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Posts Tagged ‘self image’

“Grrrrrrr” said the little bear, crouching from within me…

In The Daily Drool on May 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I hate being taken advantage of.  I know most people do (duh) but for me it fills me with an absolute discordant HOWL of injustice.  And yesterday, when I opened up my very tardy, very innapropriately deducted security deposit, I almost lost my mind.

Gone were the piles of laundry to wash, invisible were the rewrites to tend to, non-existant was my “To-Do” list a mile long… the only occupation before me was how to unleash the bear to satisfying results.  So I sat down and composed that letter, the one I posted yesterday.  It took about 2 hours, and I was hungry, and I was shaky, and at the end, only at the end, did I feel the angry tidal wave inside me subside.

But then again, this morning, I’m hit with it : the shit-stick of bad fortune, when I find out my car is STILL leaking oil, in fact spreading oil to it’s other parts, polluting the water and other lubricants within the engine… my own mini-oil leak, not nearly as devastating as that global crisis polluting the gulf, but annoying on a micro-level all the same.

And I stumble through my day, in complete heartbreak over the weight of all my worries… a cloud I am able to escape now and tehen, but looms, reminding me that I am financially screwed, have lost faith in love, and am angry.  I’m so angry.

I think I have been for quite some time now.

But it takes me a while to find it… to nod my head and admit that yes, this happy-go-lucky, almost always bubbly, person is, in fact, mad.

Mad that I got my heart trampled last year, mad that I let my foolish heart go frolicking in the dark and violent forest when I saw good and well road signs reading “Turn Back!  NOW!”  – Mad that I haven’t been able to get a permanent job… one that allowed me time to write and money to get by on… Mad that I have to weigh every damn decision against a host of variables I’m not even in control of.  I keep looking around myself and asking “What did I do wrong?!”  becuase I am so, enduringly, bummed about my current state of being…

Being broke.

Being sad.

Being lonely.

Being rejected…

Maybe that’s the thing… I feel like the world is saying “No thanks” to me right now on almost every front, and it sucks.

(Big, dramatic sigh)

There is a small light inside next to the bear… a little firebug, perhaps, of optimism and hope.  It whispers to me that “This too shall pass” and that I’m just in the middle of some (necessary?) ugly.  And that good things will come.

But I’m afraid sometimes that the bear is going to swat that little bug into next week, because it’s easier to be angry when the world turns dark and scary.  The bear builds walls and knocks over anyone who tries to fuck with it…  Firebugs don’t have claws, do they?

So I’m stewing… stewing in my own mini-oil leak, this angry perasive cloud mucking up the rest of things.  Threatening to overwhelm me at even the slightest of hiccups.

I’m just trying to listen to the firebug whispering in the dark.

Cleaning House

In The Daily Drool on February 19, 2010 at 11:40 pm

I think it’s good and healthy, to know oneself.  To be privy to one’s own strengths and flaws.  It’s difficult, sure, on both fronts… One is often told not to brag, not to wear one’s strengths too loudly, and sometimes as a result of that ingrained humility, we forget how to wear them at all.  And of course, adding up one’s faults, or weakness, is uncomfortable for a whole host of reasons- probably chief among them the fact that once you admit to it, well, shouldn’t you do something about it?

I’ve had a lot of time to think about things like this lately. To try and tally my victories as well as the upsets… To look at myself honestly and without judgement. To simply… Be.

It’s not easy to do.

But I realized something tonight- not everyone has the ability to add any of this up in the first place.

And that means that being aware of this dilemma is, in and of itself, a strength.

Very often when I’m confronted with something, a bump in the road per se, I’m thrown, perhaps disoriented, but then I pick myself up and try to find a way over, around, beneath or through, that bump.  I don’t like to be stymied.  I hate feeling powerless.  I strive to reach beyond it.

And until today, I thought everyone else did too.  I thought that everyone else at least wanted to.

But today I realized, sometimes people reach those bumps and just… sit down.

And sure, they sit down for any number of reasons… but it’s NOT an option for me.  Sure, I might need to pull over and catch my breath, or I might make a hasty decision or two in my approach, but I will never just look at that bump, shrug my shoulders, and let it win.

Because I’m tougher than that.

Because I strive to be my best self.

Because I am not tethered to this road, but rather, it is here for me to step upon.

And I suppose one must learn when to simply step past the “sitters”.

Today I looked back at a hill and saw that I am the mighty one.

And that’s worth putting on my list.

Waking up a little bit at a time

In The Daily Drool on February 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I’ve slept so solid the past two nights that I’ve woken up utterly confused and completely refreshed.  And when I say “Confused” I mean, it’s like someone hit my reset button, I was that asleep.  I wake up with this “What day is it?  Who am I?”  feeling that isn’t the least bit unsettling because I feel so rested that I don’t really care all that much.

Then I rub my eyes and the world comes into focus again.

But I think part of the reason I’ve been sleeping so well is because I’ve kind of resigned from the panic of this past year – I mean, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time looking for work, hunting and scraping just to “Get by.”  It’s as though finding a job has become my business and pretty much the first and last thing I think about on a daily basis.  But it’s recently become apparent that I’m not even going to be able to maintain this frantic scrounging lifestyle and… well, it’s sort of freeing.

And what is this girl talking about?  I’m talking about going home.  I’m subletting my apartment and heading back to AZ to get my feet back under me, which is terrifying and all sorts of crazy in and of itself, but also perhaps the best decision I could possibly make at present, if it were in fact a decision…  Haha, it’s really sort of an end and unavoidable result of this past year.  But it’s also probably all kinds of salve to my presently confused muse who isn’t getting the attention she deserves because everything has been coming in second behind the panic.

So I’ve been sleeping better.

Because I’ve reached the point of “I’ve done everything I could do” and am now in “You’re hands are free of things” territory…  I’m currently not in control of my own destiny ( and perhaps we never are )  Life, it seems, has shown me that it has other plans.

And today I felt great for the first time in a while.  I drove with my window down and a happy little muse warm in my heart because I might actually have some time to write!  To refocus… to be still and listen to the pulse of things.

Because sometimes you need to pull the car over, take out some snacks and just enjoy the view…  And I can’t do that here.  I can’t afford it.  But I can go home… go home and listen.

The Untrod Tomato

In The Daily Drool on January 20, 2010 at 11:48 am

When I was younger I remember NOT liking New Kids on the Block.  I didn’t think smoking was cool, and it took me ages to jump on The Simpsons train… I think I had an immediate dislike for things deemed “Popular” because, well, let’s face it, I wasn’t.

And what’s better than pining after things most appreciated, you ask?  Well, sending affection to those potentially skipped over.

So I read a lot of books, I watched (and listened to) After-School-Specials.

I rejoiced in the success of the apparent underdog, and I still occasionally do.

And I’m thinking of this now because I find that my own self-perception is still that of an oddity- The heirloom tomato so to speak, of the produce section.

You see it staring up at you and you lean in for a closer look, perhaps even prod it with your finger, take a sniff… but unless you really know what to make of it, you certainly aren’t going to lay down the dough to bring one of those little fuckers home.

Because I’m specific- my writing is it’s own flavor, my louder-than-probably-necessary laugh an event in and of itself, and I’m not particularly interested in main-stream, vanilla kind of people.

So the next time I’m bitching about being lonely, or being bored, or I’m feeling overwhelmed by the crazy life I’ve chosen – please just remind me that I’m a fancy tomato and therefore need to be a tad more patient; I wasn’t made for traditional recipes and regular cooks don’t have the right ingredients to work with me.

The Big Stall

In The Daily Drool on January 8, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Do you ever wake up in the middle of your life and look around yourself with a giant “WTF?!”   I’m having one of those weeks.  And it’s caught me particularly off guard since I came charging in to 2010 with such enthusiastic faith!

Then I realized that I’d been charging into it as though things were going to be vastly different- better even.  As though there was somebody standing on the other side of Jan 1 2010 with a big congratulatory hug, a job, and possibly a free steak dinner – to be handed to me in honor of all that I suffered through in 2009: “Here you go Tiffany, here’s Easy Street.  Cuz you earned it!”

Ummmm, hello!  Just because the calendar ticked over doesn’t mean my rent and bills and panic aren’t still waiting for me to deal with them.

DAMNIT!!!

So I’ve kind of been in a bit of  a spin because I am so tired, so very, very tired, of being unemployed and living on the very scary edge of artistic starvation, and doing it all alone… tiredly.

Which is probably why I’ve been lurking along this week in near-melt-down mode, struck by the giant wave that I thought I had left behind in 2009, but in reality was just giving me a little respite in honor of the holidays.

And I am thankful for that little break, I really am.  I’m just also very eager for things to start making a little more sense, to start making a lot more money, and to stop hyperventilating at every GD hiccup that comes my way… because if the first two happen, then the power of those hiccups will thin and I won’t be running as much risk that they’ll dislodge my cart and send me careening into the dark place.

GAH!!!

Maybe 2010 is holding peace and success and happiness… but it’s certainly not dropping them in my lap this week.  So I guess I have to keep plodding in the hopes that all the 2009 bullshit will pay off… that my life IS going to get BETTER, I just have to allow for a little more than 8 days to go by before the storm breaks.

Yeah, let’s hope the “Wonderful” is on its way!  I’m desperately needing some Wonderful…

Because I write!

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on January 6, 2010 at 10:43 am

A friend of mine shivers when he calls and hears that I’ve been at the keyboard all day; he can’t get himself to be quite so… diligent.  And I suppose he looks at my obsession admirably- “She’s so damned focused and dedicated!”  But I feel like the secret behind my seeming dedication is that I’m scared shitless of the alternative.

Even this blog, as interesting/or/not you may find it to be, is a way for me to keep myself in the game… the mindset… of logging those all-important writing hours.

Becuase how can I be a writer if I, well, don’t do it?

Meanwhile, I sit in fear of the alternative- the possibility that I would have spent thousands of hours working and dreaming, and yes, even suffering, for this goal of mine in vain?  HORROR!  So I write. I write A LOT.  I eschew wild nights out and well-paying jobs for creative minutes.  I sit down and work, because I love it, because I feel strange and off balance when I’m gone from it too long, and because it’s what I do… fueled by the ever-ticking clock and the awareness that this thing I’m tackling takes energy, faith, love, and luck.

Because I want to be ready when that magic cocktail strikes the “NOW” hour… you know what I mean?

So, yes, I’m dedicated, but I’m also really, really, really aware of the other side of the cliff I’ve been scaling.  And I want to make sure I don’t fall off!

Honesty… honestly

In Essays, The Daily Drool on January 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

Sometimes it’s hard to really own up to your own intentions.

I mean, I’ve always been pretty good about declaring responsibility for things when I muddy them up- I’m not a very good liar- No, no, now, even that, that right there, that stuff that I just wrote… it’s honestly not the whole of it, because I take responsibility for the things I feel like I should take responsibility for.  It’s all done according to my own moral compass which, let’s face it, is still a human one.  So, I can and do sometimes lie very well; as long as I believe in the lie or its good intentions.

Which means that while I believe I live pretty fairly and responsibly, I still, on occasion, make a decision or two that might not necessarily be on par with the sincerity I strive to maintain.

I’m thinking here about intentions.

Because I’m remembering a conversation I had with someone a few days ago, someone I hadn’t spoken to in a long time and for whom I cared for deeply.

And I don’t think I need to go into every blessed detail because the conversation isn’t the thing- it’s the internal workings of how that conversation came to be and the things I told myself in order to make it happen, and the things I’ve told myself since- that fascinate me now.

You see, I called for a strictly utilitarian purpose- to inquire as to the location of something of mine- but I also called to get it out of the way, this conversation that we hadn’t yet had.  I wanted to do it, to feel that it was done, to tie up the wonder that had been nagging at me up until then (in bits and pieces)  And also just I wanted to hear this person’s voice.

And I wanted to exercise mine.

But I didn’t admit any of this, oh no.  I felt empowered by my strictly utilitarian purpose.  So the afterwards, the “See, that was fine” was another non-truth I told myself, because the internal workings were quite stirred up by this brief “inconsequential” moment.  The inner workings were looking at me and my “truth” with dumbfounded awe wondering how could I think for one ridiculous second, that this conversation would be any kind of meaningless?

Simple.

I was lying.  To myself.  Because I wanted it to be so.

But of course it wasn’t.

And oh, I’m fine now and feeling glad (overall) that we spoke.  But I’m also on to myself.  On to my own (slightly destructive) seemingly-cynical-but-secretly-breathless self-manipulations.

Because inside?  On the real, really, real inside?  Honestly?  I’m just a bigger version of the same wide eyed little girl smiling with her tongue between her teeth on the carousel… the same little girl who hated roller-coasters and speed rides, but loved cotton candy and holding my mom’s hand as we walked through the fun house giggling at the silly mirrors.

I just learned to hold that fear in check as I forced myself to get on the scary rides with the big kids, because it seemed like the thing to do.

And now, I really just want to ignore the long lines for the roller coasters altogether and get back to the pure joy I still feel on that merry go round.

So when that little girl wants something, I try to get it for her.  Even if I know it’s risky or hard to reach.  But I also push her in directions she knows are scary, and that’s the bargain we’ve struck.  Risk for reward, risk for reward… and sometimes those things require a little grand illusion to get the deed done.

You see, I do want to be honest with myself, but I find that it requires letting some of the disappointment and fear be real; the fear that I’ve made some bad choices, that I’m alone in LA, broke and eerily hermit-ish, that I’m 31 and so far from being financially sound that I want to scream, and the incredible fear that I could be so many months out of my last relationship and still miss the idiot every once in a while…

So instead, I let myself tell the sweet interior me the things that will quiet her, soothe her, even if she knows I’m lying not being completely honest… at least I’m doing it to protect her.

Honestly.

Building It

In Playwriting, The Daily Drool on January 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm

This is where the grunt work comes in… this… right now; my life is under construction.  The hard work, the planning, the uncertainty of laying all those hopes and expectations on an untested blueprint.  It’s challenging, and sometimes it feels like madness, but in the end I have to remind myself that it’s because I’m still building this life of mine, and building things always takes time, patience, and a broom.

Today was our load-in day for Jane Doe (my exciting play that you should definitely come see!) And as I cut out cardboard, painted doors and chairs, and held ladders, I was reminded of just what a miracle the theatre is.  A professor at UCLA is said to have put it like this (paraphrasing in process)  Everyone agrees to show up at the same time to breathe life into the thing you all want to put up – this group of people driving from all over the city, battling traffi, part time jobs and hunger pains, to arrive at the curtain, to work together on this living, breathing, thing you are creating.  It is a miracle theatre happens at all.

And he’s right.

There we all were, cutting and painting and dreaming the same pictures, in the hopes that it will all come together for a performance that we hope will thrill people!  That I hope will lead to another production of my work, and another… this endeavor laying more groundwork for the next construction phase of my life, and so on…

And I was (in the unusually warm January sun) crouching down on the pavement in order to get all the nooks and crannies with my brush, thinking “This is one crazy life you have chosen, my dear.  Crazy and fabulous.”  And I’m in it.  I’m in it now.  I’m building it.  And one day, when I’m looking over the moulding and smooth floors, beautifully painted walls, and big, open windows of my life, I’ll remember just how amazing and wondrous this part of my life was… how amazing it is that I made it through this phase (even though being here now, I’m terrified the foundation isn’t strong enough and my bathtub is going to sink through the floor) I’ll remember how difficult it was to get up some mornings, how time consuming it’s been to hammer in even just one nail, or how far I had to go for the lumber… and I’ll probably smile at how little I knew then (which is now) because it’s amazing, a miracle even, that it’s happening- that this thing called life (much like the play) Is. Happening.  All of these people coming together because I wrote something they could all share in.  I’ll smile at how terrifying it was, how much I hungered, and how terrific it felt to listen to the audiences laugh.

But not yet… because now I’m still in it, still hoping, still fearing, still worrying about where my next meal is coming from (more or less)…

And thank God I’ve got friends and family around me, handing me a tool or can of paint every now and then, and  catching me when I trip, fall, and freak out.  But this design is made of my own choosing, my own longing… and I’ve got to enjoy its taking shape, because it’s delicate and wild work, this life of mine.

Delicate and wild at the same time.

And if I can remember that, if I can stand my ground and keep smiling, keep building… it’s going to be one hell of a house, with one hell of an ocean view.

The 2009 Wrap Up

In The Daily Drool on December 31, 2009 at 10:50 am

Wow.  What a year.  Let’s recap:

January 2009:  Yay!  Hip, hip, hooray!  It’s 2009 and all is (record scratching)  What?  You’re laying me OFF?   Oh.  Fuck.

February:  Hmmm, If I have a job lined up for March 1st, does that mean I can take this month to write?  I think so… Hey, diddle, diddle dee, that’s a whole month of writing for me… Oh, what?  Valentines Day?  That’s for suckers… I mean, maybe I’m a bit of a sucker too… but I don’t have… I mean, I kind of had… Oops, no, no I don’t.  Shit.  (sigh) Stupid Cupid.

March:  Yay, Yay, I’m getting paid to make snacks for The Colony crew, and writing, and… trying not to loose my mind because I don’t know what I’m doing after this… GAH!!!  Wait, dad is sick again?  SHIT!  (Have complete mental breakdown pondering life, its fleeting nature, and how terrifying love can really be)

April:  Snack-time at The Colony is wrapping up… how many bags of ham and tortilla chips do you think I can sneak out of here with before anyone notices?   Well, if I bring some to my sick dad in San Diego is it alright?  No?  Jeez, Scrooges!  (sigh)  At least he’s getting better.  And I didn’t have to buy groceries for two months.

May:  Umm, so, hey, CA EDD, can I get back on the unemployment?

June:  Going to be working in a few weeks.  If. I. Can. Just. Keep. It. Together…

July:  Teaching at UCLA performing arts institute!  Best Job EVER!  Love the kids, love the classes, love the paycheck!   Love it, love it, love it!  This is what I’m supposed to be doing (in addition to writing)  I am so happeeeeeeeeeee… wait a minute… It’s only for a month?!  (sigh)  Shit!

August:  I’m going to D.C. with my play!  It’s gonna’ be at the Kennedy Center!  Yay!  Big time, yippee!  I feel like a playwright, I am a playwright … I am a playwright who can’t pay her bills because her unemployment just ran out… WTF?!

September:  Heartbreak.  HEARTBREAK.  Teaching Acting on Saturdays and working for the Rand Corp. between sob sessions.  Buy stock in Kleenex, make millions…

October:  Alright!  I’m turning 31, get rid of that nasty zero… that’s what 30 was, a zero year!  Ran down to the nub… 31 is gonna’ be better, I can feel it, I can feel….

November:  Oh, SHIT!  I’m so out of money I’m gonna’ have to move home… No more time to be depressed or heartbroken, I gotta find a way to EAT!   Wait, what?  You’re gonna’ pay me to write a screenplay for you?  Hell, yes I’m interested!  (disaster averted… for now)

December:  Writing, writing, writing!  And brushing up my bartending chops.  And heart is on the mend, even smiled at cute boy smiling at me over zuchini tray at grocery store.  Financially distressed, resorting to box-dye and personal bang-trimming in bathroom, instituted new “You bought it, you eat it ALL” policy for all items, including really old bread that hasn’t grown any mold but almost broke tooth, and fought off monster cold that threatened to turn me into giant, gooey, undateable, unhireable, blob from outer space.   Prayed to GOD, that 2010 is better.  Wrote this.  Got dressed for New Years Eve, hoping 2010 rushes in on the wings of love and prosperity.  Don’t feel selfish asking for the things I want/need/deserve.

Last words to messy ‘ol 2009?  You were a totally unbalanced, crazy, and painful little bitch, but I’m probably (however unwillingly) stronger for it, so, thanks for the good stuff, and get on out of my sight with the bad!

2010?  I hope you got your shit together, because you and me, baby, we’re gonna’ shine!

The Exception

In The Daily Drool on December 27, 2009 at 10:03 pm

I realized something this week, all thanks to James Cameron.  You see, he directed a little film (you might have heard of it) called AVATAR, and it’s kind of super-kick-ass-great.  In fact, it is an event unto itself.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize how absolutely exceptional the man is- I mean, he brought us The Abyss, Terminator, and Titanic (to name a few)  He’s a man of extraordinary vision and follow-through.

He’s an inspiration.

And I don’t know what the man is like personally, so I’m speaking strictly accomplishments here, but isn’t it amazing that one man should bring us so many original and visually stunning films as he has?

Because he is an exception.

Because there are many, many layers of artist; from the very, very bottom to the very, very top of the canvas, and it’s littered with people of varying skill and talent.  You’ve got to have a fantastic combination of both of those plus dedication, courage, a little bit of luck and maybe even some magic to make it to the top, but to rise above even that?

Exception.

And the thing that I realized, as I was sitting through the credits wrapped in awe, is that I too want to be exceptional- that I too want to create exciting and stunning worlds, to take people’s breath away with wonder…

That I too want to lead an exceptional life.

(I know, I’m aiming low, HA!)

But it’s that desire, that passion for excellence and dreams-realized, that keeps me tap, tap, tapping away at the keys, listening to the muse on my wing, and rationing the grocery money while I try to survive in hungry LA.

Perhaps what was most interesting to me in that moment of “WOW” was the fact that this very yearning-to-be-special passion is mirrored in each of Cameron’s films… in each of them ordinary people are put under extraordinary circumstances and thus compelled to discover their immeasureable value to the world in which they find themeselves.  The characters may not be desiring any of these mystical forces, but they are thrust upon them anyway…

Which is why, as I wandered home and then listened to the echoes of the experience (for Avatar 3-D is an experience) I considered that crockpot of ideas i keep stirring- the ideas that come to the top are usually the most exciting, most challenging ones to write and to revel in.

So I hope, that as I continue on this path of mine, that I keep thinking like Mr. Cameron- what is going to excite us?  What is going to make people want to come back for more?  What is going to make them feel, for the duration of their theatrical experience, exceptional?

Because movies and theatre that can transport and awe are the only kinds I want to write.

The rest is just popcorn.