Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Drug Test

Ok, I am going to give a little disclaimer for this next entry. It’s bathroom humor. Usually not my forte, but still, it’s honest and amusing. But if you are squeamish, skip this one. So, my first week onboard I had to take a drug test. It’s required of all employees. First one’s announced, all others are random. But they warned us, with two days notice and said, if you can’t take it, you can’t work. No problem. I am a drug-free girl as long as prednisone isn’t on the restricted list. I came onboard with a mild back injury that required an MRI right before I left. And the doctor says, “Don’t worry, you don’t have to cancel your trip.” Like I’m going for a little respite or something. It’s a job. Cancelling is not an option. But getting back to the drug test. So they warn us, “You have your drug test tomorrow. Show up with a full bladder.” Now saying that to a group of nervous people who are not scheduled for a drug test until 10 am is like turning on a faucet and saying don’t think about pink elephants….whatever, you get the picture. So the next morning rolls around and I’m thinking, no problem. I drank lots of water the night before, I’m dying but ready and besides, I’ve done drug tests before. It isn’t that big a deal. So I show up, full of water and rarin’ to go, so to speak, and the nurse, who is very pleasant but a bit harried, says, “alright have a seat and I’ll be right with you.”

So I sit down next to the other squirming newbies, eyes watering from the effort of the wait, fear pressing upon my little tinkler like a vice. I don’t know why I’m so nervous. Oh, yes I do, I couldn’t wait this morning so I’m running on half full. Still, how much do they really need?

The nurse finally returns with a bucket and says to the person before me, fill this to the line but don’t over fill it.
“Good lord,” I think, “what are they doing, watering a field? Experimenting with a clarifying process for a foreign country?” Don’t panic, you’re fine. Actually panic a little, it will help with the urgency. So I get up and the nurse queries, “Did you hear the instructions?” Ten four. Let’s DO THIS!!

So I go in the restroom, passing several panicked-looking females who appear to be having performance issues. Not something we are usually prone to so we are all ill-prepared. I go in my little room, and fill just to the line but no more, and say goodbye to the remnants. At last, relief. And now I wait.

Nothing happens.

I continue to wait.

Nothing.

Oh no, what have I done?

I go to the nurse and say I think I did something wrong. She looks at my efforts and says, yes this one has expired. The big problem is that if you can’t complete a known drug test, you must be reported to the captain but she sees that I misunderstood the directions. Apparently you were supposed to fill the bucket until it overflowed to the line. I just eyeballed the line. Yikes!!!

She informs me that since it is clear that I errored in earnest, I can take the test again. “Can you go now?’’ No way. I am spent, as it were.

So I have fifteen minutes to refuel and retest. Off to the mess I go and drink water until I am ready to burst like the day after thanksgiving, I return just in time and complete my exam, the results of which are evident before I even exit the restroom, to the amazement of the nurse. Ha! Next stop. Four torturous hours in HR where I have to ask for a break every fifteen minutes or so. Yes, I lead a charmed life.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ode to My Stupidity

So, you ever have one of those days where you think, “I’m college educated, independent, a confident, able woman (or man) who owns my own home, runs a business, does things well, so why am I suddenly so dumb?” Well, that’s been my life for the last two weeks. Now I know I am hard on myself and that I am currently working with a vertical learning curve, but really, I’ve been making the kind of errors that, were I not so resilient would land me on the Darwin awards. Fact is, I’m lucky ‘cause I’m cute. Adorable, really. I don’t say that in arrogance, trust me, if I was arrogant, I’d think I was beautiful and we all know how I feel about that one. But the fact is, when I make a dumb mistake, I at least make a funny, big, glaringly dumb mistake that generally doesn’t hurt anyone or get anyone (myself included) fired. So now I’m in training and feeling very ill at ease and off balance because I just seem to be learning and sometimes I hit my saturation point where I just can’t take in any more information or for that matter, think apparently. Thus, dumb mistakes; and the other day I made a doozie. So I’m in the mess, not literally, it’s the name of the kitchen service on the ship, but don’t worry, the mess is coming. I am overwhelmed a bit from all the safety training that I am in, and a little freaked at my new level of responsibility for the lives and welfare of our guests because really, I’m an entertainer not a hero. But I’m doing my best to memorize the ship, the rules, the endless acronyms, the exits, the stats and on and on. And I am hitting saturation. So I take a break and head down to the mess to get myself a hot chocolate. I turn on the water, fill my cup and let go of the lever. Nothing happens. The water keeps coming. I burn my hand and water begins to splash over the side of the cup. I panic. Visions of the coffee machine flooding the decks race through my mind. The ensuing fire from where the water makes contact with some sort of flammable liquid they haven’t yet covered in HR but I know it is on board somewhere. Where are the fire extinguishers? Which ones would I use? Water, no that’s not right. CO2? Wait, what was the other? Oh, god, what to do? By now the coffee machine catch is half full. Time is running out. I need to act. I need to do something. I need…to get…help!!

“Help, I need help!” I go dashing into the kitchen begging for assistance from anyone in earshot. Rudolpho, working the return tray line, comes to my aid. I can’t verbalize what is happening but instead begin a series of unintelligible utterances and wild gesticulations as he follows me across the hall into the room where awaits my nemesis, seething with the growing pool of searing hot water.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know what to do. It won’t shut off. I flipped the lever and it won’t shut off.”

Calmly, confidently Rudolpho assesses the situation, unabashedly approaches the demon…and hits the button marked STOP. Wow. I am dumbfounded. Rudolpho turns to me and before I can speak, grins and says, “Don’t worry, we were all new once.” Utter grace. He has me sit for a moment to collect myself and then, chagrinned, I exit shyly. But ever since, whenever I come into the mess, I share a private smile with Rudolpho who still cannot quite keep from giggling at my sight. And now, I have a friend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Bit of Fluff Before the Good Stuff!

So, this is an old post but darn it, I finally finished it and quite frankly, it’s still pertinent. I have too many things to catch you up on, loyal reader, because I’ve been preparing for a show which has occupied all of my disposable time and income but I shall get to that later. For now, I am going to relate an amusing tale apropos of nothing. It’s about my morning trip to the buck of the Star, that caffeinated haven where we pay homage and too much money to order for too long so we can feel satiated and important. Don’t misunderstand, I love it. I am a Chai freak and I look forward to the changing of the seasons just to see those wonderful fall pumpkin pastries return and the startlingly perfect shot of peppermint which drives away the winter doldrums in my hot chocolate. But additional to the joy of sensory overload and jittery bliss we all look forward to, one of the things we know we are paying extra for is exemplary service. It’s what they are known for. In fact I think Buckies may have invented the concept of the secret shopper, to which I say, well done, because bad customer service is a big pet peeve of mine. So on this particular day, I was quite startled to find myself in the land of the lost servers.

It started like any other day, better in fact because I actually was staying in the area, forgoing my usual hour plus commute and I had left a little earlier than usual so I thought I would stop and give myself a little caffeinated treat. I checked my GPS and lo, there was a store right on my way. So I pull in with days to spare, feeling quite cheeky about the whole thing, like I was treating myself to a night on the town. It’s the little things, you know?

I walk in the store, stand in the not particularly unreasonable line and place my order. As always, my card takes about seven swipes to read but at last, I am in the cue. I walk over to the drink counter to wait for my order and notice a rather large crowd has gathered so I turn back to take in fully the vision behind the counter. Here is what I see.
There are currently five employees in the store, four behind the counter and one in the kitchen area. One perky blonde woman who is attending the register, one slow but steady gentleman working at the drink list, and one woman who appears to not be stocking the pastry cabinet, but just moving the existing pasties around and another woman who just seems to be moving pitchers form one side of the work area to another. After a couple of minutes, the fifth person comes out of the kitchen, walks past the ever growing line at the register, walks over to the now very large crowd that has gathered at the drink counter, stops, shrugs and walks back into the kitchen.

The silent angst has now grown into a tangible rage but still no one says anything. I can take it no longer. Me being me, I had to say something. So I turn to the woman next to me, who is beginning to noticeably change color and I say, “does anyone else think this is weird? I mean, what are we looking at here?”

The response was immediate and profound. The woman next to me started talking about how she was running late and was just waiting on coffee. The man next to her began his story and all focus turned from angry mob mentality ganging up against the poor young man who was actually working to a sudden explosion of shared confused, bemused and ever ebbing collective frustration. I think I may have stopped a riot. Interesting. Sometimes it just doesn’t take much. I thanked the universe for this small gift of a sociology experiment, and went on my way. Happy for my moment off the grid, and of course now running late, but as that is my MO, I really was kind of ok with it! I never loved that job anyway.

I'm back

Dear readers, please forgive my long absence. So much has happened and now I am about to embark on the greatest adventure of my life. I am headed out to sea for the next five months, but do not despair my neglectful ways. I am bringing my laptop and I will attempt to post though it shall be but once a week since that is when I shall have internet access. In the meantime, here is a little teaser to all that I have done. I completed several shows and had a few innocent flirtations, some not so innocent relations and a life altering encounter which, truth to tell was so unexpected that I still don't know what to do with it. I have tread out the trenches, scaled the cliff side, slipped and regripped and have found myself not at the edge of a precipice but rather on a green and lush plateau at sunset. I have flown 18 feet above a cheering crowd of 400 people, performed for throngs of happy, hot and tired children and adults in modern and medieval garb and had an immensely and awkwardly fulfilling experience being killed not once but twice in the same show. But more than that, I have fallen in love; with myself, with life, and with the possibility of love. And I have learned from the unlikeliest of sources that I don’t have to be afraid because I’ve already experienced the worst heartache I could achieve. All these and more I shall tell you about, as well as my great adventure which awaits me. So please, dear reader, be patient and join me as I continue the adventure of this ever happier, ever more satisfied, and I think perhaps, a little bit beautiful single married girl.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Wedding

Alright, I am taking a serious karmic risk here but I promised to write about it so here it is. The epic adventure of my sister’s wedding. Now there are a few pieces I should fill in before I begin. This was the second event and first major family event since our mother passed and so there was a lot of tension leading up to the actual day. The wedding was 800 miles from home and I was maid of honor. MAID of honor, this was not up for discussion or debate. I think matron is the meanest thing you can call someone and still insist they pay for their own dress-sounds like you should be wearing a black, high necked Victorian dress and you will never have sex again! A month or so before the wedding, my sister has a complete meltdown over some discussion of taking a day to sightsee and decides that since I haven’t planned her bridal shower yet, I am uninvited to the wedding. Two weeks before the wedding, she calls me and says “we need to work this out and of course you are invited to the wedding.” I choose not to point out 1) I was trying to plan a shower 800 miles away. 2) She told me when first she asked me to be maid of honor that the only thing she wanted was my presence and 3) She is crazy! I try to let it go, but I was definitely still stinging especially since I can’t tell anyone in the family the personal dilemma I am having, with my husband a part of the wedding party. There is also another little wrench in that our father is bringing his girlfriend to the wedding. Yup, he has a girlfriend-met her at the family reunion last year, which sounds much creepier than it is as she was a family friend but she is also a bore and obsessed with her diabetes and fibromyalgia and is constantly bringing them up.

Two days of travel in which at every rest stop I had to log onto the internet to finish my work website-only to lose power in most of the metro area, just as we attempt to launch. Upon my arrival we go out with my sister, her fiancé, my father and his girlfriend-who can't eat anything of course. Because she’s diabetic. A strange form of diabetes which renders all food dangerous and spiny. Next day, finished the website, got reamed by my boss for taking so long to finish the website, cried in the hotel room for half an hour, and headed out for lunch with sis, Dad, and annoying girlfriend who is so very boring compared to our mother-in all likelihood, the attraction. Dad is hardly looking for another great love. I think he just wants companionship and the occasional knob shine-good for him, but gross! My sister’s fiancé (we’ll call him Sampson for the purposes of the blog) goes off to pick up our neighbor, our sister for all intents and purposes. While we wait, girlfriend (let’s call her Yoko ) just had to eat, then thought the stir fry she ordered was too sweet (sweet peppers apparently equal diabetic coma in her world). Our neighbor/sista shows up hammered and a bundle of nerves. So I steal Delilah (sis) away for a little manipedicurial pick me up-and to get both of us away from the madness for a bit and give us a little sisters only event. Then off to the bridal shower-which was a champagne and chocolate tasting; I highly approve!- one of the most awkward events I have ever attended but I suppose that is what happens with blended families who’ve never met! Serious chocolate hangover the next day. We are now two days before the main event.

Next morning it rains like the apocalypse is upon us, so my sister falls apart because both the rehearsal dinner and wedding are outdoor events. Then she calls me to tell me she has pink eye, another neighbor/sister texts me to say she is in labor. I spend the day just reassuring Delilah that all will work out while hoping I am still going to fit into the bridesmaid dress that I tried on the night before I gorged myself on champagne and chocolate…and chocolate…and just a little more chocolate.

I pick up the wedding dress and send my sister to bed while we meet to set up the meeting room for the rehearsal dinner. We have to wait on Dad and Yoko because they are trapped under ground waiting for the tornado sirens to shut off. I only wish that were a joke-well, not really, at this point I was just laughing. But we had a blast at the party, while the fish fry went on in the thunder and lightning. At dusk, the skies cleared and we had a beautiful double rainbow and the moon and stars came out to play. I knew my mother was close and we would be alright. My aunts even convinced Delilah to do a keg stand-a new experience for me.

The wedding was beautiful. The park was breathtaking and the atmosphere serene, simple and perfect. My sister looked like a 1940’s Silver Screen Grecian Goddess framed by gentle sunlight and fields of wildflowers. The rain which ended just before sunset Friday never returned. The skies were blue and my sister stunning. My sister and her fiancé had opted to take their photos before the ceremony so we were posing in the wildflowers and before the waning colors of a field of sunflowers. My sister looked beautiful and happy and I wanted to capture that feeling, bottle it and give it to her in a shadow box, so that no matter what happens in the future, she would always have the feeling of this moment which she had worked so hard to achieve.

The real excitement was when the bagpiper failed to appear and left a voicemail saying only "I'm lost." So as I walked back to the car to grab something, about 5 minutes before the ceremony was to begin, my sister decided to walk with me (not a good sign) and asked if we could sing something a capella to walk her down the aisle. No problem. Just the biggest day of her life and I'm wingin' it. But it was lovely and only the family knew it wasn’t planned. Though it was amusing watching all of us do the step touch with no music but the songbirds overhead, which in retrospect was all the music we needed.

Reception was charming although halfway through my sis leans over and asks, “Did I mention, you’re supposed to make a speech?” Sigh.

I danced until I could dance no more. Even did a couple of (fake) irish jigs since they had an Irish band and ended up leading the dancing which the band seemed to find amusing because they forewent their break in lieu of playing on. I don't think they often have people that get up and dance. Had this really wonderful moment when they started playing this really cool arrangement of 500 Miles (which I love and recognized immediately) and when they starting the verse, my sister came and joined me and everyone started clapping along from their seats. Next thing I know, the whole dance floor fills with our family-my Dad and my two Aunts (and Yoko, who wants so badly to be a part of the family). It was just a really neat and joyous moment. My Dad and his sisters haven't danced together in ages and it was just a very special, spontaneous event. I felt my Mom so close at that moment.

We spent the morning-after with Delilah and her new husband, my brother, OMG, at a super tacky hangout they always feel the need to go to. My sister calls me on the trip home, two hours from the end, and as I walk through the front door, I tell her I love her and I have to go. She confesses that she thinks that it was Mom that made the bagpiper late. And I hadn’t said a work. I had worried that the event would be sad as we missed her but instead I felt only her presence.

Upon my return, I felt her absence. And cried silently in my office, alone, for two hours. I only hope I made her proud.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Albatross

Hello dear reader. Please forgive my absence; I have been off celebrating my sister’s nuptials and not celebrating the tempest storm leading up to them. But I shall save all that for another day-though I assure you, totally worth the wait. Suffice to say, the wedding was spectacular and I will not go into great detail for fear of karmic repercussions. However, for today, I have another matter entirely to discuss. I was on my way back from the wedding, lying in bed in a hotel in Akron, OH, feeling itchy and worried about bedbugs. So I got up to take a bath with some aroma therapy stress relief sea salts and as I lay there breathing in the eucalyptic air, I had a revelation. But before I can give you the weight of my thoughts, I must give you the barometer by which to measure them.

The first thing you need to know, or remember is that I am a performer, an actress. Also a dancer, singer, choreographer, director, aerialist, teacher and artist consultant, but that is neither here nor there. Except that it is because I have worked for a particular theater for 12 years which has never really believed I possessed any talent. It’s strange, I know, that they hired me, but as I thought through the years, it became more and more evident that I was a continued afterthought. I have done shows for them which I loved, I have jumped into roles with but a couple hours notice, I have even gone on in roles which I wasn’t cast in, learning from scratch in the morning to go on in the afternoon.

So, I know, wah, wah, wah, the world is hard and theatre is harder. But here is the kicker. This discrepancy in my talent to recognition level was brought screamingly to my attention recently when it was rumored I’d been cast in a show. So I contacted the theater, because twice they have cast me and forgotten to notify me and several times they didn’t cast me and didn’t call. It isn’t that unusual, except that they did call my husband to notify him one way or another, knowing we do still reside together. So let me quit my whining and get to the point. In the last couple of years, really since my Mom passed, I started branching out and working at other theaters with other people. They treat me well, they seem excited by my presence and they appear to think I bring something vital and important to the process. It’s a great feeling. But I realized something. It is also intimidating because in being treated like I matter, I want to give more, be more and the stakes are so much higher. So, what was this great revelation?

Well, recently I received some rather unexpected accolades for a performance I did. And the first thing I wanted to do was send it to this other theatre to let them know that someone else thinks I’m special…talented. So I started thinking, why did I want them to know? Why should I care? Because I want to go back and show them! Because despite the fact that I know how they are going to treat me, I want to go back and prove them wrong. But I can’t because in that environment, I wither. I don’t strive to excel because in showing up, I’ve already exceeded expectations, and that is sad.

It’s a metaphor for bad relationships. We seek acceptance from the ones who will least likely give it and in whose opinion we should least commit ourselves. Yet, the fact that we are rejected makes us want so badly to prove that person wrong that we make someone who should not even be on the radar vitally important to our happiness. And in doing so, we create a self-fulfilling prophecy of despair, desperately scraping for the shreds of approval doled out at intervals designed to keep us close and wanting. Designed to keep us so uncertain of ourselves that we never ask for more, never realize the potential which we are squandering. It is only when we walk away, cutting off the supplier from his demand that we can take back our dignity and our power. It is only when we walk in, expectations in hand, unwilling to bend in our resolve that we are able to meet on level ground. So for now, in art as in life, I shall seek only the approval of me, myself and I and this theater, the albatross around my neck, may go to hell, where they have abandoned me for so many years. So I ask you, who is your theater, and when do you walk away?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Anemia

A couple of months ago, when things were tight and I was not at all flush, I signed up for an emailing of clinical trials. I know it is not the noblest of professions, but I only responded to the ones which did not actually require you to take undocumented, untested medication. In any case, one came up and I went in for a routine blood test. They were doing phoresis, which is a process in which they take blood from one side of the body, remove the white blood cells and return in to the other side of the body. The entire process takes about two hours and by the time you are finished, your body has regenerated about 90% of what was taken out. How cool is that?

Anyway, I came in for my routine health screening and blood test. Took about an hour and they said they’d call me with the results. A couple days later, they called and said that I hadn’t cleared the study. Now I had told them when I went in that I had just finished with my monthly visitor so I was worried that might affect the results. Sorry to over share, but what the heck, it’s my blog! Anyway, they invited me to come back in for another go ‘round which I did at a more conducive time.

Two days passed and I got a call from the nurse who had been working with me. It seems my results had come back lower than before. “Should I be worried?” “Probably not,” was the answer but she would actually like me to follow up with my family doctor. Wow, this was a surprising turn of events. I also was in a bind because I didn’t have a family doctor anymore. Mine had retired and I had never found a suitable replacement.

So I went to the clinic and underwent a series of invasive and humbling tests and retests. Yes, I was Anemic. Officially. And somewhat significantly. Our next task was to find the root cause. “Have you been losing weight?”

“Well, yes, but it’s been intentional.”

“Then it must be your diet is off. Have you experienced any fatigue or exhaustion?”

“Well, maybe but I’ve been under a lot of pressure and I lost my Mom last year…”

“Then you must not be getting enough rest.”

So I left the clinic somewhat bewildered with a prescription for iron pills and feeling a little beaten up. How is it everything was my fault?

But something still bothered me. The diet thing. Now I am a somewhat vegetarian. I eat limited meat and no red meat, but as an athletic person who does not eat red meat, I am VERY careful about what I do eat and I just didn’t think I could have made such a mistake. So I started doing a bit of research on the internet-something I never do and do not recommend because self-diagnosis from the internet just leads to madness. But I did it anyway. And I made an interesting discovery. There are two common forms of Anemia: iron-deficient Anemia and less common but still prevalent, B-12 deficient Anemia. I looked at the symptoms of B-12 deficient Anemia: Weakness. Check! Fatigue. Check! Lightheadedness. Yup! A pale appearance. Always! Loss of appetite with weight loss, rapid heartbeat or chest pain, shortness of breath upon exertion. Check, check and double check, and all these things I had been told were due to stress, age and mourning. It’s funny because I had been feeling tired lately and everyone just kept saying that it was stress. And I had been feeling run down and headachy and everyone just said it was age. But no one considered there might actually be something wrong with me. And I had never considered the possibility that I could feel better. I just accepted this is how I shall feel now that I am getting older.

Here’s the interesting thing about B-12 deficient Anemia; everything else can be fine; you can be getting all the nutrients you need, you can load yourself up with iron, but without that one key ingredient, your body can’t process it.
It is not unlike our relationships. You get complacent and you just accept that things are the way they are. You don’t ask if it could feel better. And even though you started out with all the nutrients of a healthy partnership, if you are short one key ingredient, nothing else works. It doesn’t matter if you have passion and love and compassion and history if you are missing something essential. And I’m sure the essential ingredient is different for everyone; maybe it is trust or fidelity or humor or empathy. But if it is not there and that deficit goes unnoticed and unrecognized, nothing else will work, even when you give off the appearance of perfect health.

Perhaps it is time to give our lovers a metaphorical shot in the arm, but first we better figure out what they and we are missing. Don’t accept a first diagnosis, dig a little deeper and find the root cause. We must be our own advocates in love, as in life!

And maybe for we single married girls, we need to acknowledge that the essential ingredient might just be us. The whole us, not just the pieces we’ve cobbled together but one whole and complete person who doesn’t need a better half, just an equal; just a catalyst to process all those essential ingredients that are already there. To feel better, to ask for more, to realize that feeling bad isn’t the natural aging process.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Exercise in Humiliation

So I am jumping around the timeline once again. Please forgive me. I am going back to my trip, my cruise. Tonight I shall talk about the most embarrassing night of my life onboard. The night I truly put myself on the map. The night I became, “that girl who…” It started out like any other night…on a cruise…in the Mediterranean. Ok, it started out like any other night for me. I went to dinner and then a show and then headed out to go dancing in the little nightclub where incidentally, almost no one would dance but I didn’t care. They were having an 80’s night with free shots for right answers and I was on a role. First one, yes!!! Oh, I know this one too! So I run up on stage, offer my answer and back up a step, right into the speaker which I promptly fall backwards over, though I did demurely manage to keep my dress from flying completely up over my head. “Do you need medical attention?” the host queries into the mic. “No thank you,” comes my shaky reply. “Do you need medical attention?” he asks again. “No, I’m good,” my slightly more strained answer. “Do you need medical attention?” Ok, what is with this guy? “No, nothing, thank you.” I was waiting for him to say Ovaltine? I start to walk away and he says, “wait, don’t you want your shot?” Great, like I don’t look like the drunk girl already.

So I take the shot but my leg is throbbing and I’m so shaky that the thing just dribbles down the sides of my mouth. I take as high brow a swipe with my forearm as I can muster and feebly leave the stage. Walk, it off girl. Nobody noticed the girl in the black and white polka dot dress just take a dive bomb on the stage, you’re good! So I leave to regroup and come back about 20 minutes later. Still in the same dress, but less sticky faced after a little trip…ok, bad choice of words…to the restroom.

I’m dancing, having a grand ol’ time when this young man, and I mean young, read looks about 15, comes up to me. “I’m Clayton, wanna dance?” I, uh, sure, why not. It’s just a dance. And he has to be at least 18 or he wouldn’t be in here. Though 18 seems many years ago… “I don’t really know how to dance. Mostly, I Mosh.” Really, what have I gotten myself into? Anyway, he sort of runs off and I’m dancing when his MOTHER comes up to me.

“He has been watching you all night and was so nervous.” Oh, my g*d, I am in hell. And his sister comes over. I just wanted to dance, I swear. So I just keep moving and make my way off the floor and to the DJ’s station. I’m in the midst of making a request when I hear this gruff voice behind me. “I’m sorry,” I respond.

“I said, I’ll buy you a drink if you go sit with my nephew.” Ok, seriously, am I being punked? I turn to see this much older gentleman and he gestures to a table across the room where two men and a woman, about my age, maybe a little older are seated. Sigh. What the hell, free drink, and I’m here for experiences, right?

“Amaretto sour,” I shoot back at him and stride across the floor to the waiting lynch mob. “Hi, which one of you is the nephew? I think I’ve got a drink coming because of you.” They laugh. Amazing. They tell me it is a trick of their crazy, cranky uncle. We get chatting and I’m actually having a really nice time. Until, “where have we seen you?”

“I’m the girl who fell over the speaker.”

“Ah, yes. Wait, were you at the tequila tasting yesterday?”

“Yes.”

“We bought the margarita for the table…that you drank. Alone.”

Awesome.

Sex and Intimacy

So, the time has come to take a good hard look at the world of sex and intimacy in my life. I am being…challenged by a friend of mine who thinks that perhaps I have never considered my own needs in the bedroom before. First of all, I have recently been told that I give off perhaps the aire of a…dirty ho, I believe was the phraseology. Which is so ironic because I am probably far closer to such a description now than I was at the time it was given. I don’t really think I am now, either, but I am definitely in a different league than before the big breakup. When I was together with my husband and Mr. Darcy, although I did have an “out of the ordinary” relationship, I still stuck to a very clear moral code. I did not stray physically or mentally. I never fantasized about anyone else, nor did I ever pretend I was with one rather than the other. But I was very open-minded in the confines of the relationship and had very little I wouldn’t at least try. I also was never comfortable with the word FUCK. It always seemed so mean, and was only used in anger. And sex was something I did not share except out of love. Ironic, huh? It is not a well known fact but before the end of my relationship with Mr. Darcy, I had had only two lovers in my life. I had been somewhat intimate with other people early on, but Mr. Darcy was my first, my husband was my second and there was no other. And I loved them both deeply so casual sex was not part of my vocabulary. I had rather romantic notions about the whole thing.

My numbers have…shifted up a bit in the last few months and I have attempted exploration out of the realm of true love. Though love still exists, it is the love that exists between two friends. But I spent so much time not being touched by not one, but two men in my life, and for a while I simply accepted that this is now how things are. This is what happens in long relationships, the passion fades, the complacency sets in. I never even questioned it. What does that say about me, my paradigms, my role models? My parents were married nearly 40 years, many of those quite happy but always tempestuous. Perhaps we are always slaves to our visions of what has come before us. What if we simply walked away from those preconceptions? Is it even possible? If so, what else may exist beyond the realm of expectation?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Oh! Naturale *

So one of the things you should know about my show is that I spent it in a nude skin-tight unitard. I was happy to do it, because I kind of always saw the character as a nude character in my mind. But nudity in a show can be tricky. If it is done right, it just becomes another costume. If it is done wrong, it becomes a distraction. And if it is done for shock value, it becomes another character. But in this case, it might have been distracting and had not been approved by the venue. So, nude unitard. But the thing is, because this was a festival, we had little time to load in and load out, and because it was so skin-tight, I couldn’t wear anything under it. So I would come to the show in costume, to avoid any of the awkwardness that changing might have created.

Now, the comedy comes into play when you realize that there is no parking at the venue. There was parking in the neighborhood, about 4-6 blocks from the theatre, so I would spend each night walking to and from my car, seemingly naked, to catcalls such as “where’s the party”, “is the circus in town?” and “is that girl neked?” I started carrying postcards for the show and just handing them out. I mean, what better advertising?

The greater comedy is that on my way to the final performance, I was rear-ended. I know, it doesn’t sound that funny. But it was a low speed accident. However, I still had to get out and inspect my car…in my costume. I just kept praying, “please let there be no damage”, not just because of the money and inconvenience, but more because I just didn’t want to stand there and wait for a police officer. Only me. When did my life become a parody of my life?

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Serendipity *

People always tell you things happen for a reason and I have a great deal of trouble with this concept, but even more with disputing it. So I have been involved with a show that has been an immense catharsis for me. The entire experience was an exercise in serendipity. Firstly, I met the playwright at a Qi Gong workshop. If you don’t know what that is, it’s ok. It isn’t important to the plot other than to know that it is an internal art form dedicated to helping healing and putting one on the right path. Ok, maybe it is important to the plot. Anyway, we were introduced by one of our mutual instructors who thankfully uses his Machiavellian skills only for good.

To continue, I started a dialogue with the playwright at the first workshop, and we found out we had quite a bit to talk about, let’s just say. I gave her my blog URL that night, I think. We continued talking and she sent me the script which was so close to my heart that I knew I needed to be a part of the project in some way. Around the same time, I got an email from another director friend of mine who said that this wonderful new playwright had just lost her director and my friend wasn’t available and wanted to know if I could direct. Same playwright. Ok, this has now come at me from several directions, I would be unwise to tick off the universe and ignore it.

So I called the playwright up and found out not only had she lost her director but also her venue. Yikes! But this show has to happen! I knew it. She knew it. The lighting designer knew it. So we just said we would make it happen. I told her, I will direct if you need it, act if you prefer it, or carry a spear if required. I have always been someone who ran on faith. Decide to do it, announce you shall do it, and then figure out how. It always seems the means you will find or they will find you if you just ask.

I should probably mention that the show was about a woman in a stagnant marriage, not good, not bad, who is a frustrated writer living an existence dictated by her social setting and upbringing and entirely unsatisfactory. So much so, that she has created an alter-ego for herself, who both protects and challengers her. This was ultimately to be my role though I did not know it at the time. I called it a love triangle between two people.

Well she got another director and a new venue and I came in for a read-thru which turned out to be audition which turned into a read-thru. It was all a very non-traditional process but that was ok, because we were doing important work; we just didn’t know what or why, but we knew it was important.

The shows were uneven, the audiences good and the reviews, excellent. I received better press than I ever have and a potential offer to bring the show back and develop it in a different venue. But more than anything, I gained a small group of women who have a similar understanding of what it is like to be in this situation because this cast came with an understanding that comes only from experience, though we spent little time talking about our own. And as much as my blog seems to resonate with readers, this show resonated with audiences, whether it was the frustration, the stagnation, motherhood, fidelity, duty-there was something that touched the lives of each person sitting there in the dark, sparking debates and conversations that spilled over into coffee houses and onto websites. Ripples. I knew it. I am not in a unique experience. I’m just in company too polite to talk about it. D*mn! Enough with the silence already, people. Clearly, as the saying goes, “we need to talk.”

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mr. Darcy Fini *

So I think the time has finally come to update you on all that has transpired with Mr. Darcy. I have a little distance from it so it is not so raw as it was. I foolishly tried to believe I could jump from a relationship to a friendship with nothing in between. I knew this to be a fallacy even before I agreed yet there was hope. I saw HE was capable of it; why shouldn’t I be? Ah, but there’s the rub. He did transition. He took his time, and was well into the acceptance stage before he even broached the subject of ending it with me and dating someone else. I was still in bargaining, which made for a perfectly dreadful transition from bargaining a relationship to bargaining a friendship. I did it for a while; I made it stick and I went through the motions as though I was really happy about it but inside, I was dying. And worse than that, I was lying to myself, the one person I had promised to be better to. So one day, it hit me…this isn’t working.

It came on not like a torrent but like a gentle shower which just continued and increased until one day, I looked down and my feet were buried in the mire which had grown around them as I stood unawares, sinking in the mud. I don’t even remember the circumstances that made me do it. I just remember one day, while on IM, I asked this question. “Does your family know that we have broken up?”

“Well, they have never really known our status but they know things have changed and that we are committed to being friends.”

And it struck me like a tangible blow. All this time, I have felt so guilty that I made him feel like my dirty little secret. But I was his. His family, his friends, his coworkers and acquaintances, even his new girlfriend; to all of them I was just some enigmatic, undefined presence on the periphery of his life. I was a secret. I was always going to be, even had I been single and free to love him completely. In ten years, he had never defined me as a part of his life to anyone else in it. How do you miss something so obvious for so long?

So I told him I didn’t want to be friends anymore. I didn’t want to talk on the phone every day, and IM and look forward to emails. I needed some distance because I couldn’t have him so continue to be so important to me anymore. I broke off our friendship…on IM. Cowardly, I know and yet, a necessary act. And as strong as I was capable of being; a quick and violent kill.

It would be easy to say that I felt strong and energized and like some conquering goddess, but of course we all know that would be bullsh*t. I cried. I stopped sleeping. And I forced myself to play music to fill the void left by the absence of a phone call. And for days after I tried not to want him to be the first person I said good morning to and the last one I said good night to. I tried not to want him to be the one I wanted to share my happiness and my sadness with. And yet, I was still happier than I have been because I was calm. OK, not happy, that’s not it. Relieved. Sad…but calm. Heading toward ACCEPTANCE.

Now if this were a movie, this would be the end. But it’s not. Nothing in life is ever so neatly wrapped and packaged as it is in the movies. So, one day I sent a message to Mr. Darcy and he called me. And we fought about boundaries and the fact that he thought I meant I needed a break for a week and I kind of meant forever-at least for the time being.

And then there was my show. I asked, if he was coming to at least give me a heads up. Which he did, but of course, he sat in the front row.


And then there was the matter of his birthday which I labored over trying to decide if I should ignore it or send a card or call. In the end, I sent a text which just said happy birthday and he returned it with one which just said thanks. Things do get easier.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Barriers *

Oh, I have so much going on in my head right now I do not even know where to start. So much has been happening at lightning speed that I don’t seem to even be able to process everything. This week, my father had a birthday, which means my mother did as well, as they share the same birthday. It wasn’t bad until my sister called, completely bereft and utterly inconsolable. I am in the difficult position of now being the matriarch of the family; a dubious title and one I am ill-prepared to handle. But it is what it is. So I spent about 40 minutes talking her off the ledge.

It got me thinking about barriers; those we build, those that are imposed upon us, those which exist only to be overcome. I have spent a lifetime putting obstacles in my path, just to make extra work for myself. I think perhaps this is a very common thread of humanity. It’s funny being on this side, watching my sister creating drama for the sake of suffering it. Boy, is that a familiar song. Why do we do this? What drives us to be the masters of our own destruction? Perhaps it is the fear of loss and failure. It is easier to know that you haven’t failed so much as torpedoed your own happiness because at least then it was by your hand and your choice and not the end result of a horrible rejection. I see this in my own professional as well as personal life. I think I am like the hare, eager to begin, able to compete and quick to the finish, but upon sight of the finish line, I stop, just short of the success because to achieve it is just a little too scary. Time to close my eyes and cross that line; time to break a few barriers of my own.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cadiz *

Dear Reader, I have so much to catch you up on. I have been busily living and experiencing and way over thinking as I am want to do. I have just returned this week from a trip overseas which will be the subject of several subsequent blogs, I am certain. But since I do not want to overwhelm, I will start with one of the best experiences of my single married girl existence. I went on a cruise to Europe; well actually I met the boat in Europe. I made it to the boat only 15 minutes before they pulled away from the dock, but that is another story. But I am going to relate a few tales out of order because my day in Cadiz was such an extraoridnary encapsulation of everything I am trying to accomplish with my new found freedom that I feel it warrants highlighting. This was actually the first time I have ever traveled abroad alone. I was on a cruise so I was with many people but I was traveling alone and so it was a great experiment. I have been attempting to have a solo adventure for three years. I didn’t know how I would feel about it and I was worried that I would be lonely with only myself to occupy my interest. What a silly thought.

Our second shore excursion was Cadiz, Spain. Now I had met a woman on the cruise who had been to Cadiz several times and assured me there really wasn’t anything to see. I’d be much better off taking a taxi to a couple of the nearby villages and doing a winery tour. So I got off the boat with this intention in my head and as I stepped from the gangplank, I thought, “I’ve never been to Cadiz. What’s to say that I won’t find something of interest?” I spotted a Hop On/Hop Off bus depot just beyond the port and made a beeline-this being my only plan of attack for the day. So 15 euro later I am off on my single day adventure in Spain. I toured around for about a half an hour on the bus, when I got the feeling I should disembark at the castle. I don’t know why but I followed my gut to the street. The castle was beautiful with a long walkway which went out several hundred yards into the Sea of Cadiz. To the right, a little seaport of brightly colored fishing boats, to the left, fishermen and swimmers and just below the sea, a Roman street. I walked all the way out to the castle, which was closed for renovations, all the while taking pictures of the water, the swimmers, the fishermen. I caught the eye of a swimmer, smiled and waved and continued on. I got the idea that I wanted to climb out on the rocks and take pictures of myself, which actually turned out better than I expected.

As I sat on the rocks, the swimmer whom I had exchanged a momentary glance with, came over. “Madonna”, he said. Of course I melted at that. “You speak English?” he asked. Upon my confirmation, he offered to take my picture having noticed that I was alone. We struck up a conversation and it turned out he was a stage manager from France on sabbatical in Cadiz. He was in love with the city and all too happy to share with a stranger all the joys of this little sea town. He tells me about the bar I should visit and the restaurant where I can get the freshest fish in Cadiz…he points to the fishermen and says they are fishing for the restaurant he is recommending. We took out my map and he shows me about where the bar is and says they open about 1 pm. It was around 11 am so I thanked him and headed on my way, got back on the bus and continued my little tour.

Lunched back on board the ship, and about 1:30 pm I decided to try and find the bar that he had told me about. I wandered the backstreets of Cadiz a bit lost (which is ok, because I relish getting a little lost anywhere new I go) until I found it. La Manteca. I walked in and say, with my very limited Spanish, “recommendo de Gigi!?!”.

“Ahhh, Gigi,” went the cry. It was like the Spanish Cheers. And in fact it turns out this is a famous bar in Cadiz, owned by a former matador so the bar is filled with bullfighting memorabilia. I order my vino rojo de casa and a couple of tapas off the menu. I recognized chorizo and bonito (it is a fish, though I ordered it because I thought it meant beautiful man and that seemed like a great idea at the time). I also ordered cheese which required explanation and gesticulation since I forgot that queso means cheese.

So I was sitting, enjoying my wine and tapas, and taking in the sights and sounds that La Manteca had to offer when in walks Gigi. The room once again fills with choruses of “Gigi”, “Hola, mi amigo”, Bueno”. I raise my eyes and give a wave. He smiles and walks over and begins to introduce me to everyone in the bar, all of whom he knows.

We sit and chat until I finish my tapas and he finishes his drink and then he asks me if I still want to go to the restaurant for the fish. Well, he has yet to steer me wrong so I happily agree and we set off. The restaurant is but a block away so he says he will walk me over and translate to the owner, who is a friend of his. And then he sits down. We are joined by the famous flamenco guitarist whom I previously met at the bar, his female companion and her angry little dog. The restaurant owner gives a quick chorus of a lovely Spanish strain to the guitarist and they start to talk. I follow much of the conversation until at once they all laugh and look at me. My new acquaintance says he will translate. “My friend says he feels very badly that the beautiful lady is eating only bread and drinking only water because I am too busy chatting to cook her fish.” We all laugh again and he heads into the kitchen returning with the best fish I have ever tasted.

As we continue Gigi looks at his phone, then my watch and asks, “What time did you say you had to be back?” “Five,” I reply. “Your watch is wrong,” he says. I explain to him that I am on ship’s time and he assures me that I am not and that we must leave immediately. In fact, I will not make it if I take the bus so he offers to walk me back to the ship as he knows a shorter route. I apologize for completely disrupting his day and he just laughs and says if I miss the boat we will take his car to Lisbon in the morning. As we continue towards the boat, he stops and says he has a present for me; an amazing feat considering we had met only hours before. And yet, he withdraws from his pocket a handful of sea glass, plucked from the ocean floor that very morning when first we made eye contact. He fills my palm with sea glass and little shells, kisses me on either cheek and wishes me well as he heads back and I run for the ship. It is now 4:15 pm. I spend the last 30 minutes in the port of Cadiz thinking about the serendipity that had to have been at play to make such a day possible. And I hear in my head, over and over, “there is nothing worth seeing in Cadiz.” It is only the second stop of our journey.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Meanness and Cruelty *

A friend of mine made a comment to me recently that has been ruminating around in my head ever since. I had made the statement that I didn’t understand being mean and he said that I was mean. I was mean because here I was late at night hanging out with him and not home with my husband, who had long ago gone to bed without me. I was really troubled by the question of meanness. But I think perhaps, that I am not mean, I am cruel. There is a distinction to be made; it is not noble but it is important. In this case, cruelty is derived as an effect of an action. However, the action is itself selfish, self-centered, self-involved and at times even self-loathing but the end result may be an inadvertent cruelty to another. This is the type of action I participate in. I have been truly mean about four times in my life. Three times were necessary. I was in danger and had to react accordingly. As I have mentioned, I have the ability to see the best in people. The counter part to that is that I can also see their vulnerabilities, which is where I struck. I landed in all three instances and in one case even brought a grown man to tears. I think I was 14 at the time. I was immediately swollen with power and having touched the deepest recesses of my darker self was invigorated by it. I understand how people can become addicted to that kind of darkness. However, afterwards I was desiccated and hollow and although I know it was necessary, it took a great toll upon my soul.

The fourth time was utterly unjustified and horrible. I was mean for the sake of being mean. I wanted to see what it was like. I wanted to impress my friends and so I picked on someone who was just going out on a limb asking me to dance and even to this day if I saw him again I would take his hand and ask for forgiveness though in all likelihood he would not even know what I was talking about. But I filed that feeling away so that I would never again be tempted to act in such a manner. I was a mean girl in that moment, before the term was even coined.

So, this brings us back to the present. I am not mean and I don’t wish to be cruel. But my cruelty is a result of my actions, an aftereffect. It does not justify it, it does not mean I feel no remorse but I am acting to save myself right now. I have been dying in little pieces for a very long time. Dying and no one knew, no one saw. I was awfully good at covering my tracks. And now I have to gather up what’s left and try to put it back together. I don’t know how to do it-there is no handbook-so I try new things and have new experiences and yes, they have an impact on those around me including my husband. But that impact is a byproduct. It is not an intentional hurt. It is a necessity to my survival. I am no longer willing to sacrifice myself. But I still don’t enjoy being mean…or cruel. It is not who I wish to be. It is just who I am now.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Lover *

Alright girls, it is time for me to start writing my book about my life experiences. Which means I have to keep having life experiences. But this book will not be the bodice-ripping Jackie Collinseque soliloque to sex, oh no. This is more the Tina Feyesque nod to the abomination that is my lovelife. Recently, I decided to take a lover. That's right, I said it. A LOVER. Well, ok, maybe not that dramatic. Really my neighbor invited me over for hottubbing and we started making out. But I figured, why not? I could use the self-esteem boost. Besides there's not much chemistry between us so I figured it shouldn't turn into some lurid love affair, but he's nice and sweet and down to earth and we promised not to let it get weird. So it was fun and lovely and then awkward and not good and it ended as all of my attempted one-night stands have...with kissing and a hand job. Sigh...

Later he emailed me a forward about attending a fundraiser at his church...double sigh...

The book practically writes itself.

It got me thinking about what I really want. And need. And have to offer. And I realized, I just don't want love anymore. At least not now. I've had the two great loves of my life. I don't want another. But I have no desire to be celibate. So, I am determined to be clear. I'm an awesome friend. I'm a super cool girl to hang out with. I described myself to him, when he questioned my understanding of a statement he made as "I am surprisingly intelligent and soulful girl veiled in the body of a diminutive supermodel." I wrote it as a joke but when I saw it on the page, I realized that is how I want to see myself. I would like to become a whole and independent woman. And as a girlfriend, I'm still a crazy person. So best not to go there.

And of course it got weird. We went out to dinner and talked about what we wanted. How we were friends and we had had a nice evening but that I needed time to heal and figure out what I wanted out of my life and that he wished for nothing more that to support me in my growth and this new phase of my life as I grow and develop and try to embrace the inner goddess struggling to emerge...and then he called and asked to be my boyfriend. Sigh. I have some more thinking to do about clarity. Perhaps that world where you can just be cool and close and still casual doesn't really exist. Or maybe it doesn't exist for me.

I am very easy to fall in love with; this much I know. There is no vanity in that statement; it is not something I wish for, it just is. But I think it is nothing more than a parlour trick. I see in people their potential. And when they are with me, they can see reflected back to them their best selves. This is really what people fall in love with-that feeling. But the truth is, you don't have to love me to have that feeling. It will be there whether you love me or not. The only real difference is, that if I love you back and we start dating, then you find you are in love with a crazy person.

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The Eulogy I Never Spoke *

This was something I wrote as we were approaching Mother's Day. I didn't wish to post it for Mother's Day so I just wrote it down to post later. This year, Mother's Day hit a little hard. Last year, I just sort of skipped it all together since it was the first without my mom. But this year, my Dad actually called and asked if I would come over to celebrate. It put me in a bit of a funk. The evening of was nice. We had dinner, listened to music and drank wine. At 9 pm we toasted the memory of mom. What follows is what was in my head leading up to it.

When my mother passed away, we didn’t really talk about why. Everyone wanted to know, was she ill? How old was she? Was she in pain? These are questions people ask because it helps make sense of the nonsensical. And it gives people solace and something to talk about when there are no words. But these questions did not bring me solace. We told everyone she died of liver failure and lupus and a secondary infection. All of which was true but all of which fell far short of the whole truth. My mother was a recovering alcoholic who by slow and steady progression, one day was no longer in recovery. She was a diabetic who stopped testing her blood sugar. She was a sufferer of lupus who decided she didn’t want to live anymore and accelerated her own demise. It is hard to say these things because they sound like blame. I do not blame my mother because I do know that in the end, if she could have stayed, she would have. But I also know I spent two years watching her steadily digress not knowing what to do. I couldn’t step in. I couldn’t save her, not again. I do not blame her, but it does not mean I am not angry. I turned to Adult Children of Alcoholics for help. They are very irritating. I’m sorry if you are a fan, I am not. They ask lots of questions and offer no answers and they teach you to let go with love-which I did. And my mother died. And I can’t quite forgive myself for that. Nor will I ever forgive them. But all these things you cannot say when you lose someone you love, someone who meant so much to so many. You cannot say how they truly died, for it casts a dark shadow upon the deceased.

So here is the Eulogy which I never got to say; which has been in my heart now since before her passing, when I knew it was imminent and did not step in.

Mom, I miss you so very much. I am so sorry that I didn’t fight harder for you. I should have seen, I should have known and I should have helped. You were the light that shone over this family and now that you are gone I don’t know if we will stay together. I have failed you. But you failed us too. I can’t believe that you just gave up. I don’t understand how you could just give up on us like this. Weren’t we enough? Weren’t we enough to make you want to stay, to make you want to get better, to make you want to fight? And how could you leave, knowing that I would never be able to forgive myself for letting you go? I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know even how to be a whole person and I need your help. What do we do now? You always knew what to do. It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. You were supposed to get better, like you always do. I love you.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Date Night *

So I have been neglecting my blog horribly due to being a tad overscheduled so I am going to try and do a bit of catch up this week. The other night I decided to take myself on a date night to see “Date Night”. I got all dressed up. I looked up show times online, planned out my evening and headed out the door. On my way to the theater, I was on an overpass when I looked down and noticed the lights of a CARNIVAL. I love carnivals. I love carnival rides and games. I love the smell of the food and the noise and the cacophony of lights and the bombardment of sounds from the crowds and rides and games. So I followed my heart to the carnival, stopped by the grocery store to pick up a little money and off I went. I spent too much money on tickets because I discovered that there were only about 4 rides for me to ride but that was ok. I was having fun. I was also still dressed for my solo date to the movies so I was walking around the carnival in my orange tank dress shirt, skinny jeans and leopard print heels. I was totally blending…really.

So I’m going ride to ride. First ride I’m waiting for, a rather attractive 30 something man starts talking to me. I explain that I was on my way to the movies and that is why I am dressed as I am. He laughs and admits he was wondering. We chat about the giant slide, the pros and cons of the inflatables versus the old standard fiberglass and potato sack, while we wait to get on the spinney ride we are in line for. Then he asks me about the movie and who I was meeting.

“No one. I was taking myself on a date night to see Date Night, “I explain.
“Alone?” he queries.
“Yup.”
“Why?”
“Because I wanted to see the movie.”

He gives me a slightly confused look and then gathers up his kids, whom I didn’t realize he was waiting for. I thought he was getting on the ride. Now, I will admit, I am always taken a little off guard when I am questioned about why I spend time alone. I guess if you are not involved with someone, you are just supposed to sit home alone and pine. It is disappointing to constantly be reminded that the world does not accept the absence of coupling.

But I decide that I will not be disheartened. I am on an adventure and I am having fun. I am also making an impression because I return to my first ride and the attendant says, “you riding again?” The evening proceeds like this, “you again?” “you riding again?” “back for another?” I even end up with guests on the Tiltiwhirl. Two little girls, who later asked for my tickets, but I told them no. I wanted to ride the Zipper-it’s a ride-get your mind out of the gutter. But it was for couple riders only. Damn. Again with the discrimination against singles. So I convince the goldfish guy to ride with me…twice!

It’s time for me to head out, and as I start to leave, feeling rejuvenated by my spontaneous adventure and my life-of-the party, bell-of-the-ball status, I hear a voice from beside me. “So where are we going?” I turn to discover the source of the inquiry only to find that I am standing in front of the Break a Plate game booth and the voice is coming from the Carney.

“I’m sorry. Were you addressing me?” I ask.
He repeats, “Where are we going?”

I am now entirely confused. And, intrigued by his persistence, I question him as to what he wants. He tells me he finds me interesting and he sees no ring on my finger so… I stop him in his tracks and explain my status, in as brief but clear a term as I can muster without going into the details. He tells me that the fact that I am married is a shame, but that he would still like to get together. So, I figure, why not? He will be leaving with the carnival. So I give him my number. I leave the carnival with my heart racing and my cheeks flushed. I just got picked up by a Carney in my leopard print heels. It was the best movie I never saw.

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Belly Dance *

I took a belly dance class this past winter. I was inspired by a song called obviously enough, “Introduction to Belly dance”. I decided I needed this in my life. I needed something to reconnect me with the sexual being that so many have tried to convince me exists. I have been told I am a sexually powerful woman and as it was an email, I had to check the address-even though it was in my inbox. So, I decided I wanted to find a group of women whom I could connect with and maybe find myself again. I went online and discovered not only was there a class in my neighborhood but it was starting that week. Clearly this was meant to be. I contacted the instructor who told me that is was not a popular time and that she was not sure the class would run, but please feel free to come and hope for the best. Well, I did not lose faith and I was not disappointed. Too much had already gone in my favor; I was meant to take this class. Someone will show up. And what an amazing and diverse group of women came. The first day of class, we go around the room talking about our reasons for being there. There is the beautiful Costa Rican woman who is trying to reconnect with her body after suffering the muscular deterioration from Lupus. Immediately I feel connected to her through my mother. There is the stunning equestrian who wants to connect to her femininity because she lives and works in a barn with horses. There are the two friends, both of whom are gorgeous, statuesque women seeking a way to work out and get in shape after having taken time off to raise their children. They say they have done everything, tried everything and aren’t seeing the results they need. Then it is my turn. Why am I here? What am I looking for? My answer is utterly honest and floods out of me. “I am here because I am in the midst of a major identity crisis and I need to reconnect with my inner goddess.” Ok, I’m afraid to even look up. These women are going to eat me alive. What was I thinking? After a moment, I let out my breath, which I have apparently been holding, and one of the friends just laughs and says, “I want her reason. I want my inner goddess too.” The whole class chimes in talking about inner goddesses and family and the need for something independent of wife and mother. Class begins. I am in the right place. Thank you Universe. I am, as always, utterly humbled.
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Overtures *

It occurred to me after the other night's fiasco that perhaps if we put as much effort into eachother as we do into other people that maybe we might be able to salvage this marriage-or at least reinvigorate it so that there is something there worth salvaging. So I suggested to my husband that he start flirting with me. He said he already does-but his idea of flirting with me is to look up in the morning, say "I'm a lucky man" and go back to bed. Sweet but hardly earth shattering or bodice ripping banter. So I suggested we should try flirting online since he clearly is capable and comfortable saying naughty things and making racey overtures to other women, so why not me? I personally enjoy a bit of innuendo myself and sometimes blatent and slightly vulgar suggestion. And I know it isn't the same when I'm here every day. Hardly seems worth the effort. But I pointed out that it would be nice if my own husband got my pulse racing so he grudgingly agreed.

So yesterday, I sent him an email with "Where's my sexy email" in the subject line. The email consisted of just one line-"it's after lunch and I'm feeling a bit...naughty".

He wrote back-just one line. "My email is monitored." Oops. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Facebook *

Dear and patient reader,

I promise to return to the present soon and to offer up some fun and titillating details of my ventures in entering the adult world but this is where my mind is today. I apologize for the gravity but I need to take a moment to wrap myself around it.

Well, I guess my discretion is unnecessary since once again my husband has decided to air our private lives in Facebook conversations. Sigh. And I am once again to watch him dally amidst our friends as I remain uncomfortably ensconced. He says it is unfair for me to expect him to move outside the group because he doesn't meet people. He is very good at hurting me. He has always been good at it. Together, I think perhaps we are experts.

There was a time when we first dated that he skipped the opening night of a show I was starring in to spend the afternoon at the beach with another woman. He showed up to the cast party that night wanting me to feel sorry for him because he was so very sunburned. I didn't really even understand what had happened. I was 16 at the time. At another point, he thought he would have to leave me to marry the woman who claimed to be carrying his child. She wasn't but does it matter? I was 17 at the time. When I was 18, after we had broken up and I had dated and then left Mr. Darcy to be with him again, he proposed to me. I was the fifth woman he had proposed to. He married me because I said yes. I have always known this. And I said yes, because he needed me. He was a mess. A philanderer and at the time, completely bankrupt. He is an amazing musician, have I mentioned that? He put me in his band-at that time he had dated and/or slept with every female member. It was I who asked for the open marriage, not he. I thought maybe if we already had it in place, then when he cheated it wouldn't hurt. I never expected it would be me who would have an affair, if you call it that in such a situation. And I always thought if he had that freedom, at least he would choose to be discreet. But instead he publicly courted women amongst our group and got reinvolved with women who had already taken great pleasure in hurting me. And he complains that my presence causes his lack of success because our female friends like me too much to do something they worry would hurt me. Perhaps it is time to get out into the world.

I like to be in the company of men. It doesn't mean that I sleep with them. It doesn't mean that I don't. I simply like being around people and particularly people who find me interesting and attractive and enticing. I delight in the ambiguity of my life which affords me the opportunity to be amongst people without having to worry too much what it means. But he does not like to go out. He does not share my interests. He does not want my company.

I don't wish to paint such an uneven picture of the man and I know a great deal of time has passed since my teen years. We have had some wonderful times together and I would hardly call myself a victim, because not only have I allowed myself to be injured and scarred, I have stayed, left and returned. And I too have drawn my share of blood. My husband is at times a good man and a better man for me in his life as arrogant as that sounds. But he is often a stupid man. And immensely thoughtless. And very hurtful. It sucks.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cyberdating *

I recently set up a coffee date with Mr. Darcy but we realized that actually getting together wasn't going to be terribly feasible or productive. Rush hour, time crush, too much travel, too soon and so on. But rather than just canceling outright, I had the idea that we both go to our respective coffee houses and just meet up online. This was prior to actually getting a webcam so we were just meeting on chat. I have to say, it was quite delightful. I had my chai, my pastries, the super comfy chair by the fireplace and time to think about all that I wanted to say. It was kind of a breakthrough and quite frankly, I felt a bit like a rock star for even coming up with the idea. Better yet, it was like TV during sex. If I got bored with the conversation, I just opened up another chat window or went on Facebook or bought shoes.

I know that this age of texts and emails and instant messaging can make us callous and thoughtless in our exchanges, but for the single married girl on her quest for her inner awesome,it made me feel safe. I had control of the situation. I had an exit strategy. I had chai. And I had the luxury of not having to face the man I loved so very much, face to face, heart racing, face flushed, tongue tied, eyes welling. Instead, I just spent the time laughing. Out loud. In public. Online. How's that for a great first date?

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