Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hurtling Towards the Half Century Mark

In these self-photos I always forget to behave as a subject as I am focusing on taking the picture, so I usually end up with some sort of unflattering strained looking grimace. But on closer inspection I realize the common quality of all the most recent self-photos is that I look old. I see a neck I wish were covered up and the beginnings of jowliness. The grey hair is coming in thicker, which doesn't really bother me so much, except when I do a flat one color dye job then the grow out is more harrowing. There is so much I love about aging and I have waxed on about it the last few years, but I am finding that I need to get creative with how to incorporate the obvious aging part with part of me that wants to remain punk rock. Now I've seen old punk rockers who look really cool, and it is apparent that they have completely embraced the grey hair and wrinkles & just continued to wear the black t-shirts & jeans, and they look awesome. These are mostly guys, and my middle aged chick friends that look cool are willing to put a lot of energy into costuming & make-up which I think is great, but which I have absolutely no energy or inclination for. My personal style, like my artwork, will have to evolve based on laziness. I have never used a blow dryer or hair products so I have no idea how to have one of those cool short hair styles. Having it long & unruly seems the best option, though now I have to figure out how to deal with the grey that is not dramatic enough to grow out, but just sprinkled enough to be drab. I've never liked natural hair color, so I will continue dying it, just perhaps not one flat shade. I mentioned laziness connected with my art too...I hated taking technical classes on how to draw or paint, so I just started paining on my own, doing whatever was fun, and I started getting recognition & shows & sales when I rejected all rules on how to paint. Best of all, I was having an incredibly moving experience and tons of fun. I guess the point of all this is I plan to approach middle age with an open mind & not out of fear. I would be lying if I said I was not slightly disturbed but what I see in new photos (I especially look haggy in Antarctica, though I am much happier here), but I am going to go with it. What other choice do I have? One of the best memories I have is being at a punk rock reunion show at SXSW this past March where my absolute favorite band from the Austin scene of the late 70's was playing to a gigantic crowd. The crowd was mostly comprised of tourists, yuppies, folks who buy a wristband & want to watch music from chairs. I paid the $20 just to see the Dicks...and only wanted to be pressed on the stage, like the old days, and was afraid I wouldn't be allowed up there, but then saw about 15 of us from 30 years ago, looking only slightly older, but just as badass move in front of the seated - and when the god Gary Floyd showed up with his giant black glasses & shock of white hair and the middle aged punks shouted every word to Dicks Hate Police with fists pumping I was in that blissful spot I lived in every night in 1979-80....I felt exactly the same as when I was 18-19 years old, and here I was aged 48, with the same energy & desire to smash things up (figuratively). To see that that part of me is alive & well & happy makes me realize that the grey hair & jowls don't fricking matter. If I just stay punk rock on the inside, I will be in my happy place.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Once the Thrill of Arriving

on a new station & starting a new job has worn off, life becomes the same here in Antarctica as it does probably just as much as anywhere else. The one thing that will always keep me fresh & excited is when I go outdoors - I've been indoors quite a bit lately deep into the data entry aspects of my job, but whenever I do go outdoors I'm reminded that holy crap I live in Antarctica and it is so wonderful here. Not wonderful like New York City wonderful, but wonderful like it's blowing puffy soft snow all day & there's soft pink light on the icebergs & the glacier creaks & groans & seems to have a spirit all it's own. Like a desert, it is so alive here - so alive & so wild, which, mixed with the drudgery of the work, makes it more interesting. The only walking I do some days is between the two buildings that comprise berthing & eating. I also work in the building I sleep in so could feasibly go to my office in house slippers. I'm used to logging so many miles a day just walking during my workday at Mactown, that I'm really feeling the tenseness in my body of missing all that walking. I went to the gym on Sunday, & do some yoga here & there, but if I don't want to leave here with 30 extra pounds on me I'm going to have to get on an aerobic program. My memoir reading addiction has kicked in again now that I'm on Ice. It feels wrong in a way to call it an addiction cuz it is SO satisfying. I just read "The Glass Castle" & "Without A Map" and I couldn't wait to get in bed every night to read. I've also set up a painting area in my room & thought I'd get into painting here, but I find myself more wanting just to read.

Because this station is so small & options so limited I find myself thinking about small things back home that seem like they will be extremely thrilling when I get back: riding my scooter to a coffee shop with my laptop and my doggie in his carrier on my chest, not getting up early, and most exciting: churning the wheels on my next trip. The parts of my Europe trip that were so great told me some key things about myself: I can have an immensely satisfying time travelling on my own, and, no matter how much I want to fit in to the hiking, climbing, country loving milieu, I am a city girl at heart. I like a mix of both, but the big thrills for me are in a fabulous big city. I've been to some great ones. Still many more I want to see - Moscow is at the top of the list.

The thing I am happiest about here is the weather. It is mid July and I am having my first "dream weather" summer. It's still over 100F in Austin, & I would be so depressed and angry if I were there. I giggled when I went out to move snow today in the beautiful snowfall...for the first time in a year & a half, I haven't awoken cussing about the reverse SAD was cured by moving here. I don't just like the snow & cold - I love it. I dread the day when I actually see the sun, and hope that it won't be too bad down here.