acting · adulthood · crazy · family · forgiveness · humilty · love · money · persistence · receiving · self-support · the middle way · work

Day Jobs.

Yikes. Unintendedly, I apparently freaked my mom out. I
guess “What goes around comes around” is a less than spiritual comment here.
When I was camping this weekend, one of the women said she’d
used this 23andme site that did genetic mapping and testing. She said she found
it to accurately confirm things she knew she had and “labeled” her cousin as
her own on the site, so she felt it was reliable when it came to the things she wanted
clarity on or might not know. So, on a whim, I looked it up yesterday. Part of
it is my own rampant curiosity about my dad’s father’s side of the family, about whom
we know nothing (very hush hush, gramma got pregnant at 15 in an Irish Catholic
family under-the-rug), so I’d like to know about that fourth of who I am.
Secondly, and importantly for me, my mom’s mother died from
Alzheimer’s and I want to know if I have the gene or not. You can get it
without the gene, and you can not get it
with the gene. But, I’m curious. And a little excited. If I don’t have the
gene, I can (and would) worry less; and if I do have the gene, they’re coming
up with all kinds of new things people can do these days to stave it off or
minimize the effects – and I’d look for more information on stuff like that.
So, in an effort to “share the good news,” I emailed my mom
and brother yesterday to let them know about it (though women are more likely
than men to get Alz). I got an email back this morning from my mom saying that
no matter what to never [BOLD FACE] EVER tell her the results of it.
Yikes. Granted, my mom is a class-A worrier,
anxiety-disordered woman on medication, but… yeesh. That obviously wasn’t my
intention, to freak her out – I guess I imagined she’d react as I did – “Cool,
what can I learn, so that information can be useful in how I lead my life?” …
Best laid plans, I suppose.
It’s Friday, so it’s a little rough to go into what I
remember of my mom’s parents’ deaths, and what I consider to be and have been
“wrong” ways of grieving. And so I won’t do that today. It’s NOMB – None Of My
Business.
So, I’ll undeftly switch topics, as I’m uncomfortable. 😉
Yesterday, in reading Tina Fey’s book, I had a sort of
realization about “day jobs.” Fey worked at a YMCA for $5/hr in Chicago when
she left undergrad. She wanted to take improv classes, so she angled for a job
“upstairs” in the office of the YMCA. When she was asked on the interview why
she wanted the job, she replied unabashedly, So I can afford improv classes.
She got the job, took improv classes, and quit the job less than a year later
when she got work with the improv group.
I had my informational interview with my former acting
teacher last Friday, and she said nice things like I have “great instincts,”
and that “it’s obvious [I] really enjoy it.” She didn’t really give me the
“constructive criticism” I was looking to get – areas that I could improve in,
and as I was recounting this to my friend last weekend, she said it sounded
like I wanted to hear places I could just do X, Y, and Z, so that I could “fix”
it, and suddenly everything would fall into place. Yes, give me a set of
movable problems, let me fix them, and then let me be free of problems forever.
That sounds about right.
So, I didn’t get that. I got what felt like nearly reluctant
suggestions. Again, I guess I had expectations. But, I heard that acting
classes would be a good idea to continue with. So, yesterday, I looked up the
classes at A.C.T. Studio, and their summer program. It’s not very expensive,
but surely more than I have now.
And I remembered what Tina Fey had said: she took a job so
she could afford to do what she really wanted to do. For SO long I’ve been
agonizing over what is my “ideal” job, or what will feed me spiritually,
intellectually, and creatively – what one
thing would fit all my needs. I don’t feel this way about people, why would I
feel this way about work? I don’t expect one person to fulfill all my needs –
that’s ridiculous, unfair, and leads to disappointment. So, why should I feel that a job
would or ought to do the same.
There’s something in this. It takes a shit ton of the
pressure out of whatever job comes to me next. That it is a means to an end. And further, I’m honing in more
closely on what I’d want those “ends” to be – what I want my job to afford me
to be able to do. Lessons, classes, (acting & music, for now). I’m not sure what
this realization will bring me – except that I already feel less internal
pressure about “What I’m going to do next.” Chances are (G-d willing!!!!!!)
that the job that I get next
can
afford me the disposable income to take classes like that. Or, rather, the
chances don’t have to be there, I can just start angling the satellite dish of
my focus in a slightly different direction, picking up on things that I’d
dismissed, as they wouldn’t “fill me spiritually.”
Like a person, it’s not a job’s … job to fill me spiritually. That’s up to me. That’s up
to me to take the kinds of actions that will allow me the freedom from financial
worry to do things that
do feed
me spiritually and creatively. I have a phone call date with another acting
friend next week, having been inspired by the new angle of my satellite to be
able to continue having these conversations with people.
What comes of it? Who knows. But I feel more open to things,
and I’ve noticed that makes a world of difference.
(Sorry, Mom – didn’t mean to freak you out. LU, m.)

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adulthood · crazy · faith · love · recovery · responsibility · sex · sobriety · spirituality · time · vulnerability

How to Not Lose Your Car in Twelve Easy Steps:

Six years ago today, I woke up, or came to is more like, in
a room in my shared apartment in the Sunset District on San Francisco. In my
room was everything I’d brought with me to San Francisco, so, two suitcases,
and a pillow. When I’d moved into the room, I didn’t even have a bed.
In the other rooms in the house, lived the “angriest pot
head I’ve ever met” (though I concede, I could be more than a bit techy
myself), and another lanky UCSF student who liked to talk about LOST.
That morning, I got myself together, and went out to drive
downtown to a job interview I’d gotten through a temp agency. I’d been in San
Francisco two weeks to the very day.
Outside, I realized I had no idea where I’d parked my car.
The day before, my only SF friend’s boyfriend’s band was playing at the Park
Chalet out by Ocean Beach, and I’d gone, for the first time in my memory, with
the intention that I was not going to drink that day. But, we all know a Bloody
Mary is a breakfast drink… and so, several pitchers and hours later, I come to
in the middle of a conversation with a dude I don’t know.
The band was gone. The sun was setting. And my friend was no
where to be seen. I excused myself from this stranger, and called my friend to
ask where they were, and she told me I’d said to leave me there. I asked where
they were, she said the Marina. So, I stumble to my car, … and realize I have
no idea where “The Marina” is. So I ask a passing couple if they do. And the
first thing they ask is, Are you sure you’re okay to drive? Sure… No problem.
Once in my car, I realize I need gas, so I decide to do that
first, and then, by Divine intervention realize I’m too drunk to go out, and
drive back to my apartment and pass out.
Therefore, the next morning, as I stand squinting in the rising
light, I have zero recollection of where my car is, and I begin to walk in
increasingly large circles of blocks looking for it. I call the police – Have
you towed it? I call the tow lot – Is it there? No. After nearly a half-hour of
increasedly frantic walking, I turn the corner on my way back to my apartment,
and there it is. Parked nice and neat just around the corner from my house.
I apparently was not sure if I was parked “nice and neat,”
however, as scrawled across my dashboard is a note that reads, “PLEASE DON’T
TOW MY CAR. THANK YOU.” And my phone number.
That was the last morning I woke up hungover.
For six years, I have not washed beer grime out of my
clothing. I have not managed my drinking with a steady pace of water or advil
or corona to polka dot the vodka. I have not puked in six years. I haven’t peed
while leaning against the side of a building. I haven’t woken up next to a
stranger. I haven’t slept with taken men.
I don’t have “UDI”s – a college-invented term: Unidentified
Drunken Injuries. You know, those bruises you really don’t know how you got. I
don’t have names saved in my phone as “Pinky Guy,” “Bar Nana,” or “Scary
Scott.” For six years, I’ve known where I am when I wake up.
And here’s where I am when I wake up today. Strikingly
similarly, I am heading into downtown San Francisco today to apply for a job.
I’m following up in person on an application to a gallery job I applied for
last week. I’ll be going through the rest of that building with my resume as
well, and be leafleting for my workshop next Saturday.
This morning, I wake up in my own apartment. My very own
studio. With furniture. A cat – my monument to a crumbling resistance to
commitment and love. Car stolen, I have a bus pass and many logged BART hours.
I have a bicycle, and a coffee maker, and magnetic poetry on my refrigerator.
My life is imminently different than it was six years ago. Yet, there are some details that I want to label as “the same” – single, unemployed,
financially insecure. But these are just similarities, not clones. The
difference between how I will show up to the job search today is that it began
with Morning Pages, meditation, and a blog to you, friends who I’ve met over
these last six years – people who actually, sometimes, maybe, sorta, like me! From here, I’ll go hang out with some of you
folks for an hour, and remind myself of the miracle it is that I
get to walk through all this. All this human emotion and
life-strewn eventfulness.
My life is eventful – but not chaotic. My life path is vague
– but not hopeless. Most of all, my heart is warming – and my soul doesn’t house that painfully threadbare echo-chamber anymore.
I still get to practice. I’ve absolutely loved engaging in a thrilling, alluring, morally ambiguous “Drink with Two Legs” distraction this past few days – it’s been wonderful to feel
something other than uncomfortable. But in the end, my conscience (and my
exuberantly caring friend) reminded me yesterday that I’m living in a way so
that I don’t have to feel bad about myself or my behavior anymore. So that I
don’t have to clean anything up later, if I can help it (unless it’s dishes).
I’ve watched myself walk to the edge of decency, and reel myself absolutely
kicking and screaming back from the temptation to throw myself in.
See, my life is full of people who remind me that there is a better
way. That this is only a beginning, and that I can hang on to the love that
I’ve built within myself. That it’s safe to do so.
I thank you, Danger-Will-Robinson lure, for your welcome and
passionate resurrection of a part of me that has long been dormant. And I thank
YOU, reader, friend, lovers, G-d, for helping me to learn there’s
nothing wrong with my Vixen, as long as she doesn’t slice away at my self-esteem.
So, here’s to six years of learning the easy way, the hard way. To
six years of sitting in rooms with people who are learning the same. To six
years of showing up on every inch of the spectrum from megalithic tantrum to blissfully
serene. And to just one more day of this unusually verdant path. 
balance · crazy · recovery · school · self-care

Elephantitis.

So, I gotta admit, I’m feeling a little discombobulated this
morning, and I’m not really sure what’s up. It’s like a wrong side of the bed,
but not cranky, just, off. Like the films aren’t aligned properly. Not sure.
Maybe as the day progresses, it’ll wear off. It’s threatening to be a gorgeous
day, so I’ll hopefully spend some of it outside, or at least in a café,
working.
Part of the discomfort is that I think I spent too many
hours hunched over my computer yesterday, working on both my thesis and the info
blast for May’s workshop. My neck muscles literally cracked when I turned to
shut off my alarm – ouch. Stiff and unhappy. Computers and health may not be
aligned either. Balance, I suppose.
I got the final copy of my thesis back from friends yesterday,
and began my final edits. The folks I gave it to were really helpful and
specific, which offset the entirely vagueness of my professors’ notes. I am marinating on a few changes that may happen – a word here, to delete
one or two poems there.
The nude suit is back in. By the way. I had my performance poetry class last
night, and spoke about my new idea, and that it may not warrant a nude suit,
but folks encouraged me, and said, basically, why the F not. Pretty much
anything that I’d get up there to say will be about getting down to the/my authentic, naked self. The professor said that it adds something visually, it
doesn’t matter what the content is. So,
now, the hunt for a nude-colored body suit. I have a hunch where I’ll find one,
and as I just got asked to babysit this Friday, I’ll have the funds to fund it.
Although he’s a little hesitant for me to be working on a
brand new piece for the performance, which is in less than two weeks, I’m
pretty confident that I can bust it out – as soon as I put pen to paper.
There’s SO much divided demands right now, is all. Each thing is important,
none can be “dropped,” and hardly any back-burnered, but this piece has been,
and I’ll do my best to crank it out in the next day or so. It won’t take long.
I have it mapped out in my head. I’ll post it when it’s done.
That’s really all that’s up right now – these school
demands, and the crunch time lead-up to both next Saturday’s workshop, and
May’s workshop. Each are going to require some more input from me. And I just
feel really thin at the moment. Only one person has actually registered for the
workshop next weekend, though a few have Facebook responded. But, I’m certainly
aware of the habit people have – myself included – of clicking “attend” to
something they have only a vague passing notion of attending. So, I’ll have to
blast that out again – if you get the email again, forgive me, but I sorta need
to know how many folks will be there. Like, if there’s really only one…!
Also, I have to print flyers for the May workshop, and I
need to do color copy cost research for that, and then I’m going to ask a
friend to help me drive around to various places in the Bay to post them up.
So, I’ve got to reach out for that.
Ack. You can see, perhaps, why I feel all off. I tried to
meditate some this morning, and got a few deep breaths, but not too much
grounding. Maybe today is a multiple attempt at meditation day.
There’s something I heard once: a guy said that on most days
he meditates a half hour, but on the days he’s really busy, he meditates an
hour.
That actually makes sense to me. Now, maybe I’m not the
hour-long meditator type, but I’ve sat in a few circles for 40 minutes. It’s
HARD … in the beginning. Then I sort of sink into it – once my brain has had
its say around what feels like 20 minutes or so of, OMIGOD are we done yet???
But, like working out, or something, once you get into it, you forget that you
hated it in the beginning few minutes. The adrenaline starts to pump, or in
meditation land, the serenity does. … Sometimes. Not always. Sometimes it’s 40
minutes, or in my case, 10 minutes of laundry list, punctuated by a few, oh
yeah, deep breath, follow the breath, touch down, just notice – I have to get
quarters for laundry – do I have any dollar bills – I love the sound the
machine makes when the quarters are changed, like in Vega– oh, right, breathe
in …
So, maybe today requires a little more grounding. I’ll go
meet up with some folks later today and have a bit of brain drain for an hour
or so, but, this is part of my self-care. The only way I can balance all that
I’ve got going on, is if I can let myself get balanced first.
I feel like that unicycle circus dude with the poles and the
plates balanced on top. I’d like to feel like the elephant, rooted and pressing
into the earth.