Credit Where Credit Is Due

If you were told that someone had a talent that only a handful of people on the entire planet had, wouldn’t you be impressed? Wouldn’t you be even more impressed if you knew that person was also a free speech advocate, had been in a few films, organizes for street performers, is a storyteller and has a radio show?

Meet Abby the Spoon Lady. This woman is talented beyond measure. She’s also intelligent, well-traveled, and dedicated. That should be all anyone needs to know about her.

But that’s not how the world works. If you check out her Youtube channel or Facebook page, both of which show you dozens of amazing performances, you’ll be enchanted. Unless you start reading the comments. Then, if you’re like me, you’ll be infuriated. While many people recognize her talent, trolls abound. They criticize her looks. They criticize her clothes. They criticize her lack of teeth.

It seems to me that if Abby were a man, she wouldn’t get this type of feedback. But being a woman in the music world, you’re supposed to be glamorous and perfect in every way, or you can’t be taken seriously. I don’t find Willie Nelson particularly attractive, but you don’t hear people discussing that to the point where his talent gets forgotten, do you?

Give Abby a break. I think she’s beautiful. I think her talent is also beautiful. I think the world is a much more beautiful place because she’s in it. I hope I get to see her perform live someday. And if I do, I hope the trolls stay home.

Abby_the_Spoon_Lady

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Dirty Jobs

I must say that I love having an employer that not only allows me to dress like a hobo, but actually expects me to. I come in contact with grease and motor oil entirely too often to wear nice clothes. My shoes are so greasy, in fact, that I leave them here at work. I don’t want to contaminate my house.

I’ve had jobs where you had to dress up in the past, and I always felt like a massive fraud. And a dress code always adds a whole additional level of office politics that I didn’t enjoy at all. There were always factions. Some people were always on the outer. There were constant complaints that one person (usually me) wasn’t dressed quite nicely enough. Or someone had terrible taste, or didn’t iron properly. And there were all these grey areas. How short was too short? Why is a Hawaiian print considered too casual, but a floral print is okay? I used to have a really nicely made silk shirt, but it happened to be tie-dyed. Heaven forfend!

On this job, no one talks about how you dress. No one complains about the state of your shoes as long as they’re close-toed. If you shirt isn’t ever-so-slightly stained, you probably aren’t trying hard enough.

There is one thing that will make you an outsider. If you don’t get your work clothes at the thrift store, people will look at you strangely. And that suits me just fine.

My greasy work shoes.
My greasy work shoes.

Beauty?

I’ve never considered myself to be beautiful. It was not the kind of compliment that was given out in my family. Intelligent, yes. Pretty? No.

Because of that I have allowed myself to be intimidated by beauty over the years. As if good looks had some sort of additional value. As if it makes you a superior person. How silly.

In fact, on more than one occasion, I’ve seen people who appeared attractive at first glance, but then seemed forever ugly to me once they opened their cruel or ignorant or self-absorbed or racist mouths.

Now I actually feel sorry for beautiful people, because beauty fades. It must be quite upsetting to have something that you set great store by, and then have that thing slowly slip away like sand through an hourglass. And if you are used to certain advantages, such as more attention from the opposite sex, and therefore haven’t made much of an effort to work on having a pleasing and attractive personality, when your looks diminish, you’re left with nothing.

There’s also a number of problems on the opposite end of the spectrum. Perhaps you are beautiful and are also blessed with a great deal of personality and intelligence. The problem with that is that many people aren’t going to take the time to look past the surface. They’re not going to take you seriously. That’s got to be frustrating as well.

And you’d always wonder if people like you for you, or because you look good on their arm. That’s a concern I’ve never had to have. I also don’t have to worry about being seen in public without makeup, or gaze anxiously in the mirror at my crows’ feet. I’m not even sure if I have them. I have much better things to do with my time.

So, yeah, it was painful when I was young to not get asked out to the prom, but in the long run, I honestly think I came out on top. Life is what’s beautiful. Friends and loved ones are what matter.

Inner Flames Inner Beauty by ClareMaria Vrindaji Bowman at fineartamerica.com
Inner Flames Inner Beauty by ClareMaria Vrindaji Bowman at fineartamerica.com

Make Yourself Comfort-Able

I will never wear high heels again. I just don’t see the point. I have absolutely nothing to gain from making myself more clumsy and uncomfortable. Life is just too short. Or maybe it’s too long. Either way.

Once upon a time appearance meant more to me than comfort. I was all about the skin tight jeans. Now, whenever I can get away with it, I’m in sweat pants. It’s just how I roll.

I was thinking about the word comfortable the other day. Able to experience comfort? Able to be comforted? Both of those things appeal to me greatly. Comfortable as in financially well-off? The thing about that is that most of the rich people I know aren’t very relaxed or happy or able to just chill out in sweat pants. So no, not so much.

I think truly being comfortable means doing what’s best for you and not caring what others think about that. It also means opening yourself up, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, exposing your soft underbelly so that others can give you support when you need it. When you’re in the weeds, it’s nice to know there are others there who will help you find your way out.

I resolve, here and now, to make myself more comfortable every chance I get. Who’s with me?

comfy

[Image credit: knowyourmeme.com]

I Love Your Mind

In this modern computer age I have quite a few friends that I haven’t met face to face. In many cases we are a half a world away from each other, and the likelihood of us ever breaking bread is pretty slim. Even so, they’re as dear to me as any partner in crime from college ever was. We banter, we chat, we meet on Facebook or in the virtual world of Second Life. We exchange e-mails. We skype. I have even made several friends through the comments here on my blog. I’ve also connected with distant relatives and reconnected with long lost friends on line. I love being alive at this point in history!

Granted, you can’t always trust what you learn on line. That girl of your dreams might be a fat old truck driver with bushy chest hair pushing out the top of his wife-beater shirt, and pedophiles and perverts love the internet even more than I do. I have met my fair share of crazies, believe you me. But generally speaking, crazy is hard to hide for long. It usually oozes out of the cracks in one’s façade fairly quickly.

But what I love most about meeting people this way is that you skip right over the assumptions and judgments that come along with the usual first impressions. You get past that two foot long beard because you aren’t aware it’s there. Obesity, deformity, race, bad taste in clothes, and really bad cologne do not factor in when you are getting to know someone on line. You aren’t meeting face to face. You are meeting mind to mind.

Within three seconds of meeting an adolescent in Second Life, I can tell. They have no life experience, and therefore very little to contribute to a conversation. I move on. It also doesn’t take much time to determine if you have nothing in common with someone. If someone is pushy, aggressive or rude, they’ll usually be the same way in cyberspace.

But just as in real life, when you click with people, it has nothing to do with the physical. It’s their sense of humor, their integrity, their intelligence and their point of view that makes you like them. You have a better chance of meeting these gems on line, because you won’t discount them for their scary biker attire or their severe facial scarring.

Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, we’ve all dismissed someone due to our assumptions based on their appearance. What opportunities have we missed for life long friendships? The internet is the great equalizer in this instance, and I’m forever grateful for the many friends I’ve made through its agency.

read your mind