authenticity · fun · laughter · life · self-love · self-support · trying

Chief Happiness Officer

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Not kidding. This is actually a job. In Brooklyn. “Community
Manager and Chief Happiness Officer.” God, I love this generation. For all its
foibles and failings and impending earth-dying doom, I don’t know if there was
ever a time in history (maybe the 60s) where this could be listed in
semi-earnest.
Yesterday as I was driving home from my chiro in SF, I had
my windows down. It was hot, but not too hot, and it was curious to see who had
their car hermetically sealed with A/C and who enjoyed the breeze. At first, of
course, my elbow is resting on the window ledge, half committed to experiencing
the flow of air. Then, as we begin to move faster onto the Bay bridge, I place
my palm into the air, and let the wind carry it, make it dance, still tethered to the anchor of my resting elbow.
Finally, I decide or am pulled to go for it: My arm floats
up off the ledge, we’re whizzing over the bridge now, and my arm, elbow, hand
are carried up into the wind.
My arm pumps into the air, high up, almost straight up. People can see me, I see
them driving past looking back at me, smiling, and I’m smiling. In fact by the
time I get over the bridge, I’m laughing gleefully and giddily. This is so FUN! I see people in cars ahead and behind me tentatively
reach their hand out the window too, still elbow-anchored, but it’s a start.
I am my own Chief Happiness Officer, and I’m spreading it
one car at a time. It was brilliant. To be unself-conscious, to let myself be
silly, be seen, to laugh at myself, to experience the world. The air.
My belly full of laughter at myself and the sensation and
playfulness, thoughts pop in as I exit the highway past a Kaiser
building. It wasn’t long ago that I was hermetically sealed myself in one of
those buildings. Absent of fresh air, unable to touch this freedom.
It’s why it’s sometimes easier for me to take risks like
this, to take the risk of having fun, for its own sake, with no stakes except
silencing my internal critic. I did it because I can, because I saw a little girl earlier in the day
hanging her whole head out the back window on the slow Berkeley streets, and
she looked happy.
I looked happy then, too, in the grins and gawks of passing cars, my hand only beginning to chill as I pull to the stoplight toward home. I forget what silliness feels like, what glee
is, how freeing it all is — and how simple. I forget what it’s like to laugh infectiously and
appreciatively at my own antics. Until I see you hanging your arm out a window, and I remember.

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acting · career · connection · fun · isolation · laughter · loneliness · love · perseverance

“Just about the time you’re rotting with seriousness or serious boredom, something happens or else you’d die.” ~ Lorine Niedecker, poet

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“The thing about grief,” she told me, “is that something is
broken, but you’re not – and you’ve got to keep going.”
Years ago she told me this, and I reflect on it in so many
situations.
Yesterday, after writing that blog that tore me up a bit, I
had to go assist at a work event, and then head to an audition for a play. I
really wasn’t feeling it.
It’s been two months now since I’ve auditioned, as I’d been cast in a play (yay!), and then turned down for other parts that allowed me the
time to go on vacation. In the meantime, I did go on vacation, and had
elaborate experience and processing about relationships, values, love. I also
got clearer about my career goals, and implemented some action around them at work,
which not surprisingly, I was told last week were great ideas but probably
aren’t going to happen “within the next year,” if at all. So, there’s been
processing around that, too.
In all, it’s been kinda heavy around here. Making
check-points of where I am, where I want to be personally and professionally.
And so I showed up to that audition, late and lost in the hills of Berkeley, with
little more than the feet I was standing on.
But, most times, that’s enough.
God, it was fun. I
really had forgotten that I love this stuff. I’d forgotten the titillation and
excitement, and the nervous sizing-up from the other auditioners, and the
frantic reading of sides before your name is called, wondering if you’re
supposed to do an accent or not.
It was great. It’s less than 20 minutes of life, but it
pulled me back to center, away from the future-gazing, away from the
grief-feeling. I still feel off today, and that’s alright, but for a few
minutes yesterday, I got to do something I love doing, simply for the effort of
trying it. I got to meet other women trying it too, and have a coffee date to
pick one’s brain on the whole “Bay Area Theater Biz.”
It’s strange to get back to this again, this thing that I
just want to do because it’s fun and not because my life or income or goals
depend on it. It’s strange to just have the fun thing simply because it’s
fun. There’s no stepping stone here, no ladder, no life plan founded on it.
It’s an extraneous, avocational, extra-curricular dalliance, and isn’t that so needed right now?
I told you I’ve been thinking about getting back into
band-ing again, playing bass again. Simply for the same reason. I forgot what
it’s like to have fun. To do the things I find fun.
In this time that I’ve been “figuring out” my life and my
strategies and my goals, it’s been satisfying and reinforcing and relieving,
but it hasn’t been fun. In fact, it’s been hella lonely in some ways I don’t
get.
All work and no play, and all that.
But, without really intending to, every single day this past week, I spent time with women friends, mostly
long-established, report-having friends. It, too, reinforced something – that
combination of history and laughter and understanding and ease. It, too, brought me back to a sense of myself, a
little lost in the myopia of “life planning.”
I saw a friend’s post this morning that read, “There’s got
to be more to life than this.”
I replied aloud, “There is.”

adulthood · authenticity · fun · intimacy · joy · relationships · sex · sexuality

Not Vanilla

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So you might as well know now, since it’ll come up
eventually: In April, I’m going to Boston for a booty call.
It’s probably one of the most forethought and conscious ones
I’ve ever had, since it requires, you know, plane tickets.
But, my dear friend is a flight attendant based in
Seattle, and invited me to see her for a few days. I have a few days off around
Passover next month, have never yet seen the Pacific Northwest, and said, yes,
oh please, travel yes.
In the meantime, my long-time flirtation with a former SF
resident began to pick up speed—well, as speedy as text or messaging or
emailing can be. There were more “like”s, a few more texts, and not undesired
flirtation.
God. We can flirt!
Holy shit. It’s pretty much what we did together for the half-dozen years or so
we knew one another in SF before he moved to Boston. We went on one date once,
but it didn’t really take off, and we remained a flirtation.
So when the Seattle trip came up, and I saw that it was only
a few bucks more to fly through to Boston, I asked him if he wanted to pull
this flirtation from out of the clouds and onto the ground—or at least, into
bed.
We both had reasons and justifications why this was a bad
idea. For those of you playing along at home, this was my Cupcake Conundrum. It
could be a disaster. Awkward, too much pressure, a lot of time spent with
someone you don’t really know that well, all texting and emailing aside.
And then my friend told me, Life is meant to be lived. And I
believed her.
So, ticket bought, the flirtation has taken on a new edge of
anticipation and intrigue. And holy shit, is it F U N.
One of the wonderful things about this one in particular, is
that we do have a basis for being pretty open and honest and vulnerable with
one another about other stuff. I wouldn’t exactly say we were friends before,
we never called one another up to bitch about stuff or hang as platonic pals,
but we’ve developed a foundation of communication over the years that enables
me, at least, to feel a little more bold in our new iteration.
I get to be sexy. I get to be saucy, and not a
little eye-brow raising in my replies.
And something interesting is happening for me. In the same
way that yesterday’s blog was about music reminding me of a greater part of
myself, and opening me up to something greater, this whole level of sexuality
and sensuality I’m getting to explore in relation to him is doing the same. I
feel radiant, is what I wrote in my morning pages today.
Because the flirtation remains in the realm of words and not
bodies, I get to be and write things I might not otherwise say. I get to push
envelopes, and in doing so, I’m pushing a door open within myself. I love to feel this part of myself in a way that is safe,
connected, supported, and reciprocated.
It hasn’t always been that way. My ex was decidedly vanilla.
I mean, pretty much everything about him was vanilla!, but so to in the bedroom
department. Which is fine. But it’s not
going to change anything, open anything, explore anything. I mentioned some
things to my ex that I wanted to try, and he wasn’t into them. I mean, god bless
him, he tried a few times, but it was obvious he so wasn’t into it, or was so
out of his element that he was more just doing it instead of enjoying it.
Despite my public comportment (which shall remain), I am decidedly NOT vanilla. (Nor am I triple swirl chunky monkey supreme, but.) It’s something I know about
myself, and until this recent flirtation, have not really gotten the chance to
share in a way that feels esteemable before. Sure, I’ve had dalliances where
some of my wantonness was explored, and boy
were those fun. But those were nothing sustainable, and one-offs, unfortunately
(or fortunately).
So getting to express and open and reveal a side of myself
that is rarely unveiled is thrilling. It feels so good to say something out of the box, then follow it up
with, “I feel insecure that I said something out of the box,” and have him
respond in a receptive and reassuring way. It’s novel, man.
I mean, I am a Libra.
(I just felt all your eyes roll!) My sign is ruled by Venus. The planet and
force of sex, sensuality, desire, beauty, luxury, charm. In all my chasteness
and celibacy, there has been something missing. Like all of the parts I’m
struggling and striving to claim and reclaim, all the passions I’m diligently
unearthing and revealing to you, sexuality is a critical piece of that
excavation.
It’s sort of a sex-positive thing, I guess! Which, it is
important (to me) to note, does not mean that I’m going to throw it around or
be “easy” with it – that’s the only reason why I think this is happening in
this organic and esteemable way: because it’s safe. Because I feel heard and held
and reciprocated and appreciated. Because this person knows much of me that
rounds out the view. This isn’t Molly as Sex Kitten (but hey, Yum). This is
Molly as multi-faceted, self-possessed woman. And isn’t that sexy. 

abundance · beauty · fun · joy · life · self-care

Thirsty

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Home sick again today, I began to clean up my apartment
which has become a bit of a wreck lately. Weeknights spent in rehearsals,
weekends spent at auditions, mornings a cluster of Morning Pages, meditation
and blogging. I’m up at 6:15 every morning, and am still late to work.
So, I began with the bedsheets, the laundry that was washed
last week but still remained in the hamper, the clothes strewn on the closet
floor, the dross of everyday living.
Back and forth across my apartment, each time, I passed the
black silhouette case by the entry way. The case the singer of the band bought
for me so I wouldn’t have to carry my bass my its neck anymore.
My bass has sat in that visible corner, tucked in its sheath,
for nearly two months, since I quit the band to focus on acting. My acoustic
guitar collects dust. My keyboard, shoved in a closet to avoid visual clutter
when the 25 y.o. was over.
I went to a music show last Friday night. It’s this fun band
my friend introduced me to, and we bought tickets for their SF show nearly the
day after I heard them. I hadn’t been to a music show I wasn’t ushering….
well, since I was in the band, I guess. That was one of the fun things about being in the band, was that I got to hear a lot more
music. “Lack of music shows” is on my list of “Serenity Moths” I have tacked to
my fridge. The list was written at least 2 years ago, and though many are now
crossed off, some remain. (Serenity Moths, to me, being things that just eat
tiny holes in my well-being; e.g. lack of music shows, no light over my desk,
chipped nailpolish.)
It was REFUELING to go to a music show where I could enjoy and focus on the
music. I smiled and watched the bassist voraciously, was flattened by the vocalist and shimmied my little tush
in my little section. I admitted to my friends who were with me that I missed music. So much. I think I actually had a dream about
it last night, come to think of it. But
where do you find time for it?
I am still such a newbie at bass, I have so much to learn,
dexterity to gain, simple basslines to master. I just miss the endeavor, the
trying.
So, you can guess what happened this morning as I cleaned up
my apartment between sips of turmeric tea: I slowly unzipped the black case, and said
aloud, Hello again.
I tuned it, it was still pretty in tune, actually. And I
know how long it’s been since I’ve played, since my nails are all so long
again. I pulled out the keyboard from the closet, and laid it on my bed—where
Stella climbed up to watch as I tuned the acoustic too, the one that was my
high school graduation present that still has the strap from O. Dibella Music
in New Jersey.
My nails still so long the chords were hard to make, I
played. I played until the skin on my strumming finger got raw. I made up
some new words and played my old songs. And felt the vibration of the wood against
my coughing, constricted chest.
Sometimes I live without music so long, I forget its
blessing. Honestly, I horrifically have sometimes gone months without turning
on my iPod, and when I finally do, it’s like an oasis. Like lavishing in a
Caribbean waterfall. It opens something, releases something, allows something
to enter. I hate that I forget that it does this—and in some kind of
masochistic pattern, I deprive myself of its joy.
When will I play? I don’t know. What will come of it again?
I don’t know. But for a few minutes, I opened back up to the
aching light of it, and I’m sure something was healed. 

abundance · community · fun · laughter

The X Factor

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Yesterday morning, after I left you with my maudlin, mildly
self-pitying blog, I went to meet up with some folks, and I was able to
identify the word for how I was feeling: deprived.
Usually in those groups, we talk about deprivation around
things like clothing (wearing your boots even though they’re falling apart), or
entertainment (not seeing live music for months in a row), or food (not going
food shopping). I use these as examples because I’ve “used” deprivation in just
these ways. I’ve been in deprivation around all of these things, and am working
my best to walk away from those ways of being and treating myself, through
recognizing that there is enough in&of the world to get my needs met, too.
So, as I sat down with them, I was thinking about how, precisely, I was feeling about my lack of group interaction, and I identified the term
deprivation.
In talking with them about it, I came a little bit further
into it: I realized that what I’m missing is being “on.”
About a year ago, I walked past a restaurant where a good
friend of mine was finishing up brunch with her husband and a friend of theirs.
They waved me in to sit down, and I spent a few minutes talking with them—not
catching up, just making conversation.
The same friend later told me that she’d never seen me like
that. That, in fact, she’d never seen me with other people. That I lit up, that I was funny, and charming, and
conversant, and “on.”
I was “on,” because being with other people like that, in
that way, a small group that isn’t there to listen to music or poetry or go to
a movie, in a small group where I can turn “on” my charisma—man, that’s what I’m missing.
I took one of those Meyers-Briggs personality tests, once as
a fun, short version, and once where an actual trained woman interpreted my
zillion answers to the zillion questions.
What she came out with was pretty telling to this new awareness: I
fall so directly between being an introvert and an extrovert, that I’m neither
an “I” or an “E”—I’m an “X.” (An XNFP, if you care to know.)
I need both. I am fueled and fed by both. I need the kind of
quiet, introspective time with myself, and the quiet, one-on-one interactions
where we can get really intimate and honest. AND. I need the loud, boisterous,
active hilarity of being with other people, where I don’t know what conversation
we’ll have, and I jump from topic to topic, volleying back and forth with
others.
I miss that. I miss that part of myself, and I think that
part of what I was recognizing yesterday was an atrophying of that side of
personality. It really only comes out in those situations, and I’m simply not in
many of those situations these days. (Although, flirting has a very similar timbre to it.)
I love feeling “on.”
I love the rush of feeling expressive and funny and bold and intelligent. I
love the rush of feeling the charm that pulses from me when I’m in that state
of being. I love feeling charming. Here meaning, engaging, self-possessed,
active, social, humorous, with
levity. Oh levity. Donde esta levity?
That’s another longed-for part of that style of interaction—the levity.
We’re not going to get deep here, those are the rules of engagement. We may not chat about Karl Lagerfeld’s new collection (necessarily) or what
mascara we’re using (though we could), but we certainly won’t talk about deep self-work
or spiritual progress. We’ll talk at that mid-level of fluff that happens when
you’re engaged with friends and acquaintances in a social setting.
I’ve had plenty of opportunity, and continue to, to talk
about the heavy. And although people say they hate small talk, I guess that’s
sort of what I’m talking about – the chit chat and conversations that happen
over a bowl of punch, as you float from one corner of a party to another, or… at a dinner party.
I’m glad that I have been able to pin-point what it is that
I feel has been missing, because it makes it much easier to invite it into my
life, and find and create opportunities for that kind of Upness to happen. More
importantly, I’ve gotten to see why
these kinds of interactions are important, and indeed critical, to my level of
contentment and happiness. And just like the other places of deprivation I’d
identified, I first had to admit that those things were important to me, that
they were “needs,” not wants, not brush-aways.
However, I am sorry we both had to read through yesterday’s navel-gazing blog to get here. 😉

art · community · fortitude · friends · fun · say yes · vulnerability

Ain’t Dead Yet

Last night, I went to a Halloween party. Like a normal
person.
I did fancy glitter make-up on my face, pretended my
dress could pass as a 60s throw-back, donned my friend’s blue wig, and called
myself a psychedelic stewardess (as they were called in the 60s, pre-politically corrected “flight
attendant”).
It was amazing. It felt like normal. Like something a normal
person would do the weekend of Halloween – get dressed up, go to a party. It’s
something that has felt nearly unattainable for me after the whole cancer
thing – normal. I danced. I danced a
lot. I laughed, talked with friends, and it
wasn’t about my cancer. Sure, a few people asked me how I was feeling, and
if there was anything they could do, but for the most part, the people there had no
idea the blue wig covered a shaved head. They just saw a girl at a party – and
I am grateful for it.
Part of the anomaly of being so sick is that sometimes my health is what’s top of my mind, and it’s immediately what I talk about when people call or visit.
Sometimes it’s top of their minds, and they want to know about it. But … sometimes, I just want to know what the heck else is going on in the world. I mean, I didn’t even
know the Giants were in the World Series. (Though, I remain partial to the NY
teams, ahem.)
I want to know how your new job is, or your relationship, or
what happened with that thing. I want to talk about something other than
CANCER. It’s so overarching and undergirding that it feels hard to get away
from, and just talk normally. That’s part of the “watching Ben Stiller movies”
thing I was questioning yesterday – am I allowed to still have normal
conversations, activities?
Thank G-d, as shown yesterday, YES. As I painted a star over
my eye yesterday and asteroids on my cheek (despite a weird double-vision thing I have that the
doctor tells me “will resolve itself”…) — I felt
like my old self. Engaged in an activity I love.
I do feel the guillotine though. I go back into the hospital a
week from tomorrow, and it’s hard to not feel like my days are numbered. It’s
hard to not get defensive in advance. I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to
do this 4 more times. And yet, this is what they know to do to cure cancer, or
at least send it packing for what they hope is years, if not forever.
So, I try and remain present, if possible, but I know it’s
looming. I have scheduled a bunch of self-care things this week, chiropractor
tomorrow to realign all the sitting in a bed for three weeks issues; a masseuse
that a generous friend gifted me on Tuesday to work out the rest of the kinks;
Thursday, I’ll do work with a friend who’s a professional at inner/spiritual healing to help work out the kinks from the inside as well.
It’s seems hard to try to live normally, and yet, as I saw
yesterday, it wasn’t hard at all — All I had to do was show up. – Plus, I kept the wig. 😉