Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giving Thanks

I question whether I should preface this post with some disclaimer given that this is only entry #2, but for the sake of freely expressing myself I'll dive right in:

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and were able to spend it with someone you love, or at least tolerate. I was lucky enough to spend it with several people I love and truly enjoy, which inevitably helped me cope. For me, Thanksgiving is a rather disgusting holiday (and I'll go as far as to argue that it shouldn't be considered a holiday, but we'll get to that later). If it weren't for the fact that I really enjoy a lean filet mignon and that my partner makes outrageously spectacular chicken dishes (after he lets me cut off everything that remotely resembles fat or reminds me that the piece of slimy breast meat was once part of a living animal), I'd become vegetarian once and for all. Thus, it shouldn't be very surprising that I find the traditional Thanksgiving ritual absolutely fowl-- pun intended. The idea of repeatedly sodomizing a bird in order to rip out its organs and neck and who knows what else (so delicately called "cleaning the bird") and then stuff it with bread to soak up the "juices", which is later intended to be consumed alongside the cooked meat after someone hacks the bird apart and then proudly displays the carcass in the center of the table like some trophy, seems utterly barbaric to me. Perhaps it's that growing up, my dad always made enchiladas for Thanksgiving dinner because his father had taken him to a turkey processing plant when he was a child and he's managed to pass on his trauma to me, but I just can't bring myself to share in the excitement.

This brings me to my second point. As I mentioned above, I don't believe that Thanksgiving as it is practiced today should be considered a holiday. If the prevalent idea were truly to give thanks for all of one's blessings with loved ones and in return people took the opportunity to share with those less fortunate, then I'd say Thanksgiving is the most important of the holidays celebrated in the US. Now, I'm not saying it's all bad; it does provide us with a few badly-needed vacation days and gives us a chance to gather together with family. Nevertheless, elaborate parades, hours of cooking, football games, and feast seem to take precedence over the giving thanks part, which in most households where I've spent Thanksgiving (including mine) is reduced to hastily saying grace before the meal. No, this special Thursday is not a holiday, but rather an annual excuse to celebrate gluttony and laziness. And yet we continue to seem surprised by the fact that some 75 percent of Americans are overweight...

Then comes Black Friday, on which someone is trampled to death each year due to opulent materialism that only echoes the opulence of the day before-- but if I dive into the topic this post could go on endlessly, so for now I won't and I'll save myself from really offending someone.


I recognize that all of this sounds incredibly dismissive; I know I need to work on becoming less critical. Yet in spite of the aforementioned absurdities, I did have a lovely "holiday", filled with sweaty yoga, a run on the beach, good friends, endless card games, and of course, enough food to feed a family of 12 for a week. I even tried the turkey. I found myself actively taking part of it all and wishing my family were there as well. I suppose I'm also guilty of absurd behavior for participating in (and enjoying) something I describe as "disgusting."

Lots of love,
Mira

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Resistance

Well folks, I'm blogging. The purpose of this blog is not to serve as some source of inspiration and wisdom to its readers (if it acquires any). For as much as my desire in life is to empower others, I still have a lot of self-discovery to realize before I can pretend to offer advice publicly. If a reader takes something away from this blog in terms of life lessons, what to do, what not to do, spectacular. Nevertheless, the purpose of this blog is to force myself to write. I like writing but I'm terrified of it. For years I've hidden behind excuses: my mother took 9 years to write her doctoral dissertation and I want nothing to do with that; I am far too perfectionist and labor over every sentence before moving to the next (as I just did with this one); I have no Ritalin or Adderal or other concentration-enhancement drug that enables me to sit down and write for 9 hours straight like I did in college. But these are merely excuses, and I'll invoke another excuse to justify them: aside from email, I've only ever written for school and work. Thus, this blog is an experiment, a personal challenge to break old habits and redefine Mira. If I offend anyone in the process with my reflections and rants, I apologize-- my warped sense of humor often gets me into trouble.

I was recently given a copy of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. While the book is applicable to multiple facets of my life, my blog is a perfect illustration of its subject. The book discusses Resistance, that force that keeps you from doing what your heart desires, be it write, start a business, go on a diet, you name it. As I'm writing this, my blog is without a title. Ever since I decided to start a blog, I've found every excuse not to. I've opened blogspot.com numerous times in the last week and each time I get stuck on the initial page that asks you to give your blog a title and create its URL. I brainstorm a number of different names but discard them as too cliché, too deep, too absurd, too boring, too unrelated. At that point something else distracts me and the blog gets delayed yet again. Its a simple thing, naming a blog, yet somehow its been the ultimate obstacle to actually writing. My resistance is such that I'm writing this post as an email to myself and will later copy/paste it into my currently nameless blog in order to force myself to get started. I know unlearning certain behaviors is a matter of practice and repetition, so while I won't guarantee any regularity in blog entries, I do promise to do my best to trick myself into sitting down to write weekly. First, however, I need to overcome that damn naming obstacle, which is clearly a mechanism to keep me from actually having to post something for y'all to read. That part scares the crap out of me. And who would want to read this? If anyone other than myself actually does, it will be a near miracle.

Until next time,
Mira

P.S. Thanks to my friend/former office mate/pseudo-psychologist Pancho for inspiring the blog's title (Translation: The only thing stopping you is you), which came to me after a ridiculously long struggle.