Inversion Blues

I feel more strongly than ever that I need to get out of Salt Lake. My time here is done, especially now that I got everything I wanted from local community theatre.

Washington state has been calling my name all my life. As a child, it was Seattle. I soon learned that green requires rain, and I’m a desert baby. I get depressed without my sun. Light lamps, blah blah blah…. The inexpensive ones are ineffective, and that’s not the point. I want to play in the hot summer. I don’t want to live in gray, cool drizzle. Plus, who can afford Seattle? (And who wants a huge mechanical eye-sore in the corner? I surround myself with beauty, thank you. I’m a Taurus.)

For years, I’ve dreamed of Spokane. I went there for a choral competition in high school and have never forgotten that beautiful small city. Now I just want some town in northern Idaho or Eastern Washington. Northern Idaho scares me, because even though the Aryan Nation went bankrupt, they’re still there, and the reputation of the area attracts loners, rightwing hatemongers, and since the 90s, retired racist LA cops. Yuck.

Eastern Washington. Someday the market will crash again. Maybe 10 years. By then, I will have been without my cats for some time, traveled freely for a couple of years, and I can buy a home, sans property tax, and get a dog and cat duo!

I can’t breathe. I hate hating Salt Lake. It’s not right. It’s so beautiful here. The soul revolts in air that stinks, and stings the eyes, and pains the throat and lungs. I HAVE AN UNREMITTING HEADACHE LIKE CHINESE WATER TORTURE. Inversion sickens everything in me. I hate hating my beautiful 20-year home.

My goodness, what Salt Lake has been and done for me! It will be so painful to leave. I’m a Taurus. I don’t like change. And I do dearly love this city, this beautiful valley. I feel so connected to the earth here, my ancestors, my history, my people. I love the strange cultural dichotomy born of the strictures of scripture.

The pendulum swings as far raucous and it does righteous in Salt Lake City. For years, I partied with the wildest. Now, I love the insistent voice that will not be silenced by money or Mormons, and says NO to the bigotry and crime of the Republican regime.

But the fact is, we’re a city in a bowl that experiences a weather phenomenon that traps and compresses smog. And… The wheels of change are too slow to ever make a difference in air quality here. Inversion is never leaving Salt Lake City. So I must.

My cats are so old. Do I drive them through Idaho to rent an apartment in a small city I pick on a map? Do I leave a good unskilled job that will never be matched for freedom and pay (I paint my drums here!), with people I actually like (who can stand me!)? You just don’t find that in the non-committal world of marking time for a check.

I have rare gifts here. The art and dance scene are so accessible and inexpensive here.

But I have few friends. My besties are all gone, have been for years. My chosen family has changed quite a bit with the obsession of one man, which prevents me from enjoying the company of my group. It devastated me to finally give up on the personal friendship I once treasured, because year after year he lied about accepting my boundaries. Eventually, again and again, he took it to sexual harassment and bullying until another screaming match ensued, followed my months of not speaking.

Finally, I told him the truth: I give up. There’s nothing to fight for here. I have to accept your terms, too, and they are that you will not respect mine. It breaks my heart, I told him, that I can’t give you any of my love, because you ultimately, always demand SEX LOVE. (He said that!) If you’d accept my love as I have it to offer, I went on, I would pour it out onto you! I love you, and being loved by me is really something! But I don’t have sex to offer you, so I can’t give you anything. I have to accept, so I do now.

I took a break from the crew during rehearsal. I was excited for the next gathering, to show him that we can be in shared space and even enjoy one another’s company socially, like we used to before his predatory obsession, but he throws tantrums like a child and ruined the whole party, pissed everyone off.

(He’s a Taurus, too! Day before me. We’ve shared our party for years. He’s a frightening reflection of the weak expression of Taurus, that I recognize. Check yourself.)

He fought everyone, and everyone left. It was a Halloween pre-party and no one went to the main event, because he was so miserable! He attended alone, and bitches about it to this day (from what I hear. I haven’t seen him). If he can’t force a woman to suck his cock like he wants, he’s gonna make sure no one gets what [he thinks] they want.

SICK

So sad

So it’s time. I can get the cats sleeping pills, and drive. I think I’m moving next October!

****

Oh my gosh, I just realized something. I moved here 21 years ago this month. That means if I move next year near this time, I will have lived in Salt Lake for 22 years! And you know how I love my 2-by-222s! Now I have to do it! It’s now. It’s time! I’m going!

Okay. Mind, open. Washington state is a dream, but I’m listening to whatever is right.

Advertisements

Repaired!

I’ve hated my second drum since the moment I put the last color down. Marko put it in the store – Dancing Cranes (where pieces are selling!) (Crazy) – but every time I saw it there, I absolutely cringed. I finally took it back and repaired it.

I knew I knew how to fix it! Marko kept trying to reassure me that someone would love it, and I kept trying to convince myself that the very thing I hated would be the thing that might draw someone else to it. But it was a screw-up, and one I knew I could fix.

This drum taught me about color. Each row has to relate to the one before, in saturation, light, or depth, or in hue. Otherwise, the mandala is jarring to the eyes and energy. This drum was ugly.

And now it’s not! Hooray!
Drum #2

Drum 2 Before

Before

It’s so nice to paint again! I quit after Wind In Her Hair took the wind out of my sails. Then my Depression hit in earnest and I lost the ability to enjoy anything. Then Jax and Carrie joined in the tag-team assault that began their marriage (and nearly killed me). Then I got into the show, specifically to thwart suicide. Next, I moved out and recovered.

At last, I can enjoy my life again! And now that the show has closed, I can paint.

Role of a Lifetime

I feel really lucky. It’s so satisfying a thing to get what you wanted. How much lovelier and rich my life and memories are to get to cherish Adelaide and my Guys & Dolls, rather than to regret the dream never realized.

The dream not realized isn’t the end of the world, but I feel so lucky to have this one.

I’m happy with my performance. “Perfect is the enemy of good,” my wise mother repeated often to her dissatisfied daughter, and I’m able at last (this time) to manage my wish for more from myself than I delivered. I’m proud of my Adelaide, really proud.

I made good choices for her, far deeper than just the fun stuff, which I played to damn-near-perfection. I’m not ashamed to be the best thing to hit the community stage every now and then. Our show was good.

I was good. A well-known producer in our area was pretty taken with me. It was quite a compliment. I don’t know how secure my retirement is, but I know my foot hurts.

The second joint to require a cortisone injection bothers me still, daily, and I confess I anticipated with some anxiety the possibility that I wasn’t really able to dance a show like this. To be honest, I’m surprised it didn’t hit before closing weekend. I do not know how I got through that. It’s amazing how you don’t feel pain onstage.

Ha. I guess that’s why we do it. I certainly did this time.

I think the angels carried me through it, a la “Footsteps.” Angels and painkillers.

Well, I can’t walk today, but I don’t care! I’m so pleased and grateful, and sad that it’s over. I cried yesterday! I didn’t expect it to hit so fast.

What a gift. I’m so grateful. I’m so BLESSED!

Check out my wardrobe! I can’t even!
DSC_7319bushel

lament

mink

minky goodness

sue me

Recognize the Queen of Hearts?

fearsome foursome

I got to wear my RED patent leather stilettos for the last time, so I take full responsibility for not being able to walk this week. Wish you could see the red in the leather belt and other accessories. Such a charming touch to keep Adelaide true to her flaming red core. I love that my hair inspired a wardrobe! (and that the power shift after our wedding is represented in me being taller than my darling Nathan)

guys and dolls promo

Guys & Dolls saved my life. I felt guilty for using theatre for that, but I honored Adelaide and my wonderful castmates in the end. I’m just SO GRATEFUL I was blessed to be a part of this cast, this crew, this Guys & Dolls. It goes so much deeper than finally playing my dream role. Our show healed me in ways no one will ever really know, maybe not even me. That was, honestly, one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Ladies Night, Family-Style

My family made up a group of 11 for my show Saturday night! I was surprised by tears that threatened to roll when the curtain rose. The Overture was well on its way, but that curtain lifted and I was ready to cry! It meant so much to have them there.

I’ve never had such a large crowd rooting for me all at once. Mom really came through for me. I asked her to bring “all the girls.” 2 aunts came with 1 uncle, my GRANDMA, all 4 nieces, my sis, sister-in-law, and mom. ❤

My aunt made fun of me for not acting at all. “I’m uniquely qualified to play a neurotic showgirl,” I agreed. (One reviewer wrote, “The real standout is Adelaide.” She doesn’t need to know it’s not an act.)

Tech week was officially the worst of them all. They kept us after midnight every night before opening! One night I got home after 2am! I was livid. The next day, 2 hot box dancers fainted onstage. I was one of them. When they advised me to take care of myself, I nearly walked off. Let me SLEEP! And when am I supposed to be feeding myself (or shopping for groceries) if you keep me for 7 hours after I work 8?

I’m still annoyed.

I’ve never rehearsed for 7 hours when I wasn’t getting paid. This is community theatre. You have no right to ask more than 3-4 hours after work, and whatever you like on Saturdays. Or you start sooner. I wondered from the beginning how they thought they were putting on such a big show in less than 2 months. I was furious to be proven right, and then completely dismissed and mildly chastised.

“You have to take care of yourself.”

You better take care, right now!

Then we opened, and it all went away. Really! (I was surprised. I was over it.) I felt united, excited, and full of togetherness and nerves.

I was terrified. I’ve never felt less ready to open, but we just needed our audience. There’s nothing like that symbiotic energy. It’s magic!

I love this part. “Guys & Dolls” is just great, classic American musical theatre, and Adelaide is my love song. You know what else? I’m good in this role. I don’t know why. I’m not the best dancer, singer, actor, anything, but I have heart.

I guess that’s it. I feel it. I’m not faking. You can feel me all the way to the rafters. I hold nothing back, and theatre seems to be the only place that’s appreciated.

Also, I’m hilarious. I got props in the review for comedic timing. In any case, I crack myself up. (A friend described me in 1995. “The thing I love about Christie,” he said,  “is she laughs harder at her own jokes than anyone.”) There’s one other guy whose ad libs are funnier than mine, and we’ve been vying all rehearsal long. (He’s cute and divorced. I checked his Facebook. He’s also Mormon. I checked his garment line.)

More than anyone, my Nathan has become a dear friend and confidante. I love him. I love that he’s on the planet. I love that he’s raising children. He’s been so kind to me. He’s a kind, good person who humbles and inspires me.

Theatre has been so generous since my return at 40. I hoped to be a dancing secretary in the ensemble of “How To Succeed,” and I got Hedy Larue! That was far beyond what I expected. I just wanted to play, to feel that particular expression of creativity again. Meeting Maurie, my director, is forever one of the greatest gifts.
hedy 2

I did “9 to 5” for Maurie 2 years later, upon request, just because I love her.
mr and mrs franklin hart jr

“Avenue Q,” at a community theatre in UTAH? Come on! Bad Idea Bear? Best part!
bad idea bears

And now Adelaide, who’s all I ever wanted. Everything else has been a surprise and a freebie along the way. I’m so fortunate. I’m proud. I enjoy my talent, finally, and I feel honored by the generosity of those who chose me and worked with me.
DSC_6571

I don’t know when I’ll do another show. I’m satisfied.

In 2018, I’m looking forward to centering and simplifying. I want to sing for old folks again. I’m excited for yoga, belly dance, Afro-Brazilian/Samba (easier on the body than full-on African), drumming on Saturdays, online piano lessons, guitar (songwriting will fall out of me if I just commit to getting those callouses and chords), and mastering the didgeridoo after 10 years of knowing Marko. It’s all right there, and I just sat on it.

I’m not sitting anymore.
DSC_7319

Lucky Friday the 13th!

Guys & Dolls opened tonight to a small but enthusiastic audience. It was comprised of a few cast family members, and a lot of drunk theatre members.

Ziegfeld has a Member Gala on opening night (as in open bar). It was fun to perform for a raucous crowd that was having a good time before they took their seats. I didn’t feel at all ready, but their energy fed mine and, folks, we have a show!

Today was fun, too, because there was just something special about spending a Friday the 13th in October with my 13-yr-old black cat, in my new apartment, #13.
little cricket

Quiet Hush

I’m sharing a video posted to my friend’s Facebook page. I expect that it won’t be as touching and lovely to Anonymous as it is to me. Playmill Theatre is staple entertainment in the tourist-but-untouched town that is West Yellowstone, MT.

Nostalgia does that, but this is beautiful. Take a moment to enjoy a quiet hush: Lullaby

That curved stage shaped my entire childhood. I spent every summer in the audience. The thing I loved best was riding alone in an old pick-up truck with Grandma and Grandpa, on the way to the cabin in Idaho, singing all the rounds there are: “Horsey, Horsey,” “Three Little Fishies,” “One Bottle o’ Pop,” and all of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

I danced and sang in those lights just one year before this 90s clip was captured.

Lisa Burton Carter, her husband Jeff, and their friend, Linda, have proven themselves to be 3 of the most solid, decent people I know. I called them out by name in my Home Page Novella, “How I Got Here.” They appeared at the razor’s edge of youth and adulthood, onto which I walked with little more than trauma, pain, anger, and grit.

At just the time when there were officially more holes in the dike than I had fingers, Linda and Lisa loved me, and Jeff wanted to paint my portrait.

I wanted to die. I wanted to kill them. It was 1993.

I needed this quiet hush today. I needed a reminder of good people and love in my life. More importantly, I needed a reminder of their example. If you can’t take your eyes off of the mother and daughter in this beautiful melody, it’s because what you see is authentic and deeply good. By choice, by act, by very conscious effort. (Also, ripping hilarious and talented as hell, that family, the whole lot of ’em!)

****

I still have trauma and grit. Today, the angels have sent another reminder that the time has come at last to get my kit together. I have the awareness and maturity to see what I lack, appreciate how I survived as long as I did, and alter it – just the tiniest, albeit significant tweak – to finally achieve the peace and success I long for and deserve.

photoshoot 1993

courtesy Jeff Carter, 1993 (I refused to “sit” for the artist, but after an entire summer he finally talked me into a photo shoot, from which he painted a portrait I’ve still never seen.) (That’s an authentic Native dress! ~ Aho Mitakuye Oasin ~ For us capitalists, that’s a value of $100,000!)

174_01

The portrait I did sit for, in 1984, was for an important artist and teacher, Sergei Bongart. As with Jeff (and that incredible Native dress), it was later that I came to understand the enormous honor. Sergei fell in love with my hometown and summered there until his death in 1985. In southeast Idaho, he found “magpies and wild lilacs,” as in the Ukraine of his childhood.

sergei bongart

Sergei Bongart as a young man