Dream Closet

The day she’s planned looms glamorously. She dresses the part, prancing around in satin, chiffon and pearls. The preparation is everything, and one last glance in the mirror says she’s off to step into a dream. The problem is, she genuinely believes in an elusive pageant simply waiting to be tapped into. She dresses the part she was born into this shabby little town believing she’d play. Fulfillment most certainly lies without.

Well, imagine you’ve got the starring role and you’ve worked for weeks upon months preparing for the performance. It’s opening night and you show up in starry anticipation of the lights and applause; you walk backstage and hear your shoes on the wooden floor. You peer out from the wing anticipating the heat and glow of the lamps, breathe in the thick, aged air of the theater, and what do you see? A pile of junk on the stage. Torn down scenery, a dumpy couch and a bucket of paint stand where you should enter, stage right. Peering out from behind the curtain you see a convention for corporate marketing has spilled into the aisles. The garage door on the other wing has been left open and truck exhaust creeps along the catwalk. But enough with cheesy metaphors.

The damn radio plays nothing but news and ads. She prays for a rush of insight–something intoxicating and tangible to the spirit. She drives through town waiting out the ads until the music hour is scheduled to begin. She makes it through the noise and the harassment of the nerves and anticipates an uplifting, just reward. She’s met with an irritating, hypnotically weak, cheap track. There are a few scratched CDs on the floor of her clunky used car; they’ve been overplayed and look unappetizing there next to an empty fast food bag.

OK, back to the chiffon and pearls: she drives aimlessly looking for a home for them to dwell upon her body. There’s a five star restaurant downtown, overpriced and uncomfortable. If she has to resort to paying for a piece of fine drama, she’s willing to dole it out. They give her a seat too close to the kitchen. Was it intentional? No, it’s a small building. The table is uneven and rocks every time she puts her foot down. She goes to the restroom. It’s light and airy. There are little folded cloth towels to dry the hands on and a metal basket to throw them in on the floor. Nice. She looks in the mirror. Her hair doesn’t sit right. The jacket makes her look thick around the waist. The pearls are definitely overdone. She should have stuck to the black pants and blouse. The uniform. The surefire, safe attire for navigating the scum. Maybe it’s not even the clothes. Maybe she’s just too old for trinkets and frills? It doesn’t sit right, doesn’t feel right, doesn’t look right. It’s wrong and she spent fifty dollars for nothing. Farewell.

A slow and steady rage starts to accumulate in her throat. She swallows it down and grits her teeth. She stops at a fast food restaurant to use the bathroom and get coffee. She strolls through the dingy parking garage and throws the pearls in her purse. She turns on the hand blow dryer in the bathroom. It’s loud and obnoxious but at least the toilets were clean. She buys the coffee and the woman who works there looks at her with a mocking twinge of the lip. She gets the order wrong. Was it intentional? No, she’s busy.

She stands there, coffee in hand, in the middle of the screaming kids, shabby t-shirts and sneakers. The chiffon looks ridiculous and she looks like a little kid playing dress-up with mom’s things. When she gets home she wants nothing more than to rip off the damn blazer, kick off the boots and wash off the makeup. The couch is where she belongs. It’s the only place where the dream still lives. The beautiful ideal of a world proportional to the effort of the fantasy. While staring at the television something tells her there is no secret activity or location that provides satisfaction. Nothing she’d have access to, anyway. That pretty little world exists nowhere and in no one else. Maybe it’s about time she stop thinking she’s any different from the rest. You can’t dress the world up.


I spent Friday afternoon downtown wandering through the usual shops. I didn’t find anything that caught my eye until I was just about to leave. I found this striped blouse that spoke to me.  I’ve been on a minimalist/quality over quantity quest and decided to leave it there. The next morning I woke up and thought about the blouse: my signal to purchase.

It struck me as a poetic piece an artist might wear everyday. Something understated, classic, yet vibrant.  It’s comfortable, striking and is longer in the back so I can wear it with leggings. Ballet flats paired with a long blouse and leggings make up my favorite spring combination. Perfect for curling up in a chair with a book or sitting at the writing desk. It could also be paired with a pair of dress pants. I  chose to button it all the way to the neck to display the shiny silver button.

It is something I will wear often and keep as long as it lasts. Striped blouses never go out of style and showcase simplicity and elegance.


Deservedness–the generational curse. Grandma didn’t deserve fine accessories. Mom didn’t deserve a new house. I don’t deserve to exist. It’s the snowball that gains speed and bulk on its way down the abyss. We mention it as if it’s all over: “ I can’t believe I used to think I wasn’t pretty.” The funny thing is, the more we pretend we believe we’re worthy, the deeper it burrows into every attempt to break free. It’s the apprehension before approaching another person, or the fear of demanding exactly what it is you think you’re worth. If you believe you’re worth nothing, you work for nothing and consume in shame.

Shame takes many forms. Sometimes it’s the inappropriate fancy footwear you wear to an outdoor event. The kind where everyone asks if your feet are cold and you insist, in great pain, that you’re completely comfortable. Sometimes it’s the fear of standing too close to someone for fear they can smell you wore the same blouse two days in a row. Sometimes it’s quitting a job you were good at simply because you’re too exhausted to be seen anymore on a daily basis.

You say mean things to cover the hurt. You justify the bridges burnt and battles won. You demand only the finest because it’s your birthright. No! The cycle of want and shame ends here. This time around you’ll have what you deserve. Suddenly having it, you realize something doesn’t feel right. Looking at it doesn’t fill you with joy. You feel a splinter of agony digging in the depths of your gut and you ignore it hoping it will go away. It doesn’t go away. It grows and starts to take on a pathological presence. It’s there when you wake up and there when you go to sleep. It reminds you, every time a beam of light enters your heart, that you don’t deserve to feel joy. You don’t deserve what you have and you don’t deserve to be loved. Like apprehending a beast fleeing an open cage, you step out of the way and surrender. Every move is a wrong move. The best mode of defense is curling up on the couch with a blanket waiting for the affliction to pass. Eventually it passes when some other distraction gains the upper hand–but you know it’s there waiting–like the spider webs underneath the bed.

It’s advanced throughout the years. You know what it is and whence it came. You understand, accept and analyze it. You toss it around as a joke, use it as an excuse and banish it in ritual. You write about it, recognize it in others and sometimes even forget about it. You can learn to be kind to yourself and others. You can even forgive yourself and move on. You can transform it and turn it into art. All of these remedies are convincingly admirable. Yes, you can learn and grow and tell yourself you are a deserving creature; yet you’re still a creature and look over your shoulder. You still feel pain while realizing the beauty of your surroundings. The void of death is haunting, but the abundance of life more haunting still.

Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky

Crime and Punishment was written by the Russian author, Dostoevsky in 1866.

Confronted with destitution, ideology, questionable mental stability and the sometimes strangely coincidental circumstances of St. Petersburg life, a university student, Roskolnikov, takes it upon himself to commit murder. An introspective portrayal of the psychological, social and legal ramifications of the act keeps the reader questioning and anticipating the motives and plot twists throughout the 703 pages.

In the true spirit of Dostoevsky, the book is filled with layer upon layer of analysis of the human condition. The characters bring a rich discussion of multiple subjects to life; law, morality, religion, family, social position, addiction and mental illness are some of the many themes present in the story.

I read a German translated edition from 1977 printed by the Winkler Verlag München. An interesting difference between the English and German titles shines light on the depth of the book’s interpretive potential. Schuld und Sühne (Guilt and Atonement) as opposed to Crime and Punishment depicts the array of psychological challenges Roskolnikov must face. He theorizes, in the midst of a kind of feverish mental affliction, that it be morally permissible to commit a crime for the sake of a higher purpose and whether there be certain figures, who on account of their assumed superiority, (perhaps such as himself), should be considered above the law. We see him struggle with guilt, love, faith and human connection while attempting to justify his theory and witness the ultimate culmination of his dealings in the end. The ambiguous nature of the characters and the effects of their interactions with one another leave one grappling with the concept of good and evil and what it means to be a moral being in a social world.

I highly recommend this as well as any other book by Dostoevsky to anyone looking for a philosophical, psychological and brilliantly written literary masterpiece. This is a story that leaves one speechless, exhausted and enlightened.


While moving, twisting and stretching in front of a mirror, something ancient began glistening on her skin. Her dance awakened in her a soreness and longing for something dutifully forsaken. No longer swallowed, given-up or extracted, it began colonizing her movements and burrowing through the fragile layers of deception she wore to maintain sanity. The angelic farce stepped aside in reverence of a deity who dwells in starry night skies and expensive sheets. Something writhing within her insatiable belly displaced every last drop of the guilty plague: the essential unmet need.

She is not cruel, no. She is humbled and overcome, yet free. She bows before passion at liberty and makes legends of every embrace. The confusing glance in the mirror and clinical introspection, diagnosed and dissected, begins to smile. All sickness is a choice and excuse for retreat. What if she chooses to emerge? What if she claims her right to life? Will the scaffolding fall away and the walls crumble?

She is both ends of the cursed dichotomy intertwined. It’s both frightening and exhilarating, scoffing at the scorn and accepting the rightful inheritance of a feminine being. She asserts a secret joy in the delicate art of corruption and the need for adulation. Yes, she demands to feel indispensable, devastating and radiant. She loves with a sense of destruction that satisfies her with recompense for the life stifled in her upbringing. Might devastation be the birthplace of innocence? The place where an invincible and glimmering pearl remains and emerges from beneath the rubble of a battered shell?

Faced with the raging absurdity of repression, the gate must either open or remain closed forever. Will she accept the constellations of her birth? Can she indulge in truth?