AFP, Angelina, and my Garden

First of all, I haven't been here as much as I would have liked to be lately. It's been a little chaotic and a bit of a stressful downer, life outside this little space of mine. But, that was then and this is now.

Yesterday, something really amazing happened on Twitter. And in some small way, I'd like to think that I was a part of it. And that's the beauty of Amanda Fucking Palmer. And while I'm not all that familiar with her music (aside from The Bed Song, I'm Not The Killing Type, and this amazingly cute little YouTube video she's done with husband Neil and puppets on sticks) , her Twitter feed and blog are just really amazing places of compassion, humanity, support and fucking love.

She said yesterday that she was sad, and posted a blog about the UPs and downs. It was like she sparked a Twitterevolution - people and fans came out of the woodwork, confessing their own UPs and downs. Everything from the difficulties in college, the passing of loved ones, health issues, success, and one Twitterite left a touching tribute to her Grandmother for AFP. Internet, I tell you ... it was beautiful.

How often do we go through life putting on a brave face, thinking that to "fit in" we have to be impervious to the UPs and downs of life. It's almost as if we feel sometimes that to admit to being anything less than perfect is to admit defeat. Do we sometimes think that we can't let anyone know that "Hey world. Today, I feel sad. Be gentle with me." But when we confess that we're sad, that at the present moment the world is treating us a little roughly, the Universe provides - even if it is a faceless mass of people in the Twitterverse who are feeling exactly We all share our joys. When the Universe and the world conspire to reward us with moments of happiness, we're basically on rooftops shouting it out and sharing our joy. But on the flip side, we stay indoors, close the windows and draw the blinds to keep the prying eyes of the world at large at bay from seeing us at anything less than our best. But just look at what happens when we (however meekly, however scared) open the door to just let in one friendly face and just ... talk.

That's what Amanda Palmer taught me yesterday. We're all human. We all love. We all struggle. We are never alone. Hold hands and we'll all go UP together.

Something else happened yesterday. And while I'm not really one to report on the doings and happenings of the celebrity lifestyle, something caught my eye. The Huffington Post and this article came across my Twitter feed yesterday. For years, I have always been a fan of Angelina Jolie. First of all, the woman is beautiful. Secondly, she's made some pretty decent movies. Thirdly, she's a UN Ambassador and makes regular trips to Sudan and the Congo, listening to the stories of the women and girls there. I think she's pretty kick ass. She's Brad Pitts partner and they have a beautiful family - the fact that there are adopted children as part of that family strikes a special cord with me and I can't help but feel grateful. Anyway, after reading that article yesterday, I saw Angelina Jolie on the cover of People magazine, and inside there was an article about her decision to have a double mastectomy in an attempt to lower her risk of developing breast cancer.

Not only do I think this was a good decision for obvious health reasons (although, it seems that she is still at risk to develop ovarian cancer, which makes me sad) but I firmly believe that the fact that she's talking about it is huge. Young girls and women everywhere need a role model like this. Despite the loss of her breasts, Jolie says that she doesn't feel any less of a woman. And why should she? What is it we have done to teach our kids (boys and girls alike) that boobies will be the determining factor of a woman's degree of femininity? Speaking as a woman, I can tell you that I love my boobs. I think that they're kind of fantastic. And while I would be more than a little sad at the loss of them, I don't think that they're the only thing about me that makes me a woman or feminine. I like the usual girlie things like dresses and high heeled shoes and dancing and parties and puppies and babies and all of the other things as a culture that we have ascribed to GIRLS. Jolie is speaking out, drawing the gaping maw of the ever consuming pop culture machine to the real and important issue of breast cancer. And while I don't think breast cancer is making as much noise as it should, especially when you have celebrities such as Jolie, Sharon Osbourne, Christina Applegate, and Olivia Newton-John (to name a few) have added their voice to the need for awareness, research, and medical attention, I can't help but feel that we're all sometimes a little more concerned with Jennifer Aniston or Kim Kardashian and their baby news. Don't get me wrong, I feel happy for them in a "oh, that's a nice fairy tale" sort of way but I have such mad respect for Jolie. I was reading the article in People magazine last night and was a little teary eyed by the end of it. Not only did she elect for this surgery and take a stand for her own femininity, but she kept up her work and grueling schedule as a UN Ambassador and balanced her life with her family as well. And while you may say that it's easier to do all that when you have insane amounts of money, several nannies on speed dial and yadda yadda yadda ... it doesn't change the fact that it's probably just as hard for her as any regular woman or family. To say that something like this is "easier" because the individual happens to be famous, understates their struggle I think, and just how difficult this decision must have been for her. I think she must have been scared shitless - given the fact that she lost her mother to ovarian cancer several years ago. I don't know about anyone else, but I can pretty much guarantee you that I'd be shitting bricks. To undergo surgery and radiation and come out the other side healthy, happy and healing only to face the hard truth that you are still at risk to develop ovarian cancer ... I'm sorry. That's a hard fact to face no matter who you are.

So good for you, AJ. I hope her message of courage reaches more people.

And, in other news I've pretty much successfully killed everything in my garden. The only thing that really managed to survive over the past few weeks has been my little garlic experiment.

Just look at that little bugger, growing like nobody's business. And that pathetic looking little thing in the pot next to it ... well, that's my cilantro which I'm pretty sure I've killed quite thoroughly. It's one of only a very small handful of seedlings to be left (somewhat) surviving. 

My cucumber seedlings are quite dead. They never survived being left out in the cold. But, I am not deterred! I still have some seeds left, and I'm going to start them over again. I'm determined to grow something, gosh darn it!

This is all that remains of my bell peppers. I did have more, but I forgot to water them and they succumbed to malnutrition. I've always known that gardening hasn't been my forte. If I can manage to kill several cacti (I shit you not) then I sometimes wonder what hope this poor little buggers have. Hopefully, this time I will be kinder to them.

So, to make myself feel better I picked up this little beauty at Wal Mart's Garden Center yesterday.

She's one of the few plants to have survived believe it or not. Spring is very slow showing her fact this year. We've had frost warnings for like a week now. But this pretty pink beauty was the best looking one I saw there, and I had to take her home. Maybe her presence will give my other plants some hope and courage. I also bought plant food too, but it seems like it's designed especially for flowers ... not my veggies. Still. I might stick some in with my poor little cilantro stalk - just to see what happens. If I kill it, I still have more seedlings! I'm not being malicious, I swear!

Now, because it looks gorgeous outside (and hopefully warm) I think I'll put them all outside for a wee spell. I think I've rambled on quite enough for one day.



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