Someone Else is Going to Get It

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TyRANTosaurus Margo!
          Woke up pissed this morning (I suppose that’s better than waking up in terror, which used to be par for the course).  I was going to go to the gym to burn off some of the tension, but first (as always), I got on the scale.  Just keepin’ it real, folks: 

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            I’m physically healthy.  My hair’s not falling out.  My teeth are fine (and try those Crest Whitestrips—they really work!).  Control freak that I am, I bought an expensive fertility monitor, and it indicates that I am ovulating (today, in fact).  I still menstruate.  I’m still sub-clinical, in other words. 
        And let me tell you something: I have never, ever received as much appreciative attention from males as I have recently.  That’s a fact, and I’m not bragging about it; I think it’s fucked up.  I know you’re thinking, “Miss Margo, they’re staring at you because they’re appalled and you look like a hockey stick with hair.”  But no, I’ve been hit on since I was 14 years old, and I’m telling you, I get stopped on the street, I get passed business cards, I get invited to dinner (hardy-har-har),  I get modeling jobs even though I’m past the modeling expiration date, and The Biz—should I take it up again this weekend—is booming.  I found photos of myself that my (good) boyfriend took of me when I was 20 years old.  There is no comparison.  Today, it makes me full of hatred.  But it’s okay.  I think it’s healthy. The hatred, I mean.  In the proper context, hatred can be therapeutic.
           I have learned, from my neo-Freudian analyst, that in a sense, opposites are the same thing.  Instead of a spectrum, from right to left, they are more like a circle that unites underneath. The desire to murder and the urge towards suicide are the same thing, the same energy.  For the first time in a long time—maybe one of the first times in my life—I feel full of rage.  And I feel very, very dangerous.  Power, directed outward. 

         I am preparing to go to war with an institution whose organizational structure and political culture is not unlike that of, say, Bulgaria.  I will get what I want—I will earn what I want—and I will not stop.

Getting Through This

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           I picked up my computer from the shop this morning. 
           “It had some viruses on it.  From some of the websites you’ve been visiting,” the computer guy told me over the telephone. 

             After a moment’s hesitation, I decided not to ask him which websites “I’d been visiting” that he was referring to.  Safer that way.  More considerate, you know.  Though I’m sure PC repair guys have seen it all—like EMT personnel, they are probably pretty hard to shock. 

            (Though I did look at the “Recent Items” category under my control panel and found that it was wiped clean except for a half dozen pics of me in my bikini.  Riiiiight.)
           The interview I referred to a few posts back (not the tutoring job) went well.  I was hired, if I decide to take the job.  I think it’s safe (relatively speaking).  It doesn’t advertise, it’s a legal establishment; the management struck me as serious-minded and professional.  The Surgeon couldn’t find me there.  So, it’s an option.
          I ran my predicament with the Surgeon by two women friends today.  This was a first for me—usually I don’t talk about it to anyone, ever.  Both of them were, shall we say, alarmed, which just goes to show you how distorted my thinking can be when it comes to this guy.  I need to get out of this situation—but leave now, or leave later?  For the first time in a long time, he has something that I may need—really need.  If I keep him happy—and I know how to keep him happy—he’ll go to bat for me if I run into some problems with a certain institution (which, I’m sorry, cannot be named here) a have an…adversarial relationship with.   The Surgeon likes to fight; to him it is a sort of recreational pastime.  As I was reminded a few days ago—in a most unpleasant and hurtful fashion—he will punish whatever or whomever says no to him.  And he will not stop. 

             To him, you’re either on the top, or you’re on the bottom.  Like a child, his thinking is very black and white.  Over much time, I have learned how to handle him—how to be on top.  The trick is to make him think that I’m not.  Whatever it is, make him think that it’s his idea.  Never ask—let him offer.  Whenever possible, you do not give this man the power to say no to you, to deprive you of anything.  He can be generous, but he is capricious, and he enjoys his power. 
            Here—I will make a bet with you, good reader.  A bet with myself.  A little game. 
          This is what Tanita reported this morning.  I am slightly skeptical; we’ll see what she registers tomorrow. 

            If the Surgeon sees me this week—if I decide to stick it out—do you think that he will inquire about my weight, or express anything resembling concern?  Or will he rave  and tell me how fantastic I look? 

            If it is the latter, it would tell you quite a bit about his personality, wouldn’t it?  
In fact, I think it would tell you just about everything you need to know.

My Computer is in the Intensive Care Unit. Pray for her.

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 Update 10/16/11:  Edited this post slightly for typos and clarity; I added a few sentences too.  My policy is to never delete or change my posts, even if I regret publishing them in hindsight (I would make an exception in the event of a true emergency).  

     Well, I had an interesting week (long periods of uselessness and anxiety punctuated with manic flourishes of activity).  I have to say that being underemployed has done wonders for my housekeeping.  I cleaned things that I never even thought about in the past, like the top back part of the fridge next to the wall, and the plastic container cases that hold my makeup.  I also bleached and scoured the grout between the tiles in the bathroom.  Usually I avoid doing that (scouring, I mean, not casual cleaning) because I get totally OCD about it and become very agitated when I can’t get the grout all the same color.

      I landed a tutoring job teaching a  <Ivy League School redacted> undergrad jock student athlete about Niccolo Machiavelli  and Thomas Hobbes.  I am familiar with both, but I feel much more comfortable with Machiavelli, the first modern political scientist (among other things).  Political theory was not my area of emphasis, but I took a few seminars.  I had to brush up on Hobbes (WOW was that guy smart!  Stop reading this blog and go get yourself some Hobbes right this minute) before I went in to the interview.  The student isn’t hiring his tutor, his parents are, and they were there for the interview (the son sat between them, looking obviously and justifiably uncomfortable, as if he was at a parent-teacher conference in 4th grade).  They had misgivings (obvious, but not vocalized in my presence, of course) about the fact that my credentials come from lowly PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES, but I got the job.

         I have another interview lined up for tomorrow morning.  A different job.  Should be interesting.  I’d write more about it now, but I am very tired, and I don’t think that I can do it justice.

        For no reason that I can discern, I was inspired to (try) to build a playstand for Parrot with materials purchased from the $.99 Store.  Did I mention that I have no experience with carpentry whatsoever (remember The Curtain Rod incident)?  Oh, it was quite an adventure, let me tell you.  I felt like Ogg the caveman trying to program a plasma TV, only my project involved lots of sharp power tools.

      Fear not, gentle reader, I took many photos of the monstrosity after the glue dried overnight–a catologue of my incompetency, if you will. Like a Yugo GV, the playstand was both ugly and structurally unsound.  I would not climb on it if I were a bird, even a little bird.  So, I tore it down and now I’m starting again.  Will document.

       Then my COMPUTER BROKE–I think it has viruses–so I had to drop everything and run it into the shop.  It took forever because I had to get it booted up and transfer tons of the data to an external hard drive.  I’ve always kept multiple copies of my financial records and research/school stuff (in multiple locations across the country, including a safety deposit box at the bank), but there was still some stuff on that PC that I was scared to lose.  Also, I didn’t want anyone else running across it, like Mr. Computer Fixit.  Nothing illegal, of course, but sure to raise a few eyebrows.

      So, I’m stuck with my crappy laptop for the next few days till I can pick up my PC.

      On the way home, I got a call from the Surgeon.  Maybe write more about it soon, when I’m not so tired.  Suffice it to say that it didn’t end well.  He turned on a dime, for no reason that I could see.  I told him not to talk to me like that anymore and got off the phone quickly.  But now I have this shit to deal with sometime over the next few days.  Makes me tired just thinking about it.

      One day, I want to tell him, one day I will leave you for a man that is capable of loving me.

      I came home and baked gingerbread cookies.  I put cream cheese icing on a few of them.  I wrapped them up and put them in the fridge to bring to a meeting tomorrow.  I did not eat a single one.

       We are quite a pair, the Surgeon and me.  A long time ago, as I sought to understand his behavior, I thought that he was afraid of emotional intimacy.  I was wrong.  I am the one afraid of emotional intimacy (which is why I’m with him). He deprives not because he is withholding, but because he has so little to give.  He has nothing to withhold.  And I deprive myself.

time stamp is incorrect

Have You Seen This Bird?

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    I saw this flyer on a pole in the East Village this evening.  I thought it was sad, so I wanted to do my part:

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         This poor dove, LoviDovi, is missing.  If you have any information please call 1 212 388 9780

         I hate it when I hear about people’s birds getting away.  Parrot is clipped.  I’m seriously considering letting her feathers grow out so that she can fledge, but it makes me nervous because I’ve heard so many stories of birds flown out the window.  Realistically, that is unlikely to happen in my apartment…I guess there is something to be said about living in a 19th century Jacob Riis-esque walkup after all…natural light?  Who needs natural light?  Don’t you know sunlight gives you wrinkles and skin cancer?

          Still hunting for Threepenny Opera tickets.  Tomorrow I will escalate my ticket-grubbing schemes.  What I’ve done so far hasn’t panned out.

        Am also frightfully broke, so I got on Craigslist and landed a modeling job for tomorrow.  I have scrutinized the hell out of it and it seems legit (modeling gigs are a cesspool of scam artists–you have to vett very carefully to get honest, paying work).  I’m one to talk–I knocked a year off my age to meet the qualifications, and I’m counting on the HR or secretary person not checking it when I present my ID and sign the modeling release.  Whatever–my clavicles can hold their own against any teenaged Ukrainian competition.  HA–good thing all that college is paying off!


Good Hunting

    After I returned home, I spoke with family over the telephone.  As I’ve said, they live very far away.  My brother had a good weekend, too.  He went with his dogs and his friends north into the mountains and took a deer. 

     “I hope you didn’t torture it,” I said, my voice more shrewish than I intended.  It is hard for me to relate to killing an animal; I’ve never understood his enjoyment of hunting (but to be fair, I’ve never tried it–perhaps I should). 

       He said that he dispatched it quickly and efficiently.  I believe him.  He is a practiced marksman, and serious-minded about guns.  So am I.  We are very different from one another, but not in every way. 

       In my mind’s eye, I picture my young brother folded in the treestand, or sitting in the duck blind with his well-trained dog in the hour before dawn.  He is long-legged and blue-eyed, like me.  He is a man prepared to wait.  He didn’t like college, but there is nothing wrong with his intellect.  My brother is not an aggressive man, but I have to tell you–I wouldn’t fuck with him. 

        We exchanged recent photos.  Sis, he tells me, you’re looking a little bony.  

        You know I don’t drink anymore; I’ve been working out,  I say.

        Nobody likes a quitter, he jokes, but I know that he approves (he doesn’t drink, either).  You’re a rail.  Knock that shit off.  Five more pounds and you’re going (away).  

      That’s not going to happen.  I’m healthy.  Do you remember when (our Mother’s last husband) would bring back a deer and hang it in the garage?

       And it would drive the cat and dog nuts?  Yeah.

       A childhood memory–the deer hanging upside down from the rafters, wrapped in a blanket to its neck.  The huge black eyes, gone blank and dusty, the beautiful face, the mystical antlers almost touching the concrete floor.  To my child’s eye, it looked fantastically wild and incongruous with its setting, surrounded by a car and boxes of Christmas decorations and tools.  It was like he had brought back something exotic and almost fearsome–a shrunken head from Guinea, a monkey’s paw, an African mask–and hung it in the garage.  I was afraid to approach it at first.  It looked like it could spring, suddenly, to life, and it was so much bigger than me. 

      Venison steaks to eat when I go back for Thanksgiving. 


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   Can’t believe I’m blogging about this; I suspect I’ll sound like a nut or a fool.  But whatever.  If I cared–truly cared–about what people thought of me, I’d probably have things like…meaningful personal relationships.  

       Tanita reported my weight this morning.  I was skeptical, so I weighed myself at the crummy gym where I pump iron with a bunch of meatheads (I am not being snarky; the gym really is crummy and the guys in the weight room really are meatheads. Axe bodyspray spiky-haired Ed Hardy gold-chained meatheads, bless their hearts. Can’t complain too much, though; the price for my membership is definitely right and it beats the university gym).

          Anyway, the scales concurred. To provide a frame of reference, I am a tall girl.  I am as tall as many men.

FYI, I think the body fat % is high here–just trust me

      The last time I was this slim in my adult life, I was…very unhappy. 

     Is there a word in the English language which means both satisfaction and disgust?   Not schadenfreude, which is inaccurate but springs to mind.  If you know, please email me.

       My concern with this is problematical and unhealthy.  If I was truly free, I would throw Tanita in the trash.  But it provides an element of stability for me: consistency, structure, control. I do crave to be controlled by something that does not despise me (and I am aware of how paradoxical that is, given that I am also neurotically independent–but, following Freud, fears are wishes).  It must feel, I imagine, like being loved.  Something like being loved.  

      I wish there were scales which measured other things; things which cannot yet be accurately quantified.  The intensity and quality of love, and despair, and longing, and hope, and the pain. Lust and compulsion, grief and regret. Performance indicators of the human soul. I wish these variables could be defined, measured, examined against dependent variables, used to evaluate and predict. I wish I could step on one of these magical scales and it would quantify me perfectly, and then I could know.  I could type all the data into SPSS (or better yet, Stata, even though I avoid Stata because its programming frightens me more than nuclear warfare, almost) and craft a model of myself, my brain, my heart.  Then I would know why, and what perhaps ought to be implemented; done or not done.

      I am a concrete thinker; I dislike ambiguity.

Learning to Accept the Loss

            The following is an excerpt from a private journal of mine.  I wrote this passage around late 2008.  I have never shared it with anyone, of course, for obvious reasons.  But I will share it with you. 
        The things I share on this blog are secret things, which is why I started this blog in this first place.  People in my life who might recognize me in one entry would never (I confidently presume) associate me with another.  I do this to myself. I would like to be more…transparent, however.  Actually, what I “would like” is irrelevant–the fact of the matter is that I need to get used to other people knowing who I am and how I live my life (fyi: I think the psychologists call this “intimacy.”  I am being sarcastic.  Mostly).  
          When I read this passage now, I am struck by the relentlessness of my will.  And I wonder: where did I learn such pitilessness towards myself, and such poorly-applied discipline…? 
            This has been edited only to protect my anonymity.  
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Learning how to lose weight, and how to maintain my weight at its current unnaturally low point, was very difficult.  It took a lot of practice, a lot of trial and error.  Oh, last fall and winter, when I weighed around 140 lbs and I decided I wanted to lose it, I remember how I struggled.  How difficult it was to get down to 135 lbs, and then 127 lbs, and then 125 lbs.  It was so slow at first, and the minute I let my guard down, I would gain again.  I was frustrated at the time; perplexed.  Now I realize it was because I was trying to have my cake and eat it too, pardon the blackly ironic metaphor (metaphorical cake is the only cake allowed around here these days).  I was trying to get thin while still eating like a normal person (a healthy normal person, that is). 
It took me a long time to figure out what I needed to do.  Cutting back on one thing…and then another…and then another.  Eliminating whole groups of food, like pastry.  Making up rules and sticking to them, such as no food after 6 PM.  It was so difficult to do at first.  So painfulSo hard to learn.  It felt so unnatural to give up food and regular eating habits.  I would feel frustrated and cheated.  I was rebellious against myself; I would feel angry at not being able to eat a slice of pizza.  Everyone else was enjoying it, why couldn’t I?  That is how I felt. 
But little by little, I mastered the art of deprivation.  My concentration can be relentless (I guess you could call it a gift if it wasn’t likely to kill me one of these days).  Who in hell devotes themselves to depriving themselves of basic human needs?  Monks?  Hermits? Crackpot terrorists, political revolutionaries, ill-adjusted creative types, professional athletes? 

In any case, I gradually got the hang of it.  I got the knack.  I gave up almost all of the foods I used to eat, and then I learned to accept the loss. This is the crucial part, you see, this is where the proverbial rubber hits the road—the acceptance.   I learned to accept the discomfort of hunger.  I learned how to measure and weigh the portions, how to skip meals when necessary.   I learned how to not eat, and I don’t mind telling you that it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. 

I had to reject social convention, almost everything I used to think about eating, and a lifetime of habit. To accept: I do not eat breakfast; there is no such thing as breakfast for me.   I had to reject corporal instinct; to accept: I am hungry, but my hunger is irrelevant and shall not intrude upon the other matters at hand.  I had to reject the perfidious parts of my brain.  I had to reject my heart, to accept: it hurts to not eat with the others…but what you want you must choose, and what you choose, you must give priority.  

(What you want you must choose, and what you choose, you must give priority.   This is one of my most deeply held beliefs.  Right up there with Everybody has to take a beating sometime, (and I am not talking about the nice beatings). And Everyone pays, even for the things they didn’t do.)  

 Little by little, I mastered my appetite, and then finally I mastered my body.  By the time I got down to 125 lbs, and could maintain it, I had it figured out!  And then I knew what to do, as Sylvia Plath might say.  I made a model of you...  The next 5 lbs was easy.  Size 6, size 4, size 2.  And then finally, I had my old body back.  From the neck down, I looked almost like a teenager again.  When I got down to 115 lbs—which I had not weighed since I was around 20—I stood nude in front of the mirror and assessed myself lovingly, with pride and approval.  The way my hipbones stuck out a little, the cage of my ribs, the flatness of my belly.  My underwear and pantyhose did not indent my flesh.  I felt like I had restored myself to the way that I looked before I met my last great love, Scott, who hit me in a bad way and whom I had to get a restraining order from.
I had re-achieved my beauty (as I saw it, at least).  My autonomy.  And for the first time in years, there was nothing to cause me shame.  A tangible achievement.  I had done something well.  I had, in fact, done something extraordinary. 
But at what cost?  What cost?
That question has no relevancy to me.  

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