I learned about a project last week called 52 Photos Project. Every week there is a different prompt. Last week was water. This week is uncommon shapes. I submit this “nest”, which was taken in the office of an ad agency in Portland the summer of 2012.
One of the things that annoys me is the dearth of happiness for gay couples in movies and books. I can’t really speak to television, since I don’t watch that much of it. At any rate, I asked my friends on Facebook and Twitter to help me compile a list of movies and books where the same-sex couple gets to stay together and be happy at the end. If there’s a movie based on a book, I’m going to list the book (unless they have different endings). Here’s what we came up with:
- Ammonite by Nicola Griffith
- Ash by Malinda Lo
- Curious Wine by Katherine V Forrest
- Desert of the Heart by Jane Rule
- The Complete Wendel by Howard Cruse
- Lunatic Fringe by Allison Moon
- Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner books
- My Most Excellent Year
- “Peanuts” in David Ebenbach’s collection, Into the Wilderness
- Stephen McCauley’s books
- Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
- The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
- Beautiful Thing
- Better Than Chocolate
- Big Eden
- But I’m a Cheerleader
- Chutney Popcorn
- Desert Hearts
- Elena Undone
- The Family Stone
- Happy Texas
- Home For The Holidays
- Imagine Me & You
- The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love
- Kiss Me
- La Cage Aux Folles (and the remake The Birdcage)
- Latter Days
- Maurice (E.M. Forster’s version; different from the book)
- My Beautiful Laundrette
- Peking Opera Blues
- Saving Face
- Show Me Love
- When Night Is Falling
- November Moon
Okay, it might not have ACTUALLY been this date, but it was 20 years ago that I was preparing to graduate from Oberlin College. I had decided in my senior year that I wanted to move to Seattle, based on having spent a single day in this fine city. But other than that, I had done nothing. I had no job, no place to stay, and knew virtually no one. Not only that, but I didn’t even have a way to get there. I had a plane ticket to return to Florida.
A few days before graduation, a friend of mine approached me. She said, “I’m driving out to Seattle to play in a steel drum band for the summer. We have room in the car. Do you want to come?”
I thought about it for a moment and consulted with my parents, who were there for the graduation. My dad said, “You can always come back home, if it doesn’t work out.”
I said, “Dad, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but I’d rather go slime fish in Alaska than move back to Florida.” We all laughed, I packed up a duffle bag and hopped in the car to drive West.
I met people who helped me, I found a place to live, I managed to get some work and I met the love of my life. I’ve made so many friends and have always always always since the day I moved here felt that this is where I belong.
For the last two months my yoga teacher Rainey was using the koshas as the lens for our yoga practice. The idea is that there are five of these sheaths or layers, and the innermost one is the anandamayakosha. Ananda is often translated as “bliss”, which I find very difficult to access. I will get back to this in a moment. Rainey likes to translate it as “unreasonable joy” – that is, joy that is unbounded, unconditional, without any cause. And even that is hard for me to get to. I’ve been working with the idea of satisfaction, rather than bliss, joy, or happiness, because it’s much easier for me to be clear about whether or not I’m satisfied. And often, satisfaction brings contentment, which is a flavor of happiness/joy/bliss. I love that in French one says Je suis contente to say, “I am happy.”
That is the foundation. Rainey suggested at the beginning of a class what we might do to reveal that innermost kosha, so that it remained undiminished. I have been working the last several weeks on noticing when I’m telling stories (which are often lies) about my own experience. I often skip feeling the emotion and go right into interpretation and storytelling, which ironically has the effect of keeping me in that feeling (and is often downright unpleasant). I realized that when I can let go of the story about the feeling and just experience the feeling, it dissolves rather quickly. Pema Chodron explains it this way:
When you give your full attention to your knee or your back or your head—whatever hurts—and drop the good/bad, right/wrong story line and simply experience the pain directly for even a short time, then your ideas about the pain, and often the pain itself, will dissolve.
It is the stories I tell myself that create the struggle (c.f. first paragraph on “bliss”). When Rainey said undiminished, I heard in my mind undefined. Can I just let my experience be, without telling any stories around it? And can I find that satisfying? And will that reveal that inner joy/satisfaction/bliss that much more?
How about you?
Today is the Seattle Foundation’s Give Big campaign. The idea is that if you donate money to your favorite non-profit orgs, it will be stretched by a giant pool of money available in SF’s coffers. Here are a few of my favorite very small orgs doing great work. I know the people intimately involved with the day-to-day operations and encourage you to add one of them to your giving today. Your donation will go much farther than in some of the big-name ones.
Amy Benson and Scott Squire’s Nonfiction Media is the organization through which they are making The Girl Who Knew Too Much. They have finished filming and are hoping to raise enough money to cover the cost of translation. It costs $50 for one hour. This story is going to change lives. It already has.
OneWorld Now! was started by my friend Kristin Hayden after the September 11th attacks in 2001. Her vision is to give underserved teens the opportunity to learn a foreign language and then travel abroad, breaking down barriers and misconceptions about people in other parts of the world.
Theatre Off Jackson is a very small theatre run by two women who love theater and art. They often host shows that otherwise wouldn’t have a space.
SHARE/WHEEL works to eradicate homelessness. It is a network of 14 self-orgainzed & self-managed shelters and two tent Cities that together shelter over 450 people every night, making them the largest shelter network in Seattle – with the smallest budget, thanks to that “self-organized” part.
Thanks for your generosity!
Lindy West had a fantastic list of Ten Types of Shitty Coworkers and How to Not Murder Them.
#2 was The Nutritionist, which started off about vegans. That totally cracked me up, because I could relate, mostly from bringing vegan food to work and having other people grill me about it. But then I got to this:
…the dude who keeps a crockpot of Costco meatballs simmering at his desk at all times and shorts out your space heater and makes fun of you for eating carrots because “carrots are for pussies”…
If I had not worked in a cube farm with a man who used to cook chicken in a crockpot under his desk and stink up the whole room, I would never have believed this one. Not only that, he was gay and had a signed picture of George H.W. Bush and Babs on his cube wall. AND, he used a plug-in air freshener. He also clipped his toenails at work. Apparently this combo means I won the competition of strange and annoying co-workers. His only saving grace (for me) was that he was a couple of rows over.
I really found it all too amusing. Would love to hear about some of your quirky co-workers!