This week I gave away a bunch of eyeglasses to New Eyes For The Needy, an organization in Short Hills, New Jersey that collects used eyeglasses and distributes them world-wide to those who can't afford them. I put a collection box outside my office door and got about twenty pair. I also had some of my own old glasses to throw in. I did go out and buy a new pair of eyeglasses, though, and I have to admit that I am attached to them. When it came out that Sarah Palin wears $700 Japanese frames, I couldn't hold that against her (a lot of pundits were saying that the high price tag of her frames shows she's a hypocrite, i.e. no "Hockey Mom"). I think that when you find a pair of glasses that fit right and look good you have to get them because more than any other accessory they will make or break your day. My new frames are Bevel from Japan and cost (gulp) $400. I went to Blink in DC to get them, a fantastic eye-wear store with nice, knowledgeable staff.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
*names and events are fiction
This was written for a fiction story class; the names and events are fiction, the sentiments are real.
For further reading:
The Tibetan Book of The Dead by W. Y. Evans-Wentz;
Dear Patrick by Jeffrey Schwartz;
Hardwired Behavior by Laurence Tancredi;
Recovering from Sexual Abuse by Sandra Knauer;
WHY I SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE
Certainly there are substantive legal arguments that can be debated on the issue of legalizing gay marriage, as the Supreme Court will hear after the overturning of Prop 8.
I hope the Supreme Court goes further than only doing away with DOMA and at least in effect if not intent allowing gay marriage to resume in California; although that would be a positive step.
I hope a case comes before the court where they eventually declare gay marriage a constitutional right.
Here is my subjective reason why:
I learned a while ago that a former girlfriend is gay and has finally come out, mainly spurred, I suspect, through society's increasing acceptance and support of gay rights.
And I am so happy for her. I was deeply in love with her - in fact, she is the only person I can say I know I loved.
But I felt that during our relationship she was always angry. More often than not this was passive-aggressive anger, (which is an art in itself) such as giving me the silent treatment or vicious looks.
I see now that this involved her objectification of men.
Leslie Geddes objectified me as a source of financial security: her attraction to me was centered on my apartment and car.
She oddly used this objectification in a passive aggressive way as well: for instance, setting up "french lessons" with some guy she met on CraigsList but being secretive about who he was or where they were meeting, and stopping in the street to simply stare at a good looking guy while she was with me, then refusing to talk to me about it, or telling her friends in front of me that she wanted them to set her up with someone "smart, cute and rich!"
None of these incidents were based on an attraction she had to men, but rather, I theorize, to her relating to men as objects.
During the first year we were involved we only each shared a Saturday off. My girlfriend would spend every Saturday with her "girlfriend" Alice Riener*.
If I asked "Can't we just spend one Saturday together?" Leslie would give the response:"What difference does it make? You get me Saturday evenings. Besides, Alice says she needs me."
She kept at the end of her bed a large framed photo of Alice so that her face would be the last thing she'd see at night and the first face she'd see in the morning.
After Leslie in with me I asked her if I was her best friend. She said "No," but when I asked who was, she refused to answer. I knew the truth was that it was Alice, her first and last priority in life. Every decision she made revolved around Alice.
Yet, when I asked her if Alice was gay, she said "no." Although they would sleep together when Alice visited (before my girlfriend and I moved in together) I knew that women are less uptight about intimacy with each other than straight guys are, so despite the obvious signs, I continued to believe my girlfriend when she told me that Alice isn't gay.
I felt I couldn't follow up with asking my girlfriend if she was gay, because she withdrew whenever I tried to discuss anything involving emotional intimacy.
But - I felt like the wives in the movie about gay cowboys. I recall the scene when the men were going off on their annual summer vacation together and the wives asked why they couldn't go along. The gay men refused to answer.
The audience was supposed to feel sympathy for the gay cowboys who felt they had to live in shame, but I identified with the wives, and I knew then that the cowboys in my life were Leslie and Alice.
Ultimately, after almost two years of this state of affairs, I felt that I was walking on eggshells around my girlfriend, unsure of expressing my feelings and emotions so not to say the "wrong" thing to her.
I unfortunately had a low sense of self worth due to childhood issues I hadn't yet come to terms with; Leslie's need for control brought me to my lowest level ever.
I realize now that I was in a classic emotionally abusive relationship where only one thing mattered to Leslie: control.
In retrospect, I realize that I was in a dysfunctional relationship where I would continue to attempt to communicate but the more I did, the more Leslie would shut down.
This is very typical of codependent relationships with an abuser. I did not know how to acknowledge my emotions and how to articulate them while Leslie and Alice are, in my experience, profoundly alienated from their emotional lives.
I kept seeking kindness from Leslie, but the more I tried the more disdainful she became, like a rushing waterfall painted by Leonardo DaVinci.
I wrote to her pouring my heart out, the kindest and most thoughtful letters I could write.
And that's how our relationship ended; my last memory is of her giving me a look in Trenton, NJ of such searing hatred that I felt the sting of bullets from a Tommy Gun and bites from the Daschunds of Hell.
That anger was in response to my finally opening my heart to her and communicating my feelings, thoughts and emotions.
For Leslie to communicate emotional intimacy would mean she'd let go of the control she'd been maintaining over the pain she carried from her repressed identity.
After two years of telling me that she loved me Leslie sent a one sentence email to me at work ending our relationship: "I don't know why, but our relationship is over."
I naively went to Alice to seek advice and in tears opened up to her.
Alice stood coldly and never said a word in response.
Later, I attributed that response to a lack of emotional empathy.
I now believe that this outcome was Alice's goal all along.
Alice was never friendly to me and I understand now that she encouraged Leslie to focus on every reason to break up with me and encouraged her to end our relationship.
It would be easy for me to leave things with the opinion that Leslie and Alice are people of unfathomable emotional maturity who lack the capacity for empathy, which leads them to manipulative, abusive and dishonest acts.
But, even if that were my opinion, it doesn't get to they "why" or help me recover from their actions.
So, in the end, I've figured out that Leslie's and Alice's relentless anger towards me manifested, I believe, from unresolved pain caused by the burden of suppressing identity.
Leslie told me about terrible childhood abuse she suffered, and certainly that is part of her identity.
But, sexuality is at a person's core, and to deny it is a terrible thing.
I believe both always felt they had to be perfect, and perhaps the truth of sexual identity represented failure in their minds?
To avoid confronting the emotions Leslie was alienated from, I theorize that she directed anger at me, objectified men and lived in the closet for years beyond when the truth was obvious to her - and to me.
I remember a time at Princeton when Leslie told me of a classmate who was in deep emotional pain; Leslie laughed and mocked her, and I knew then that if I ever showed any sign of emotional weakness, Leslie would take it as an opportunity to hurt me. I was right. But, I also know, now, that this simply was her coping mechanism, a means of avoiding looking at herself.
I wish I could have been there for her to help her work out her emotional pain, but I guess she had to ultimately work it out through her own path.
I have compassion for Leslie and Alice. I was angry at their lies but have forgiven them because they didn't know what they were doing.
I often think what a difference it would have made if Leslie or Alice had been able to show just five minutes of kindness to me when I reached out to them at my lowest point in life. But that's the movies; people are mostly savages, and Leslie and Alice are no different. Both are consumed with liberal causes but those abstract concerns mask a deep void in their emotional core: a fear of emotions in that they fear seeing who they really are.
In some ways I feel privileged to have seen their true selves, which they had masked for so long. Maybe their emotional abuse of me reached a climax that helped them realize the core of their identities. Even so, I know they'd never develop to the point of acknowledging that, as they are, after all, simply ordinary people.
I'm glad they've achieved a degree of self-awareness by acknowledging their identities.
And, if I did have the chance to talk to Leslie, I'd tell her:
"I'm your ally and I always have been; my love for you was real. I support you completely. I believe in you and wish you happiness. I care about you more than you will ever know. I want you to be happy...er gay, and...The sooner gay marriage is mainstream, the healthier society will be because even more gay people will feel supported and normal and free to come out and be who they are. To me, this seems a win-win for the mental health of individuals and thus society as a whole."
And, now that Leslie has come out, I can sleep in peace, knowing that she likely has found peace too.
Posted by wentworth at 11:58 PM
Labels: Art of Leslie Geddes Leslie Geddes Memories Princeton, fiction, rockin out leslie geddes alice riener, why i support gay marriage
This is interesting to me as it would be a perfect Robert Crumb muse.
Crumb has never cited Biederer, to my knowledge, but I wonder if he was influenced by him at a young age, given his fetish for shoes and certain body types.
This pose itself is enticing with the multiple triangles in it, giving it a tension, and the woman's smile adds a sense of intrigue.
Posted by wentworth at 5:11 AM
Labels: An Original Banksy Leonardo da Vinci Leslie Geddes princeton, Art of Leslie Geddes Leslie Geddes Memories Princeton
Posted by wentworth at 4:19 AM
Thursday, December 9, 2010
The New Justice League International starring the fabulous Caitlin Hartman and Laura Dean (release date estimated July 2012)
Posted by wentworth at 7:17 PM