Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In the RED

So, you definitely know you've spent too much money in a store when upon arriving home, there is a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne waiting for you.  Not from a lover or a secret admirer and its not even your birthday. But FROM the STORE you just assaulted with your credit card.  Such was the case in my ,"I don't look at price tags" days. The days of wine and roses. Days long gone. 

As me and my best friend blazed into the Beverly Center in my Range Rover one fine afternoon and strutted up the all too slow moving escalator, I was prepared to do some serious damage. And damage, I did. But as always, most of the damage was done to myself. I didn't know how or where but I was poised, ready to strike, Gold Amex in hand. I know you're surprised it wasn't the Platinum, but they had not come out yet...Gold was at that point, top of the line. And I wielded it with great pride. So as I sashayed around I found my mark. One of the most expensive stores in the place,  of course, which has since gone out of business.

A place that would clothe you from head to toe.  It was like when they dress you for a film, but you don't pay. In fact you get paid. EXCEPT that I would be the one paying. This was lost in the translation. I mean this store suits you from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet, and everything in between.  Start with a possible hat, necklace, scarf, blouse, jacket, trousers, belt, shoes, socks, underwear.  You name it. Lets start with casual wear [pink cashmere sweater outfit to fly in], smart appt/audition outfit[Dolce Gabana navy suit] . You think they'd have given me some free clothes since I did an add campaign for them but, no. Gucci dress [de rigueur sexy number for whatever !!!]. Manolo Blahnik's up the ass [the Jimmy Choo of yesterday]  Too much to remember, really.  But the list went on and on and on.

As my dear friend recalls it, I walked around in a kind if trance ,  my eyes glazed over and whatever they brought [the three salesgirls running amok] I just kept saying yes, uunnhhuunnn, OK!!!  Once one of the great outfits was established, then came the shoes, oh, the PERFECT necklace, they need a belt and a bra with sufficent uplift power. Think Madonna pointed titties. Things flying fast and furious as the stack of take homes got bigger and bigger. I have done many a rushed fittings for filming but these people had it down to a science. Shorten the length wearing a heel, [I am only 5"4 after all] and on to the next,next, next.

Of course in addition to my seek and destroy my bank account attitude under the guise, gee, aren't I in and cool, part of what was fueling me was  a seemingly endless supply of caffe lattes. How many was that, my third.  No, fourth... Like  being at a bar with a cute guy, having so much "fun" you just keep drinking  and drinking until you are sick at the end of the night, or worse, in the public bathroom.  Intimate with the cold white toilet. Silly me, I was hoping to be so with the cute, sensitive ponytail guy. [Another scary 80's fact]  And I now wonder : was it the booze that had me tossing my cookies or the sick fact that my head, face, hands etc were in a public toilet that thousands of asses have occupied...ugh...good times. I don't wish to be 20 again.

That  glorious and memorable day, the bill exceeded even my  great expectations. I had to actually pull a second Amex to cover it all, to my shame this one was NOT gold. I may be blacking it out, like a woman after giving birth not allowing herself to remember the really painful parts...but I think I had to actually put a few things back. Horror of all horrors. But to be fair to me, I can't be certain that occurred.  So please don't hold it against me.

The want and the need thing is strong, in all of us.  And the actual difference between what we "want" and "need" get incredibly distorted. At least for me it does. The HOW it manifests is individual though. But it all stems from the same place. Rumi calls it a longing to belong to oneself.  And yes, we are programmed ....... "they" want to keep us two all important things. Scared and consuming.  I was one of the biggest supporters. But I think I tried to hide the scared with all of my needs/wants.  I was scared that I did not fit in, just a girl high school drop out from Michigan.  Scared I did not have the right clothes, shoes, hair, makeup,  or things to say. The only one that really fed me and kept me growing was seeking the right things to say....because in general, that put me on a sort of spiritual path. For lack of a better phrase. 

My experience with wanting is that I see something I feel I must have. Lets say a Juicy Couture, black short sleeved, polka dotted, terrycloth sweatshirt with a hood but not the shorts [hint,hint...a little too specific]... Anyway, I want it. And think of how cute I will look in it, and the places I can wear it, that it can be dressed up or  dressed down, I build my case of why it MUST be mine.  And so on and so on. Then comes the worry, if I cannot get it. The ways to get some money for it. The sadness of not being able to get it. The self loathing. The pity party for me. It is a very negative experience. Over a freaking terrycloth hoodie. See the madness??!!!

The opposite is that I see it, I want it, I get it!!! She shoots, she SCORES!!! Fans applaud!!!!YYYAAAAAAAA!!!!   Then another kind of madness ensues. Yes, it feels good to have it as I literally skip out the store. Won't I be so cute in this, HAH I got it,  I can't wait to wear it. Where will I wear, when will I wearit, should I just slip it on and wear it out??!!! Lijke as a kid I used to do with a new pair of shoes, only to find that they hurt my little fat feet. [another blog altogether] But as I am just about out the door of the store with my new Juicy hoodie in hand....something catches my eye.......what's that? The newest baggy" boyfriend jeans" that all magazines have been showing and made by J Brand??!!! Uhhhhh... I want those..... Do I return the hoodie.... And it all starts all over again.

Or there is the scenario that with the much coveted hoodie at my home. I am just NOT wearing it. Why you ask? Because I must find the absolute perfect occassion to wear it to. I don't want to waste my first time wearing out for all the world to see afterall. This is the kind of obsessive shit that actually occupies my mind, I am sorry to say. If you feel bad for me, feel free to purchase the Juicy hoodie on line. I know I will feel so much better and so might you.

It is, as a great writer  I worked with once eloquently called it: Filling the wrong hole. This I tried to do in many different ways for a long time. And still at times fall prey to its craziness. A dear makeup artist friend of mine once heard me obsessing over a particular skirt I saw in a magazine and simply said... Will that skirt complete you. YES!!! I shouted at her. YES it will. It is the missing link. The fucking skirt IS the missing link in my life and will make all my problems, sadnesses and shortcomings go far far away.... Of course I got her point  but I was young and dumb and thought part of it was she was just jealous because she couldn't see a designer skirt in Vogue and have it summoned to her as I could. OWWWWWW, lucky me. 

Wise people have said that what happens between getting the things we want and then them not being enough[ and that can last a minute or days, weeks or months] is that we simply STOP wanting.  We just STOP WANTING>>>>> In that is a calm, a peace, a sense of completion. A stopping of the seeking to fill the wrong hole. Not a completion because we got the shirt, car, man...fill in the blank. But a stopping to the endless want. Stemming from what I have is not enough.

With all this "STUFF" in the world how do we navigate it all .  How do we not buy into it when it is constantly being shoved down our throats?  And what will really complete us? One thing is for sure, no person completes us. {Hate that Jerry McGuire line, sooo awful!!!} No job or career completes us. Not even a child completes us, but it comes closer for me than anything else ever has.  

What if..... we are already complete. What if, all of this is a pack of lies. That you need to grow and learn and change where you are in your life. What if you are exactly where you are supposed to be and whatever you think, that you have never made any mistakes in your life. NOT ONE. I know many find this impossible and even arrogant and offensive. Oh I'm sorry, am I knocking on the door of you possibly releasing your cherished suffering? Your sob stories of how hard your life has been. The same stories you have told people over and over, embellishing them a little each time for dramatic effect and to up the sympathy level. 

I speak to what I have direct experience with. All people do this. But the trying to escape IS our pain and suffering. The nonacceptance for our life, exactly as it is, IS the pain and suffering.  The bludgeoning of ourselves, of our supposedly wrong choices, or even egotistically making all we do more than it is worth, IS the pain and suffering. It is, what it is, as it is. So move on. Sometimes its great and sometimes it sucks. So be it. What is with all the labels designed to falsely elevate or  drag us into the mud. Each as much sleep as the other.

Enough is enough. I say what we are trying to escape to is here, right now but only when it is seen with clarity. The clarity being an acceptance. Of whatever is happening, right now.  And the peace that will come along with it. And it will never look the way we think it should. Never. What we are seeking is so simple and so present that we miss it. Like the fish in the sea who can't find the water because he is swimming in it. For those of you who are happy where you are, how wonderful, God bless. But for those of us who still seek some future date for things to be perfect, you are missing the perfection right now. Even if it shows up on this planet of duality as pain, joy, sadness, ecstasy, love, hate.....so be it. Feel. Love. Be a human....being. And live and let live.

As my philosophy teacher used to say to all of his students:

Everything is in the moment, except you.


  1. Wow, did you hit the nail on the head with this one. I can't really relate as far as the clothes go. I'm not a girl and I'm not Ryan Seacrest. And even if I was skinny (I'm NOT) I would not know or care about clothes. Not necessarily a good thing, but it's true. I guarantee I would still be in jeans and a WHO t-shirt. Hell, if I had my way, it would probably still be the one in my profile pic. But... man have I tired to "fill that hole" with stuff. In my case it's been CD's and DVD's over the years. Thousands and thousands of them, I am not exaggerating. I've had many conversations with my friend (Shenandoah who is also following your blog) about this very thing. How I absolutely had to have the new DELUXE EDITION of WHO'S NEXT because there was 2 tracks on there I did not have. Like those 2 tracks were essential to living? As if those two tracks would make me happy? Isn't the great thing about that album, THE ALBUM ITSELF! The same album I loved when I was 12!? Or yet, the third release of The Exorcist on DVD (but wait, don't forget blue-ray), because we get one more alternate take. Yeah, I need one more take of Linda Blair peeing on a rug? No, the take in the movie pretty much nails it. Yet they sucker me in with bonuses or slick packaging. but it's not all their fault. some of it is mine, because as you say, none of that stuff will complete me or make me a better person. But yet I would look for happiness in stuff constantly. Not to mention looking in the mirror and saying "Dude, are you sure all this shit is worth going 20K in debt?" I used to answer back (like you yelling at the girl about the skirt) YES! but I now know it doesn't. So I just want to say you nailed it, made me laugh, and helped to remind me about what I believe. Because, unfortunately I'm an impulsive guy, and while I know the way I SHOULD behave I end up saying "Interesting, if I spend and extra $20 the new U2 has a bonus disc, I need it." But thanks to you - I am once again reminded - it's just stuff. And trust me, I need reminders.

  2. Thank you for this blog, I completely learned something from it, and I will take it in fully.

  3. Wow that is really heavy. You have given me much to think about. Thank you~

  4. Hi from a newbie to your blog (found through Shenandoah's link!). Thank you for your honesty. This has been very thought provoking and I love especially the paragraph 'what if ... we are already complete.'

    After 48ish years of trying to be a better person and trying to 'find myself' in relation to other people rather than myself, I think I'm finally starting to get the 'living in the moment thing'. It's a good feeling.

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  6. Hi,

    I've only just discovered your blog through your interview with Aaron on The Death Rattle.

    Thanks for writing with such candour and honesty. Your optimism and good humour shine through even when you write about difficult times in your life.

    This post rang true with me - I'm currently working with an independent financial organisation to sort out some pretty scary debts, and it's basically been because credit cards and loan offers were made too readily available to me. I loved that phrase you use, about having "a search and destroy attitude" towards your bank account. Yup, me too.

    Kind regards and good wishes,