Monday, February 28, 2011

Work in progress...

This piece has turned into an enormous challenge...it is having it's first emergency face-lift this evening, but here is a progress report, as requested!

Friday, February 25, 2011

MGs

I have a confession to make: I never had Mean Girl experiences in high school. Sure, I was not the most popular or athletic, not the most beautiful or social, but I was never burned by that eternal flame called ‘Womanly Scorn’. Don’t hate me for this confession, because my college experiences more than made-up for my socially care-free high school years. But as a young adult it is a lot easier to escape the MGs…resign from the sorority, don’t sign the new lease, de-friend a few people on Facebook, get a job at a different mid-level restaurant and you’re basically home-free.


I just read an article about what happens to Mean Girls once they grow up last week, and the consensus was that mostly they just mature into nice, sweet ladies who you would never suspect were once masters in the art of torture. I have had no contact with any of my ex-sorority sisters therefore I was contented to believe that this is exactly what had happened to them. For about a week I hopefully clung to the belief that after a certain age, females just stop being Mean Girls. I am so na├»ve.



I got Mean Girl-ed yesterday. A full-on, surprise attack, full of cattiness. I never saw it coming. The MG was merely an acquaintance, not a dear friend, so the sting did not last long but in a split second I went from confident (ish) and happy, to being defensive and experiencing feelings of self-doubt. Awful! Now, never fear, reader, I bounced right back, but I will never ever again fall into the trap of thinking that women out-grow their MG habits. One of my (true) friends quickly rallied around me and explained that the perpetrator of this blow looked ‘boring’ on Facebook and was just jealous…I felt better, of course. But isn’t what I did with my friend EXACTLY what an MG would do? Scary isn’t it? Even though this individual will never know that I burned her right back, am I any better? Don’t misunderstand, this woman knew exactly what she was doing when she delivered her snide, cutting remark, but did that really mean that I had to do the same? And if she wasn’t a high-value person in my life, why did it bother me, even for the slightest second? The conclusion could be a bit unnerving…I can’t help but wonder…are we all Mean Girls?


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You're half-way to dead...

I recently turned 25. My 14 year-old brother eloquently explained to me that 25 is half-way to 50, which is half-way to dead....nice, right?
One of my close friends is a year older than me, and at 26 she has a pretty darn good head on her shoulders. We met in the 6th grade and were instantly bonded as only prep-school Boca Babes-in-training can be...we didn't fit in perfectly, so we fit together beautifully. This morning I found this list in my in-box...so please, welcome my first guest, Ms. Jordan....

Jordan, Me, and Ms. Tegan- Junior High
You know you're a Big Girl when:
1. You start 'editing' who the friends in your life are.
2. You start to refer to other women as 'that really drunk' girl or simply the 'other' girl; because you realize that getting completely wasted all the time is unladylike, obnoxious and trashy.
3. If you "gossip", it's less about starting trouble and more about, "Wow, X is really making themself look bad."...the recognition of bad behavior becomes clearer.
4. You no longer consider Saturday night, "party night". It's just Saturday night.
5. You stop fooling around with boys. Why? Because at a certain point- you're not some young, independant chick havin' fun- you're just being a slut.
6. You stop tolerating obnoxious people.You start telling them to shut-up and
leave.
7. You start telling people to behave themselves. You've matured to a place of realization of bad behavior- so you're helping them get there as well.
8. You ease-up on self destructive behavior. Yeah, it may have been fun,but if
Harvard did a study on how bad it is for you-it's time to give it up.
9. You stop caring so much what other's think. It allows for a sense of freedom.
10. You start evaluating who, what and when is important to you.Who are the
people that matter?What matters?When are you going to achieve your goals
11. You ease- up on the need to shock people
12. You take care of yourself- multi dimensional- in health, irelationships, in career

This list could go on and on....Jordan, Tegan and I have already added an entire addendum pertaining to spring break (I forgot I even had one, Jordan will be sodding her yard). There is a sweet contentment to growing up...to realizing what really is important, to being excited about the challenges ahead and not afraid of them. Being half-way to dead isn't so bad after all...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lonely Hearts Club Series - I- "Heart of Glass"

"Heart of Glass"
More in this series to come later...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One of my girlfriends used a peacock feather design in her wedding invitations...she celebrated her first anniversary this past Sunday and as I thought of her invites, I began painting and this is what evolved!



'Invitation'



Me and Two of My Boys...

Spam

I recently read yet another article on consumer profiling that focused on how Spam distributors target certain individuals to advertise their client’s wares. So after immediately wondering exactly how much access Big Brother has to us (don't go there, you'll just freak yourself out), I began sifting through all of my Spam folders, curious to see exactly how I am perceived by American merchants, down to the lowest common denominator…



Here’s what I came up with:


1- Wheelchair offers. Yup. “Redeem your discounted wheelchair today!” The day they finally offer me a free one, I am jumping on it...you never know what the years will bring, but I am holding out for the top of the line.


2- Every dating site known to the universe,apparently has THE perfect man for me. Everything from the sweet-“Meet Cute Christian Singles!”, to the not-so-sweet-”Want Someone Who Will Do ANYTHING??? Click Here!”…


3- Psycho-therapeutic prescription drugs…now this one I feel is just God’s way of providing for the sheep of his flock. Really.


4- Somehow, I have landed on Jetsetter’s radar…exclusive, 5-star vacation offers…I have not been on a vacation in years. Literally. I am not exaggerating.


So to the general public I am a handicapped, desperately single, depressed/schizophrenic/bi-polar ecophobic individual. I feel that perhaps I have some image building to do....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Here's to Finding a Good Man...

I don't like Valentine's Day. I just don't. In the interest of being completely honest, it is because I don't care to have a 24-hour reminder that I am currently not in a relationship, or that I don't have a date. I have listened to colleagues and friends, and even parents, request advice on what gifts to give, where to go for a romantic evening, etc…everyone so stressed out over making sure that everything is just perfect for 1 single day out of the 365 we have in a year. And for the record, I am not speaking from a place of sour grapes…I LOVE seeing the people in my life happily in love! It gives me such joy and peace to see my girlfriends involved in healthy,loving relationships…and I have had some really great Valentine’s days as well. My first college boyfriend , Tyler, really hit a home-run, complete with my absolute favorite Thai take-out from one of the best Thai places in downtown Birmingham, AL., a ‘Sex and the City’ marathon and the largest most expensive bath and body set I have ever laid my eyes on even to this day (yes, I was spoiled). But Valentine’s would not be complete without a single-girl rant…so here is mine:


The Top 6 Excellent Privileges Afforded to Single People (according to Emily Elizabeth):

    1) When single, you don’t have to worry about censoring yourself, while cheering against your significant other’s teams….I have dated a Yankees fan and a Saints fan. As a hard-core Red Sox and Cowboys supporter, this annoyed me. Greatly.
    2) There is never any shame about your television choices when you are single. This means that while wasting a Saturday on my couch, I don’t have to covertly change the channel when hypothetical significant other enters the room…if I really want to watch a ‘Hannah Montana’ marathon, by God, I can. And furthermore, if I want to fall asleep with the TV on, while watching ‘Operation Repo’ I can do that too!
    3) Those embarrassing foodie habits. We all have them. I will even be brave and tell you mine: I make a dip that is to die for…salsa, sour cream and grated cheddar cheese. That’s it. With tortilla chips. Sounds nasty and looks worse, but I could eat it all day, and there is no one around to make fun of me or make that squishy, “I can’t believe you are REALLY eating that” face. For the record, I call my masterpiece, Red-Neck Dip.
    4) Your car is your own. This past weekend, I cleaned my car out and found 2 pairs of cowboy boots, 5 socks, 3 foam flip-flops (courtesy of the nail salon), 1 coffee mug and 4 books. If I had a man in my life, I would constantly be worried about how embarrassing it would be to have someone see that kind of mess!
    5) I can openly voice my opinion about how absolutely handsome I think certain players are (Cowboys only, of course). Better yet, I don’t have to pretend to believe that line about how the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, ‘aren’t THAT hot...”…they are, and gentlemen, we know it…don’t lie, it’s just a further insult. But ‘A’ for effort!
*#5 can be applied to actors/actresses, singers, etc., if you’re not a sports fan …
    6) Flying solo also means you don’t have to fake laugh at that joke, you just don’t get. Or fake being impressed by the overpriced restaurant that clearly is not a delicious as a burger and shake from the Purple Cow. Or fake a friendship with all of their friends (be honest, just because you love them, does NOT mean you love their roommates). Or fake excitement that the newest version of whatever game it is that they are obsessed with is being released. Or fake interest in that one story you have already heard about 10 times...you know what I am talking about...'Lemme tell you about that one time when so-and-so and I did that one thing at that place, blah-blah-blah...'. In general, being single cuts out a lot of faking. Period.


Out of curiosity, I polled my single girlfriends and asked them what the top 5 privileges of being single were in their eyes. Only one of my friends is single. Yeah. We would start a club but we don’t have enough members to have a voting majority…


Here’s Tegan’s list:


1) Freedom
2) Girls Weekends with no Strings Attached
3) You can dream about other guys and get caught up in romantic books without feeling guilty
4) You are able to get excited when you see a cute guy and blush
5) You can have lots of fun guy friends and it is ok!
She included graphics as well, to illustrate her point…



I am not bitter (usually) and if the right guys asks for a date, I will say yes! The point is, I am single and it is Valentine’s Day. Yet, I still received jewelry, am still getting taken out for a delicious dinner, and still am cuddling up with an absolutely adorable boy tonight…my friend is a jewelry rep who sent me gorgeous pieces last week, my mother and father are hosting dinner out this evening, and my puppy loves me unconditionally…he even takes up all the room in the bed and snores, just like a real man…


So to all my other single ladies out there…someday your prince will come…don’t rush it…I’ve heard he is worth the wait. To all my attached ladies out there…thank you for always reminding me that he is worth the wait…

Friday, February 11, 2011

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - William Shakespeare


I’ve never really appreciated blogs the way a child of the millennium should. I always find myself wondering why people would want to read my ‘diary’. But as an artist, I am a sucker for all forms of self-expression, so I began a simple little blog this past spring to showcase some of my original art. I suppose it has since expanded to include original thought as well. I am just now getting the hang of all the ins and outs of this thing, and as I was perusing my friend Adrienne’s blog,Thick Hair Does Not Tease, I noticed my own link and picture on her page as one of her ‘followers’. I must admit, I got a little excited in that dorky way that I see our fans act when they see themselves on the big screen at our stadium while at a Cowboys game…As my cursor scrolled over my little picture, my name appeared…only it wasn’t my name. Not really. My heart sank. A year after I filed for divorce, there, in black-and-white, my married hyphenated name stared back at me. ‘Emily Nicoll-Miller’. I scurried to my account and spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out how to change it, furious that there was any remaining link between me and my marriage. After finding no solution, I even considered deleting the blog and account entirely- just to have that display go away. I left my office for a bit, and as I sat in my car (which smelled horrendous, a post for a later time) I calmed down a bit, cooled my jets, so to speak….



I have spent the past year, getting my life back from the man who effectively took it away for two years. I have reclaimed my friendships, my faith, my family, my passions- piece by piece, step by step, and the last thing to fall into place was the day that my new license came…the license that finally had MY name on it, not his.


All of this may seem absolutely absurd to many readers, assuming there may be some, but until you have felt what it is to completely lose yourself, you will never understand the importance of not only knowing who you are, but being allowed to express it.


I could waste copious amounts of time explaining, that my two-year marriage ended on Valentine’s Day of last year, after my discovery of not just one but supposedly five other women in my ex-husband’s life besides me, or that the first time I became aware of one of these women was 6 weeks after we exchanged vows, or that the first time he was abusive was when I confronted him about that first woman. The stories go on and on and if you truly want sordid details, I am sorry…you’ll have to wait for my LifeTime Movie of the Week to be produced.


What is in a name? Peggy calls me ‘Sundance’, after the character in the classic film about two best friends who get into trouble together, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’. Yes, they are male bank robbers, but friendship is friendship, period. Brooke calls me ‘Sassy face’ or simply ‘Sassy’. With Tegan , I answer to ‘Emmy’ or ‘Woman’, depending on the situation. Jordan and Lauren usually stick with my full name, or coincidentally, they both revert to ‘Dear’ at times…I assume this is because they are older (and wiser) than me. My closest friends’ nick-names for me most likely don’t make for exciting reading, but neither do most other blog posts out in cyber space…the point is, with all of these names of mine floating around, I am still me. The name doesn’t make you who you are…it’s up to you and God.


Make Up Your Mind, Princess!

 I was recently invited out to lunch by a male acquaintance. Unsure whether or not this was a platonic or a romantic social encounter, I was understandably distressed over how to dress for the event. I tried on various combinations from my closet, even resorting to trying on my own mother’s jeans. A short skirt might give off the wrong impression. Leggings would probably be too hot and give off the ‘just friends’ vibe. A dress was too dressy and definitely let everyone know that I thought I was on a date. I finally made up my mind and settled on an old standby: jeans, tank-top, and flip-flops.

 I was to meet my acquaintance at his home and then he would drive us to lunch. This arrangement seemed fine, at first, until I realized that it was just ambiguous enough to maintain my confusion over the status of the meeting. Upon, arrival, I was greeted with a one-arm side-hug (more ambiguity) and then asked where I felt like eating. I was a woman lost. After mumbled platitudes of not caring where we ate (I’m a natural born Texan, I always care where I eat), and effusive reassurances that I love all kinds of food (I’m a natural born female, I am picky), my escort, for lack of a more accurate definition, settled on a local eatery. Half way through my lunch, umm, “date”, I realized I still had no clue what this man’s intentions or desires were when it came to taking me to lunch. I began to panic, seeing that my window of opportunity to figure it out was coming to a close. He asked genuine questions about my studies (definitely date behavior) and then dazed off to the TV hanging over the bar (definitely not date behavior). I didn’t bother offering to split the check, because whether or not I should, would add just another element of confusion to my afternoon. He opened the door to the restaurant, but not to the car…every positive was canceled out by a negative, and I kept coming up with zero!
 I lay in bed that evening wondering and pondering over the details of the day, dissecting bits of conversation, examining the smallest actions made, and analyzing various remembered facial expressions. And then my mind settled on the most profound conclusion: I didn’t want to date the man! He was nice enough, funny enough, and respectful enough…but somehow, he was just not enough. I had made up my mind. I fell asleep with the certain feeling of being totally self-aware, an air of smugness wrapped comfortingly around me, not unlike my favorite blue blanket.
 As a student of psychology, I am never content to just let sleeping dogs lay. All thoughts and emotions, realizations and conclusions, must be analyzed to the furthest extent so that their meanings and ramifications can be of the greatest benefit to an individual. I don’t have my license (yet), so I practice most often on myself and my closest girlfriends. I don’t charge them (yet) so it’s purely ethical, I assure you. My ‘date’ conundrum was cleared up, but it had left a bad taste in my mouth. I began examining why it had caused me such confusion and anxiety in the first place. I did my ‘research’. I read through two of my old filled-up journals and various emails from my girlfriends. I came to a startling, yet not completely surprising conclusion: my most successful and drama-free relationship was the one I had with my first boyfriend in high school. How could I be better at dating at age 15 than I was at age 24? Almost 10 years of wisdom and experience had to count for something! So I delved deeper and came up with an interesting little tid-bit of factual information…when my high school boyfriend asked me to ‘go steady’, I knew exactly what he was doing; he took me outside to sit on one our friend's hammock one night, listed all of the reasons he cared about me and then asked me to be his girlfriend. He had made up his mind and he knew what he wanted: me, as his girlfriend. And I knew exactly where I stood with that sweet boy. If men in their twenties had the guts of boys in their teens, girls like me would not have to fight off an ulcer from one lousy lunch!
 Prince Charming never asked Cinderella if she wanted to ‘come over and hang’ at the ball. Sleeping Beauty did not have to worry about whether or not one simple kiss would make Prince Phillip think she was easy. Snow White did not have to ride her own white horse to meet the man of her dreams. And well, Beauty was never worried that the Beast might have found someone more beautiful than her. I see clearly now that one of the most fantastic things about these fairy tales is that the princesses had always made up their minds about what they wanted, as had the princes. And that, boys and girls, is what I believe “Happily Ever After” is all about.

P.S.
Mr. Conundrum never called to invite me for another....well...whatever it was. And I've made up my mind...I'm completely ok with that.