Monday, August 22, 2011

All The Women Independent...

We created The Independent Woman’s Association (IWA) when I was a Freshman in high school, because , as I am sure you know, one doesn’t just wakeup angsty one day-- at least I didn’t. For me, angst is genetic—it has been a part of my DNA since before I was born. When I was a child I had traditional worries like being kidnapped or experiencing the death of a parent. I also had less traditional concerns like a nagging suspicion that I was a social experiment dropped into a fake family being paid to feign some level of affection for me while scientists outside the home watched my every move through the windows of our double-wide trailer. And of course, I always, always have had plenty of worries about boys.
In first grade I was in love with my neighbor, Fred Savage. He was a fifth-grader and I worried that he would let the age difference come between us.
In third grade, there was a new boy at school who looked like an eight year old Bill Clinton—thankfully his escapades were nothing like that of the President’s, but he did have his charm. We were all head-over-heels in love with him but obviously only one of us could have him. This worried me.
In fifth grade I was the only one of my friends who did not have a “date” to the annual Country and Western Dance at my elementary school so I began to think, and this is a direct quote from my journal , that I was “ugly as a gorilla and fat as a pig”.

By seventh grade, I was certain that there had never been another individual on God’s green earth who had waited this long for a suitor and I hate to be catty but some girls who were even uglier than me were already pregnant by eighth grade. The world can really be unfair sometimes.

And when the world is unfair, we as humans have to make meaning of it all somehow—it is our only shot at angst management. So it makes sense that one day, while all of our friends were presumably busy making out with their fancy junior and senior boyfriends and as Amanda and I sat there in world geography bemoaning our single ladyness we had a shared stroke of genius.

Shouldn’t we get a little credit for this consistent demonstration of feminine independence—a lifetime achievement award of sorts? I mean for all of our able-bodied lives we had been the type of women who carried our own books, picked our own flowers, bought our own stuff and taught our own selves how to kiss (shout out to all of our old pillows and stuffed animals, btw).

Yes, we should be awarded! We should get to be just as proud of ourselves for abstaining (by default) from romantic relationships as our girlfriends who nabbed that hot tuba player or chess club vice pres.. (We weren’t the absolute coolest group in the world.) And thus the IWA was created.

The Rules:

1. Each of our girlfriends, having at one time been an independent woman can be members
2. ONLY those of us without boyfriends can hold office in the IWA
3. Offices will be determined by length of time since the candidate’s last relationship. Ex:
                      President=August Angst: No boyfriend ever
             Vice President= Amanda: Boyfriendless since Kinder
                       Treasurer= Liv Tyler, No BF since eighth grade.
                        Members= Amy , Juliette Lewis and eventually Gwyneth P.
This silly little club gave us lunchroom fodder, something to be mock-proud of when we were single and some crumb of happiness to offer each other when one of us got our heart’s broken: “Well at least you will move up in the IWA ranks,” we would say each time we heard about the dissolution of one of our friends’ relationships. It was the perfect existential expression for our teenager dilemmas.
It should come as no surprise though that as soon as Amanda and I finally got boyfriends we included rule 4.

4. Boys are allowed to me honorary members of the IWA if they are single and committed to its aims OR if they are dating one of the members.
Both of those boyfriends did turn out to be gay and everything, but at the time they did wonders not only for our confidence but for our wardrobe and hair choices as well.

Today the IWA status looks like this:

Liv, Amanda, Gwyneth- Husbands
Juliette: Divorced with Boyfriend
Amy : Cohabitating with Boyfriend
Me: Boyfriendless
And if I was still 14 or if I didn’t have some way to make meaning of it all—It might really suck. But writing for you all each week makes this time of life practically angstless. And for that reason I proudly sign this essay with my full blog name and the credentials I have worked hard (by default) to earn,
Ms. August Angst, President IWA Established: 1996

And I just decided we are now taking New Members, so if you think you meet the qualifications, please "throw yo' hands up at me" in the comments section!
Also, in the mood for something a little more serious from August Angst? Check out  my recent review of The Help on a new Spiritual Cinema Page or just click here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Problem with Prayer

A few weeks ago I visited an old church of mine, I’d say I was a member there about a decade ago. I love visiting old friends, especially those who have guided me on my faith journey, but in all honesty sometimes it gets a little awkward when a defining characteristic of the relationship is hell avoidance. Here’s why…

So I walk back into this old church-building and in almost no time the correspondence secretary has found me. She needs my new email she says so that she can add me once again to the church email prayer list. Panic Strikes! I cannot be on another prayer list I scream to myself! Then again I also have too much pride to decline, I should really pray about that pride issue, but after I only if I figure out how to get out of this prayer nightmare!!!! I subtlety survey the room just to see how many people here I even know and to determine how frequently the people that I don ’t know are going to have requests.

He looks depressed about something
She is a broken hip waiting to happen
They are probably trying to get pregnant
Those four will be going off to college soon and will leave behind panicky parents.

Email lady sensed my hesitation.

I don’t send any junkmail she assured me, no jokes, no riddles, just our prayer digests, I think she gave a time-line too like “its about once a month or once a week.” It didn’t matter because I know there is no such thing as efficient prayer digests because the nature of a request is that it is new and urgent. No one says, I won’t need any divine intervention for the next 3 weeks but pencil me in for a quick one-liner around the 18th.

I can’t tell you the number of ways I’ve tried to organize my prayer life…I’ve tried “spirit-led” aka pray for one person and then fall asleep. I’ve tried day-of-the-week-prayers where Monday is family prayer day. Tuesday is work prayer day, Wednesday is church prayer day, etc. etc. I’ve tried keeping a prayer board where I pull out the names of several people from several categories of life each day until everyone is prayed for at the end of the week. And I have tried general, “protect my family, church, friends and precarious sitcom programming from all danger.” I have disappointed myself in every one of these prayer methods.

Currently these are the prayer numbers I am working with:

Family: 24

Church Family: around 60

Ministries I work with: Around 60

Friends who don’t fit in other categories: Around 30

So what is a well-meaning, Christian girl supposed to do when someone asks her to be on their prayer team? I can tell you what I wanted to do: I wanted to say no thank you I think you guys have it covered, I already have a lot of other people to pray for and unlike that show-off God, time is limited for me, you might have thought from my chaste lifestyle that I have become a nun, I assure you this is not the case though I understand the confusion. Thank you for considering me worthy of approaching God on behalf of this group but for now I’ll pass. Please don’t make me feel like I am a devil-worshipper for responding in this way. But if you do think my soul is corrupted, maybe you could add me in with all those other requests? (Flash Adorable Smile).

And I can tell you what I actually did: “Sure, of course, How can you turn down prayer opportunities, but NO jokes right? ‘Cause I hate jokes, I just want the prayer. (Flash adorable smile)

That was 5 weeks ago, I have received 26 emails. This is the problem with prayer. Has anyone out there solved this problem? Or does everyone else just have a way better relationship with JChrizzy (Jesus’ rap name) than me? LMK.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Funny Ladies: The Best Fake Friends

You know that thing where you use all your single-lady freedom to purposefully transport all of your belongings 4 hours away from most of your friends and family, making it only logical to go ahead and get a job nearer to all of your things and then to have the mail forwarded to this new , but out of the way storage facility? Yeah, well, that’s the situation I got goin’ here right now and if you’re not prepared, it can kinda suck.  Which is why, I find It very important in times like these to have a few fictional friends on which you can rely at the end of the day when you might otherwise, were it not for their company, be found writhing around on the floor in a vat of all your old, but newly tear-stained, photos of your real-life compadres.
So, I have a sort of “sista’s are doin’ it for themeselves” television programming theme to provide these little imaginary and purgatorical friendships offering me a good laugh or cry whilst my soul is being torn between two real communities—the one that I look longingly back on and the one I look eagerly toward.

Below are my 3 most current recommendations for girl-power boxed sets sure to make you feel like you have friends you can count on even when  you’ve abandoned all your friends.

1.       Gilmore Girls
You might be thinking to yourself “didn’t that show come on the CW?” You are correct oh snobby one and I was right there with ya until I moved in with my friend Taylor Swift a few years ago. Taylor was a huge GG fan and I was a huge Swift fan so I dialed down my sense of television selection superiority only to find that this little gem of a show had stolen my heart with its small town charm, bad boy love interests  like Milo Ventimiglia and a tribute to the deep affections, mild annoyances and shades and shades of crazy that characterize intimate female relationships.  Is the witty banter a little over-the-top? Yes. Is the mother-daughter relationship a little suspect and even off-putting? Yes. Will you fall in love with the show anyway? Yes. If you give it a fair shake I think you will find that Lorelai and Rori Gilmore might just become your new, fake besties.

2.       Golden Girls  & Designing Women
I think we all know that the original girls were Golden not Gilmore and when I was a child I wanted to pattern my life after one Julia Sugarbaker from Designing Women. You can catch reruns of both on lifetime if you can’t spring for the boxed set, making this the economical choice when it comes to your development of faux-friendships. But just because they are the cheapest doesn’t mean they don’t come through for a girl. You don’t think Betty White earned her fame doing Lake Placid do ya? And if you have not recently delighted in the comedic timing of Bea Arthur it is time to do so. Take a trip down eighties lane every now and again. Have fun with the ladies and see how many guest stars you can spot with old wacky hair-dos. I’m lookin’ at you Mario Lopez.

3.       Desperate Housewives
I said the day would never come.  When my sister announced that she was a fan of the show, I catapulted right onto the pedastool that I had affixed atop my high horse so that I could really do the most thorough job of looking down my nose at her. “This is exactly what is wrong with America” I screamed psychotically.  “What is soooooo desperate about being a housewife? We are all just supposed to feel sorry for the hellish existence of staying home to take care of your kids and husband? I will NEVER watch a show with such an offensive title. N-E-V-E-R.”  

Funny thing about “never”…it is probably always an overstatement when you are talking about something as inconsequential as primetime television programming.  And so, a few months ago when I was beginning  to pre-mourn my move away from  bff and landlord Laura, I started plopping down on the couch next to her despite her seeming approval of the breakdown of American society as it pertains to honoring and respecting domestic and family-centered work as a fulfilling role for women in today’s society.  As it turns out. D.H. is a beautifully written character dramedy from a fresh, unique and woman-honoring perspective.  I contend that it is more about the desperation of being human than being a wife and mother but it is well done all the same. The girls of Wisteria lane are keeping me laughing and thinking this week as I come home to an otherwise companionless space.

 So, check out these programs if you haven’t already.  Or if you still live in the same town as your gal pals have a girls night with them--celebrate one another.  Throw a party!
And if you did throw this party and invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say,

Thank You for bein’a Frie-eh-end.