Monthly Archives: February 2014

Morning. Good.

3 a.m. I wake up scared.

There is absolutely no reason for my fear.  The house is quiet.  I find my glasses and look outside.  It’s still snowing.  Kind of like seeing the sunrise around here — all is well as long as we have snow.

I check the locks.  All good.  I find the dog in the dark.  It is too early for breakfast so he didn’t get up to greet me.  I pet him.  Yes, he breathes. Good.  Cats?  Ah, forget the cats.  I know they’re fine.  Besides, if Tigger — the kids named him, not me — had an epileptic fit, I’d recognize the thumping sound.

I can hear the kitchen clock.  I had no idea it was that loud.

The bathroom light is on, so someone has been up.  Everyone is asleep now.  Everyone except me.  It was nothing.  Nothing scared me.  (Or should I write, nothing scares me…  If nothing was a someone then, maybe I’d be onto something.  O geez-uz.  I’m tired.  Quit talking to myself).

Water.  Maybe I need some H2O.  Done.  I’ll go back to sleep, but of course I can’t.  I lay there, turn on my usual podcasts to help calm me to sleep.  I listen to two, 31 minute podcasts.  They must have eventually worked because when the alarm rings at 5:50 a.m. I wake again and feel like crap.  There is a fresh kink in my neck.  I must have slept wrong.

5:51 a.m.  Think: What am I doing?  And why?  Eyes open, I command thee!  Stretch!  Think something “Happy!” Force thyself!  Feet on floor!  (I can talk to myself with thee, thou and thy because no one actually witnesses my ridiculousness.)  I check the phone; no messages from the school. Give it another hour, maybe they’ll call.  Snow days are rare around here, but we hope for them. But then I hear a snow plow pass through our street.  Hope fades…

Groggy, I turn on Spotify and crank up my WAKEUP AND WRITE list.  My fears are gone.  I brew coffee and rock out to “Work Bitch.”  My kids, like zombies, stumble out of their rooms, looking at me as though I’ve lost my mind.  Ha.  They are wising up to me.  Finally.

Here’s the playlist:

Britney Spears – Work B**ch

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us – feat. Ray Dalton
will.i.am – Scream & Shout
Imagine Dragons – On Top Of The World
Bastille – Pompeii
Caro Emerald – Back It Up
Ke$ha – Warrior
Jake Bugg – Lightning Bolt
MGMT – Time to Pretend
Lorde – Royals
Rogue Wave – Bird On A Wire
Night Beds – Ramona
James – Laid

Guaranteed to get you up and moving.  Good Morning.

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wear it proudly.

Each Wednesday I look forward to reading Steven Pressfield’s:  Writing Wednesdays.  I share his post today, My First Three Novels, because it helps (sometimes) to know I am not alone in this strange little world I’ve chosen.  Maybe, regardless of your preferred art form, it will help you, too. Discouragement and growth seem to go hand-in-hand. I was a proud member of the Loser’s Club yesterday.  I am a proud member of the Other 99% Club today.

http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2014/02/my-first-three-novels/

Secondly, since I borrowed my blog post title from one of my favorite songs written and performed by Elvis Costello, I felt it necessary to include it here:


Everyone Who’s Anyone: The Confession.

My daughter, who recently endured a very tough Master’s Class with a renowned vocal performer (yes, she/he will remain nameless), sent me this video link today:

Jon Nakamatsu’s “Loser’s Club”

Keep playing.  Keep Singing.  Keep writing.  Run the race.


What the Doctor Ordered:

“nice guys” finish last.

The link above is without a doubt one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever read and THE VERY THING I needed to read tonight.  Thank you Ms. Adams for posting.

I’ve whined long enough.

Simple A, B, C’s….

Ciao for now.


The Fight

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An update to my “letter” post.

It goes like this for me, maybe it is the same for you:  I get so down, I feel as though I will never get up again. Then, the next day — I want to fight.

But first, I have to whine about it, moan about, write about.  I talk to whomever will listen.  And if they don’t want to hear it?  Doesn’t matter.  I will spill it, I will send that email, I will write that post, I will SAY how bad it hurts — because I have to get it out.  I am willing to shame myself if it means I’ll be free of the pain. I embarrass myself, show my failure, this never-ending battle of a marriage that on the surface — should have gone well.  It would be so much easier to see “the truth” had he been a cheat or a scoundrel.  If he’d been a lousy father or a drug addict.  He is not those things.  He is a good guy.  A good, handsome, sweetheart.  But it occurs to me that good guy or not — he’s destroying me.

So tonight — my options:  Quit my life or fight for my life. Lay down and die or get up and fight.  It’s no longer about my “marriage.”  The battle I face is not about marriage.  I don’t even know what marriage is anymore.  I’ve raised our kids by myself for so long now — what does it matter?  As long as I don’t say the word “divorce” everyone seems quite satisfied with the illusion.  So — I won’t say the word.

But the fight is within me.  The fight is something larger than a relationship.  Sure — the chips are down and stacked against me.  But the chips are against everyone.  Everyone.  Excuses are worthless.

My biggest threat?  Is giving in to sentiment.  I must be stronger than my sympathy, my self-pity, and worse — my guilt.

Years ago, I had a boyfriend — loved him, deeply — with all my heart.  But I knew he was all wrong for me, the drugs, the band, his ex-wife, his three children, his lack of direction, lack of interest in God, complete self-interest, but in the end it was the skirt chasing… that got me.  He was unfaithful.  That was the thing I couldn’t overcome.  That, and he had a vasectomy.  I wanted to have children.

One very bad day — I woke up.  From what I remember there were several bad days in a row, months of those bad days.  (I am slow when it comes to exiting “love.”)  But on the day I knew it was over, I thought my decision would end me.  I loved him.  I didn’t want to leave.

The choice had finally become clear then, too.  Who did I love more? Him or me?  If I stayed, it would kill me.  I would have nothing I wanted for my life.

But if I left, I would lose the man I loved. All I would gain would be the hope of becoming new, someday.

I left. It was horrible. Not a good end.  He has never spoken to me again.  Friendship — out of the question.  From what I’ve heard about him since, he married well.  He lives his life the same as he did when I was with him.  He plays music, has a boat and smokes a lot of pot. Good for him.  His wife makes the money.  His wife didn’t want children.  I did the man a favor.

In retrospect it was the right decision.  The wrong part of the decision was that I quickly entered into a new relationship.  Too soon.  I gave up on my dream of being an actress and replaced my love gone bad with new love, too soon.  That decision has brought me to where I am now.  I gave up on myself and devoted myself to another.

Stupid.

I should have sucked it up and endured the pain of loneliness.  I should have gone through it instead of trying to mask it, patch it — with new “love” and new false promises.  I should have given my dreams, my visions for myself a chance — but I was weak.

Tonight I ask myself which was worse?  The false promises said to me? Or the promises I made to myself and that I never fully pursued?  It is the second option that has brought me to my knees. I am to blame.  Now that I am down here — the lessons I needed to learn 20 years ago are still here.  Those lessons are much harder now.  I have mouths to feed, to clothe, to educate.  I have 5 beautiful people I need to teach, instill that honesty, gumption, hard work will go far.  I must teach them to be fearless, but wise, that they can be and choose anything they want  — but only if they put their whole 100% effort toward those goals.  I want them to know and somehow must teach that love does exist.  That love and happiness are attainable, but…

Never sell your soul.  Never give it away.  Their soul belongs to each of them and then to God – no one else.

So. Fight.  That’s what I am telling myself.  Fight.  Work.  Fight.  Reclaim my spirit and fight fearlessly.

and of course, I will pray.


Letter

I waited all day and night for this glass of wine.  Now that I finally have it, the plans to write, whatever, have drifted from me.  I had several thoughts in my head — I meant to write them down — but two out of four kids are sick, three out of five, if I count my daughter way over Thar in Ohio.  I had to herd the cats, medicate another, tidy up the lair a bit and by the time I  finished, the glass of wine nearly felt like a chore itself.  Time to unwind, to dream, to relax turned very quickly into anxiousness.

 The Olympics are on.

Assad is still killing his people.

Hollywood is on its crescendo toward The Big Night — the capper of award season.

Folks at home still can’t get work, can’t get enough work, and yet — fuck you folks —  bills are creeping higher.

the snow is deep and lofty outside my door.  and it’s lovely.  It smells so wonderful.

I can’t wait until spring.

But.  I must wait. And wait.

Oh My God, there are nights that I feel like I’m not going to survive this.  I wake up better, generally willing to fight another day.  I recite my phrases — like trying to tie my head back on straight.  Say the words.  Speak the affirmations.  Declare victory.  Move on in faith.  Deny the circumstance.  Never ever, ever give up.

But my God — and seriously, I am talking to Him and not you when I say that — My God — when will there be some relief?  Some joy?  Some moment that I feel as though… there was a reason for this?

I watched CAPTAIN PHILLIPS  tonight along with my 8-year-old (who has a cold) and my 11-year-old, who couldn’t help but tell spoilers to relieve me of anxiety.  It’s a stressful film.  (He saw the film before). Before tonight, we also watched 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE BUTLER,  DALLAS BUYERS CLUB  — all of which, interestingly enough, are based on true stories.  Those stories — for the suffering they endured, I can’t help but wonder if they felt sickened by the meaningless of it all?  Who would care about their stories until it was heard, rewritten into a tightly woven drama, filmed, edited, packaged and sold as a PRODUCT — was it only then that their stories mattered?  Did they matter as the events unfolded?  If they had died — would it have been a non-starter and not worth telling?  I suppose the answer is yes.  Dead men tell no tales.  (Who coined that phrase?  Black Beard or Disney?) And for the people who die along the way — are they just the spoils of a Hollywood block buster?  Did they matter to anyone at all?  For the people who loved the dead — does that love do anything but cause deep, deep sorrow?

I will be better in the a.m.  I always am.  I have such good intentions at night, most emotional hours of the day — the hours I should write and find my way with what I purport to do — but no — I am here writing a letter.  The desire to connect with another human being on some level beyond basic, “responsible” functionality.  And that connection eludes me completely.  No talks like that.  no.  No friendships like that, not ever.  I suppose it is why I am drawn to theater and drama and religion — I crave the mysticism. And it’s not meant for this earth, only on stage or in a Theater Near You.

I watched a couple of YOUTUBE videos before stopping over to write here.  One was a panel discussion about the filming of THE DALLAS BUYERS CLUB.  I don’t have the exact quote, but the moderator asked Jared Leto (who, by the way, I am in love with), what his process included as he interviewed other transgender individuals to prepare for the part of Rayon.  Anyway — he said (in part) that he saw a particular bravery within the transgender community.  People who chose to live the life they dream for themselves rather than taking “as is” the one they were given.  His words gave me chills.  He uses that observation in the film, too.  Near the end of the film, he says one line that provoked in me a similar reaction. Rayon knows that she/he is dying and she looks in the mirror and says as a prayer to God that when she meets Him in heaven she hopes to finally be beautiful — And there —  oh My God, yes. There, God — that’s where some of us are.  Is there a point in our life that we finally become the vision we hold in our minds? But until then, we can only fake it, work it, paint it, write it, inebriate it or construct it out of leftover scraps and second-hand shit that no else wants.

I should go to bed.  My cat is bugging me.  She sits on my desk, near my keyboard and won’t quit cleaning. My mobile just alerted me that more SNOW is on the way.  yay.  15 inches hasn’t been enough I suppose.

I need some prayers said — ’cause the ones I say are not apparently LOUD ENOUGH.

I want a cure for my son’s autism.

I want a cure for my life.

I want to find my way out of this box.

I want my children not to follow my footsteps.

I want God to fix me, cure me, change me. Make me better than this.

I want God to make me fearless, brave.

I want to not be an idiot.

I want to throw every fucking object out of my house and start over.  Hold on. Wait.  That thought does not include my children, or my camera, or the photographs and videos. See?  SEE how incredibly strong the 12 disciples were?  They left everything — even their wives.  Oh wait — That sort of sucks, doesn’t it?

I will try to ignore that last little fact….^

God saved my dad.  He saved my mother, too.  He saved my son 20 years ago when the Doc gave him and 11% chance of pulling through ( but then the surgeries, the autism).  God saved My friend, many times, (though her afflictions have not ceased, she is a constant inspiration).  God gave my brother new love…  Dear God — when will you save me? …   …   …   Fine.  I am willing to wait — but please help my son. Only say the word and he will be healed… Say the word. Heal him.

Then me.

Amen.


Epiphany

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A few unrelated thoughts came together when I woke this morning:  Yo-yo dieting, credit cards, my lack of discipline and my long distance spouse are all symptoms of my trapped life’s struggle.

  • Credit cards.

They are convenient, allow me to buy things I need in the moment, but they are bad for me and keep me in a financial rut.  One of my 2014 decisions was to cut all the use of credit cards.  But try as I might not to use them, I’ve discovered how many things I’ve subscribed to that automatically charge my account and shock the hell out of my budget calculations.  Expenditures that I forgot were coming.  For example, I thought I’d paid off one card for good and yet here is a 99 dollar charge.  Hosting fees.  Yeah… I guess I kind of “need” to keep that.  Now if I would finish and relaunch my website to make it worth the expense…

  • Dieting.

I’ve been back and forth with the same five pounds for well over a year now.  Can’t get past that rotten five-pound loss to get ONE SINGLE DIGIT closer to my goal of a total of a ten pound loss.  When I am one digit  from what I view as the speed bump on the scale, I over eat and gain two back.  Which for some reason means I will likely over eat for two more days, gain 3 more pounds and there ya go… I start all over.  Last night I was HUNGRY but I did not eat.  This morning I woke up hungry and I still am.  If I can remain hungry for one solid week I’ll notice the numbers on the scale drop.  But that’s not the trick.  Staying hungry for two weeks is the trick.  The fait accompli would be to stay slightly hungry for a solid month and more, throw in daily exercise and Voila!   Then let’s see what that bastard of a scale has to say.

But will I?  Hmm.  It’s so simple. Daily effort.  Daily steps. Inch by motherfecking inch.

  • Writing

And then there’s writing (slash) career.  Yes, let me be honest with myself for one minute.  I have no career because I have never put my entire effort toward this goal.  I have never, with unceasing effort, day in, day out, repeated the act of pumping out pages of work.  Nope.  And it shows.  I have been a mom, which, yeah — I know — everyone says is the hardest job in the world and it is, because the nature of the job is that the mother’s personal goals and needs (career, money, hair appointments) are always dead last in terms of importance.  But now?  Now that I “know” my children’s long-term survival and well-being count on whether I acquire a back bone?  I need to switch it up.

  • Wedded Bliss

Not quite.  I have settled into a stagnant, maddening, situation and nearly every day for years — even before his departure to La La Land — tolerated it because it was easier than facing the truth. (“Situation” defined:  waiting for him to return, holding hope for him to “come through” with his own career,  the constant state of lack and loneliness).  I have repeated these phrases or similar for two decades: “but he’s a really good guy.”  “He loves us.” “His heart is in the right place…”  All of which are true — but — I’m starving here.  We are starving here.  It’s the kind of starving that makes me do stupid irrational things like, go adopt two more cats, plus two more cats.  It’s the kind of starving that encourages me to seek comfort in a bottle of wine, eat greasy, salty or sweet comfort foods.  It’s the kind of starving that sent me to see psychologist after psychologist to ask only one thing: “What’s wrong with me?”  And though it is not my long distance spouse’s fault, the imagined security of marriage  has prevented me from seeing my oldest daughter at college, from developing friendships or from driving a mere 10 miles outside of my town for fear the vehicle would break down, stranding the kids and me on a single lane highway to nowhere.  It has prevented me from living my life — this waiting.

And meanwhile, I let the writing go to the bottom of the list of importance.  The one thing I could do simply by making the time to do it — I let go.  It is no one’s fault but mine.

Idiot.

I have not spoken to him on the phone for two weeks.  He calls everyday to speak with the kids (and me).  Before this, For over seven years, we spoke to each other daily (via phone) and of course when he came home to visit.   Now I’ve stopped talking.  It’s connected to my failed diet attempts, my reliance on credit cards, my poor discipline as a writer, my lack of gumption as a filmmaker.  But refusing to talk to him,  as difficult as it is, (trust me, it’s difficult) seems to help.  I’d like to say this clarity is something new — but it isn’t.  I’ve tried to face facts before, many times. Always for the same reasons.  2010, after my grandmother died, the sorrow woke me then, too.  He isn’t going to do it. He isn’t going to change, improve his own life or fight for his family.  I told him I wanted a divorce.  But I love him, so we found God, Joel Osteen and tried hope again.  This past year, it was my father’s heart attack that opened my eyes.  My spouse flew in, offered support and comfort – and it was good.  I was so grateful that he came home, that he was with the kids, was here to see my dad, to see me.  Grateful my spouse came home.  Isn’t that proof that he is a great guy?

I don’t know — even now as I write this my heart struggles.  I remind myself:  My life depends on my choices.  I control the action.  If my life was a screenplay I would see immediately the problem.  The story is not controlled by the antagonist but by the choices the protagonist makes.  There is no story unless the protagonist drives it toward her GOAL.

I am saying with my forced silence, I control me.  I control my time.  I control my thoughts and emotions, not him.  I make the decisions for myself, our children. Let me remind myself:  November 7th 2006.  That is how long it’s been. That’s how long he’s been gone.

And yet…

Within that time, had I not been such a coward, so weak with excuses and dependency — had I written even two pages a day, where would I be now?  Had I written, committed to my own goals and vision, daily, in spite of the circumstance — where would I be?  Maybe I would save our marriage. Maybe.

The road is still there.  It’s not route 66 and if it is, it’s closed for a good reason. There is always another road that will get me from here to there.  I have coffee in the thermos, I have the map  — now I just need to buy the car.