Over four-fiths of stigmatics are women, they who love their God so much that they bear his wounds for him.
At the service today, at the visitation last night, at the same last week, there was not a single woman in what could be termed comfortable , practical shoes. A woman using a walker, women over 80, sisters and mothers who would spend the whole day on their feet, each and every one of us in heels.* And they hurt. Among the closest members of his family, the heels were highest. I, for hours, was 5'8", my mother hovered just under 6', and we did not seem particularly out of place among each other.
Our feet are blistered now. Every step is agony, and we rejoice in it. We wear our blisters like stigmata, reminding us that he was here, and that he was loved. Because, have no doubt, every aspect of us was an act of love. Every hair corralled into place, every stroke of a make-up brush, every leg shaved, every re-application of mascara, every corset, every black dress, every crippling shoe was us loving. Every faked smile, smudged tissue and accepted hug was us showing that we loved enough to put aside our sorrow and laugh.
And we looked spectacular. Grief wrapped around our shoulders like a cloak, lips painted into smiles, and shoes reaching into heaven. We looked spectacular because to do less would be to dishonor him. We love and so we wore and walked in shoes designed for sitting to remind ourselves, and to show every body else, that they were worth the pain. That you always have to pay a price for love, and that price is always hard and painful. But, in the end? The love is worth the pain. Every time.
And, I think, we wore them because emotional pain, grief, becomes invisible, sorrow leaving invisible scars. It feels wrong, and painful, that these scars aren't visible, except to those who know how to look. It feels wrong that there can be so much pain, and nothing to show for it. Our aching, bruised and blistered feet are physical manifestations of this grief. They are our wounds of love. And the more you love? The higher the shoe? The more it hurts, and the more worth it every minute is.
*I know heels exist that are comfortable. I own them. I have yet to find a pair that is comfortable standing for six hours.
So. gabbygrl and I went to see "Dracula: The Ballet" tonight. We also agreed (fine, I agreed for us, and she was a good sport) to write a review for the school paper. Unfortunately school papers have silly things like word limits, that live journal lacks. So the complete version is this:
Expect the Unexpected
Dracula at the Ballet
We did not really know what to expect from “Dracula: The Ballet”, we knew, of course, that it would be hilarious – but not whether it would be hilarious in a good way or a really, really bad way. Luckily we were fine with either of these options. However, even going in with no expectations it was… not what we expected.
We certainly did not expect a voiceover in a ballet; we certainly did not expect the voiceover to lie to us. The voiceover starts by reading straight from the program, and then by telling us that what we will then be seeing is 400 years after Dracula’s… ascension? Luckily, we were not disappointed for long, because, in fact, the ballet does not open 400 years from his vampirization. We also did not expect that the subsequent murder scene would be one of our favorites in the ballet… or that we would get to see it twice due to some technical mishaps. As the case was though, we definitely preferred the first, technically flawed, take… if monks are being murdered; we want to be able to see it.
We also did not expect Dracula himself… you know how, when an actress gets old, she also gets sort of disagreeable about the fact that she cannot get leading roles? Apparently, though, all she needs to do to circumvent this is become the ‘Artistic Director’. Luckily, most actresses have not gone this path, and have instead followed the tried and true route of plastic surgery before slow fade into obscurity. We are just saying that the lead of a ballet should not be a portly middle-aged gentleman unless devoid of other options – which they were not.
It, in fact, made us a little bit angry. It is not that we are not sure he was not a fantastic dancer in his prime. It is, rather, that he is not a good dancer now. We should not be able to hear it when a ballet dancer lands, and we should not be able to see how hard they are working. We are supposed to think that ballet dancers are flying, that instead of being made of mass like you and I, they are made of happiness and talent. He failed to bring us the magic of the ballet, and if he were a woman, this would never have been allowed. We know this, for a fact, because his wife, who has been dancing a year less than he, was relegated to the roles of 'victim' and 'Dracula's Servant' (who did not even wear ballet shoes!).
By contrast, the dancer portraying Renfield was a true pleasure to watch. He captured the air of sycophantic servility that we find ourselves so fond of, and his violent, untimely end at the hands of ‘Dracula’s Brides’ was another one of our favorite scenes (don’t judge us).
Speaking of pleasures to behold, Mina was spectacular – her dancing alone elevated the ballet from mediocre to enjoyable.
Back on the topic of the plot, if you know the story of Dracula at all, you recognize how very… cracked this interpretation is. It seems as though, instead of reading the book, the choreographers watched Coppola’s 1992 “Dracula” and reinterpreted further. We were not expecting Elizabeta. We were not expecting for Renfield to die in the first act (perhaps this was necessary, because the dancer then played Dr. Van Helsing?). We were not expecting Poor Jonathan to spend the whole ballet trapped in a coffin.
On the topic of Poor Jonathan, a brief summary of his activity tells you all you need to know - that he never had it so good as when he was trapped in that damn coffin. To begin the ballet, Jonathan is forced to tell his fiancée that he is leaving to go to Dracula's castle. They do not even get music in a major key for their sweet parting, it was ominous and painful (there is a limit to how shrill we want our piccolo music to be, that is not shrill at all, this piccolo was not even close to that goal). In addition to the lack of appropriate music, this is the scene that set the standard for all other scenes in which characters were talking to each other. The standard was not set particularly high; rather, it was like watching a game of charades where the players did not quite know the rules. We often expected the dancers to hold up their fingers in the universal charades symbol for 'three words' (first word... sounds like...).
But we digress, once Poor Jonathan has left his very pissed off fiancée, he goes to Dracula's castle, which is never a good life decision. He is promptly attacked by Dracula, molested by Dracula's Brides, and shoved in a coffin so Dracula can steal his fiancée. Who then... never mind, we will tell you that bit later.
What we were really not expecting, was for the program to spoil the surprise ending. We cannot say how incredibly awesome we would find the fact that Mina remained under Dracula’s thrall* at the end of the ballet, if we had not known beforehand that it would happen. Except we are sure we would have loved it. Enough to make us love the rest more.
* This means, for those of you not in the know, that Mina remained a vampire. Dracula might not be dead. Further, for the rest of the story we promised you about Poor Jonathan it is this:
After being released from the coffin, he was handed a sword and forced to fight Dracula (sparks literally flew!). This is, of course, a fight he can never win, because Dracula can never die. Luckily for Poor Jonathan, he is then rescued by Dr. Van Helsing, who manages to kill Dracula, so that Poor Jonathan can be reunited with his precious Mina. They share a very moving dance and then go off into the woods, where she then kills him, and runs back into Dracula's abandoned coffin to the sound of Dracula's slightly maniacal laughter.
Poor Jonathan is not even given the honor of being killed on stage.
So I talked in my last post about science majors.
Now. This was unfair. As there are many different types of science majors. And they are all different (I mean the same, but different).
First we have the physics majors. Now these guys are special. Because they are so incredibly insane that they defy explanation. And I prefer to forget that they exist most times. Luckily. At my HellaSmall school this is not hard to do. We maybe have three
Then we have the biology majors. Biology majors? They like living things. And they like knowing how living things work, and they find them cool, and biology majors understand living things, so they, in general, have a fairly good grasp on Things You Do Not Say To The Religious.
Now technically I should mention the biochem majors. But thats such a new major that I know very little about Those People, ask me again in a year.
Lastly we have the chemistry majors. Chemistry majors fall somewhere between So Batshit Crazy its Almost Acceptable and Biology majors. They like to know how things work, and they are typically high-strung snobs. But they like knowing how The World works, and thus pay notsomuch attention to living things. And thus don't really understand people.
The Boy is a chemistry major, and that would not have been so much of a problem except that he is also a biology minor. Which meanas that he has a driving desire to understand THINGS, but does not understand people all that well. And that, my friends, is what caused the problem.
We were at a lecture, on porn, and it was fairly interesting until the lecturer played the God card (I can honestly say that I wish I had his faith). And he told us that recovering from addiction was not possible without God. After telling us about the dopamine pathways that are in general altered by addictions (if you ask, I can explain, but you already know). And while it was possible for The Boy to accept either The God Card, or The Science Card, he was apparently not capable of accepting them when they are played together. So. He stands up, and he asks:
I walk in to chemistry this morning (if by walk you mean one foot moved in front of the other in a relatively robotic fashion until I reached the chemistry classroom) secure in my knowledge that if I am safely ensconced in classes (and I didn't even have to sleep in the cold!). What I was not expecting was for The Gnome to be standing perfectly still. The Gnome is never perfectly still (when they stand still they turn to stone, and are then painted and put onto peoples lawns, though he is a bit too thin for that), so this came as a surprise. He was not talking, which is also quite unlike him, so, I was a little bit surprised. But only a little bit, because I am too sleepy to feel anything but mildly insert emotion here, and was waylaid by the homework and quiz that was sitting on my table.
He waited for everyone to sit down. And then he stared at us with grim eyes, and announced, as though he were announcing that in fifteen minutes the earth was going to EXPLODE and we were all going to DIE and there was not even chocolate or cute boys to console us because they had been saved by the ALIENS.
"I'm afraid we have a bit of a problem with organic". Now, for some background, somehow our class has become known, in a very small, very select circle of Chemistry professors at Transy, as "the dweebs", because in my twenty...four? person class there are three people that are not either Biology majors, Chemistry majors, or pre-med, all of which NEED ORGANIC OMG RIGHT NOW! Of the remaining twenty one two of us had already registered. So, nineteen bodies turned perfectly, stone still. I sit in the back, so I could see no one but the The Boy Who Lives With The Boy That Makes Me Laugh (we shall call him... Sam) and The Woman Who Will Be Saint, but I like to think that the blood rushed out of their faces.
"in that..." he continues on, very hesitantly, as though it pains him to say the words, as though he is afraid of our reaction "therearenomorespots" (this, for the record, is not the entire truth. There are like ten more spots. But they are Not Enough. Because there are at least forty people in the combined Chem-2 world that have not registered, probably more like fifty, and in my class ALONE there are not enough spots).
Now, I hate to be stereotypical. But, science majors? They are, as a rule, a high strung bunch of people. Very... goal-oriented? And not nearly so cool and logical as they would like you to think. So when you tell nineteen science people that they cannot get into the class that the NEEDOMGRIGHTNOW, you are asking for trouble. The stillness vanished immediately, replaced with voices that got progressively louder, in an attempt to be heard over the other voices that got progressively louder in response. People jumped up. There was hand waving. I'm nearly certain that Sam was going to cry. I thought The Girl Who Will Be Saint was going to kill herself. It was ugly.
He then waited a few minutes, enjoying, I think, the sweet taste of panic on the air, before realizing that there was a very real chance at least one person was going to burst into tears, and that would just ruin the whole period.
"Don't worry." he says, which is, as I may have discussed, one of the least comforting phrases in the world. He hands around a sheet with our names, and boxes, and fun things. "Just check the box next to your name if you want to take organic. I will fix this"
I have since come to the conclusion that "I will fix it" is the most comforting phrase in the world, and he probably should have led with that.
ETA: Thirteen free spots!
So. Just for the record? I am not pleased about the getting a roommate over a weekend and not being asked.
So, frame of reference. In response to the Good Friend's discussion with the Bad Friend. The bad friend sent me this note. I provide it to you in its original unaltered grammatically incorrect form (with the exception of added italics and pseudonyms being provided):
To: Innocent Victim
From: The reason Hitler hated people
I am sorry I was unable to see Also Completely Innocent this pas weekend but I am not responsible for her crying. If you would like to actually talk to me instead of insulting me in front of my friends, because you are angry then that I think would solve a lot more than just silence.
Also, Innocent Victim if you personally have a problem with me then instead of telling everyone else about how you can't stand me or that I only use you for food or homework like The Good Friend, just tell me and I will address the problems and we can possibly make progress if there are any problems.
I am sorry and I did try to stop by saturday
, but you left by 3:00 and I stopped by at 3:45. I left again that day at 6:00 and didn't get back till 11:30 that night. Normally you are asleep by then so I didn't stop by.
Silence will not solve anything even if you no longer want to associate me as a friend or person you know. If you want to make that clear then talk to me. If you just want to solve other things then talk to me, but talking is necessary either way!!!
I am sending it back with grammatical corrections. Which is a class nine bitchy act in retaliation for a class seven. But proves that starting a bitch fest would be a bad idea.
I wonder now, if you would blame me.
If I stayed at school this weekend. If I didn't get the blood tests. If I didn't get more bad news.
I wonder now, if you would forgive me
Per the not so quiet request of gabbygrl I called my doctor on Friday. He called me back today, which, I guess, is the benefit of having a workaholic with his own practice, extended weekend hours.
He asked me a few questions. I answered a few questions, being actually completely and totally honest. And he ended the conversation with.
"Well. We knew this might happen."
I would like to state. For the record. That I did not know this might happen
I am used to being angry. I am angry quite often. Rarely for an extended period of time. But I get angry. And I know how to deal with it. Up to a certain point I even find it comforting.
I am not angry now.
Instead there is a disappointment that saturates every part of me. This sadness that I am not entirely accustomed to. And I feel like a woman who has been married and comes to a realization some time in this marriage that her husband is not who she thinks he is.
I have counted him among my friends (perhaps not as a good friend, but a fiend nonetheless) for four years now. Which is, in me time, a very long time indeed (most of you have been counted among friends longer. I am apparently getting too lazy to make new friends in my advanced age). But, I no longer feel I even recognize him.
And it disappoints me.
He is... a flake, I suppose would be the best way to describe him. He is good and charming, and despite being an absolutely terrible human being, he will continue to have more friends than I do. Because he is charming and funny and outgoing. But he is also rather shallow, I am forced to believe.
And it was fine when he would make plans with me and then suddenly cancel. Profusely apologize, I would forgive him. Because I no longer expect him to keep his plans with me. There will always be someone more fun. Someone willing to do more things, someone who makes more jokes, someone who doesn't watch everything she does and go to bed by one. I am not, it pains me to realize, a fun person. But he stops by (when, the voice in my head whispers, the fun people are no longer available. When, the voice in my head whispers, he needs help with homework. When, the voice in my head whispers, he wants food), and so things are fine.
Mi's lj claims that she is made of forgiveness.
I am not.
And this? This is your fault