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My Brain Soliloquy

5 Apr

People talk a lot about Depression. They talk about Anxiety.This excites the hell outta me, because these things SHOULD be talked about. They are major issues for a major part of our society, and are absolutely not to be taken lightly.

…And we’ve seen the unfortunate affects of trying to ignore them.

…Something I additionally deal with (because my brain is just this uber sauce of awesome) is not as frequently discussed, and as a sister-cousin of Anxiety, can live and procreate and feed and feed and feed for days, weeks, months…sometimes even years…with no formal medical go-to coping mechanism.

There is no pill you can throw at it to reset the chemistry of your mind.

…So far, the only help you can offer to ease it is therapy to try and coach the brain alternatively. Which, for me, has worked exactly as effectively as tell me to calm down during an Anxiety attack–in that it helps zero-much.

Zero-much.

Hyperchondria kinda gets the bumb-wrap of Schizophrenia in how the world relates to its victims. What I mean by that is: they fold it into comedies on film to make a character more “interesting” or “dark” or “off” or “quirky” or just “disturbed” in general.

What I can tell you about actually HAVING it, is: there is not a single, solitary thing that is funny about it.

…I can make fun of my Anxiety (eventually) in nearly every circumstance, after it is over. That is how I regain my power back from what it has taken. It is how I “win.”

…I had been diagnosed since early childhood with Hyperchondria…and what I can tell you about it, is that never once have I “won” even a slight piece of ground, from it. The way that it has manifested in me is so deep, and from so young, for reasons which even the shrink couldn’t conjur up…and it is (and apparently always has been, and WILL be) a constant.

…And when I say “constant,” I mean: I am deathly afraid of at least one thing, if not also another, at all times. I can have fleeting moments without…sometimes even a few days…but I’ve never made it a week. I’ve never seen an illness of another and not mentally had to go to war with myself about it. To the worst case scenario. Every single time.

… I never have an itch or ache or bump that I don’t lose sleep over. 

…Literally: lose sleep over.

…And it is always a blooming congregation of thoughts, which bloom horribly. Death is not the “fear” here…it’s the prolonged torture of horrendously, slowly, long-term eventually dieing.

This disease (often coupled with Anxiety for obvious reasons) makes this horrible little forever nesting environment in my brain, where it can feed and fester…and does. And because it has been so constant, I have been able across the years to build up a bit of a functioning tolerance to it. 

…The brain will fight. It will fight hard for you. Which is pretty cool. When it isn’t tearing you apart.

…But sometimes I get into pockets where it begins to overtake me wholly. Much like hitting the ceiling in Anxiety, when I need to ultimately fold and take the damn Xanax.

…Only, as I said before…there IS no “Xanax,” or other chemical brother, that exists, which can help.

Which means…when I hit this supremely arresting level of legitimate terror –say, I’ve been in for a good while now, directly after I finished my last bout with Anxiety…it’s like no-sleep, sweaty-shakes, zombie-esc central.

…And that is always fun while performing a show, rehearsing another, and holding down a full time work week.

So: I battle. I keep losing. I’m terrified damn near every minute about at least three things that currently come to mind, and am even physically manifesting my terrors bodily as the ultimate thing that takes a Hypercondriac out of commission in any joy or normal life department.

And though talking about it, has never helped me. And laughing about it, is never a possibility. I guess I’m putting it here in print for those who suffer from it too.

The terror is real. I get it. I understand you. I know it doesn’t help you even a little bit to know that. But: now you do.

I know.

And: I’m really fucking tired of knowing it.

~D

Carrie Nailed That Shit

1 Mar

“If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.”
-Fisher

According to Ms. Fisher: my life has been piss-your-pants hi-fucking-larious, for the whole of February. A lot of things were terrible, a lot of things maybe not-so-much, but still super uncomfortable. And a shit ton of changes from all of it, has whooped my ass so hard that by Sunday — still very much not yet done with my ass-kicking– I woke up and puked my guts out for no apparent reason, save emotional overload. 

…I know this, as I had no rhyme or reason for said puking. And for the first time in my life, I actually felt better after doing it.  Enough directly after, to undergo a four-hour callback, in fact.

Just this month alone there have been three family illness (two of which were hospitalized, one a beginning cancer treatment), Mom got downsized (along with 40 other people in the administration) at work, Harriet started making even stranger noises and neglecting to work above 40mph, I found an over $8,000 fraud charge on my credit report, and this weekend took the absolute cake with over four hours in new car haggling, insurance shopping and fighting, dead cell phone repurchase needs, and last night…the last of this fucked-up past 28 days: a rent raise notice spiking me $60 more per month.

What-the-actual-fuck you guys?!

New car payments. New insurance payments. New phone payments. New house payments. And what’s even happening with my credit?

…I need to win the goddamn lotto just to financially survive at this point. 

…I literally haven’t had time to even look at my taxes yet, so who the hell even knows what might come from that mess…as I am swimming in place the hardest I can, hoping to stay solvent afloat until…I dunno when.

When will it be safe?! I can’t even freaking tell!!

My little blips of oxygen come in the form of:

*Little-Man Cuz, is back home again

* Aunt L is killin’ it at Chemo

* Ma’s severance and unemployment somehow actually cover her bills for a few months, as she looks for what’s next

* I have a dependable car to get to work and rehearsal 

* I have a cellphone that can accept a charge.

* I said “No,” and held my ground, for hours and hours without a damn twitch, in that dealership and with my insurance

* I’m in a show with the capacity to throw all my angst channeling

* I might just get into that other one, so I could continue doing likewise, double-time, come April

* I’ve got the kind of family/friends you can bottom-out bitch to, who say things like, ” Here’s some bucks, I’ve got a weird feeling you’ll need it,” “Yeaaah. That’s fucked up. Lemme buy you a drink and we’ll go on a walk-and-talk…,” “I’m praying stuff stops sucking!” “Let’s art tonight, until 4 am!” and “No one won the Mega Millions yet. I got us a ticket. Start planning now…”

…Cuz, really? I still don’t know how I’m even cognizant right now. 

Thanks for being my team. Wish I was more worthy of my Badass Conspiracy Co.
I’m working on it. But the dues might kill me.

-D

A Letter To Friends In The Audience

16 Oct

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You know how I have really high expectations of myself as a performer? And, you know how I am my worst critic and get really pissed off when I feel I have not been able to give the best performance I can for whatever random reason might have just occured?

…And you know how you mostly say, “I couldn’t even tell, what the hell are you even talking about?”

…And we sorta debate/argue a bit back and forth over it? And you roll your eyes at me, and I still feel I’ve failed, and then we all go out for a beer afterwards, under the stipulation we talk about anything at all but what you’ve just seen?

In good conscience, I can’t do that with this show.

…First of all, because it’s delightful and hilarious and populated by totally talented people…and second of all, because it’s a brand spanking new company, and we need all the word-of-mouth we can get.

This, however, doesn’t change the wall of anxiety I am facing every night to do this thing, I don’t have self confidence to be doing. You cannot reason with it, dismiss it, beef it up…I’ve tried…none of that seems to work. And though I am absolutely doing my job out there, to the best of my particular ability in this field, it is not a wheelhouse that any amount of exhausted rehearsals have managed to make me feel, “oh, hell yeah…I’ve got this.”

…In short, I will know most of the people in every audience of this show…because I’ve worked in this town for 15 years now, and have super supportive kick-ass friends. And I guess what it comes down to is:

1) Thanks for coming and being here for all of us, I know you’ll laugh lots and enjoy the hell out of this dork-fest of theatre love.

2) Please, dear God, can you spread the word on the streets to get some butts in the seats.

3) Fuck the beer, after…I’ll need a whiskey. Same table-rules apply.

Signed,

~ Perpetually-Freaked-Out-Susan

The 21 Pound Affect

3 Sep

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Today, 75 days after first affixing the Fitbit to my chubby wrist, I finally crossed the threshold I’ve been waiting for.

…Months (plural) of busting ass to melt fat, only to find the gained muscle would thumb it’s nose at me with every weigh-in, I at last saw the digits pass below a certain marker. It isn’t “The Goal,” but it had turned into the backbreaking illusive number I just COULD NOT pound into the ground.

This morning: I did.

….With a “spare,” even.

21 pounds.

Magically, this has seemed to take a little of my, “Oh-my-God-I-am-so-fucking-tired-of-all-this-healthy-shit” thoughts, and reinvigorate a little bit of mojo.

….Because this morning I didn’t just have the same cuppa black coffee and thing of oatmeal. This morning, I had, “21-pounds-down black coffee, and thing of 21-pounds-down oatmeal”

….Sure, it all tastes like burnt-oat-cardboard! Which I have been surviving off of, for 11 shitty weeks. But suddenly, it was the kinda burnt-oat-cardboard that helped me lose 21 effing pounds! So now, it’s part of a magic award-winning combo! Staid and true!

….Like putting Streep in a drama!

…Or Pixar, slapping their name on a cartoon!

…Suddenly, all the green foods, are less boring again. And it’s actually worth it, that I haven’t had a Coke in 75 days. (And 4 hours)

…With the 21 Pound Affect, the sodium-freeness is a little bit okay, I miss the potatoes sorely, but multi-grain pasta maybe isn’t totally the worst thing.

…Which doesn’t make it all hearts and flowers…and Christmas and New Years, by any means. It still sucks.

…(and whoever the hell thought up a “serving size” of cereal as 3/4 of a cup, is a delusional, unrealistic, asshole)…

…But, at least now…FINALLY…the numbers and mirror are starting to add up a little.

…Or rather, add down.

…Either way: declaring an At-Freakin-Last goal, makes it a little bit easier. And maybe a lot-bit cooler.

…Like a Fitness Superhero.

And now, I’m off to go chug some more 21-pounds-down water.

Like an effing Rock Star!

Boooyuh!

~D

Confessions Of A Fitbit Addict

13 Aug

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Eight weeks in, I’ve beat the shit outta my feet, every single day since the purchase of this fucking Fitbit. Averaging 13 miles per day, and topping badges out at 50k per day (that’s 24.28 miles, friends), this thing has become an addictive substitute for basically everything wrong in my life.  The angrier and more stressed I get, the more I pound my body, as if to seek absolution via fitness-penance, and get the hell outta here.  “Here” being this particular life-place in general in which I appear to be as stuck, as my current weight.

It has become a full-time, full-blown obsession.  I can clock in 10-20k before even leaving the office, by pacing during phone bookings, walking the warehouse in a circuit at lunch instead of sitting in the car, have adapted the desk so I can spend two to four hours printing contracts, while literally walking in place, and will hold every conversation, or wait for the coffee to brew, or copies to come out, or fill my water bottle even, whilst doing what the WHS Pimp has titled, “The Pee Pee Dance,” a sort of march perfected down to one arm swinging in-time, as the other proceeds with the actual job at hand.  At first I feared this would wonk-out my muscle balance, leaving me with a monster hulk right-arm, and a muppet-left…but so far, so good.

…Yet, even together with radical eating habit changes, instead of dumping pound-for-pound in equal to the amount of sweat I’m leaking daily, I’ve frustratingly instead seemed to fuel myself into mega muscle build –so: not great on the weight loss—however, my potato-mass is starting to regain actual shape…for BEHOLD: I have a waist again!  And that ol’ 4-pack is back.  As I mourn the loss of my boobs, at least I’ve regained the hitch under m’butt, so like…there IS one now, instead of the general sort of uni-booty I had accumulated.   Mid a laundry ER the other day, I even fit into some old size 8’s I had ferreted away…which was a “thing”…as I’d previously been beyond muffin-topping my 12’s before this crap all started.

…Meanwhile, as any woman under the circumstances would, I’ve spent quite a lot of naked study-time in the mirror lately, directly after weighing in to no-change-at-all on the scale. This is a scary enterprise.  It requires real bravery…as women (by and large) have the opposite of beer-goggles when viewing themselves in this condition.  We tend to find every single “flaw” and “fat-dimple” and focus on it to excessive length.  “If I could pull this up, it would be perfect,” “if I could shave that off, my hips would look so damn much better,” “if those were bigger, they’d at least balance out that,” “why did I have to get *this* family gene outta all the damn *good* ones?”   These shit-thoughts explode like mental puke, during the first-seconds I have attempted this exercise. Every time. Without fail.

…But here’s what I’ve found: if you brave out the first minute of this task…concentrate on the naked “you” facing back in a kind of point-by-point study, and start to take it in one body part at a time, you can eventually begin to see the work you have put in.  Muscle definition begins to poke out with a flex here, a turn there. You see that bone with less “padding,” jaw definition has emerged, the lower arms are slimmer by far.  Sure,  you have to work on that whole upper-arm flap deal…but look how the shoulder has a shape separate from the arm below it…less dimple at the elbow…less pooch at the belly…the “love handle” area is no longer a hot-mess-handful.

Trying to gauge the real changes taking place, has me at a strange ethical pull within myself.  We are NOT a number on a scale, or a pant-size…you can’t compute humanity to a “perfect presence”…it isn’t our point.  I have always believed that.  And I always will.  However, getting bigger, and then working my literal ass off  to regain some sense of self-satisfaction in my own appearance, has also reaffirmed the importance of taking care of our instrument as a performing artist…as athletes…as whatever it is we do that fulfills the inside part of us that DOES matter.   

…It’s important because it will allow me to do my job better and longer, it will open up and help dispel some of my physical hang-ups and self-conscious traits.  The more honest I can be to the reflection and WITH the reflection in the mirror, the more I can learn to use it to be honest and tell the stories I need to tell, to others.

…Which, if for nothing else…perhaps *that* is the point of what was needed in all of this after all. 

…It isn’t the weight.  It isn’t the exhaustion. It isn’t the size 8’s.  It’s that it has forced me to go outside, to breathe free, clean air…to not resolve stress in a bottle or a burger…to LOOK…actually physically take stock of what I’ve got…and make decisions on how to use and work with it.

The point I’m trying to own right now, is that my instrument is getting healthier and stronger, and because of how I’m choosing to do that, it’s making my brain and soul: likewise.  I will never be a “small” person.  It wouldn’t suit me, physically nor personally.  I have a healthy knowledge of the years my body served me best, and it is that “feeling” I am seeking, more than anything else. 

Truth is, maybe I’ve hit mid-life crisis a little earlier than most, but I can sit and fester my outrage at that and all life’s little injustices on a couch, or I can pull up Queen on Pandora, and pound the fuck out of the pavement, as another one bites the dust.

So happens: I choose the latter.

Cuz that’s how I mutherfucking roll!

…Also cuz, I mean: Freddie.

(Duh.)

~D

Whatchu Been Missin’

29 Jul

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Some reads to keep me sane through the bleakness of in-between casting which goes on and on.

….Season General’s are super great…while doing them…then about 6 to 9 months later. In between, there is just a hollow hole of nothingness in purgatory. Waiting. Waiting for second and third calls. Waiting for the next show to cast first. Waiting for more waiting.

  …In the meantime, I’ve scooped up some lit-read gigs and script one-nighters, which feed me just enough that I don’t artistically starve to death. Which I truly believe can happen to a person, if they allow it to.

…As nothing but the written word, walking, and Netflix, seem to be helping in my current day-to-day Hell of work-life, I have dedicated myself to them almost completely. Even with a maybe sorta broken but for sure sprained toe, I’m marching and spewing words from any and every source I can get a hold of. My yoga mat is forever now where my coffee table should be, so even whilst streaming on the TV, I can get more steps in.

I feel that I have a certain responsibility to just “DO.” Constantly. Whenever I can. However I can. Up hills, by oceans, on mountains, in the car, even while waiting for reports to print out…I can’t seem to solid focus on anything without tag-teaming it onto something else…because somehow, I think my brain figures that occupying my entire person’s function at all times, will make me feel like I own some sort of control over something…at some point.

…I don’t though.

Instead, I’m just perpetually exhausted.

I have no alternative fix or answer to this predicament. I am only stating fact.

…Maybe, when another show is on the roster and I have responsibility to it, and its team, my brain will ease up a bit and let me enjoy the sunshine and being human. Until then, I feel this is the best medication I can grant myself…so I’ll have to keep at it…through even purple toes and pissed off Fitbit buds.

When all you have is all you have, you can only do what you can.

…But I’d be full of shit if I didn’t admit: I’m fucking tired, and hungry-starving to be back home in a cast again. I’ll trade you ALL the Fitbit badges, for that. Gladly.

~D

Hello, From Away

18 Jul

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I’ve been kidnapped by friends to a two-story cabin on the Sound somewhere on the peninsula.

…In the last 21 hours I’ve cried (from laughing), sped through country mountain roads (in an orange, 1960’s convertible Mustang), walked the tide-flats, let the ocean lap and salt-water sooth away my Joan Crawford bloating, back pain and pressure, ate a homecooked carne asada with fresh everything marrying so many flavor bonus surprises, the tongue was on multiple orgasm delight.

…We siesta’d on the back porch with frothy fresh margaritas, watched the waves at magic hour, read a play so late into twilight, we finished with candles whipping their light every-which-way…too stubborn to stop or go inside. Later: attacking a cheesecake on a plate between us, each with fork in-hand…laughing and chatting late into the night.

…Awoke in the loft bedroom, by the sun poking in through the giant windows. Downstairs, side-steped a morning breathing and yoga regime by Lady M, to fresh coffee, and out with bedhead and no makeup to the already toasty deck.

“Think I’m gonna take a morning dip, in a bit…the water is just too delish,” The Prof says, in greeting.

“Mmm. Coffeeeee…….,” is all I can yet manage, gripping my cup while looking out…at a view that is cinematically ridiculous.

…Lady M joins us, Yoga-refreshed, cup in hand. And for the prob’ly three-dozenth time in these hours away, we are: three women…as the world so very rarely gets the chance to unabashedly see us. Real. Makeup-naked. No phones. No watches. Hairstyles: irrelevant. We don’t care how we sit in our chairs, various sizes of little round tummies, not sucked in as an outreach to vanity. Toenail Polish on the feet thrust out before us, chipped in places…because, who cares? We are three generations of womanity…so different in our ways and manner of walking through life, but so at ease and peace with one another and (most importantly) ourselves.

…It has been silent for a while, and we are fine with this. I look at our coffee cups a moment and grin. It’s too good. I have to share it.

“…Even the cups we choose give us away: The Prof, with her delicate demi half-sized pour, Lady M with her funky handmade look and shape, and me: the largest monster-mug in the cabinet.”

…We all laugh. At what it says about us. To ourselves, and each other.

This. This is the kind of life-medicine that heals better than any pill or salve. This is where I have been taken by one of my closest of close friends….who just gets me and all my failings and frustrations. This is where I’ve been shown, by example and expert women-strength, that it is hard enough being a strong woman, being an artist, being in “business”…being a “grown-up.”

….Sometimes you need someone to take the phone and the watch and the pretenses away and say, “Go. For 24 hours: let it go, and just ‘be.'”

….And so I have.

…Save for one little blog, while two women of a certain age, laugh and sing in the ocean just below me…being amazing inspiration. Without even trying.

Because, just “being, ” is enough.

~D

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