This week's Five Star Friday is brought to you by the marriage of industry and culture and toxic waste, beauty into age, the macro effects of micro-inequities, the joy in letting go of "normal", the creative handling of a solitary lunch, an invisible illness, the best Golden Globes wrap-up ever, and Roddy Doyle:
photo credit: Jon Kay
Some of the people who look the most normal are probably the maddest people trying to look normal.
— Roddy Doyle
I'm not an eco-warrior or a Luddite, and I'm not anti-business or even anti-industry. But for years, I've watched from inside and out while the place I grew up in, the place where many people I love still live, got sold out and scorched and plowed under and poisoned and filled with smoke.
I spend too much time thinking about my body, about how it is changing over time, about how the world sees me. This morning, I took a picture of myself and I really looked at it. I was ready to pick it apart as I always do but the only thought that popped into my head was, "I like this picture." Liking a picture of yourself shouldn't be revolutionary yet, sometimes, it feels like it is.
Here's a thought experiment: For every white or Asian male expert programmer you know, imagine a parallel universe where they were of another ethnicity and/or gender but had the exact same initial interest and aptitude levels. Would they still have been willing to devote the over ten thousand hours of deliberate practice to achieve mastery in the face of dozens or hundreds of instances of implicit discouragement they will inevitably encounter over the years?
Sure I have fears. Don't all parents? I want the best for Trace and there is a societal rule of what "Normal" is and Trace does not fall into that category. But without him — words like eccentric, unique, charming would not have been created for our pleasure. Sure Trace is different, but over the past year I've truly come to enjoy the little person he is and not who I am afraid others think he should be.
…rather than give into the alienation and isolation that such a predicament can engender, I cleverly multiplicated myself, Sybil like, into several different personalities and held an informal meeting of EugeniusCorp®™. The minutes of our meeting are as follows.
At the perfect time, it would be a lot easier to talk about being sick. I excel at serenely gliding and pretending nothing is wrong, having achieved grand champion status beyond all imaginings. I don't even feel bad about it, really, except when it comes time to tell someone why I can't accompany them somewhere because, "I can't walk that far," is a pretty strange thing to say, right out of the blue like that with no prior explanation.
My mother-in-law, Larraine, and I were watching together, and we both caught a glimpse of this sparkly-backed salmon milkmaid wending her way through the crowd, and we both gasped, and a breeze blew simultaneously through our hair, and we were all WHO WAS THAT DELIGHTFUL FAIRY and WE MUST SEE MORE and WAS SHE REAL and then finally she spoke with Ryan Seacrest and she was real and her name was Sarah Hyland and Larraine didn't enjoy her eyebrows but I felt at peace with them and we both loved the braid over her head and agreed that this is the perfect age for such a braid, this youth age. Because there are windows for a braid like that. You can wear them when you're young, but then you have to stop, and then you can resume them whenever you're ready to be that lady in the poem "When I Am an Old Lady I Shall Wear Purple and Eat Sausages and Throw Shit and Do Whatever I Fucking Feel Like, Etc." I mean, hey. Do it now if you want. I'm just talkin' 'bout Society says you have to stop. I don't say that. I don't know. Let's all wear purple and be milkmaids and do what we want. Fuck it.
Please come back and share good writing with us over the coming week to be featured on the next Five Star Friday. Submit it by Thursday at midnight CST to have it featured on Five Star Friday.
And because you are a fan of finding good new writing on the internet: