commitment · community · courage · defeat · despair · faith · hope · hopeless · recovery · resilience

"This is the way to a faith that works."

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I heard yesterday that another definition for resilience is
to move ourselves out of harm’s way, to get ourselves out of dangerous
circumstances. That resilience means to move toward health, wholeness and
joy.
…There are plenty of “definitions” I hear around, some more
Webster’s than others. But I get that part of resilience means to get out of
circumstances and situations that cause us to need to be resilient. – If you are the inflatable clown,
resilience means to step out of the way of the punch. You know, if you had
legs. Which I do. Long ones.
I didn’t actually intend to get healthy when I walked into a
room 8 years ago. I just wanted to stop getting punched. I listened, bawled,
accepted help, and getting healthy was the byproduct.
If it wasn’t my intention to get healthy, but by listening
to the voices in my head that told me to go somewhere I thought would help, I
got healthy anyway… is it possible that the same voices that feed me lines like, “It’s
worth it; You can heal; You are important; What you offer is important,” can
get me healthier almost without my willing it?
I mean, that’s the point, wasn’t it? It wasn’t me that
implanted that thought 8 years ago – the thought I had was, “Have another beer,
it will solve this moment, and nothing after that matters.” But the thought
that wasn’t mine was, “Go to a meeting.” Who the f*ck thought that?!
Wasn’t me. So that means there’s something inside me, beside
and under the voices that usually crowd out the cheerleaders and the still calm
being, that is there, speaking, helping, wanting for me things I can’t seem to
accept I want for myself.
There is something else inside me (not like a scene from Alien, though it feels as alien sometimes) that wants me
to be healthy, whether I like it or not. And most significantly,
whether
I know how to or not
.
I don’t know how. But
the undergirding and buttresses of my soul do. And if that now long-ago experience was any
indication, they’re there, talking, waiting for me to listen, to follow, to
accept.
I was also at a point that I’ve later come to define as
surrender. All my best ideas gave me were the same thing, day after day. A Groundhog’s
Day
existence. An eeking by, scraping at
the dregs of my self-esteem, morality, energy. I was running on fumes by then,
and in short supply they were. I feel
so much the same these days. So wan and worn and tired and unknowing and
lost.
I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that read, When you’re
lost, you can always follow your dreams.
Platitudes, sure. But it was a kind of wink to someone like
me who right now feels lost. It means
there’s always something to hope for. Without dreams, without hope, there’s
nothing.
If what you can expect for your life is the same thing
you’ve always done, and the same experiences you’ve always had – if all you can
see for yourself is a life as an inflatable clown, … well, for me, there’s a
point at which I’m so exhausted of being it, that I simply don’t stand back up into
the firing line. And in that moment of surrender, of giving up the fight, …
well, that’s when it seems to me the change comes.
I’m not the first nor last to write about surrender as a
gateway to freedom. I’m not the first to terribly despise that that is so, or
to attempt lipservice to it in an effort to bypass the deflation. It’s not the
first time I’ve felt eviscerated by life and my efforts in it.
But, if I can recognize, remember, maybe even take comfort
in the fact that my evisceration led me to a place of light, friendship, joy,
health… I can try to let this time not feel as bleak. Doesn’t mean I don’t feel
like my butt has been kicked by life these past few years. Doesn’t mean I don’t
get to feel voraciously and vehemently angry. Doesn’t mean that I’m not going
to drag my fingernails down the face of “god.”
But the voices, the good ones, permit me all these feelings,
and gently – sometimes not so gently – whisper in my ear the directions toward
getting my heart inflated again.

action · addiction · clarity · commitment · community · fear · fortitude · procrastination · progress · recovery · self-esteem · self-love · self-pity · self-support

Forte. Più Forte. (Loud. More Loud.)

It’s come into my awareness again this week the fallacy of
perfection, and its venomous tendrils. The three “p”s: Perfection,
Procrastination, Paralyzation.
I’ve also read that procrastination is simply another way
for us to prolong feeling crappy about ourselves, and to delay feeing proud of
ourselves.
This week, after a conversation with some people of
authority at work last week about my position, my ambition, my vision of “Where
I’d like to be;” after I was given the feedback that, great, sure, put it in
writing and we can talk more… I stalled and dragged my feet.
It wasn’t acres of time, this time; it was only from Friday until
Tuesday evening, when I finally wrote what I needed to
write. But I could see those tendrils curling up around me, waiting to choke my
ambition and self-esteem from me. The tendrils of hopelessness (What the use
anyway), uncertainty (What about acting, my art, moving), and simple
perfectionism (If it’s not perfect, they’ll reject it, and then I’ll be stuck
answering phones the rest of my life, anyway, so f* it, I’ll just watch some
more Once Upon a Time).
It was so helpful to hear other people talk about how this
weed of perfectionism crops up in their lives, marring their attempts at a full
life—it reminds me that I’m not alone, and mostly, as I heard people talk about
their struggle with perfectionism, I sat
there in that chair and decided (for the hundredth time) to go home afterward
and do the write-up I needed to hand in to my superiors.
I heard them battling the beast, I heard them being flayed
by it, and I decided I wasn’t going to let that be me, if only for an evening.
I cannot tell you how many times I make this declaration to
myself. And then, simply do come home
and watch Netflix, or surf Facebook. I wonder if the advent of television and
internet has created in us a generation of procrastinators, but I certainly
know that I am none too helped by it! (in binges, especially)
But for whatever reason (and I won’t call it exasperation,
because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been exasperated, and still done
nothing), I came home on Tuesday night, wrote what I needed to write, emailed
it to a few friends for feedback, and handed it in yesterday.
And here’s the/a reward for overcoming perfectionism: It may not go the way you wanted anyway. I may hear, “Thanks, Molly, but we’re not
in a position to… We’ll think about it for some undetermined date… This just
isn’t in our vision or budget… We just need someone (you) to stay doing what
you are doing indefinitely, or at least through the next year or more.” I may
hear things I don’t want to hear in response to my action on behalf of myself
and my ambition, BUT, the reward is that I get to hear something at all,
instead of sitting, spinning, resenting, foaming, fuming, and … watching
Netflix.
The reward for overcoming perfectionism (and it’s
paralyzation) in just this one moment is that, no matter the results, no matter
the response, I am actually moving
forward, internally, for sure. What this does is tell me that, See Molly,
once you did something. One time you took action on your
own behalf, and instead of delaying your good, instead of languishing in a sea
of self-pity, you get to feel proud, pro-active, like a leader. You get to feel
like yourself, instead of like the skin of mutating fear that creeps up yours
and mimics you out in the world.
I don’t know the result of the action I took, externally, at
least. However, having put things in writing and gotten clarity around my
vision and desire, if I don’t get the result I “want” here, in this environs,
then I get to take that information and that knowledge and shop it around
elsewhere. Because I took the action that I did, suddenly, I have a beginning
instead of what my brain and that malevolent skin tells me is an end, a sorry, pathetic end.
Finally, I’ll repeat something I heard a long time ago,
which I’ve agreed with and disagreed with over the years: We ask “god” for what
we want; “he” gives us what we need; and in the end, it’s what we wanted
anyway.
I know that what I wanted anyway was clarity and
self-esteem, so, Team: Mission Accomplished. 

abundance · addiction · balance · clarity · commitment · community · debt · deprivation · spirituality

For you, not me.

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As is custom, yesterday I got the chance to sit with two
other folks who work on their relationship to money. We met in the monthly
group of three to hear and discuss and provide suggestions and feedback to one
of the group. It was this woman’s first group like this, she being new to
addressing her vagueness and impulsiveness around money.
And I got the melodious chance to see how far I’ve come
since I sat with a similar group of two strangers almost 3 years ago.
As I watched her discomfort, shame, panic, and hopelessness,
it reminded me of how I was when I sat in that first group. I hated that I had
to seek help around money; I already spent plenty of time in groups about
alcoholism, now I have to do it about debt, scarcity, and … (dread) abundance?
I came to that first small monthly group with my numbers
tallied from the month before, my income and expenses. I came with my mounting
student debt, my checking account bouncing along the bottom, my credit cards
bouncing along the top. I came with starvation in so many areas, and I was
so sure they were going to tell me to cut more, since my income was not meeting
my expenses.
Instead, what they told me was that I was living in
deprivation, and needed to increase the
amounts I was spending in certain categories of self-care (clothing,
entertainment, food). They told me that my needs weren’t too great to be met; that I needn’t be ashamed of actually needing more.
It was horrifying! It was so uncomfortable to be validated
that I wasn’t living too big for my britches, but have no idea how to change
the income side. At the time, I was barely making ends meet with temp jobs, and
felt I was doing all I could to get out of the hand-to-mouth hole. But I was
powerless, I was desperate, and I listened to these two who said, We believe it
will get better for you; it has for us.
Things didn’t really begin to change for me until last
Spring when I began working one-on-one with a new woman I’d admired from those
groups. For whatever reason, things didn’t really change when I’d worked
diligently with the first woman I’d worked with.
When I started again with J., at one point, she told me that
I needed a car, and I would get one. SCOFF!! What?? How? What money? Me? No….
I didn’t believe her in the slightest. At all. But, I did
believe that she believed, and that was
enough. She said, I needed a car to get to band practice, to get to auditions,
to get to work, and it would happen for me.
And, as you now know, last October, maybe 6 months after her proclamation, it did. It’s not a
beater car, an “underearner’s” car, it’s not a jalopy. In fact, it is the exact
make, model, color, mileage and price I’d hoped to get. Seriously!
I didn’t “come into money.” I didn’t stop buying clothing,
or going to the movies. I just kept showing up to groups and meetings and
writings like the folks I saw get better do. And things changed.
I know the woman yesterday thinks we’re full of shit, just
like I did. I know that she thinks to herself, “Yeah, maybe for you, but not for
me,” just like I did.
But, with my life as evidence, with one credit card paid
off, my $90,000 student loans in repayment
(slowly), with food I want to eat in my fridge, and most importantly, with the specter of “I’ll never get out of this; I’ll just kill myself” long faded – if it can happen for me, it
can happen for her.
And if the course of one year of real change can produce
what it has, maybe I no longer feel the same militant resistance to where else
abundance wants to enter my life. (Maybe.)

commitment · fear · intimacy · love

The Lionhearted

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I didn’t want a cat. I sat for a friend’s once, and their
constant up-in-my-grillness was off-putting to my isolatory nature.
My aunt had cats; was/is the stereotypical cat lady,
unmarried, living alone, 3 cats of circulation when one dies.
They’re nice and sweet sometimes, and good for petting. But all
that fur
! Forget it.
My ex had a cat. It was good enough, companionable enough,
but there were so many things in his apartment that identified him as a cat-lover/owner: the framed New Yorker cover
with a cat; a magazine about cats (that he swears his brother bought him as a
gag-gift); the industrial vacuum meant for all that fur.
It took me almost a year to put up curtains in my last
apartment, because to do so would mean that I couldn’t abscond in the middle of
the night. I would have to unscrew it slowly, with meaning and intention; I was
committed to something.
Commitment was the largest reason I didn’t want a cat. Not the commitment of keeping it fed and littered, but the commitment of
caring.
My brain would go immediately to, “I don’t know how I could
deal with its death.” The hypothetical death of a hypothetical cat. The
consequences of feeling that deeply for anything frightened me.
And yet. During the time I was with that ex, I moved to
Oakland from San Francisco for grad school, and I was living a bridge away from
anyone I knew, and things were a little lonely here in my studio apartment.
After a side-track story I won’t tell now, I ended up adopting Stella from the SPCA. A green-eyed (no freaky yellow-eyed cats please!), silken, mottled
brown/black two-year old cat.
She has been one of the best things that’s ever happened to
me.
She’s not an in-your-face’r. She’ll hang when she wants to,
and over the 3 years we’ve lived together now, she began to sit more and
more in my lap as I meditate in the morning or nap on the couch. Over time,
we’ve grown more accustomed to one another; and over time I’ve gotten to see
how much my love wants to express itself.
I say things that only my mother must have said to me in
endearment. They come naturally and without thought, these names and phrases
that I whisper to her, or chide at her. The sweetened names of love that were
hanging out inside me until there was a vessel in which to pour them.
I didn’t want a cat.
I didn’t want the responsibility of love.
But it’s opened rooms in me where there were only walls. 

commitment · discovery · fear · performance · theater

Give me some wool, and I’ll spin you a yarn.

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I have another audition tomorrow, this one for the role of a
mother in her early 40s. And I’ve been thinking about who I can believably “play,” what my
“place of life” would be as a woman in her early 30s? I feel too young to be
the queen, to be the mother of adult children, but I feel too old to be the
ingénue or the lover. But I suppose I fall more easily castable into the latter
category. Lover, Romantic, Unwed.
So many actors have sordid pasts and upbringings, making it
easy and understandable to want to lay on the skin of someone else, the idea
that it’s easier (safer?) to be someone else than it is to be yourself. However, I think
I’m realizing that to take on the skin of someone else means that I have to
find that person within me, those feelings, and then face them, understand and
inhabit them. And not all of those feeling are easy for me to have. Not all of
those parts are natural for me to play.
And I think that’s why I love it and am challenged by this
so much. (With all my scant experience!) I will have to find the romantic within me, the tyrant within
me, the tortured within me. I’m going to have to let my internal flashlight
illuminate corners I’d rather mark off-limits. Some of those corners I avoid
because I’m afraid I’ll enjoy them too much—Who doesn’t want to dissolve into
rage instead of pulling yourself up to decency? Who doesn’t want to allow the
gnawing chatter to become a cacophony and play itself into Ophelia’s mad death?
How easy it is to go mad; how very hard to stay sane.
And, surely, some of the corners of experience I may be
asked to play, I don’t want to go into because I’ve spent so many years
avoiding what they demand of me. To fully feel passion, desire, or even (don’t
say it!) love?
It’s amusing to me that once I changed up my blog settings
to list the subject tags in order of frequency, “love” became the first one. I
think it makes sense if you put before it the words: “avoidance of,”
“challenges with,” “attempts at,” “softening to,” “fear of.” But, just “love?”
Hm. Yes, it makes me smile.
I also know that acting isn’t therapy, and can’t be primarily intended to process my own demons or fears through its use, but I can’t help
but imagine there will be some side-effects like that. I imagine that I’ll get
to see where my flashlight is happy to go, and where it isn’t. Where I’m
naturally at ease, and where I’ll have to cull my acting chops.
But, isn’t that the thrill of anything new? Isn’t that the
thrill of being alive? Being challenged to feel, do, and be that which you
weren’t able to before, simply by the act of showing up with intention?
I have no idea how long or wide this acting path will be for
me. But the caves it is already calling me to explore are worth the
price of admission. 

adulthood · change · commitment · sex

The Runner

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I attended the new writer’s group on Sunday that my friend put together of East Bay folks. We
were circled in plastic chairs, old-fashioned arm chairs, and couches tucked inside
the spacious two-car garage that had been repurposed into a
library/workshop/extra living room. (Only in the East Bay!) I was one among 9
of us, the only girl, and though we spent copious amounts of time arguing
whether Stephen King was a writer or a storyteller, and if David Foster Wallace
was a genius or simply mentally masturbating onto the page, eventually, we did
actually write some.
We wrote from a prompt I’d invented that morning, “You walk
into a coffee shop and etched into the linoleum are the words:….”
In response, I came up with this story. No editing, no forethought, you
just write, and when the time’s up, it’s up, and we shared around the room. I
love that part of prompt writing in a group (not that I’ve done it much), but I
love the variety of ways people go with something. The disparate styles we had
became obvious, and also, we all visibly relaxed a little after the reading was
through, as if we’d marked one another with a nod of approval, Yes, you are a
writer, I feel comfortable having you in this group. It’s funny, but it’s also
important, I think, to have that kind of respect for one another in a group like
that.
We’ll see how often I’m able to attend. But I’m very glad I
went.
The thing that’s been occurring to me about this story I
came up with spontaneously is that I am the girl in it–the one we never meet. I am the girl who gets
up in the middle of the night and leaves her lover. And then unceremoniously
dumps him.
Fiction though that story may be, the seeds of myself are
there. I was curious to find who in the story I was, since, well, I have an
opinion that we are all or some of the characters we create. I am both the
runner, and the lover calling after myself to please stay.
I think I’ve reported this anecdote before, how in college I
was in a casual “relationship” with this guy, who was by all rights a decent
fellow. One evening after we’d been in flagrante, he was holding me in his
strong early-twenty’s arms and intoned that he’d like to take me out sometime, like, to
dinner. I gasped, Why?? And he replied, because he liked me, and wanted to get
to know me.
I never called him again.
I am the runner.
I have two songs in draft form, one that
goes
Send me somebody that I can say Yes
to.
Send me someone who I can come home
to.
Just gimme somebody  somebody to make me say
Yes Yes Yes
and the other:
Married men make it so easy
To wanna misbehave
I never have to do their dishes
Just be their    sex slave
CHORUS:
I wanna be the girl who spends the
night
And doesn’t sneak out around two
I wanna be the one who stays over
To wake up next   to you
I think my ambivalence about commitment is pretty clear! And
to clarify, “Married Men” is a song, not an autobiography. It’s an impulse, a
thought, a cop-out, a desire, a fantasy, an avoidance, a way to stay stuck and
alone, since ultimately, I won’t follow through on those impulses.
So, I’ll work it out in song, in fiction, in blog. I’ll tell
you how skittish I am, I’ll let myself be surprised at how I show up in my own
work and reflect myself back to me. I’ll warm up to the sword-wielding, 2-a.m.
sneaking, rabid runner. I’ll tell her that commitment to living in one place
has only brought me health and stability; I’ll tell her that, in owning a cat for
the first time, the love I have for her I’m happy and proud to give; I’ll tell her that in the many places I’ve used
“Stability First,” I am the better for it.
And then I’ll let her go on a run. But maybe this one will
be shorter. 

acting · clarity · commitment · consistency · dreams · growth · perseverance

Get Real.

Blogger lets you see what posts are being read, how many
times, and where in the world the reader is (HELLO! Those of you in Poland, Germany & Israel…whoever you are!). This morning, I saw that someone had read
Pulling a Carmen,” my first blog-a-day in November of 2011. I haven’t stuck
with it daily, but fairly enough.

Amazingly, a) it’s the same things I talk about now (wanting
to act and perform; letting myself be in a relationship; owning my dreams), but
b) it also shows me where things have
changed: I
have been a bass player in a
band – I certainly wasn’t in Winter of 2011 when I wrote that; I wasn’t until Spring of 2013.
In that blog, I write that my
relationship with others is reflected in my relationship with myself: how am I not committed to myself and my goals? And here I am present-day, whittling down my goals to only theater, finally. 
This week, I
wrote the lead singer in the band I play bass in that I can’t be in the band
anymore. It’s sad, but I know it’s ultimately for the best. It’s a pruning
game—like a bonsai. Or fichus. (cuz who doesn’t love the word fichus). And I
think it will ultimately help me in my attempts to focus on and even achieve
anything at theater.
I write about all the same things that I write about now,
but I do think I’m at a different place with them. I mean, I guess I write
about the same things all the time: relationships, healing, self-care,
self-derision, past experience, authenticity, perseverance.
Perseverance. I’ve written a bunch about that before, but
without one goal to head toward, the whole thing becomes dispersed, scattered,
and ineffectual.
Yesterday, I put down a deposit for real headshots.
The friends I’ve had who’ve helped me out over the years
produced incredible photos, artistic, fun, and fun to shoot—but they’re not
“acting headshots.” And there just is an industry standard. I’ve been trying to get the name of someone from an actor
friend of mine, but her voicemails are all garbled, and somehow it hasn’t been
working.
Enter Yelp. Yesterday after some searching and
clicking and emailing, I sent half of the $350 fee to this woman in Berkeley.
Later that day, I got emails back from my other inquiries,
friends, who would be willing to do a much reduced rate, or photos in exchange for
babysitting.
I cursed myself (mildly) for being so impetuous and
imprudent, for not being patient and thereby “wasting” money.
And then, I looked at these friends’ websites, and I said,
ya know, it’s worth it.
As Maybelline says, I’m worth it. (or is it clarol?)
Because, after hm, 3 years of headshots that I felt either
okay, or less than okay about (fine photos though they were), I’ve been being prudent and cutting corners and trying alternatives–It’s time to put
my money where my mouth is. And I mouth about being an actress.
Does this mean I’m suddenly an actress? No. Does it mean
that I’m taking myself seriously enough to invest in myself? Yes. Does it mean
that I can focus more on what I’m showing the auditors rather than what I’ve
handed them, or emailed them? YES.
Because it IS my calling card, my first impression. And if I
want to be a professional, I get professional help. If I want this to be real, then I get real.
I could look at that first blog and laugh/lament that I’m
talking and writing and working on the same damned things 3 years later. And a
little bit, I do. But I also recognize that big things have shifted since then,
too. I’m glad to have this kind of record to mark my progress. Even when
progress looks circuitous and labyrinthine.
The last line in that first blog is that maybe there’s a
tall attractive employed funny Jewboy who is looking for a
“writer/singer/actress…bass player.” At the time I wrote that, “bass player” was only a
vague hope and notion, a funny, last second, “doorknob comment” throw-away, because you shouldn’t really know that it’s important to me. Today, I get to own that mantle. I am a bass player. I
play bass, I’ve been in a band. And I am now hoping to own the mantle of
actress.
If you glue it, they will come. 

acting · action · change · commitment · confidence · kindness · laughter · life · performance · persistence · progress · recovery · relationships · self-support · sobriety · time

For those of you playing along at home. . .

For those of you playing along at home, below are a few
updates on things I have here written about:
  • The
    caffeine-reduction experiment has been a near-fail since beginning the
    temp job, but continues to remind me to feel guilty.
  • I realized this morning that the free bus I sometimes catch to BART can take me all the
    way to the city, instead of transferring to BART (thank you to my school’s
    student bus pass, making bus transit in the East Bay free).
  • I put
    back up the series of my paintings that I’d taken down during Calling in
    the One
    , at which time I’d realized that women
    not looking at their lovers was something I wanted to move away from. I
    put them back up when the okJew was potentially going to come over, and I
    didn’t want a blank expanse of wall over my bed. I’m not sure if I’ll take it back down. 
  • I have
    not yet finished, but I have begun, the art project for my friend’s
    wedding. It sits on my desk, accusing me.
  • I
    bought cat food.
  • I graduated with a Master’s degree a month ago. And I was offered a weekend job at said pet food store. Generously offered (not the compensation), but no thank you. Not yet, at least.
  • I have
    art that I need to make for the September art show my friend invited me to
    join. I’m not sure what I’ll do, but it’s been backstroking through my
    psyche for a month or so.
  • I must
    follow-up with the boss at where I’m temping to ask her precisely what she
    meant when she said she would be happy to give me “a recommendation” for
    auction houses here and in the city (um, I meant NY city – I guess that habit still dies hard).
  • My dad
    will be closing on the sale of my childhood NJ home in the next month or
    so, and is planning to move with his fiancé to their new Florida home
    toward the fall.
  • I am
    eagerly awaiting June 20th, when the results of the daily
    sweepstakes I’ve been entering for a trip for two to Italy will be
    announced. You may be the lucky winner.
  • My
    writing style is influenced by who I’m reading currently.
  • At the
    moment, I just finished Nora Ephron’s new book, and began a collection of
    essays by David Foster Wallace, whom I’ve never read, but seen the
    author’s name so many times on my BART rides that I thought to give him a
    whirl. I’m not sure I will continue.
  • I will
    be art modeling this Sunday for the artist who I first worked for, and two
    of her friends. I’m not sure I will continue.
  • I have
    9 new voicemails I haven’t checked.
  • I went
    on the walk I’d planned to take on Tuesday evening yesterday evening, and
    it was glorious. I ate what must have been a small, cherry-sized peach,
    unless it was of course, a cherry, from a nearby tree which I jumped to
    pluck from the low hanging branch. I’m not dead, so it was not poisonous.
  • As
    soon as I get paid this cycle, I’m going to register for the summer acting
    classes at A.C.T., and I can’t f’ing wait. I looked up all manner of
    electronics yesterday that I could hypothetically use my more regular
    income of the next 6 weeks to purchase, and yet, I realized that what I
    really want are those lessons. And new shoes.
  • I’m
    now working one-on-one with a woman who’s found recovery around negative
    patterns of behavior with sex and men, and I’m infinitely looking forward
    to freedom around some of this.
  • I’m
    continuing to work with a woman one-on-one around financial recovery
    stuff, and am looking forward to being “placed in a position of
    neutrality” around money.
  • I love
    Patsy.
  • I haven’t
    yet played my bass with my friend with the drums up in Berkeley, and it
    too stares at me, not gently weeping, but with silent mewling.
  • I
    realized that most of the writers I’m reading right now have written as freelance
    writers, and it occurs to me, that I might be able to do that, if I look
    into it.
  • I
    haven’t applied to any jobs since last week.
  • I used
    my 3 lb weights yesterday after my walk for about 3 minutes. And began to dread the 3 hour posing/drawing session on Sunday.
  • Dr.
    Palm Reader’s office wrote to ask after me, and so I looked up my
    soon-to-end chiropractic benefits “in network,” so that I can get back to
    that kind of thing, without breaking my bank, or participating in a
    somewhat murky flirtatiousness.
  • This
    is the end of my list. 
adulthood · commitment · growth · honesty · integrity · progress · recovery · responsibility · work

Bollocks.

Through a series of work I’m doing right now, I sent out a
stack of three letters to former employers yesterday, each with a variation on the theme – I was an
unprofessional employee, I am sorry for how I behaved, and I aim to be more responsible in my
jobs now and going forward.
The messed up, fucked up, I-don’t-want-to-do-this part of all
that is… that now I have to stick to my word – the word about being a better
employee going forward. This means, fewer endless hours on facebook while at
work (if any at all); it means taking my breaks so I’m refreshed to actually do
work instead of sit and stare at whatever I’m doing; it means being efficient in
my work. I means, basically, doing what I’m paid to be doing.
I don’t like that. And, yet, I know how completely necessary
it is. I’ve been talking here about responsibility lately, how I don’t want it, but that I do want the things that come to people who are responsible – in their
work, extracurricular, and home lives. So, if I want what they have, then I
must do what they do.
I don’t have to.
Sure, I can say one thing and do another, but in truth, that feels, obviously,
worse. Better to not say anything at all, and continue to slide along on
half-steam, than to say that I’m making changes so that I don’t slide along on
half-steam and then not do it.
Most recently, having the (rated G) dalliance with the
married man, I got to see very acutely where I was either going to stick to the
letter of my word or not. I’ve had to make many an amends to women whose
boyfriends, and, once, a fiancé, with whom I’ve dallied. I told them each,
specifically, that I was making changes in my life so that I don’t act like
that anymore – that I was sorry for how I behaved, and that I wouldn’t do it
again.

So, when I began talking in the flirtatious way with this man about a month
ago, I knew – I felt – how off this was.
How against everything that I’d set up over the last few years this was. How,
basically, I was breaking my promise to each of them, and indeed to myself –
having promised myself that I wouldn’t behave in ways around men
that would make me feel bad about myself, or guilty, or ashamed.
And so, I stopped the dalliance with the man, and am now newly engaged in a body of work to help extricate and sever and lay to rest the last
of the beliefs and behaviors that influence me to believe that this is all that
is available to me, or what I deserve.
So, here I am, now, about work. About telling these folks
that I fucked up in the past, and I’m trying to do better. That, specifically,
I will be more responsible and work with more integrity. And, I know, now, that
I’ll have to stick to it. I know how it feels from that recent experience to
come right up against something I said I wouldn’t do – I know how icky it
feels, and against my morals. And so, now, I must take that same self-line into the professional world.
And I hate it.
I know it’s good for me. I know it’ll open doors for me, and
duh, it’s the right thing to do. But, Oh! My Beautiful Wickedness!, I don’t “want” to. Luckily, it doesn’t quite matter
whether I want to or not. Pain will always push me in the direction forward. I
don’t want to feel the pain of being a hypocrite, so I will work better. I
don’t want to feel ashamed that I’m not living to my word, so I’ll stop
accepting jobs that I know I’ll work half-steam at.
I don’t like it. It feels like an entirely new level of
adulthood to go toward this direction of integrity. But it’s necessary, and
it’s time.
I have no doubt that the opening up of this line of vision
will amount to something more in my professional life. I have no doubt that by working to a better standard of duty that I’ll feel better about myself and
less like a fraud. I know that this will take me somewhere different internally
and externally. But, still, it sucks.
It’s like this is what teenagers experience when they get
into their 20s maybe. Or, these days, 20somethings into their 30s. I’d love to learn this
now. It’s late, but it is certainly a better late than never.
I also wrote an email last night to a recent former employer to
apologize for how I ended my employment there, and to ask for clarity around
some money they gave me to pay off the last of my braces when I had them a
few years ago. He said that they had dental, so it was covered, and no
liability to me. He said that he did think I “handled the separation badly.”
And he said that if I ever needed a reference that he has “[my] back.” I’m glad
to know that the money is clear. I agree that I could have handled things
differently. And for fuck’s sake, I promise that I will handle them differently
in the future.
Change sucks. Especially when it’s good for me. 

acceptance · adulthood · change · commitment · direction · faith · maturity · progress

Turn Left.

Feels like another “toodling along” day. I actually don’t
know if that’s a known phrase or word, or if my mom made it up – but,
generally, I suppose people know what I mean if it’s not. Or, for all I know,
it’s a well-known high-fallutin’ word. … Yeah, I just wanted to write
“fallutin.”
Feeling generally optimistic today, or rather a lack of
pessimism, so that’s a good start, and a decent change. I’ve been presented
with the opportunity to think about choice, a few times in the last 24-48 hours
or so. Particularly, the idea that I have the opportunity to choose my
perspective. And more than that, I have the choice to do a lot of damn things.
Basically, I’ve been given the power of choice, and I’m
recognizing what might be better ways of using that grand choice. That
privilege of choice.
I was talking with a friend yesterday, and she was telling
me about some places where she was feeling hopeless, and I offered that she
does have a choice here. That we are indeed at places where we both can choose
to turn right, and go down the all too familiar well worn path of despair,
crumbs, victimhood – all the way back to the dry well. Well is dry. It always
has been. But sometimes I, and she, like to see if maybe today there’s just one
drop I can squeeze out from it. Nope. That well is dry, but I have a choice to still go there if I want.
Or… I can choose a different way. A different way to look,
approach, feel, be. Think. I believe part of this is owning that mantle of
adulthood – recognizing that we have the power of choice, and are in some ways
the steward of our own fates. Sure, Fate sometimes intervenes, Divine
intervention happens, and sometimes we are stripped of choice, but, for the
most part, nearly everything in my life at the moment, and how I choose to see
or hold it, is a choice. I have chosen to engage in despair. I have chosen to
stay small. I have chosen to reject responsibility, and then I get to complain
about my meager finances. Or romances.
It’s not all as simple as turning on a light switch, but
sort of, sometimes, it is. It needn’t be some massive, monolithic effort, or
commitment; sometimes, it seems to me now, it’s just a simple shrug, and a turn
left. Not so heavy, or burdensome. Not so daunting or scary. Just a left turn.
Toward something … not new. It’s not new – I mean, it is and it isn’t. I don’t
quite know (obviously) all that’s down a path of Left, but I’m familiar enough
with occasionally taking that route that I do know some of the milemarkers.
Peace. Calm. A sense of well-being. These are quite obvious
particularly in contrast to the milemarkers on the way to the dry well.
Today, I can choose. I have a choice to see myself roundly,
to see my life roundly. I can choose today to notice the assets, to notice
where I have a choice – a choice to write my teaching resume. A choice to send
it. A choice to decide whether I want to do some live drawing modeling
tomorrow, or if I’m feeling a little too tender for that.
I have a choice to buy eggs, instead of eat popcorn for
dinner. I have a choice to make a nutritious meal – like the one I’m eating
now 😉 I have a choice to dress properly today, in a way that makes me feel
professional, but myself – not a drone or clone, but not defiant. That may
seem like a “silly” thing to think of as a choice, but it’s not.
Last Tuesday, to my second day back to the temp job, I dressed in all black, with my black leather
jacket and my fuck you attitude of, I can’t believe that I have to do this work
in this office, sitting for all these hours… yadda yadda, fuck you, I’m wearing
black. ! Yes, That was a choice. Luckily, that was also the same day I had my
wonderful conversation with a friend about whether or not I want to be an
adult.
So, today, I can wear something that says, I’m still me,
with my quirks and style, but yes, I respect this workplace, and am grateful to
be here.
I also have the choice to pack my lunch instead of buy it. To meet my friends
later instead of isolate. And to remember to breathe.
I have a lot of choices today. And the well is still dry.