Kate Hassett’s definition of a weirdo: is an authentic, driven person whose actions are not shaped by what the world is feeding them but instead by acceptance of individuality.
My Dinner Table
Growing up, six pm meant my dad was sitting to my left, my brother in front of me, and my mother at our kitchen table's catty corner.
Before us sitting there, my mother had created a dinner that fulfilled our tired needs from the long day ahead. My brother and I grabbed the silverware and yellow and blue dishes. They lost their color throughout the years, but that didn't matter because the food on the plate was far more important. My dad opened the red door after his stressful day at work. The weight of the door always caused it to slam when he closed it. It was not my dad's intent to slam it, but instead, it was the door's intent. It's funny because he never heard him slamming the door, but when any other member of my family shut the door, he got upset. That red door was the ascent of our white house, the accent of the color scheme, but it was also the accent of the end of a day.
As my dad walked down the hall into our kitchen, the sound of his gum was so distinct. It was high-pitched due to his chews' pressure and fast jaw release. It was clear that he had had an extensively long day. We all showed stress in different ways. My brother's verbal word count had gone down by then. My mom would have a sudden rush of realization-based anxiety, and as I watched her finish cooking our meal, she looked as if she was on Chopped and her upside-down cake would not be completed in time.
I'm unsure how I visually or verbally expressed my stress as six pm approached because I couldn't see myself. At 6 pm, though, I felt more emotionally vulnerable, so rude comments pinched my gut more than usual.
I guess the comments at the dinner table weren't necessarily rude; instead, they were playful banter towards one another. During dinner, my brother took Accutane for about a year. I remember he had once pointed out a massive zit on my face, and I picked up his absurdly large Accutane pill to indicate that I had a big zit, but he had plenty of those, so he took medication. Quicker than I expected, he picked up my newly filled Prozac bottle with the same mannerisms I did to him. That pinched and twisted my gut. Had it been early in the day, I would not have cried, but at 6 pm, I cried. My parents always say I could dish it out but not take it; this was most apparent at the dinner table.
Though I started discussing my family dinners with stress and crying, it was not always like that. In fact, the memory of sitting beside my family eating every night brings me joy and indicates, ironically, a time of serenity. It was there that our individual stresses were connected and molded into a disgusting stew that, though gross, was still warm. At the dinner table, we shared jokes and talked about the people and experiences we had that day. It was where big announcements and conversations arose.
Sometimes one or two of the family members would be missing from the table, but there was still conversation and connection from the remaining members. My mom gave me the period talk at the dinner table when my brother and dad were at a baseball game. I sat there with my marinara sauce pasta as she explained the bloody mess of a period. That conversation, no doubt, was horrendous to me, but now I laugh. I remember looking down at my bright red pasta and then asking how much blood I would lose a month. I was assured that it was minimal compared to the blood in your body.
My dogs even sat with us, though they never conversed with us. They begged for food by widening their puppy eyes and watching the food very closely as it went from plate to mouth. Skittles had an addiction to licking our feet at the table, which startled us at first, but somehow, throughout the years, we stopped noticing it until someone pointed it out. We have had four dogs join our family at the dinner table: Bailey, Lucy, Skittles, and Piper. Each one was unique in how they sat under the table, much like each member of the human portion of our family. Their uniqueness makes me miss them as I eat dinner alone every night.
I sit alone at a table for two sitting on one chair with the second chair close enough to rest my legs on. I eat the dinner I made over the weekend and portion it throughout the week. Every meal I make is a recreation of a dinner my mom would make. The only difference is there would be one table set with a serving. I have a second chair, as previously stated, but that's there to complete the look of my apartment and show my longing for a guest. I don't necessarily feel lonely, but I feel a lack of entertainment.
I entertain myself every night but go through memories from various times and remember how strange they were. A pad I picked up from the bottom of my high
school's pool that I dove into the deep end of the pool to get because I had thought it was a piece of clothing. Most of these memories are accompanied by the question why the hell did I do that? The absurdity runs out of hand as memories spread through my dinner time. I have no one to change the subject except for my TV or the music. I will turn one of those on once it is clear that my mind needs to be paused. I like watching Conan O'Brien or turning on Lady Gaga because, in both of them, there is still a level of crazy. Though their craziness is apparent, it cleans up the crazy I have stirred upon myself.
Be a Youthful Sexual Being, Not a Bitch
A female artist faces many problems when approaching the road to success rooted in misogyny and sexualization. There is no immediate solution to being a female artist and succeeding without being called a bitch for their drive or the obsessive ideas of the ideal female appearance.
My mom recently reached the age of 60, and she often talks about the discomfort she has with her age. When discussing body augmentation, I think of Botox and the feeling of needing youth to succeed. Growing up around Beverly Hills, I was constantly exposed to Botox and body augmentations in my female friends and their mothers. My mom and I said we wouldn’t touch our bodies with an ounce of Botox, even when insecurities come. Though we don’t want Botox, we do not hate the action of getting Botox, but rather the social pressures to get work done. The pressures ensure that women should always focus on being pretty and young. At the age of 19, I have not dealt with age as a buffer for success, but watching some female artists throughout the years and the downfall of their careers due to age has let me down.
Initially, I thought of Joan Rivers as a talented female artist who, when the appearance of age started, began to fall down a steady slope. She is undoubtedly one of the female comedians who has shaped the path for many today. Her humor is about being a woman and the day-to-day taxation of it, but it is enjoyed by all. As she got older, her audience began to die down to just women, and she hosted the show Fashion Police. In this show, she degraded women, which contradicts the comedian she started as. As her career approached failure, she had so much work done to her face and body that she was unrecognizable; while she was degrading women, it was because society brutalized her to the insecurity that festered into self-manipulation.
Similarly, and more apparent these days due to her outlandish social media presence, Madonna began a downfall due to her increasing age. This seems to be rooted in insecurity and the over-sexualization of her by the media at a young age. The saying sex sells is so true and necessary in the art world as it relates to females.
Movies, books, and musicals highlight a woman with talent and how her talent is not qualified due to her lack of sex appeal. A particular musical comes to mind: Funny Girl. Fanny, played by Barbra Streisand, has a clear stage presence for her voice and personality, but in the beginning, she is not given a chance due to her lack of a sexual presence. However, throughout most of the musical, she has a successful career, with her love interest blocking her from obtaining the joy of her success. Though she is now a credible performer, her creative requests and ideas come across as bitchy to the men in charge and even her husband. This shows that a female stating her opinions is seen as bitchy, and what better song from the musical to cite her drive than Don’t Rain on My Parade. Of course, this song is about her giving up work to go see her man, but the powerhouse of a song has always been seen as a song about drive even detached from men.
Sexualization builds careers for women for the short time of their youth, but it destroys female worth. All-in-all women don’t get opportunities to show their talents without being sexualized first. Even once they have shown the world their talents, their natural aging decays their presence in the media. Their talents become less credible though they have not been affected.