Tuesday, April 19, 2011

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One thing’s for sure: I’m a fraud.

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When Gandhi made up his mind about something, that was that. Take meat. One day he figured it was no longer such a good idea, so he immediately cut all meat out of his diet. When he found out his clothes were manufactured by British companies he stopped wearing or buying them. Hence the loincloth. Gandhi’s mind became a solid wood-carved bowl, his intentions clear inside, not getting muddled or distracted. Gandhi wasn’t one to waffle.

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Here’s my mind in a recent yoga class:
(looking at a guy two rows in front of me)
Look at this schmuck. I bet he thinks he’s a super yogi. Yeah, buddy, you do two more pushups instead of an updog during vinyasa, we get it, you’re like, behemoth strong. Don’t think I don’t see right through those low lunges in warrior II. You’re showing off and I’m not buying it. Prick. Fuck this guy. Trying so hard, I bet he’s not getting any of the mental benefits of yoga. How can he find inner peace when he’s peacocking all over his mat? Fuck this guy.

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That’s one reason why I’m a fraud.

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Today I drove to Target, all by myself in my mid-size sedan, turning into the four-story parking garage in a NASCAR-style swarm of other shoppers driving alone in their sedans.

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That’s another reason.

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When I watch documentaries one of two things happen: I cry like it’s The Notebook or the New Jersey comes out in me and I yell at the TV, telling this politician or the corrupt EPA to go fuck themselves. I’m usually so fired up after these movies that the heft of everything wrong compresses my ribcage and I want to scream and fix it and I don’t know how so I usually zip online and fill out a few email petitions and that satiates me for a while, until the next flick.

The latest one was Fuel, a really well done one about energy consumption and how running my sedan on McDonald’s leftover cooking oil can save this jacked up little planet of ours. My boyfriend and I swore to try and get a biofuel pump at our local gas station, but the past two weeks I’ve been filling up with the regular old devil’s juice. But not at BP—does that count for something?

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Sometimes I want to give away everything I own and go to the Himalayas and meditate, even though I’ve got a hunch New Jersey will follow me to Tibet. Sometimes I think, what the hell are you doing with your life, Melissa, you slothful, selfish chump? Go help the people in India, or Japan, or Haiti, or anywhere. Go! Now!

But I stay in Tampa, in a nice apartment, adjacent to a main strip of nightspots and eateries. And I kind of hate that I kind of like it.

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I say I’ll join the Peace Corps. some day. Those last two words scare me. I’m worried I’m lying to myself. It’s too soon to tell.

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Is it possible to be a beer-chugging vegetarian (with an occasional bite of a chicken sandwich, usually precipitated by aforementioned beer chugging)? Can I come to terms with the fact that sometimes my mind is tranquil while most other times it’s a backfiring switchboard, smoking and sparking with wires coiled tight? Can I strike a balance?

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Gandhi had a little Jersey in him. He was sarcastic and hot tempered. But also humble and fiercely compassionate.

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Maybe being a fraud isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s all I can ask for right now, and instead of fighting my duality I should embrace it. Maybe this whole split personality thing I feel—one minute zen goddess, the next one a jealous bitch—is keeping me on my toes, making me investigate my mental switchboard, taking a mechanic’s eye to rewire where necessary.

Whether I’m chained to a cypress tree or telling bad jokes at the local watering hole, the other half of me is always there, and for now I’m ok with that.