Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Shoe Envy

"Jealousy is an awkward homage which inferiority renders to merit."
--Mme. de Puixieux

This past weekend I took my lovely family to the State Fair. After all the livestock had been examined, the horses admired, the displays of agriculture, paintings, sculpture and horticulture had been reviewed, the tasty snacks consumed and the variously entertaining shows taken in, we found ourselves, as we invariably do, in the Exhibit Complex. This is just a garage sale for everything and sundry. Booths struggle against one another and vendors vie for your attention. And you can find anything: ladders, cookware, ring cleaning miracles, hair bands that make you an expert stylist, imported clothes from all over the globe, bling, even more bling, a smattering of religious and political factions expounding upon what is right and just and moral, and shoes.

Oh, I knew what z-coils were. I have seen them before. But never had I seen them displayed with such garish intensity. And never before in such variety.

It was frightening.

It is true that I find them frightening because I do not understand them. Or rather, I do not understand why a human being would choose to put springs on his or her feet. I'm more of a minimalist. Myself, I like things simple. Like my Five Fingers.

And I happened to be wearing my beloved Five Fingers that day as we walked through the wonders of the Exhibit Complex. And passed the z-coil booth. There was a ripple through the denizens of the booth. And whispers were passed around. It was shoe envy.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


"Flesh goes on pleasuring us, and humiliating us, right to the end."--Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Self-image is how you see yourself in relation to others. This is usually how you see yourself physically. It affects the way you interact with others, your confidence and your social habits.

Self-image is a complicated thing; it is shaped by unique thoughts, beliefs and experiences of each individual. And it is always biased.

When I look at this photo of myself, I see something different from anybody else looking at it. I see scars, which most people wouldn't notice at all, but that to me decry in a loud and uncomfortable voice of misjudgements and mistakes. I see freckles, which I never notice I have since I rarely look at my back. And I see age, which always makes me uncomfortable.

At the same time, I see written all the times I have lifted my daughter up in my arms, all the rocks I've climbed, all the push-ups I have done, and every time I have held close those I love. I marvel at my own body. I marvel at the engineering that went into it. I marvel at the miracle that makes it work.

I have a pretty good self-image. I actually like myself and how I look most of the time. And that's a good thing.
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