Saturday, April 22, 2006

When I take my dog for a run, I bring a plastic baggie with me. Then, if he poops, when he's done I bend over and pretend to pick it up, but don't. That way, I will look conscientious to anyone who might be watching from a distance, but I won't have to carry around a baggy full of poo.


Take some time with that one paragraph, if you like. It was supposed to be a slick one-liner of a post, but those who know me best have come to realize that I am never brief. If I were, those three quick sentences would serve as a chuckling musing to those who took it on that level, and a pondersome ignition of imagination to those who took it further. I, for instance, upon thinking that very thing could not leave it at the half-smile of a reaction I initially had, and as I jogged along, I wondered about the deeper implications. At somewhere within 2.5 pounds of 150-- a little less a week ago, a little more today-- I now have a very similar body to what I did my later years of high school. This serves as a very useful segue to a trane of thought about how I've changed since then.

In high school, I understood that it was not what people thought of me that mattered, but what I truly was on the inside. Clearly, the above demonstrates that things have changed. But is it somewhat unfair to get down on myself over the ostensible decline of my moral character? After all, high school is...well, it certainly is differently from real life, or what serves as "real life" in my little corner of the world, isn't it? Perhaps in high school I didn't care what anyone thought. But that was easier back then, wasn't it? In an arena where everyone is noticing everyone else, and there is a tremendous amount of peer pressure from every direction, perhaps it's the most intelligent thing to do to simply shirk off the desire to be acknoweldged, and rise above the influence. And certainly, in High School, no one ever questioned my intelligence. I had, I believe, something of a presence there: perhaps for my intelligence, perhaps for my candor, and also a little, perhaps, for the unassuming way I could sit in any room, take on an air of neutrality and just look at people, watch them. I don't know-- I think, perhaps, that's what Mike R. saw in me. It was pretty recently that he instant messaged me, after a long time, and we got into a discussion about those days. I barely knew him then, but I noticed him, and apparently he noticed me.

Rusted Iron Knee: you've always terribly interested me
FieryGwenivere: likewise, my dear.
Rusted Iron Knee: i remember way back to looking at you and feeling that you had some sort of aura around you that i knew everybody felt

It took me much longer than I thought it would to find that piece of conversation, included, more than likely, for the sole purpose of my vanity, and the search for it has ruined my train of thought; no matter. I suppose that loss of continuity, in itself, segues easily enough back to where I was headed, which was the difference between the "fuck the world, I am Me!" me of high school and the "Somehow, I really do feel better about myself when my outfit is color-coordinated." me of today. It's a different environment, I find myself arguing: where once I was seen as either an esoteric gem or an eccentric misfit among assembly-line array of slack-jawed teens, now I'm an workaday adult who may be just as intelligent as always, but who's somehow fallen behind the ranks of the clone army. Where once attention was lavished upon me by my teachers and criticism hurled at me by my peers, now the only oppurtunity to be noticed at all may be the criticism I sometimes receive; the only way to achieve any degree of notability is to be what it's recommended I be. Not someone who has an aura around her that everyone feels, but someone who wears green shoes with a green shirt. Not someone who commands attention in her offbeat ways and gentle confidence, but someone who picks up her dog's crap with a little baggy. Or so you think.

We only go about a half a mile, since I've already been exercising. I alternate between jogging and walking, unable to maintain a steady jog for more than a few minutes, unless someone happens to be sitting on their porch or driving slowly by, then I'm forced to keep it up until I'm out of sight. When I come home, there is a light, glittering sweat evenly coating the ruddy skin of my face. Caring about myself as I do, though subtly and insecurely, I find the sight to be appealing, but I understand that this is a sentiment that I could not share with anyone who was not in love with me. I appreciate the moment, looking in the mirror, but quickly hear my inner demons piping up to spoil it, and then, disappointed, I can't look.

There are things I don't like about myself, particularly, and though I can make light of it, I suppose that first catchy little paragraph is one of them. I suppose I'm not proud of where I've gone in life, in terms of both accomplishments and little, personal truths. Morals. Heart. My cavalier approach to human decency.

But as I slow down to a walk, when a car drives out of sight, I watch how the morning fog looms around the tops of a row of pines in the distance, and I listen to the different birds chatter from all directions. We walk by an old tree, and I notice a pattern in it's bark and stop to touch it, lay my hand on it to feel the texture.

I understand that these are the things that make me beautiful.

On with it.