Monday, November 14, 2005

The Occasional Man

So here we are once again, blessed with both the time and the energy to record our thoughts for the benefit of posterity. I'm printing out payroll reports from our dinosaur accounting program to our dinosaur dot-matrix printer, which takes a while; and I am all caught up with my invoicing (well, I was caught up until somebody just had to bring today's mail in... damn, all that must have given the postman a strain), so I have a few moments to spare.

Things are pretty much the same. I feel a little disconnected from myself, I haven't yet joined the gym nor lost any weight (though I've been slamming vitamin C and green tea, so the bloatedness is going away), I'm still at the cement-pumping place (they practically begged me to stay a little longer, which does my ego no end of good, though it's not doing much for my bank accout). How about some Shopping News?

I got over my eBay issue in a surprising way: I stopped shopping for Marlénè and shopped instead for Robert. So instead of failing my bids for jewels and furs and size-thirteen pumps, I have been winning my bids for blazers and cufflinks and size-eleven loafers. And I've been getting some serious deals! I got two silk-and-cashmere windowpane-plaid sportcoats (one in a wedgewood blue and one in oatmeal) for $30, including shipping; I got a Calvin Klein navy blue blazer for $15; I got three French-cuff dress shirts and two cufflink-and-tie-clip sets for $60; and I got a pair of new-in-the-box Rockport brown suede pennyloafers for $20. I have a pair of gray-and-brown Bass saddle-shoes on bid, too, and am watching a number of auctions for more dress shirts and lots of designer neckties. Yippeee! I'm going to be one stylin' temp!

I never really thought to look for menswear on eBay before. But they have piles and piles of really great stuff, chic Italian suits for under $200, snazzy shoes for less than a quarter of what you'd pay in even a discount store, and all kinds of masculine accessories for super cheap. And they have utter stacks of shirts in my hard-to-find size (17x36/37). I am fortunate that I am pretty much a standard-size, otherwise... my shoes are a straight eleven and my suits are a straight 42-long, and they always fit right off the rack. Pants are a little more difficult, but most 42-longs come with 36-waist pants, and new suits come unhemmed, and it's not that expensive to get pant-legs tailored (usually about $5 a leg to get them hemmed and cuffed).

This heady success on eBay makes me think that the Universe is trying to tell me something: that perhaps the time has come for Miss Marlénè to take the backseat and let Robert drive for a while.

Other things have been happening, too... it's not just eBay that's thwarting my attempts for gowns and furs and jewels: it's everywhere I go. I find really nice menswear things but nothing good in women's. I find jewelry I want to wear with boy-clothes but nothing I want to wear with drag. I even lost a huge chunk of my jewelry collection recently, I lent it to a friend for a photo-shoot and he returned it by a reputable delivery service, but it was misdelivered and we can't find whence or to whom it was incorrectly delivered. And then of course there's my complete lack of desire to even perform, much less squeeze myself into corset and pumps, nor weigh myself down with makeup and wig.

So I feel kind of, well, manly just now. I am enjoying my short nails and my short hair and my shirts and jackets and comfy man-shoes. Socks that matter, ties that go with something, belts that do more than just hold up my pants. It's nice.

I miss my Marlénè moments a little, though. Dressing up is so much fun, performing is fun, getting applause is great, and the feeling of entertaining people is simply wonderful. And I don't intend to give any of it up. I just have to wait for the need to surface again.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy this change of pace for as long as it lasts. I only hope that my next job, whatever it will be, will allow me to wear some of my snazzy new clothes... the place I've been this last month is not only casual, but the office gets really hot in the afternoon, so dressing up is not only unnecessary, it's uncomfortable. I want my next position to be in a nice new air-conditioned office-building with a snappy dress-code and a lot of interoffice politics to amuse me. Here's hoping!

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Who's That Guy?

I don't seem to quite know who or what I am anymore. I am finding much of my identity either in flux or entirely MIA; so much more of it hinged on my old job than I had ever imagined. I feel quite lost right now, and I haven't the tiniest idea what to do about it, or even if there's anything I should or can do about it.

Here are a few examples...

Identity-Defining Statement #1: I am a writer.
Fiction-wise, I haven't written diddly-squat in months. More importantly, I don't really feel like writing. I don't have the urge, the drive, the afflatus. It's not writer's block, it's writer's indifference. Blog-wise, I not only have very little drive to write, I have very little time in which to write. Working nine hour days with an aggregate hour of commute, having to schedule a ten-hour block in which to get eight hours of sleep, and then needing an hour's prep in the morning and an hour for dinner in the evening, I only have two hours in the day in which to unwind, and I usually end up watching TV. So I don't write. And where does that leave me as a writer?

Identity-Defining Statement #2: I am a drag queen.
I haven't been in drag since September, I didn't really want to do it then, and I hadn't done drag for two months before that. What is surprising is that I really don't miss it. I mean, I feel a certain obligation to go to shows and events, but the very thought of putting on makeup and a wig fills me with a sinking dread and a sour resistance. I simply don't want to do it. I can't buy new clothes and jewelry, and I have discovered that I relied on new clothes and jewelry to inspire my performances. And now I have nowhere to get dressed, so I either have to put on my face in the car (an interesting experience, to say the least) or make use of whatever facilities are available at the venue; I had no idea how much I had come to depend on using the office to get ready for shows. And so I make an excuse, send in an apology, let my nails get into a perfectly disgusting state, let my eyebrows and arm-hair grow wild, and am just not a drag queen. So what am I?

Identity-Defining Statement #3: I drink coffee all the time, all day, every day, whenever I feel like it.
I know this is a pretty weird one, seemingly rather petty; but every day I have to remind myself that drinking too much coffee contributes to the deterioration of my bipolar disorder and that I am happier and healthier sticking to two cups in the morning and maybe one cup at work. And I do feel better now that I've cut down. But when I'm in a restaurant or hanging out somewhere, I am startled to realize that while I don't particularly want coffee at odd times in the day, I have no idea what else to drink. Especially since I'm trying to stay away from sugar as well. I can order decaf, of course, but that is just as weird to me as not ordering coffee at all. It wasn't all that long ago when I was quite vocal in my opinion that decaf is for pussies. Does that now make me a pussy by my own definition? Or does my definition of a pussy have to change? Either way, it's not what it was and I don't know what it is now.

Identity-Defining Statement #4: I Shop, Therefore I Am.
Of course my extended period of unemployment reformed my shopping habits to an extreme degree. And yet when I started working, I went hog-wild purchasing new pants and shirts and ties to flesh out my professional wardrobe (and to wardrobe my increased flesh, more on that later). But I am getting very little joy out of shopping, and am more often being stymied by not getting quite what I want... I see a shirt I really like but it doesn't come in my size, I see shoes I really like but the soles are too hard; further and worse, I have lost every single eBay auction I've bid on in the last two weeks. I haven't been bidding a lot, but everything was something I really wanted, and I was invariably outbid at the last moment. That never used to happen to me... it was always I who outbid others at the last moment. I'm beginning to think that Someone might be trying to tell me something. But in the meantime, while it's a good thing that I am not frivoling my precious few dollars away on jewelry and furs when I really need to be digging myself out of debt, I feel quite disconnected from myself by this consumer impotence.

Identity-Defining Statement #5: I berate myself for being fat, but I'm not REALLY fat.
I have slipped over the border of "a trifle pudgy but still on the slim side and generally passable" and am now dwelling square in the middle of "that's really not very healthy, not even for the huge pink pig that you now resemble." Not only have I had to buy all of my new business-pants in a size-36-waist because I can no longer get into my collection of size-34-waist pants, but I now have an actual, inescapable, and thoroughly disgusting Middle-Age Gut. The waistbands of my pants and my underwear fold over as soon as I put them on, which is not only uncomfortable but also ruins my waistbands. I can't even suck my gut in, and if I try to suck in (such as when passing the cafe where the very cute boy works), I pull three or four muscles in my back; catching reflections of myself in doors and windows is an ego-crushing horror. I weighed two hundred and twenty-five pounds last time I got on the scale, five pounds more than I did the last time I got so disgusted with myself that I was able to go on a diet and exercise regimen in order to get back into shape. Ten of those pounds have come to stay since I left my old job.


And here's something that makes all of the above rather more confusing: is it because of my change of job, or because I've started taking Prozac? I mean, the non-writing dates from when I started meds, not from when I left my old job nor when I started my current one. The coffee weirdness is due entirely to my treatment and has absolutely nothing to do with work. The weight-gain is a common side-effect of Prozac; though I am eating a lot more now that I'm working (I eat lunch out every day, and those afternoon snacks have been keeping me sane), I am also getting a good deal more exercise than when I was loafing about the house, so it should balance out a little... but maybe the Prozac is keeping it uneven.

So a lot of this feeling of displeasure and disconnect can be blamed on the drugs; and I seriously would rather have the displeasure and disconnect than the mania or the depression.

Nevertheless, I have come to a point where I really miss my old job. I didn't realize how much I depended on its peculiar circumstances for my happiness... the flexible short schedule, the ability to do mindless things while blogging or writing (I'm able to write now because I'm doing a great sheaf of data entry that doesn't require any brain-space, so I can think about what I'm going to write while I'm inputting and then write it quickly in between every ten invoices), the use of the space on the weekend, the time alone... and perhaps most importantly, the beautiful sensation of knowing how to do everything.

I am instead embarked upon a new adventure, a very exciting and potentially rewarding adventure; but I really wish I had a more secure sense of self to take on the adventure with me. This is a little scary, a little uncomfortable, and a little sad. I don't know who this new person I'm turning into is, I don't know what he's capable of doing, I don't know whether or not I'm going to like him. We shall just have to see.

In the meantime, I am going to rejoin the gym and at least get rid of this gut. I can't stand it. It makes me cry... hell, darling, it makes me want to puke... and bulimia really isn't the solution (and I can't afford lipo until I get my credit cards cleared up and Grandmother's loans repaid).

So anyway, I'm going back to my data-entry, and leave you with this inspiring sight (it certainly inspires me... those rippling abs, that mythical pelvic definition, the dimples and whatnot... mmmmmmmm):