to God. I mean, I blew off a "religious" activity and puttered around the house. It doesn't seem logical that I would actually feel more spiritual. Yet I feel closer to myself and closer to Him. I think that is what centering really is; it's calming all the unimportant daily issues and remembering that I am really a child of the Divine whose life has meaning, purpose, and direction. When we feel close to God we can hear His gentle voice, telling us how we can better live our lives and strengthening us to overcome this world's challenges.