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WhyDid’s Words: Role Play

By |November 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|

We don’t really “know” anyone.  All we know is our perception, interpretation, and ideation of them.

How do I know?

I wake up to someone new every single day.

Myself.

Do you ever wonder who might be in your bed in the morning?  Not the person sleeping next to you.  Not the person in the next room.  Not even the animal diligently guarding your bedside.

You.

Who will you be today?  What will you do?

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be very careful what we pretend to be.

Kurt Vonnegut

I met a woman once who played perfectly into a role she’d felt was given to her by other people’s perceptions.  At the party where we’d met, she was silly and flirtatious, cracking jokes and acting as the court jester in a slim fitting satin sheath dress just skimming her perfect figure.  She was utterly charming.

Captivated and intrigued, I’d stayed up late into the night and early into the morning talking to her as we made our way through the last bottle of cabernet sauvignon on the roof of a Lower East Side walkup.  She was exhausted.  Not because it was late, but because she felt as if she had finished yet another performance.

“Why do you do it?” I asked.

She gazed down into her wine glass as a chunk of her silky auburn hair fell from her bun and across her face, “It’s what they want.”

I felt a pang of sadness.  I wasn’t sure if it was for her or for the fact that what she said held both so much truth and conversely, so little.

He asked what I did that day.  I lied.

“I went for a run and then went to the Botanical Garden.”

He should have known I was lying.  And it pleased me.  It pleased me that I was testing him, but more so that he’d failed and I’d gotten away with such a farce.

The truth was I stayed in bed that day.  When my internal clock went off– usually around 8:33AM, I looked to my still snoring dog who’d kept my feet warm in the cool air of late fall and to the blinds covering my window, still grey not yet illuminated by the sun.  I knew it must have been raining, or at very least cloudy.  What I did instead was roll over, sleep another hour and spend the rest of my day in bed eating chili, drinking wine, and crying as I watched Casablanca for the very first time.

And just as I’d hung up the phone and smiled smugly, feeling quite content, I realized the only person I had fooled was myself.

WhyDid’s Words: Haunted

By |November 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|

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She loved to play dress up. Her mother’s lace dresses dragging behind her as she ran barefoot through the backyard.  Climbing citrus trees and catching garden snakes with her older brothers wearing pink satin and polka dots.

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Lizards, hermit crabs, snails all became her pets and friends.  When her parents had tried to dress her in her older brothers’ jeans and sweaters, the little girl who looked much like a soft pink rose, made it clear that would just not do.  Mostly by throwing the clothing back at them and crossing her little doughy white arms across her tiny chest.  She was a woman, through and through– and she knew this well before she knew her times tables.

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When she’d been born, she was a surprise.  The doctor had assured her parents that they were due for a third little boy.  As she arrived at the hospital, her mother exclaimed, “Thank God!  Thank you! It’s a little girl.”

The little girl loved her big brothers and never let their rough play intimidate her.  She enthusiastically took it as a challenge, but there was no way she was going to do so any way but on her own terms.  So, she dug into her mother’s closet and armed herself the only way she knew how– in chiffon, silk, and sequins.

She made no sense to many.  Was she a boy in girls’ clothing or a girl who wanted to be a boy?  She never thought of this as a decision she had to make.

And she never had to choose.  A woman is exactly who she wants to be.

 

WhyDid’s Words: Alice in Dreams

By |September 6th, 2017|Uncategorized|

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She came to me in my dreams one night.  A tiny little thing with big blue eyes and long flaxen hair.  She looked like a real life Alice in Wonderland.

She plopped herself down haphazardly in the chair across from me.  We were in a cafeteria.  It reminded me of my highschool.  She looked me straight in the eyes and blinked a couple of times before saying anything.  She began to speak and then giggled.

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“You know none of this is real, right?”

“What isn’t?” I asked, confused.

“This!” she nearly shouted as she threw her little arms above her head.

I looked at her puzzled and she frowned in frustration.

“What don’t you understand?  All this stuff you worry about doesn’t really even matter.  It’s absolutely absurd!” she laughed, eyes wide.

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I continued to stare at her in half amusement, half disbelief.  She was turning around in her chair– left and right, looking at everyone around us as if sizing up each person in the room.  A man then walked by us, he looked like an authority figure (remember, this is just a dream).  The little blonde held her hand up to him in the gesture of a high five.  He smiled and met her hand with his own.  She turned back around to me.

“See?  It’s all absolutely ridiculous and the sooner your realize that, the happier you’ll be.”

It didn’t occur to me until after rubbing my sleepy eyes that morning that the little blonde was me.  Me before I had ever worried about all of the things I do today.  Me before I forgot that life is totally absurd.

 

WhyDid’s Words: Morning Glory

By |August 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|

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She rarely slept past 5am.  Sometimes it felt as if she’d lived an entire day before nine in the morning.  She wasn’t sure if it was the thin blinds she’d installed to block the early morning summer sun or the lucid dreams that left her feeling emotional long past opening her pretty blue eyes.  Maybe she was still living in a different time zone from a lifetime passed.  Maybe she just loved the solace of the dawn.  Maybe her golden hour happened hours before what others deemed it to be.

Whatever it was, it was the only time of day she truly felt completely alone.  Entirely disconnected from the outside world.  But that was her time.  It was her favorite time.  She knew most people would consider her odd.  By society’s standards she was odd, but that wasn’t something that bothered her.  She cherished that.

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No one ever knew why she was tired, but no one would ever know the magic of her morning hours.

WhyDid’s Words: Happily in Your Head

By |August 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|

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“You see,” she said, “the problem with being a hopeless romantic with an active imagination is that you turn everyone into a storybook character. That asshole with reckless tendencies who keeps you on the hook? He becomes a brooding sensitive artist type with insecurities who is in love with you but is just ‘scared.’ He speaks in riddles so as to leave everything open to interpretation.”

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A wind blew the picnic blanket up knocking over a striped paper cup of prosecco and spilling it onto the already wilting salad.  She dabbed at the bubbling puddle with a gingham cloth napkin then tossed it back into the wicker basket once realizing her efforts were in vain.  She looked back up, eyes clear.

“Suddenly the damsel becomes the heroine. The princess who should be fought for gets busy trying to save all these half assed imaginary characters.  She’s confused the villains for the white knights, the fire breathing dragon for Prince Charming.  And instead of a ‘happily ever after’ she’s left with her own tragedy.  One nobody can write her out of but herself.  Unless, of course, she wants to spend all of eternity locked in a tower with seven dwarfs and a singing candlestick.”

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Her friend laughed out of courtesy because it was the truth.

The intended audience stabbed at a chunk of tomato with a plastic fork and took a deep breath wondering if she’d been constructing her own fairytales in her head well past the days of dress up and jungle gyms.

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“Listen, you are a fairy princess.  We all see it– and I’m not talking about your fairy princess hair and flowy dresses.  You’ve got the biggest heart and maybe that’s your problem.  You can’t seem to accept that sometimes people are just– bad, so you find the tiniest sliver of goodness in them and focus on that– which, as I say it doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, but that’s why you get hurt, bamboozled, left in the damn dust scratching your pretty little head.

You can’t rewrite real life and you can’t fix everyone– well, my spiritual adviser would correct me there, but… anyway, sometimes an evil stepmom is an evil stepmom and a flying monkey is just that.”

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The wind picked up again and the hammock began to swing.

“Enough with Jafar and his harem.  Where the eff is Prince Eric?”

They both laughed and then were quiet for a moment enjoying the warm summer breeze.

“Wait… should I change my bio to ‘fairytale princess?'”

Photos by Michael Stiegler