Zazen Days 13-23 – honest

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I blew through the halfway mark without commenting on it – which, in and of itself, is a comment. There’s something natural about zazen to me now. Just as natural as blowing off this blog, apparently.

I was at a get-together last weekend and the worst question ever came up – what’s your favorite movie? True to form, I gave a blurted out answer with a preamble (“in college I used to say A Clockwork Orange”), then owned up to the first thing that popped in my head (“Blow Up” ::crickets:: “It’s Italian”), and then after everybody had their turn, an addendum (“But the movie I wish I wrote is Moonstruck”). It’s an impossible question to answer, but I tried to go with the flow and tamp down my social anxiety (red wine!) and just kind of blurt what was in my head. Most people chose something classic and mainstream; my boyfriend said Seven Samurai, which was deemed almost as pretentious as me. After the fourth person gave their answer, a guest thanked her for her honesty – a pointed comment I believe was directed at me (social anxiety! narcissism!). I had never met these people before in my life and may not see many of them again, so what were the stakes involved for me to lie? Pretty low.

Honesty came up last night when I went out to trivia with my friend. We did okay, except we both heard “zip codes” when the question was about area codes, so we were soundly out of the running for top of the pack (beer!). We were talking about femininity and how there are sometimes skeleton keys to unlocking “the female experience” that neither of us have ever felt strongly. She mentioned a study she took in college as part of a freshman seminar that measured a person in relation to gender norms. She told me she scored somewhat in the middle of the 100-point scale, more feminine than masculine, but nowhere near “as feminine” as the rest of the girls in the class. The boys were all totally bros. I’ve often identified with male characters, or felt more inspired by men – at least that was quite true when I was growing up and entered my formative creative years. I’m much more political than I have been before, and I gladly, loudly, excitedly champion feminism and feminist causes all the time. All the books I’ve read lately have been written by women, I find more content by and for women appealing, and write pretty much solely female protagonists.

Still…I don’t think I’ve ever really felt like a girl in the construct sense rather than the physical sense. Last night we also mentioned Lena Dunham and tried to unpack and untangle some thoughts/jealousy. The flak she gets should largely be aimed at the system that normalizes privilege and only lets in women one at a time. My friend said that at the very least she’s honest. And that’s true. Art should always be about truths you tell in the dark, but in film/TV it’s so much easier to reinforce the standards. We both hoped that maybe this will open doors to more truth-telling women…but we’re not so sure.

I’m also re-watching Six Feet Under now and it remains one of my favorite shows of all time (honestly) – and that show is about characters who, if they tell the truth, would explode. I’ve felt like that most of my life. Even when I was happiest or the most confident, I still felt like I couldn’t quite express who I was. Especially when I worked around women. I’ve lied a lot, little white lies to strangers at parties, and I try not to do that any more. So when I was indirectly accused of being dishonest about my movie choice – I stand by my choices, by the way – it was hurtful. Because there was some truth to it. So I try to be more honest these days. Because when I am, I can’t hide.

Best online thing I read today, part 1: Running Away From Running Away by Jill Talbot / The Rumpus

Song I loved today, part 1: Question Mark / Elliott Smith

Best online thing I read today, part 2: The Terror Of “Twin Peaks”: His Name Is BOB by Matthew J.X. Malady / The Awl

Song I loved today, part 2: Never Can Say Goodbye Via BBC’s Whites

Best online thing I read today, part 3: Saturday Rumpus Comic: All I Ask by Yumi Sakugawa / The Rumpus

Song I loved today, part 3: Bar Italia / Pulp


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