Tag Archives: self-image

Whack a Mobster, Waste Some Time. It’s Fun. Really.


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Elizabeth Williams Bushey is officially addicted to Mobsters

Elizabeth Williams Bushey is officially addicted to Mobsters

I am now officially addicted to Mobsters.

 

At least that’s what it’s said on my “status” indicator now for weeks on my “myspace” page. “Elizabeth is… “officially addicted to Mobsters.” Mood: “intense.”

This is NOT my fault. It is totally and completely the fault of Peter’s son, who sent me an invite to join the game. Ordinarily I avoid computer and video games like the plague, having once thrown my back out and been couch-ridden for two months. I became so obsessed with SuperMario Brothers that upon my recovery, I nearly had to join a 12-Step Program.

I tossed the Nintendo® and never looked back. I won’t even let my daughters have a PlayStation, or a Wii, or anything that connects to the television.

(They watch too much as it is; TV’s another problem of mine to avoid. I don’t watch TV – not out of snobbery, mind you: more like the 12-Step thing.

ANYTHING – no matter how stupid, like “America’s Top Model” – will suck me in and mesmerize me, so better that I never turn the darn thing on in the first place.)

My kids are lucky to own Nintendo® DS thingies, upon which they play games where they train pretend robot puppies, or inhabit virtual cities with avatars of themselves with blue or pink hair.

One game they play cracks me up – they HAVE to own a house, and they HAVE to pay a mortgage on it, so they HAVE to have a job. THERE’S a game worth playing, I think.

But Mobsters? I dunno.

 

My stats on Mobsters

My stats on Mobsters

My accomplishments on Mobsters are dubious. I received one badge for achieving Level 3 in one day. I shuddered; how much time was I spending on this addictive game, anyway?

 

Another badge I received was for growing my mob size to at least five members (we’re now 18 and growing.) Wasting my powers of charm and persuasion on a myspace game? When I’m collecting quarters for a loaf of bread for sandwiches?

Is this stupid?

Definitely.

Am I still playing it everyday?

Definitely.

 

My vehicles on Mobsters

My vehicles on Mobsters

In real life, I am mostly broke, being an artist who is a lot more concerned about the art than the business.

 

On Mobsters, I am rich. I own several vehicles, including three armored cars and some Bentleys. In real life, I have a minivan.

In my Mobster arena, I own all the weapons – in multiples – that it is possible to own.

In real life, I abhor the very thought of guns (although Dad, before he died, DID teach me how to shoot straight, and I

My weapons on Mobsters

My weapons on Mobsters

just learned that both my wacky sisters – and my far wackier Mom – are getting hardcore into weaponry; one sister is now collecting shotguns. Shudder.)

 

In general, I am a peaceful person. Wait, I take that back, in case Peter should read this. Okay, well maybe not totally peaceful – but when I DO get angry, I get over it very quickly, and in general, I always look for the gentle solution to any problem. Not only that, but I have very little tolerance for injustice, and both Peter and I tend to uphold the

More weapons on Mobsters

More weapons on Mobsters

rights of the underdog.

 

On Mobsters, I not only LOOK for fights, but I absolutely pick on those littler than I am. I seek them OUT.

Even my very Mobsters name is unlike me. I prefer to be called “Elizabeth” – when folks attempt to shorten it to “Liz,” (which makes my face want to scrunch up as if I’ve eaten vinegar-soaked lemons), I politely let them know my wishes: “It’s a few more syllables, but I’m worth it.”

In Mobster-land, I’m “lizrox.”

It all sort of reminds me of this one leather jacket I have. It’s my favorite, actually. For some reason, whenever I wear it, I feel just like Kate Beckinsale in the movie “Underworld” – you know, the one where she’s this really sexy, really tough superhero vampire?

I’m not a vampire. Or a superhero. But the jacket – especially when I zip it all the way up to the neck – makes me feel really sexy, and really tough – and although I’d never try to leap off a tall building or anything, or jump into a moving convertible, it kind of makes me feel as though I could.

Mostly, I just like to wear it on cool evenings when I’m out walking my big black dog, Tucker. Cool black leather jacket, cool black dog, cool chick.

Cool Mobster.

Guess you’re never too old for a little play pretend. And it’s not TOO much of a waste of time. After all, you run out of “stamina” and “energy” and “health” – and I, personally, tend to run out of money after just a few minutes of play at a time, and have to quit.

So since I’m not ACTUALLY whacking anyone really…

If you want to join my mob, add me as a friend.

http://myspace.com/lizwb 

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Smoke the Guilt Away.


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Elizabeth Williams Bushey self-portrait, smoking with I exited the store today, after some retail therapy, new blue jeans in a bag, and to my delight, saw another smoker just outside.

Thus, I expressed said delight, as I am wont to do. “Ah!” said, I with said delight. “Another smoker!”

The woman – one of those terrific women “of a certain age” whom I admire: you know the kind – they keep in shape, get their hair cut cool, still wear lipstick. On their lips. With lip liner, so it doesn’t bleed into all the cracks they’ve earned. Neat-looking lady.

Except for the part where she nearly jumped out of her skin like we all used to do in the girls’ room when Sister Josephine walked into the nicotine haze. I wanted to go: Calm down, ma’am, I’m not wearing a habit, or carrying a ruler.

“Oh my gosh – I thought – oh, how silly, I felt just like I was getting caught smoking.”

“You were,” I said, lighting one up myself. “Only I’m thrilled. Smoke up. The French smoke, they eat more fat than any other country in the world, and they drink wine every day. They’re thin and they live a long, happy life. Vive le France.”

She felt guilty, however. Guilty that she was enjoying a smoke. Guilty that since she’d stopped smoking in the house, she’d gained a few pounds.

“You look great,” I said. She did.

“Oh,” she waved at me. Have I mentioned? Every woman thinks she’s fat? They’re even willing to smoke themselves to death to be thin.

“Well, there’s always portion control,” I suggested.

“I do that,” she nodded enthusiastically.

For those who have not yet caught on to portion control, here’s the deal. What you get when you sit down to Ruby Tuesday’s, TGIFriday’s, Choose-Your-Own-Weekday EatFest is NOT a human-sized portion. One plate that your server hands you is a skosh or two more like the size of what ordinary-sized people feed a family of about four or so.

On massive plates.

And YOU eat it ALL. With appetizers first. Breaded, fried appetizers. Maybe even some bread and butter, and some iceberg-lettuce salad – or even salad bar, which is a hilarious choice, really, considering that most of the buckets are slop-ful of loose mayonnaise with beans floating in it, or cheese.

Then you ease yourself uncomfortably away from the booth, wondering why you seemed to fit better when you got there (did the coats expand, or the bags get more full?) Stomachs straining, wallets far emptier – especially if you indulged in fake micro-brew beers or wine – you head home after another night of consuming enough calories to sustain a small African village for a week.

Which you didn’t know, because it was all on one plate, after all. And after all, Mom always told you to clean your plate, because of the starving African children.

Which you didn’t know – and still don’t – how cleaning your plate could possibly help them out, but became deeply ingrained in your soul, creating a ferocious guilty monster inside you every time you see half-eaten food on your plate.

You know, forevermore, have my permission to leave it there, and not even take it home, even if you have a dog. (He shouldn’t be eating people food anyway – especially stuff that salty.)

But anyway, back to my new friend, who was feeling terribly guilty, and whose name happened to be Bernice.

Poor guilty Bernice was simply unable to enjoy her poor cigarette: she couldn’t even hold it comfortably, unlike myself, who was standing loose-limbed next to her, loving the warm spring air, my bag of $10 Calvin Klein jeans (TJ Maxx really IS a steal), and taking in long, unhealthy, but stress-relieving drags.

I turned again to Bernice, who was fluttering around, trying to figure out where she was going to put the butt. (Me? I field-strip them, pack the butt in the box and throw them away when I find an appropriate spot. When anyone’s looking, that is. I admit, sometimes the world is my ashtray.)

“Bernice, don’t feel guilty. Guilt is a waste.”

“Oh, but I do,” she said.

“Guilt makes people feel badly about themselves. People who feel badly about themselves aren’t motivated to do better in the future.”

“Oh, but I feel very guilty today. I’m here shopping, and my husband is at chemo.”

Uh… she had me there. Good luck with the death treatment, honey. I’m going shoe-shopping. But, still…

“Bernice, you can’t feel guilty. Seriously.”

She stopped dead in her tracks. I could feel it, palpable in the air: the challenge. What could I possible volley back to that one?

“Bernice, you’ve flown on airplanes, right?”
“Dozens of times.”

“What does the flight attendant tell you to do?”

Don’t you just HATE when people make you GUESS? I didn’t leave her hanging very long.

“Put the orange oxygen mask on THE GROWNUP first. THEN put the little mask on the child. Why? Because otherwise you’ll pass out and die, and then where will the child be? Dead, too. You have to take care of yourself, first, or you’ll be no good to anyone else.”

“I TOLD him that this morning. I made him his breakfast. All he had to do was ZAP it, but he wants me to do everything for him!” Bernice said it in the same voice you use when you say: “I know! How COME the Professor never gets it on with Ginger or MaryAnn? He’s single; he’s not gross. What is there, saltpeter on Gilligan’s Island or something?”

“I told him,” Bernice went on, “that I’m training him to be an invalid – that’s what I said, I told him: I’m training you to be an invalid.”

I took a rare break from my usual ha-ha self (yes, I can even make cancer funny) and spoke softly. “Bernice, when I was still living with my parents, my favorite uncle came to live with us. He had terminal colon cancer, so I’m no stranger to living with and caring with cancer patients. Trust me: you need to keep that oxygen mask on yourself – and he needs to take care of himself, too. It’ll keep him strong, and might even help him recover.”

We used to call ourselves The Amateur Nursing Association; people came to our house to die. You were wondering, maybe, where I acquired this black sense of humor of mine?

“Have fun shopping, Bernice. Don’t feel guilty.” I smiled at her.

“I will,” she said, much more enthusiastic and relaxed than she was before.

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I’ll bet you think this song is about you. Don’t you? Don’t you?


Add to Technorati FavoritesElizabeth Williams Bushey self-portraitIn the days when dinosaurs ruled the earth – scratch that – in the days before time began, before anything in the universe ever happened, before Star One blinked into existence in the Heavens and the galaxies coalesced into being, before Big Bang, Creation, or Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Theory of How Life Began…

That is, before my kids began Life – because, of course, nothing happened before the Movie Of Their Lives, Starring Them, with Us as Extras and Cameo Players began rolling in the Great Projection Room of the Universe – just as schoolteachers live in the classrooms and have ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS in 7-11, EVER, and doctors do not have FIRST NAMES so PLEASE stop calling Dr. Lynch “Patty,” MOM.

Back in THOSE days… I once knew a gentleman “of a certain age” who was, shall we say, rather confident in his appearance. So confident in his appearance was he that he made regular trips to the beauty parlor – oops, I mean, salon – more often than I have in my life, probably, and to his credit, he was fairly on target.

He was a looker, particularly for his age. He definitely didn’t look Elizabeth Williams Bushey self-portraithis age, that’s for sure, so when his sixtieth – count ’em, sixtieth – high school reunion came around, it was all he could talk about.

All… he… could… talk… about.

“Do you think they’ll think I look all right? I look all right, don’t I? For a guy my age?”

Glassy-eyed, I came to, sipped my house white and nodded as brightly as I could. At last, I could take no more, and finally said quietly: “I bet you think this song is about you. Don’t you? Don’t you?”
Elizabeth Williams Bushey self-portrait
He looked at me, puzzled for a minute, then gave me the pouty face, but he did have a sense of humor, and gave it a rest.

Happy ending, though: he WAS the coolest, thinnest, hippest guy there – with the thickest natural head of hair. So he earned it. The song really WAS about him.

So I thought of him today, when I had to drive forty highway minutes and accidentally left the makeup mirror down on my sunvisor, and kept catching a view of myself.

Dang, I thought to myself. “Who’s that pretty girl in that mirror there?”

“Who could that attractive girl be?”

Humming the tune from West Side Story, since I didn’t know the words, I broke out when I got to the part: “And I pity… any girl… who isn’t me… today…” ad-libbing: “Because she didn’t get the great results on her split ends with Citri-Shine that I did…”

So today, the song was all about me. Which, of course, no one at all noticed. Which, of course, was fine, because my philosophy is always that the only person who needs to be really pleased with you is YOU.

Taking THAT one step further, I did realize how very ridiculous I was, being so very pleased with myself and all, so I decided I would, for a change, make fun of my OWN vanity on a global Elizabeth Williams Bushey self-portraitscale, since I poke fun of everyone else, and I would take a picture of myself, looking at myself, in the car sunvisor – which turned out to be extraordinarily difficult.

So I came inside and took some more pictures of myself inside, which was even MORE vain of me, so I’m posting them, too, so you can all have a good laugh at me.

Still: you have to admit: it’s a fairly good hair day, despite the frumpy sweater.

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Speaking of naked…


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Very fat woman in undiesSpeaking of naked, aren’t you glad she isn’t?

Actually, aren’t you glad neither of these women are?

I keep explaining to my daughters that extremes – either way – are, well, downright icky.

Who wants to cuddle up to a pile of bones, held together somewhat loosely by thinly-stretched skin? Who wants to kiss an ashen, skeletal face that’s about ten minutes away from cadaverhood?

Not me. Even if I liked the ladies.

On the other hand, the thought of being smothered doesn’t appeal to me greatly, either.
Neither does the thought of finding those panties – or Very thin woman in red dressthat bra – in my laundry, either.

I can, however, imagine repurposing that bra as an awning on an outdoor gazebo in the backyard. Couple of wind chimes – you’re in business.

That, however, triggers a rather nasty image in my fetid imagination of those bulbous girls swinging freely, with their usual support instead shading several square yards of my property.

Think it hurts when they do? Flop around, I mean. Yikes.

Ordinarily, the excruciatingly perfect etiquette my Scarsdale, NY grandmother drilled into my head forbids me from commenting on anyone’s personal appearance, outside of “You look wonderful, darling.” That’s it, by the way. That’s all that’s allowed.

Even should someone show up to your wedding with an overturned flowerpot on their head, peat moss streaming down their face, one bare foot, a potato sack dress and accessorizing the ensemble with a tightly clenched pitchfork, all you are allowed to say – if you’re looking to be strictly polite is: “You look wonderful.”

Of course, one can say vastly more than that with tone of voice, one raised eyebrow, and a very slow inspection from head to toe as one tells the pitchfork bearer how wonderful they look. If you’re my Scarsdale grandmother. That’s the whole trick.

Etiquette, Grandma always reminded me, is to keep YOU from being embarrassed. It can work wonders, she advised, when wielded properly as a weapon.

But, like Ninja warriors, it takes years of training and practice to learn how to humiliate others with grace and aplomb. It helps a lot if you have a natural mean streak, or a talent for quick hurtfulness under pressure.

Take the famous Dorothy Parker, known for many things, but probably best of all for her ability to humiliate on cue. A young starlet tried to embarrass Parker at a Hollywood premiere when they nearly collided at the entrance. “Oh, Miss Parker,” chirped the starlet, heading, as young starlets do, boldly into territory she had no business being, “please do go in – after all, as they say: ‘age before beauty.’”

“Thank you, I will,” said Parker, tossing back over her shoulder, “after all, as they say: ‘pearls before swine.’”

Gotcha. Grandma was a dedicated sensei, but I never quite had the mean streak necessary to pull off snobbery. I ended up WAY too egalitarian, in the end.
Being a starving artist, too, makes it tough. When you’re paying for coffee in rolled-up pennies, insulting people is usually the last thing on your mind.

However, I digress.

The reason I feel at liberty to make any sort of comment on these women’s appearance at all is that they not only deliberately POSED for these pictures, but allowed them to be posted on the Internet, where I found them – to my everlasting shame, I don’t remember where, and so cannot give appropriate credit – and can thus bring them to your attention.

I myself am about a size 4, maybe a 6 on my fat days. I am lucky enough to be a sort of tiny person – annoyingly, so little that complete strangers find it okay to actually lift me in the air, as I may have mentioned earlier.

Still, in my own life, I have struggled with both weight gain – after a bout of postpartum depression with my first daughter, I must have, in my haze, thought that PopTarts were the answer – and also with anorexia. Real, honest-to-goodness, let’s see if we can survive on Altoids and cigarettes anorexia. So I have, in my past, resembled the skeleton in the red dress.

Looking back at a couple of pictures, I see now why so many people that I thought were annoying at the time were actually alarmed when they tried to casually suggest I perhaps indulge in a sandwich or three.

I didn’t used to think there was such a thing as too thin.

We all know there’s such a thing as too fat – and yeah, we’re all pretty mean-spirited about it. It’s the one thing nobody minds being right up-front about, either: if someone’s fat, we’re grossed-out.

Even fat guys don’t want fat girlfriends. (The nerve, really, because who really wants a fat boyfriend, even if he is rich? Okay, well how rich? Nice car rich, nice house rich, or nice portfolio rich?)

But the other day, driving along Main Street (yes, it really was Main Street, if you can believe the perfection of coincidence) I saw this enormously (excuse the pun) happy couple waddling (sorry, HAD to use that verb) along, holding hands. They were both extremely huge, but they were obviously extremely into each other, and I was missing Peter, who won’t be home until June, and I thought to myself: how terribly sweet that these two people found each other – and while many people wouldn’t find them all that attractive, perhaps, they probably see each other as the most beautiful people in the world.

And maybe they’ll have a lifetime of happiness – until their enlarged hearts give out and they drop dead at around forty.

In each other’s big arms.

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Naked! Naked! Naked! (Made ya look.)


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the many faces of me I have no problem being naked.

Not that I’m EAGER to be naked, don’t get me wrong; it’s not as if I’m winking, one hand pulling down the shoulder of my shirt, frantically elbowing passers-by, whispering: “Dare me? Dare me?”

I’m no modern-day Lady Godiva.

(Why DID she take off all her clothes and ride a horse through town? Wasn’t she protesting something her jackass husband did? My – if that worked…)

It’s just that at I’m finally comfy in this skin. And with all the little fat cells that may be – or may not be – floating around underneath it. For instance, after two C-sections, no matter how much weight I might ever lose, or how many sit-ups I might do…

(…Hang on, I can’t type, I’m laughing so hard at the idea of ME doing even one sit-up….)

..I’ll always have a little kangaroo pouch, thanks to my Little Joeys having popped out like toast, instead of, well… the other way. (Yikes.)

I never DID do the bikini thing. I preferred my grandmother’s advice: Let ’em wonder. It’s what you DON’T show that drives ’em crazier. She was right.

A woman is ten times more sexy in a high-necked, backless gown, if you ask me. After all, I always wanted a guy that wanted not only to whisk me up the stairs like that famous scene in Gone With the Wind – but who also wanted to buy me the staircase. (I didn’t have to want the staircase, mind you. He just has to want to give it to me. <<insert evil laughter.>>)

And the surrounding mansion. Don’t forget the mansion and a yacht. (The stairs by themselves would be, well, stupid.)

I’m currently working on a project for pre-teen girls about body image. It’s in the embryonic stage right now, and it’s inspired by my own pre-teen girl, who IS NOT FAT, (can you hear me?), NOT FAT BY ANY STRETCH, but like every other woman in the universe, is tortured by her self-image.

The pictures you see on the left are of me. I took the top two; my daughters’ dad, award-winning photojournalist Tom Bushey, took the bottom one, shortly after our first daughter Emily was born.

Yikes, right?

[NOTE: I went, clad in a baggy sweatshirt, no makeup, to rent a car during this period. No big deal. They gave me a plain-Jane model. Radio, no CD player. Got me where I needed to go. I returned it. More on this later.]

Although outside of the postpartum depression period, I was never really overweight, I DID develop early, growing biggish breasts early on, and since I AM tiny – and all my height is in my legs, making me very short-waisted – at 11 and 12, I felt like a potato with toothpicks. A freak. A fat freak. Fatty McFat-Fat.

A self-image I projected onto the whole world.

It wasn’t until college, really, when — oh yay! I roomed with – dig this: three of the most beautiful women on campus. No kidding, in all seriousness, THE most gorgeous, including an International Vogue model. As nice as they were beautiful, too, and friends to this day. (Did I mention smart? The model is now a doctor at Sloan-Kettering.)

When you’re plunged into that kind of over-the-top fabulousness, there is no question of competition. It’s like being a Sumo wrestler hanging out with racehorse jockeys, or a mermaid hanging out with Iraqui burqa-wearing babes. Just doesn’t enter your mind.

What blew my mind was that none of these smart, incredibly nice, incredibly beautiful women ever did anything on a Friday or Saturday night except go out with each other, while I had date after date.

Turns out there IS such a thing as too, intimidatingly beautiful. (Also, I learned there really IS such a thing as too thin – boys like soft, not bony.)

How cool was that?

I also learned from a former actress and model, later on, when I appealed to her for makeover assistance for a high school reunion (“Is there anyway you can make me look like an International Vogue model? Um… no reason…”) that “beauty” could be achieved with a few tricks of the lip and eyeliner brush. Ah! How easy, especially for an artist like myself.

Or anyone with about an hour to kill at the Esteé Lauder makeup counter.

Confidence + a few hidden grooming tricks? I had this thing licked.

I went back to the car rental place where I had rented a clunker a couple of years back. Same circumstances: I needed to rent a simple car.

This time, I had learned “how to be beautiful.”

They handed me the keys to a fully-loaded sports car.

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