band · change · family · fear · hope · job · scarcity · self-care · theater

Stay to Play.

I’m at my new Monday morning desk-trade shift at my gym (unlimited classes in exchange for checking people in…. at 5:30am), so I don’t know how extemporaneous I feel while techno music blares in the background, and my pulse finds center again… so perhaps this’ll just be an “update-y” kinda blog:

The play I’ve been cast in (Queen of the Amazons…!) begins rehearsals at the end of July, to perform over weekends around Labor Day. I haven’t actually opened my script since our first table reading… but I continue to take it places with me, in a good intention to read it.

In the meantime, I went to play bass yesterday with a friend and his friend — it was super fun. My poor un-practiced fingertips are a little swollen, but … man, just to be back in the loud, the beat, the fun. It was so much fun. (Did I mention it was fun?!) We’re looking at playing a date in October, and are meeting up again next Sunday. I feel… like myself, having this in my life again; being a bassist again.

My dad didn’t actually receive the Father’s Day card I sent, since he’s moved back up to New Jersey from Florida for the summer. I still haven’t returned his return voicemail, but now that I got the card back in the mail, “unable to forward,” I suppose I should find out what their “Summer” address is. And also endeavor to keep my bile and perhaps envy to a minimum.

In an exasperated flurry, last week, I sent my photos to some modeling agencies in SF, and heard back from one they’d like to see me this week. … Then I looked them up on Yelp — and if there are worse reviews on that website, I haven’t seen them! So I’m going to gauge whether that’ll be worth my time to meet with them, just for the experience, if not for the professional service of them.

I’m also in conversation with two professional leads for actual work, one I’m meeting this week, another I hope to. Both are in the “helping/teaching” professions. And I haven’t quit my job yet — YAY!!

That’s honestly been the biggest success of this whole time, for me. I am unhappy, but I’m not cut-n-running. Which is my M.O.  — In jobs and in relationships.

Granted, in both, I tend to get into them without much thought as to whether I want to be in them, get through the “honeymoon phase,” look around and say, Uh… is this really where I want to be? And that is when the cutting and running happens.

It’s not that leaving is not the appropriate move, but in jobs at least, doing so without a safety net is a recipe for desperation, low-self esteem, and the tendency to get into the same situation.

So, this “sitting on my hands” that I’ve been able to do (with the *enormous* help of friends) has been a really new thing. And, like a cigarette craving, it seems to be waning.

The more I stay in this place of active looking and active staying, … I don’t feel my throat constricting every single minute as I have in these past few weeks. That feeling of crawling out of my skin, of needing to do SOMEthing ANYthing to make this feeling stop.

The “some”thing I’m doing right now is not running. That’s been my only move before. A one-trick pony: Uncomfortable? Run!

Instead, I’ve been asking for major help from friends in helping me not to do that. And during that time, I’ve discovered … been forced to discover … other modes of action. For example, actively seeking work, finally sending out my photos to agencies, and just showing up for the rest of my life anyway.

Even though I’m unhappy, I don’t have to be unhappy.

There’s this picture I drew once in response to an exercise in a self-help book last year. It’s called “Creating a Life Worth Living” (and now sits in my Kindle, unread past Chapter 2!). But it asked us to draw a picture of how we see our life being a year from then.

In it, I drew several things, including the back of a curly-haired head facing a computer, a phone looming large near it. The only thing you see is the computer. Me staring at it.

It’s the most depressing image!

So, what would I like to change about the image, the prompt asked me? Well, I’d like that experience to fade. To fade in importance. To not be so activated and aggrieved by it.

The longer that I “sit on my [active] hands,” the less running seems like the right option for me. I like having a job while I look for other work, while I “figure out” my life. I like not feeling panicked about how I’m going to pay my rent.

But mostly what happens when I quit a job is that I cut back all the things that are fun in my life.

I can’t be a volunteer usher, because I don’t have a job. I can’t come play bass with you, because I need to be sending out my resume. I can’t laugh, because I’m in scarcity.

Staying in a place that is not ideal is not ideal, of course, but I feel like I’m developing alternative ways of dealing with that, ways that include having fun, even as it’s hard.

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