Ash-Land of my Dreams

23 Sep

And just like THAT, I’m relaxed and feeling great.

The change?  I WENT ON VACATION, BABY!

My boss serves on the board for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR.  He and his wife own a condo in Ashland and were kind enough to invite me to stay with them for a few days and see some shows.  I spent four days wandering the town, shopping, watching their dog play, seeing fabulous theatre and having wonderful conversations with interesting people.  I saw productions of INTO THE WOODS (fabulous), THE GREAT SOCIETY (fabulous), RICHARD III (solid) and TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (meh), came home with two fabulous new dresses and some lovely accessories, spent an afternoon with a coconut cream tart and my iPhone camera at Lithia Park, tried homemade lemon basil ice cream (delish), and slept the sweet sleep of a lady who doesn’t have a damn thing to do except see plays and window shop.  For four days, I was living the good life with really, REALLY good people.

Now I am home and back to the grind and busy busy busy–but my heart is happy for having taken some time away.

 

E*X*H*A*U*S*T*E*D or Thoughts on a Thursday Night.

12 Sep

I’ve reached my limit.

Folks, I’m an energetic chick.  It’s no particular skill, I was just blessed with a lot of energy.  And often, when I think I have used up all my energy and all my energy reserves, I’ll find that my reserves have extra reserves, and I have enough to get me through.

But sometimes my energy really has been depleted and there are no reserves.  And that’s when bad shit starts to happen.  That’s when I lose it and have some kind of breakdown (several of which have been dissected on this very site).  I sense that breakdown time is nigh.

Like all humans, I work best in that happy medium between “bored” and “no time to do anything but work, sorry eating and resting and social life.”  Sometimes that medium can be hard to maintain.  Writing helps.  It really does.  It’s times like these that I’m the most grateful that I have my little corner of the internet.  Others can visit–and I love it when they do!–but Rosettes and Revolution is mine, and it gives me comfort to know that it’s here.  Ready and waiting to take in all my incoherent rambling.

Speaking of which.

There is nothing much to do in times like this except put one foot in front of the other.  Do one thing.  And then do another thing.  And then do a third and a fourth thing.  And then, at some point, to say “screw the rest of the things, I’m going to take a bath and watch TV and not do any more work today.”

So in that spirit–

Screw the rest of the things.  I’m going to take a bath and watch TV and not do any more work today.

A Happy Birthday Do-Over

29 Aug

My birthday was two weeks ago.

And I gotta be honest, it wasn’t the best.

It wasn’t bad, not at all.  I got to do a show that night, I got lots of phone calls and messages from friends and family, received some lovely gifts, was surprised with beautiful flowers from my boyfriend…all good things.  But there were some bummer things, too.  My plans to spend the day on the Lewis River with my boyfriend were totally derailed and the trip got cancelled.  I took myself to the movies as a consolation, but I went to see The Giver, which was totally wretched (read the book and skip the movie.  Please).  I was exhausted by the end of the day and our tentative plans to go out after the show didn’t materialize.  It was just kind of a bleh-birthday.

But Dusty was adamant that we make it to the river.  So on Wednesday, we cleared our schedule and took a day off.  And friends, it was AWESOME.

Waking up that morning FELT like my birthday.  We got up, put together our picnic, and dashed up to Lewisville Park.  We spent hours sunbathing (extra win–my SPF 75 and sunhat did their jobs and I DIDN’T BURN!), splashing in the river, snacking, and taking summery selfies.  I got to try out my new bathing suit (the “Penelope” crochet suit in navy from Nordstroms cost me an arm and a leg but was totally worth it!) Since it was my (un)birthday, I subjected him to Harry Potter, reading the first few chapters aloud to him like I always wanted to.  We took a slow walk back to our car, stopping to pick up walking sticks and swing on the abandoned swingset.  We ate ice cream on the way home and took a long, long nap.

But that wasn’t everything.  That evening I went out with two friends who I love like family for a belated birthday dinner at Tasty N Sons, which was every bit as delicious as it should have been.  I went home full of food and happiness.  Dusty had gone to Seattle that night, so I was free to discover Orphan Black, which is basically my favorite show now that there is no more Game of Thrones for me to watch.

I guess my point is this: Birthdays are special.  The gift of another year lived and the promise of another year to come is worth celebrating.  And everyone deserves one day a year to be totally selfish and have things their way–and the chance to give others that day in return.  I’m happy I got to have the day I wanted, even if it wasn’t on the day I planned.

And here are some photos:

 

Closed for Renovation

19 Aug

Wrapped up in teacher training this week, will return next Monday!

O Captain My Captain!

11 Aug

Robin Williams is dead.

It took his death for me to realize how much he had made up the fabric of my life.  His voice was a constant in my childhood, as I watched videos of Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire and, especially, my beloved Hook over and over and over on our ancient VCR.  His influence extended into my young adulthood with Dead Poets Society (which will forever and always take me back to Mr. Barrett’s class and the happiest school year of my life) and Good Will Hunting.  He even touched my adulthood with Death to Smoochy, which I maintain is the funniest thing I ever saw and I really don’t care what the critics had to say about it.

And now he’s gone.  And somehow, I can’t quite fathom it.  I mean, it’s not like I spent tons of time thinking about Robin Williams.  I just thought, stupidly, that he would always be around.  His characters were so large and epic that it didn’t really sink into my poor human brain that he is–was–just a man.

His passing serves as a reminder of two things.  The first is that we never truly know what is happening inside another person.  A person’s outside, whether they are a public figure or no, is not always an accurate representation of their inside.  It reminds me that there might be people in my own life who are suffering, and I might have no idea.

The second is that death is coming to us all.  It seems so strange–that someone can be here and then not be here–and yet it us, truly, the most natural thing in the world.  The great unifier, so to speak.  I never met Robin Williams.  But he is dead and one day I will be dead and one day everyone I know will be dead.  How is death so shocking when it is so certain?

When Tess contemplates her own death in Tess of the D’Urbervilles, she speaks of all of her “tomorrows” unfolding one after another–until at last she reaches the tomorrow that is the day she will die.  This framing of death has always been a strange comfort to me.  I will live until I die.  My tomorrows hold joy, heartbreak, frustration, elation and, eventually, the end.  Maybe I will see it coming.  Maybe it will be over before I know what’s happening.  But it’s waiting for me.  It’s waiting for all of us.

With Robin’s death, a line to my childhood has snapped.  Maybe it snapped long ago, and it took his passing for me to realize it.  There is no childhood in my line of tomorrows, those have all passed.  All that remains is to fill the tomorrows with as much LIFE as I can and hope that when my death greets me, I can be at peace with the knowledge that I lived and loved as best I could.

The added tragedy of his passing, of course, is that it appears that he took his own life.  It makes me profoundly sad that a man who created joy for so many was unable to lift himself out of the darkness.  Suicide of a loved one has touched my life, and so I send my deepest sympathies to those who knew and loved the man rather than the artist.

My Dearest Readers, I do not know what is hidden in your soul of souls.  But if you too are battling that darkness, please know that I care for you.  If I can be of help, reach out to me.  If I can’t, reach out to someone else.  But you are loved and you matter and there are people who want to help you.

Death will come for us all.  But until then, we must strive to live as best we can.  We all have some darkness in us, and I hope we can all find the strength to reach out and grab a hand when the darkness of depression or addiction or brain chemistry threatens to pull us under. And I hope we can all find the wisdom and insight to sense, as best we can, when we might offer that hand to someone else.  Our tomorrows will have some darkness.  May we all find the moments of light and love.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills.

 

Working Together to Work Together

7 Aug

Hoh. Lee. Hell.

It’s been a bitch of a two weeks.

I haven’t written, but know that I have  VERY GOOD CAUSE.  My show went into tech and then into opening (very successful, so yay), my work life got slammed, and I was battling pretty  major fatigue at every turn.

And then the bombshell:  Dusty (my boyfriend, ICYMI), would start working from home.  Immediately.

First of all:  This is very good news.  He does something similar to what I do–that is, a whole bunch of different stuff–and working from home will provide him with more flexibility.  The change in his work arrangement has other benefits, which I won’t get into because it’s none of our business.  But yay!  It’s good.

The immediate concern was, of course, space.  Dusty found out this move was taking place on Thursday, and on Saturday he moved his work computer and stuff into our house to begin on Monday.  So our first thought was where in Hades to PUT the damn stuff.  He has his downstairs rehearsal/recording studio, but there’s not enough room for all his music stuff AND his work stuff.  So that left the office.

My office.

Now, considering I’m a spoiled, introverted only child who is greedy with space and craves solitude, I was surprised at how utterly OK I was with the idea of him “moving in” to my room.  I could easily move out my “thinking couch” (yes, that’s really what I called it) and bring in a second desk.  I was HAPPY to do it.  But there was only one desk.  His desk.  I knew I had to vacate the premises immediately and return his desk to him. But then, of course, I had to get a desk of my own.

The next step was an ordeal. Since he had to be back to work Monday, we had to get our shit lined up Sunday after my matinee.  The final performance of OPENING WEEKEND, which  meant we were fresh out of tech/dress/performances and I was exhausted.  Even still, we piled into his car and drove to the local thrift store.  It took a massive effort (choosing a desk, realizing it wouldn’t fit in the car, running to Fred Meyer to buy the rando screwdriver needed to take it apart, taking it apart, driving it home in two trips, going out for ice cream (!), re-assembling it, moving my crap into the new desk, loading Dusty’s stuff into his desk), but I am now the proud owner of a beautiful roll-top desk that I adore and purchased for a steal.

And my office is now our office.

Once we finally had our office in order, Dusty took a look around and said

“We’re going to be seeing a whole lot of each other.”

Back-to-back

Back-to-back

This is a big deal.  For the first year and a half of our relationship, we led very separate lives.  Our own careers, our own friends, our own homes, our own lives.  We loved each other and spending time together, but also had our own shit going on.  That changed when we moved in together–sharing a home means sharing a life. But even with a shared home and shared life, we’re both independent as hell.  And part of that is–was–time apart during the day.

But here’s the thing.

I’m happy he’s going to be around.  Maybe I have to turn in my Independent Woman card (j/k, you can pry it from my cold dead fingers), but I’m stoked that we’ll be together all day.  I feel like I should be worried…but I’m not.  I just think it’s cool.  And it’s not like we’re really together ALL the time–he still has to go to the office for brief spurts several times per week, and I’m always flitting about.

It’s a new step, for sure.  But even to my independence-and-solitude-craving-introverted-self, it feels good to have a buddy at work.

And now I do.

Lessons from the Green-Eyed Monster

16 Jul

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about jealousy.

I don’t consider myself to be a terribly jealous person, but I’m certainly not immune to the feeling.  When I see a person who is stunningly beautiful or  crazy talented or has access to resources (money, mainly) that I wish I had for myself.  I feel a pang, for sure.  When I was younger, I was often consumed by my jealousies.  I knew them for what they were and hated them.  Now I value them.  Jealousies have a place in us.

I’m not a fan of dividing feelings into “good” and “bad.”  I know folks who go through life trying to repress all their “negative” (anger/jealousy/selfishness) feelings.  I don’t live inside their heads and won’t presume to criticize the way they live their lives and manage their emotions, but I choose a different attitude in regards to my “negative” feelings.  Our anger, our jealousy, our insecurity, our selfishness–they have a place inside us.  And I believe that if we endeavor to accept them, examine them, and then release them (rather than repress them or right them), we stand a greater chance of being happy.

Jealousy as a Clue

Much as anger can clue us in to when our boundaries are being crossed, jealousy can clue us in to some interesting crappola as well.  Jealousy helps us know what we value, what we want, and what might be missing..  Do you feel jealousy pangs when you witness undeniable talent?  Great beauty?  Happy family life?  Power?  Possessions?  Clue in on what makes you jealous and go from there.  It might not always be straightforward or easy.  It might not always be pleasant.  You might find that what your jealousies reveal to you are not things you like to see in yourself, in which case you might have some major work to do.  But it starts by playing Sherlock Holmes and figuring out what your jealousies are telling you.

Comparing Leads to Despairing

Jealousy stops being productive once it starts controlling us.  Because that shit can take over your life, and that helps no one.

When I was a very young adult (late teens/early twenties), I was obsessed with two things (well, three things, but “getting a boyfriend” isn’t relevant to this).  The two things were: being beautiful and being talented.  I had been told since childhood that I was those two things and came to believe that any chance at happiness or success would only occur if I remained beautiful and talented.  So I spent several years of my life preoccupied with a ranking system in my head, that I was constantly updating.  “She’s a better singer, but I’m a better actress.”  “She’s funnier but I’m smarter.”  “She’s thinner but I have a prettier face.”  “She’s talented but I work harder.”  “Oh fuck, she’s prettier AND more talented.”  “Oh, thank God, I’m the prettiest one here.”  “Oh no! My scene was the worst!”  “She’s so skinny why am I not that skinny it doesn’t matter if you’re pretty if you’re fat and I’m not even pretty anymore I haven’t been pretty since I was 16 and now I can’t even count on being smart everyone’s smart and I’m not good at anything and my life is over.”

It was exhausting and ruining and shameful.  And it left no time or attention to actually bettering myself in those and other aspects of my life.  You can’t be brave in acting class if you’re trying like hell to claw your way up to “best” and are afraid to take risks or look foolish.  You can’t fully participate in school if you’re too busy figuring out if you’re the smartest or best looking one in the class.  And you sure as fuck can’t be a good friend, teammate, or person when you’re so fucking self-absorbed that you can’t see past your nose and where it ranks in some bullshit, made-up system.  But that was my life.  Until I hit 23 or so, and decided I was sick of being a despicable human being and started to wise up.

I saw how far I had come in an acting class a few years later.  A friend was performing her scene, and she was killing it.  The familiar thought came to my head: I wish I could do what she can do.  But then, unbidden, a second thought followed: but there are things I can do that she can’t do.  This wasn’t (mentally) said with a sense of superiority or comparison or ranking.  It simply meant that  I can’t be anyone other than who I am.  But, on the flip side, no one else can be me.  I can learn from what other people do and are, but it will always come through the filter of me.  And that’s a GOOD THING.  It’s silly and pointless to compare yourself to another in a toxic way–but more than that, it’s arrogant.  How dare I assume that someone else’s life is perfect from the few little clues I’m privy to?  I have no idea what they struggle with or fight for or cry about.

Who Drives the Car?

I’ve become obsessed recently with this idea of “driving the car.”  I am an emotional person who believes in feeling my feelings.  But I don’t want my reason to be a slave to my emotional life.  And I certainly don’t want my emotional life to be so central that I’m blind to what is going on with other people.  It’s something I struggle with constantly and probably will forever.  But recently I heard just a snippet of an NPR interview (I didn’t hear who was being interviewed and can’t properly credit–apologies) where the interviewee made a reference to knowing when to let the intellect “drive the car” while the emotions took to the backseat.

It really, really resonated with me.

A day or so later, I found myself in one of those difficult-but-necessary relationship talks.  My boyfriend was laying some truth on me, and before I even knew what was happening, I opened my mouth and replied: “Something about what you just said upset me, but I’m choosing to let my reason drive the car right now.  Just know that we’ll have to come back to it.”

Of course, I was so busy congratulating myself on what a mature and responsible response I had just given that I didn’t hear a damn word of the next three or so things he said after that, but…baby steps.

I think the idea of driving the car can be applied in moments when we’re experiencing pangs of jealousy.  It might be helpful to say to ourselves (and as cheesy as it sounds, I think we LEGIT have to say it to ourselves): “I’m feeling jealous right now, but I’m not going to let that drive the car in this moment.  I’ll look at it later.”

So What I’m Saying Is

From where I stand, jealousy is a natural part of life.  And if we’re smart about it, our jealousies can reveal things to us.  Just always remember that we are only getting a small piece of the narrative, and we never know the details of another person’s experience.  And while jealousy is valuable, we should try to keep it from driving the car.

Oh, and for the record, I fail at this all the time.

But we keep on.

 

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