Archive | Ruby Intuition

Watching You, Watching Me

I woke with this painting by Egon Schiele in my mind’s eye, and as the morning has progressed I keep flashing on it. I’m not sure why, except that in this image lurks the conscious vulnerability that I need in order to move forward in every area of my life. This woman is subject. She is object. She is cagy. She is direct. She is erotic. She is uninviting. She is masculine. She is feminine. She is strong. She is susceptible. She is ugly. She is beautiful. She is tired. And she is engaged. January 2016 is turning out to be a bracingly interstitial month, one that calls for patron saints who aren’t pure so much as they are powerful. This violet-and-crimson-tipped sour puss just about fits the bill.

The Arithmetic of Snow

Here on the East Coast we are in the midst of a good old-fashioned blizzard. I’m not sure if that’s the official word but the snow has been coming down for 15 hours; the sidewalk, stoops and street outside my apartment are covered in two feet of snow; and everything and everybody has been cancelled. That’s a blizzard even to this Masshole. (I’ve lived in Brooklyn for 23 years but once a Masshole, always a Masshole.)

I’m been the queen of preparation this round. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about living alone, it’s that gender coding is an ill-advised luxury; when you have to cook, shovel, clean, and fix everything from hems to technology to radiators yourself, it’s a bad call to get the vapors or cry caveman. Bundled in a wearable sleeping bag, face mask, and two scarves, it’s impossible to tell whether someone is a man, woman, non-binary gender person, or a “Revenant” bear, anyway.

So yesterday after reading distressing weather reports, I headed over to Red Hook Fairway, where I bought enough food to stock my refrigerator and freezer for two weeks (which is how long it’ll probably be before I’m able to safely drive Minerva again). I bought wonderful things: thick pork chops, lamb, dried apricots, pistachios and pecans, crushed tomatoes, ricotta, extra virgin olive oil, thick Greek yogurt, a roasted chicken, challah bread, a jug of organic cream, rosemary, mint, kale, and copperhead salmon. My enthusiasm was only mildly hampered by the fact that, even at 9 am, the store was clotted by Park Slopers who didn’t feel it appropriate to reign in their free-spirited children as the rest of us tripped over them. Continue Reading →

New Year Rules of Order

I always say I don’t believe in New Years since it’s just a reboot of the totally arbitrary Christian calendar. (Even Christ was reportedly born in the spring.) But just because I don’t believe in the New Year doesn’t mean it doesn’t believe in me: Today I rose ready to tackle projects that have been lying dormant for months, including scribing my 13 rules of order. And 13 is a very lucky number for we witches. So without further ado…

1. If you think of it, do it. This is especially true if it’s something you can do in the time you’re thinking of it. That said…

2. Lists are great. If you have a bevy of things to do, externalizing them can restore order in your monkey brain. And everything is easier when you do it step by step. I recommend using ruled notepads. To this day, few things satisfy like crossing out items on an actual piece of paper. That said…

3. Be impeccable by your word. I got this rule from some New-Agey thing I read years ago, but it’s very true. Don’t say something unless you mean it; don’t make plans you can’t keep; don’t write checks you can’t cash. Usually people fail at this because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or they’re hedging their bets. Put bluntly, that’s selfish, even if it doesn’t seem that way. That said…

4. Accept your limitations. When you expect more of yourself than you can accomplish, it’s stressful for you and everyone who comes into contact with you. What’s more, you help no one when you don’t ask for help, and all work and no play makes everybody a dull Jackée. That said…

5. Don’t hide behind your conditioning. I was raised to mobilize others but it turns out I’m as good as the next guy at fixing things around the house, sorting out technology, and handling the money. I just had to shore up, and there’s probably some area of your life where you could do the same thing. That said…

6. It’s an explanation, not an excuse. Whenever someone uses their past as an excuse for their actions in the present, I check out. It is my core belief that if you can articulate the problem, you can roll up your sleeves and fix it. That said…

7. Apologize if you fuck up. It’s simple. Don’t say sorry if it’s not your fault. Do if it is. So much drama ensues in this world because people don’t adhere to this rule. That said…

8. Say please and thank you. Life is rough enough with a little cream in your coffee. If someone helps you, let them know you noticed. If you are asking someone to do something, let them know you’ll appreciate the effort. Above all, recognize others’ kindness and be kind as well. This is a courtesy you should extend to yourself, and is required even if you think you are owed. Entitlement is always ugly. That said…

9. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. Nine times out of ten, no matter what you’ve been taught, expressing your raw feelings before they’ve been digested is a bad call. Whining hurts everyone’s ears, as does rudeness. If you really feel held hostage by your frustration, write it down and put it away for a day. Once you’ve cooled you’ll know if it can be channeled productively. That said…

10. If you love someone, let them know. If they can’t handle it, that’s not your fault. If they can, you just turned on a light. This is true no matter what kind of bond you share. That said…

11. Treat people like friends, not family. It is my experience that saying someone is like family means you think you will be bonded no matter how badly you behave. Friendship is elective and therefore requires a higher level of care and consciousness in order to survive. Behave accordingly in all your relationships. That said…

12. Work alone. I know, I know: you expected me to say work well with others. And of course you should. But the tree falls in the woods no matter what; it’s impossible to share what you haven’t already created; people who can’t be by themselves are terrible company; and working together is very different from only coming alive when someone is by your side. Bottom line: Codependence is crap. That said…

13. Clean up after yourself. This is true on every level of life. Do not expect others to clean up after you. Do not expect to clean up after others. And always clean up as you go.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy