Archive | April, 2015

Dear Kid I Used To Know

27 Apr

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Dear Kid I Used To Know,

If life is like one giant road trip, with a series of sightseeing tours along the way, you are seeing what 34 years and 364 days looks like, talking back at you, right now.

…And I need you to listen to me.

Tomorrow is a big day for you. It was supposed to be this giant arrival on a certain shore of new world launching and possibility. But from where I sit now, in the drivers seat, looking back at you through the rearview mirror, I gotta be real, and tell you: “I know you planned far ahead and worked really hard to prepare for every contingency, but we aren’t gonna make that boat, kid.”

…We’re still miles and miles behind on an interstate in the middle of two towns called  “Somewhere” and “Somewhere Else.” But tomorrow when you wake up all excited in the back seat and ask, “Are we ‘There’ yet?!?!” I’m gonna have to say “no.” And you are really gonna be pissed about it.

…But that’s why I’m writing you this letter.

I need you to hear me out.

Back when you were…well, you.…when you picked this specific destination and this specific age, it was decades before GPS and traffic bing alerts on Smartphones. Back then it was just you, a paper map, and a fist full of highlighters, attacking it with gusto and specifying the route you wanted to take to get to this big destination.

..Like everything else in life…like the homework you always did immediately to get it out of the way like the overly long essays you wrote, like the month-long projects you did in a day…like all that prep and plotting would fill every contingency.

But then, you were just a damn kid.

…You didn’t even know how to drive, let alone realize the effects of pissing down rain on the roadways, or flat tires, rocks smashing your windshield, or rush hour. You had no way of knowing, with just your paper map, the fierce amount of road work, and detours taking you five miles out of your way, that would come up over and over and over again…not to mention accidents, (yours and other people’s) which would affect heavily your mileage per day average …until year after year, little by little, these life hazards and biways had inadvertently brought you to today: miles and miles still out from your x-marked spot, circled and highlighted all to hell, like it was the 4th of July on parchment.

…Well, kid…what I can tell from here, right now in this drivers seat, to you in the rearview reflection behind me, is that shit happens. Life doesn’t always pan out how you want it to, even if you preplan the hell out of it.

(…And had you learned THAT sooner, we BOTH would have had an easier time of it…)

…But I don’t wanna beat up on you about it…I can’t charge you for the landslide (or twelve) we hit on the way. It isn’t your fault. And it’s only partially mine.

I can take some of the blame, but I will not take all of it. I am only human, and I made some wrong turns and bad detours, but we all do. And this is me, telling you: Kid I Used To Know, I am tired of feeling like a failure because every green light wasn’t with us, and every day wasn’t sunny and clear with nothing but miles of open road ahead.

…Life didn’t turn out that way.

…But what at six years old and sixteen looks like some kind of end-all, be-all place forever away enough to have reached and figured all of life out (aka: age 35), looks a whole hell of a lot different in viewpoint when you look at it from 34 and 364 days.

…I don’t wanna scare the hell out of you, but the amount of shit that is gonna hit the fan for you, ‘tween then and now, is pretty significant and life-altering. But what you can take some solace in, is that you will have made it this far, and the motor’s still running…so we have that working for us.

…We may not have reached this sailing, but the trip isn’t over yet. I’m not done fighting to get there, and it isn’t the only boat, nor is a boat the only way to get where you and I wanna be. So let’s be a team in this thing, grant me some slack tomorrow…it’ll be hard enough to face…I need you on my team.

…Alright?

…Now get back to your book, we’ve got a lot of road to cover, and it’s a clear, sunny day.

I’ll tell you when we get there.

…Til then, enjoy the read. You always did.

~D

It’s A Shitty Patch

8 Apr

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It’s a full week.

…Sleeping is spotty at best, out of control anger management issues, face breaking out, paperwork hell at work, 2 a.m. uterus cramping contractions that last for hours, rehearsals, hair and nail appointments, shopping for the show, interview podcasts, costume fittings, and family driving up for the services and wake, which I will be spending in back-to-back tech runs this Saturday and Sunday.

Theatre, ER Staff, Holy Orders, and the Military are the only professions I know of, where the expectation to show up and work through any contingency is a requirement. Even death.

…Everyone I know has performed while running a fever and puking, despite horrible stresses, sisters weddings, family reuions, ended relationships, and every major Holiday, at some point. Some then push it further through family losses, broken bones, and mental breakdowns. If theater were the Girl Scouts, I’d have earned another badge this week, by the completing achievement of “all of the above.”

…It’s a shitty badge, but for the people who wear it, at least we know we aren’t alone. There were those who came before and those who will after. It’s really the only comfort you get, because otherwise you sound like a giant mal-adjusted asshole to say, “yes, of course I went to rehearsal the day he died. What else would I do?”

…It was my job, this was my team, we had a run-through for tech, which isn’t an “option” on a fully booked schedule, it’s a demand. And so are my fittings Saturday morning, the quick change rehearsal to follow, then the Q2Q, then notes, then the same the following day. Tickets are pre-sold, Preview is in one week, and we can’t open a four-person farce without all four people.

…Which doesn’t help the stress any either, I can tell you. Because nothing at all seems funny right now, and that is also one of those, “tough shit” things I’ve gotta deal with. And I am. Frankly, better than I thought I would. Of course, it isn’t Saturday yet, when it all becomes real because I can’t push whole live people onto a back burner when they’re waiting in the car to go to a funeral while I’m trucking it to the theatre to try on my wigs and teddy with knife rig adjustments.

…I’m sure that at that point, even I will be painfully aware of how fucked up my priorities are. And I will feel like a total asshole. As I should. Because in all the professions who fight on despite circumstances like this one: ours is primarily esthetic make-believe. We aren’t saving a life, putting ours in danger, or making a humanitarian effort. At the end of the day, I’ll have done it for a farce-comedy with dick jokes, that opens in a week and one day.

…From a moral ground, I can’t back that choice either. But it’s the way of the theatre. It always has been, and always will be. And so has been my way, for over 25 years.

…This is one of those instances where, If you have to explain it to a person, no explanation will be acceptable. And I wouldn’t expect it to be. All I know is: it’s what I have to do.

I don’t like it.

Nothing is funny right now.

…And not a single patron will care, or even know, what it took to open this show next Friday.

I’ve got a job to do and I need to just hold my shit together and do it.

…So I will.

WE will.

Because: That’s the Theatre.

~D

That Was Why.

1 Apr

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Stick with me a second here…

So, I believe in God. 

…I don’t consider myself a “religious” person, but rather “a person of faith.” The difference of that I take as meaning: I am pro-rights and against hate groups masquerading under religious dogma.

…Thing is: Sure I was raised in it, but as an adult, when my politics began to swing much more central, and I began to re-evaluate a lot of the core-values I was raised with, I realized that no matter what,  I needed God. For me, he is unquestionable.  He doesn’t have to answer to any one specific religion, doesn’t care about prejudices or hierarchy, and probl’y gets as annoyed and pissed off as Abraham Lincoln, when people use erroneous  quotes he’s supposedly said, out of context, and slobbers them all over the air waves in defense of some new horrible-racist-holy-war-political-scheme they’ve come up with next.

For me: God is a higher power, who helps carry the burdens of life.  God is the being in the wind who will listen to endless hopes and sorrows, so you aren’t just flinging them to ether of “no one gives a shit.” And also, (lets be real here) God is someone I can point to when I’m pissed off at the world and say, “Well?! You’re God! So FIX IT!”

…And when God doesn’t “fix it,” I am not one of those people who takes it lying down.  I stand up and voice my particular thoughts on that, pretty distinctly.  But then, that’s just how my relationship with God roles.  I can “pretend” to be deferential about it all, and say “you know best” but if I don’t believe it, he already knows, so what’s the point of trying to bullshit him?  My God knows me. And He’s all for freedom of speech…is anti-Dictatorship…thinks a woman’s place IS to speak up…and isn’t going to smite or punish me for the way I was made. Because God built me this way.

…So when something truly horrible happens, and I decided he’s prob’ly crossed a line, and I tell him that, we both know there is no answer on earth that will possibly sooth or excuse that horrible thing for me. Frankly, the whole “human nature and freedom of choice” bit explaining why wars and genocides go on and on, is not an appropriate answer to innocent lives lost. Not when you’re God and can stop it at any moment. Plagues and cancers will never come under “justifiable suffering” for me either. Sudden accidents, weather-disaster-titled “acts of God,” and the like, are also on my list.

…And the list grows, the older I get. I try not to let it eat at me too much, but when something happens on the list which makes it PERSONAL, it becomes quite hard to just leave it be.

A little over a year ago, I had a good yelling at God for just one of those things. I didn’t understand. The illness was basic. The victim was a strong, grown man in his prime. He was a good man. Not just how people throw the word around…but a genuinely GOOD MAN. Hundreds and hundreds of people coming from all over, assured us of that. And when he died, leaving a young special-needs son behind, a whole hell of a lot of people (assuredly not just me) screamed a big, fat, hairy ass: “WHY?!?!?!?” at whatever deity they believed in. And like sometimes happens, ZERO justifiable response was given. 

…So for over a year, I’ve been mad. At God.  We’ve still been speaking and all…but that thing has been there…always in the corner.  And I thought there was just no way there would ever be a justified explanation for any of it.

Until today.

This morning, the 115th anniversary of my Great Grandma Nana’s Birthday, Uncle Big Guy’s son passed away. 

While we all knew his failing health was bringing this to an inevitable point of reckoning, and it would mean an end of so much pain and ongoing medical tortures, the concept of a thing is so different from the end of it.  And once the end came, the preparation I thought was at hand, changed.

…Because today, Nana and all her giant family of sisters and brothers and aunts and parents…,my Gram and Gramps…and Uncle Big Guy were just beginning to celebrate…in good Irish style up there… when little Nick just walked into the room.

Knowing Big Guy is up there in joy receiving his son, instead of here: totally, emotionally obliterated: losing him, changes so much about that day…over a year ago.

… I guess what I’m saying is:

“Okay, God. That was why.”

~D

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