I am studying the genetics of calico cats; taking formal (and informal) photographs of tissue boxes (probably best not to ask); and studying the design and psychology of contemporary sans serif fonts.
Sometimes I write.
Freud thought that people over fifty weren’t educable. Plato thought that fifty was a good time to begin philosophy. A male art critic declares that the only creative work you are going to do that matters happens between ages twenty-five and fifty. After that you spend your time dying. Oh dear, at first I typed “dyking.” I rather like that––“Sorry, I can’t think right now or write, dance, paint, bake a princess cake, I’m busy dyking. After that, I’ll be busy dying.”
Today I am doing many of the things I’m not supposed to be able to do––thinking, writing, researching, playing, laughing, watching birds, making a video with friends, and yes, living.
I am so down with the late, great, American writer, Grace Paley––who by the way, played a mean game of table tennis right into her eighties––“It’s all life until death.”
A friend told me that she was uncomfortable that I gave away “our lesbian secrets“ in my last performance piece, My Lunch with Sophia Loren. She felt the erotic terrain was too real, too honest. I responded that I thought there were no lesbian secrets left, that the cat was out of the bag as it were. We did both agree that neither of us has yet to see anything in mainstream media that we’d say—“Yes! They got that right.”
This got me to thinking about secrets and identity, etc. You know, sometimes it feels good to get out and be a lesbian. And sometimes it feels equally good to stay at home and be a lesbian. The rest of the time I don’t think about it much. I am thoroughly immersed in my ordinariness—I get up, go to work, I write, fuss over the cats, get my teeth cleaned. But today when I met a new friend, and she showed up in a black leather jacket, skinny jeans, and black spike heels, well, shall I say, I was appreciative.
Maybe lesbian sexuality is more “under-known” than secret, which, as another friend points out, lets us stay under the radar. I think of it like this: a little low flying keeps me sharp and paying attention.
My partner’s breasts have been altered.
She lost half of one and a chunk of the other from cancer. They are still beautiful but in a modern art kind of way. I call them her Picasso breasts. She likes that. We can both laugh.
There are so many opportunities in life to be humbled: You can just be wrong; you can clap too early; you can forget and leave the sunroof of your car open the only night it rains. You can, like my aunt Evie in a Chinese restaurant, take a knife and fork to a rolled up hot hand towel thinking it is an egg roll. You can sit in stunned silence when the surgeon clumsily says to your partner, “If you are done with your breasts, have a mastectomy.”
You can lovingly hold your lover’s breasts in your hands and feel a slip of fear shoot up your arms, slide into your chest and coil somewhere near the center of your heart.
You can wish it weren’t so
I only remember the sign, not what the artist looked like. I think he was young, but I am not sure. Young and hirsute. I don’t remember which war, or troubles.
He held a sign:
Bad Things Are Happening.
I imagine myself now, standing on an empty stage, not young, but old, or at least, oldish, a face lined with experience, silver grey hair, night-blue metal frame glasses, dressed simply but stylish, performance black, naked under my clothes.
I hold a sign:
Bad Things Are STILL Happening.
It is the least I can do, to bear witness.
Lauren Crux’s irreverent humor and social commentary have found their way into a number of publications and onto the stage in solo performances as well as community based collaborative art performances. Most recently, she has been published in, The Colorado Review, Fourth Genre, The Scribbler, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, and Generations: a journal of images and ideas. She works as a psychotherapist and lives in Santa Cruz, California. She finds creative comfort in the Zen wisdom: If you want your cow to be happy, give it a large pasture.
Photo by Dinty W. Moore