Dreaming of Wherever…

It has to be a city, or even just a big town. A college town. Not for youth, but for Community Ed, and… feel.

Just the other day, Boise occurred to me. It would be really easy, not far at all. I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the drive alone, with those old lady cats of mine. I never considered Boise, because of the trauma I experienced there.

I swear to God! What is that?!

I look at patterns. If it keeps happening to ME, then I’m the common denominator. It’s on me to figure out what I’m doing to attract, create, permit, or aggravate… whatever. But I had nothing to do with a random Boise State housing assignment to a coed apartment inhabited by, among others, a madman who tried to kill me!

The fuck? How does this keep happening to me?

I’ve accepted that the chaos of my childhood has kept me glued to chaos as a kind of touchstone. I simply don’t understand it if it doesn’t hurt. It’s my job to divorce myself from that connection. If I don’t, I won’t stop repeating it. But I had nothing to do with meeting Roger T. Black, or with putting him in prison. He did that.

I’m also not responsible for a sexist institution that dismissed me and ignored reasonable complaints of alarming, disturbing behavior. “Histrionics of a woman” is an unbearable insult. (The word itself! Hyster  – Greek – “Of the womb.” I’m on fire, I’m so mad right now.) “Oh, go on now, you silly, dramatic girl,” Boise State “said” to me, practically patting my pretty little head. That mentality pisses OFF! Fuck you.

I don’t think about it often. Almost never. When I do, I’m mad all over again that my parents didn’t direct me to sue that fucking school. Boise State endangered me, for REAL. I cannot believe I took out student loans for the privilege! Then I flunked out! I’m an A student, if you hadn’t guessed. If I’m doing it, I’m doing it well.

Fuck Boise State! I should have been compensated for the crime BSU committed against me, not just that of Roger T. Black, a gangrenous diabetic who probably died in prison. (Actually, he probably got better care in the hoosegow than what he was providing for himself. And he only got 3 years!)

How did he even get near campus? It was clear he was a sexual predator, using his GI Bill – still – to “go to school,” where there’s a constant display of victims. Hell, housing will serve them to you, right across the hall. Boise State didn’t skip due diligence; they didn’t do ANY! Then they humored me when I brought abuse and peril to their attention, until Roger T. Black nearly killed me! No. Actually almost killed me.

I could have sued BSU for millions, and I should have. I will never not be pissed about that. Fuck not being litigious as a sort of religious moral stance. I’m your daughter!

That said, Boise’s lovely. 🙂

The weather is similar to Salt Lake without the inversion. There’s a huge Burner community, so I can find like-minded artistic weirdos, and I’m still close enough to attend Utah events. Huge belly dance community. Several troupes commute here twice a year to perform in Salt Lake’s biannual festivals. Huge African Drum & Dance Corp. They come to our annual camp every year and invite us to their events. And Boise is probably Idaho’s only southern town not completely right-wing zombified. At least no more than I’m used to.

Boise is an hour plus from mom (and my darling toddler nephews). There are some former-Mormon high school friends in Boise to hang out with. I can visit Marko for blank drums and didgeridoo fests and general laughs. Hell, I’ll see all my Salt Lake friends more often if a visit is an occasion. It always works out that way.

Boise??? Wow! Why not!?

Spokane? Pueblo, Colorado, popped up. (?) New Mexico? (Close to Texas.)

Speaking of Texas, flights were too expensive to visit my bestie during Christmas, so I’m headed down there for a week on Jan. 10. I’m so excited to see that baby!!! She’ll be 4-and-a-half months then. She belly laughs and chatters, and holds such enchanting attention. Her 4-yr-old sister is in love with her, and interprets her coos.

I was laughing yesterday, because I sent all of my childhood Strawberry Shortcake dolls to my best friend’s daughter for Christmas. It was a little hard to do. I’ve saved them for almost 40 years! They were intended for my kids, but even when it became clear that I wasn’t having any of those… oh, my dolls! I’ve had them my whole life! The care that went into that collection! They’re pristine. They are loved, still.

Yesterday, I Googled “vintage Strawberry Shortcake coloring books,” because the 4-yr-old doesn’t even know their names. (Shame on my best friend!) This was another reason I struggled with what had already been a difficult decision to part with those ever-loving dolls. I knew my bestie, who played with them just as I did in the 80s, wouldn’t remember anything about them (much less everything). I know her little daughter has far too many toys for one child (or 10) and my dolls have already been lost in the mix. They are not being valued properly! I loved them! But I had them in a box, in a box. Packed away in my cedar chest for decades, bringing no one even a moment’s joy. They are more valuable being played with by a 4-yr-old I love, even when they’re forgotten by her tomorrow.

So, I thought she and I could have all sorts of fun with a naming ceremony, and meet all the other friends that aren’t in my collection, by coloring together. What I found instead were sales of nearly $40 on dolls in worse shape than the ones I passed down. I had to laugh. A play date with a little girl in Texas has more value than a dollar sign. (Taurus)

I’ll keep telling myself that until it’s true, haha!

Merry Xmas! Love, Xie

I’m looking forward to 2018. I didn’t think it was possible for anything to suck harder than 2016, after his election (God, that hurt!), but a whole year of that man is too terrible to imagine. I mean it when I describe his presidency as an exercise in imagination. Doesn’t it feel that way to you? Like a bleak dystopian novel that can’t be real? We’ve all had to go numb just to get up in the morning! It does scare me a little to inure myself so completely. I mean, that’s how the apocryphal “it” happens. But, worst case scenario, Dump is out in 3 years. (I still describe that election cycle as identical to an abusive relationship. And it’s the new normal!)

I gotta say, I never dreamed I’d be the old lady who said, “The world was too terrible a place to bring a child into,” but I feel it. Not just environmental catastrophe, disregard for human rights, indifference to rape, and near-daily mass shootings. How do we explain the dissonance between the way we ask our children to behave and the cruelty and deceit of our own nation’s leaders? Not even those horrifying things. Parenting in the cyber age is beyond my emotional endurance. That alone. You cannot undo what gets online. The bullying there transcends my ability to understand. I wouldn’t want to face sexting with my pre-teen. And every modern parent will. I’m out! Gratefully so.

That’s not to say to fighting against the final slamming shut of that window didn’t hurt like hell. It was hell to finally learn the plot to that story. I’m nobody’s mother. Ouch.

2017 had Jax and Carrie, too, and that nearly killed me. I mean, dead. Oh. my. gawd. I haven’t been that close to suicide since my 20s. I wouldn’t have survived them then.

Thank god for Guys & Dolls! Thank god for my courage and tenacity. And talent. And beauty. I really like about me that I can find worth and beauty in damn near everything. So I keep finding it.

Damn, I’m tough. 2018 is a true new beginning. Everything I look at and touch will be new. I’m terrified, and so excited. 2018 is the year I trust my strength, stop testing it [in unhealthy ways], and enjoy my fucking awesome life. Goddammit. 🙂

Happy New Year. It’s a good one this year. I hope yours is, too.

****

Oh! I forgot a photo of my most recent drum, and a whole new direction that I love!
drum
12″ on wood frame with mallet
details

Advertisements

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

Hard Day

Rehearsal was rough. These things happen. There was technical difficulty that pushed us behind by an hour and a half, and our music director was left to scramble to fit everything in after that.

First, let me say how much I love this woman. She is indomitable, and delightful! It was an example of “rolling with it like an adult” that I needed to see right now.

That being said, she quite accidentally ended up keeping me at a rehearsal that never even got to me. In total, with drive time and rehearsal hours stacked together, I spent 6 hours of my day to rehearse for no more than 20 minutes, and when I got home I had nothing left.

I’d hoped to come home to a nice solar-cooked meal, ready to tidy the house and pack just one box. Baby steps, but progress I could feel good about. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my scattered self to settle or do anything more than pace and move piles. I thought I’d be done by noon, but didn’t get home til 3, and my solar cooker didn’t get the rotation it needed, or the seasoning, it seems. I was demoralized by the failure even to feed myself like a grown-up, and spent the rest of the afternoon searching online for apartments or roommates with no luck, consequently worrying (panicking), and eating junk – chips chased by cookies – ’til I felt sick.

THEN… Jax let me know that he and his new, perfect, InstaDreamFamily would be stopping by to pick some things up and introduce the cute 10-yr-old kid to the cat they’ll be ripping away from me. It had, until today, given me a modicum of pleasure to imagine Jax’s beautiful boycat Ollie with a sweet little human boy.

They didn’t pick some things up and “meet the cat.” They plaaayed. Like, forever. In the house, in the yard, in the garden. I couldn’t hide from their joy, and I started to freaking lose my shit. I went into my room to cry alone, but it soon became clear that if I didn’t stop crying soon, I wouldn’t stop at all tonight – or for days! Who knows? – so when it got quiet and I knew they were outside again, I peered out of my room looking for Jax.

I was sick. My heart was pounding. My stomach was in knots. I thought I’d just breezily poke my head out and ask Jax to come “look at something.” Luckily, he was inside right then and I safely started crying in front of him alone, without disturbing anyone else or humiliating myself. I asked him, “How much longer?” and he was put out.

Look, I get that you own this home, but I live here, too. And there’s a difference between stopping by and shoving your family fun day in my face. (I had appreciated the “heads up.” It had been a herculean task to get that much from him, but I was grateful.)

Less than 2 months ago, we were still talking about our possibilities for family planning! It killed me to endure their bliss today. What don’t you understand about gradual exposure? He’s such a jerk! Just rude! He’s so inconsiderate, literally doesn’t even consider me. He never did, and I’m so ashamed and embarrassed that I didn’t have the sense to notice it before he traded me in for her. I was pretending with a man who not only did not love me, but didn’t even think of me! Even when he was here!

I did so well. I was actually grateful for a do-over with his lady love. When he brought her home for their first [only] overnight here – that he didn’t alert me to because, again, I never occur to him – I wasn’t able to meet her graciously. I didn’t throw shade, but I couldn’t manage anything beyond a terse, “Hello.” I did force a half-smile, but I wished I could be… different.

I mean, at bare minimum a decent housemate would let me know there would be a Walk of Shame in the morning. “FYI, just because you live here,” kind of thing, right? The real truth of that morning’s Walk of My Shame was a feeling of, “You’re out. She’s in, and here it is in in your face, no warning! ‘Cause the joke’s on you, stupid girl who screwed her roommate and then got screwed.”

Do you think maybe I ought to be aware that there’s a stranger in my house? If, for no other reason, than to give me the option, upon waking on a Saturday morning set to deep clean my home, not to sing out loud, talk to “the cats,” and humiliate myself in front of a woman who didn’t mean to but absolutely DID humiliate me.

Not even an fyi? Any flexibility there? No. A haaard NO. Got it.

Jax never cared about me at all.

Today, I extended my hand to her and apologized that I’d been unable to greet her more warmly then, and she accepted happily. A little too chirpy for my desolate and lonely mood, but she’s a nice enough girl?

(As far as I’m concerned, she sounds a little dumb, frankly. Jax – God knows why! – told me about how sweetly she was pitying me one day. “But she’s so pretty,” she said. Like, is that supposed to make me like her? And – yet again, the dismissive pressure to be different than I am – pretty girls aren’t permitted to feel pain? Duh!)

So here they are, playing, laughing, loving, lingering, and I’m in so much pain. How long would they have stayed? If I hadn’t said anything, my heartache wouldn’t have entered his consciousness at all. Not one thought for me.

Right now I feel like I hate him again, and I hate that!

A lot o’ tears and melancholy tonight.

And I can’t find a place to move! With nothing. I got rid of almost everything when I moved in here, and now that’s what I’m left with. Alone.

I did not get here alone, but I get to be here alone. And I hate him for that today.

By the way, I’m just gonna be catty about the way that girl was dressed. You could never convince me that that outfit was not showing the ex-girlfriend who’s got the man now. Those were the tightest, tiniest underwear-masquerading-as-jean-shorts I’ve ever seen. And a crop top.

Just wear a bikini next time, and spare the pretense. Honestly! I get that you love showing your shit. And she looked great! For real. But that was a “Who’s got him now?” moment if I’ve ever seen one.

I mean, I wear booty shorts. At home. Those were panties I would wear at Burning Man, except for the tacky denim styling. She wanted to show her goods to me as much as anyone. I really don’t trouble myself with her much, or even begrudge some woman her joy, but that was no mistake. That was for show, and for me.

She’s cute. She didn’t look awful in her waaay-too-tight short shorts, but I certainly wouldn’t walk around like that. And I wear crazy shit! But congratulations, and all that. Wag your little hiney for your fat man and make sure I see who won.

Got it.

For my part, I haven’t worn make-up in months, except to the audition. I knew they were coming, and I didn’t even brush my hair. ‘Cause I don’t give a shit and I’ve got nothing to prove! I’d gone to rehearsal with wet hair, and was left with that fuzzy, unstyled nest look, without product and not a stitch of make-up. Not even lip stain to boost my mood or compete with her age. I don’t care. I just want to live my life and be left alone by people who took my Everything, and left me to wallow in it alone and bawling. It was an illusion, of course, but I didn’t see that until they got together and took it away.

I’ve never cried so much in my life. That’s the truth. It’s been almost 2 months of tears. I am so tired.

Just get your shit and go. You know what? That’s how I feel about it now, and I’m letting myself feel it, dammit! Yeah, it’s your house, but it’s my home. You’ve already become a plug-n-play Daddy and moved out. So get out! And don’t bring your shit-smelling sunshine to my safe place and shove my nose in it. Unlike you, I have nowhere else to go! I’m crawling out of my skin as it is!

Give me an ever-loving BREAK!

One last thing I haven’t permitted myself to even think about until today is this: This girl – I sympathize with the things I know about her history that Jax SHOULD NEVER HAVE TOLD ME – ran away from an abusive relationship in the Midwest, after a trauma she endured in April that’s too horrifying to name. She proposed to Jax after they’d known each other for FIVE weeks – and for 3 of those, she had gone back to the abusive ex who followed her out here! If you don’t see red flags all over this girl… you will.

And it’s none of my business, so I haven’t even permitted these dark thoughts. I don’t want to spend my time hoping for their demise. I don’t hate that girl, and I loved Jax once. I want people to be happy, generally. These people, I just don’t want to see again.

There’s more.

I do feel a tremendous amount of guilt for the judgement in my heart on one issue: SHE HAS A SON. How dare you bring a man you do not know into a child’s life without any assurance that he’s not as effed up as the last guys you’ve dated? Do you know how much danger minors are in under the same roof with men who aren’t their fathers? Risk goes up further when he’s not even step-dad. Obviously, it doesn’t matter beyond her own romantic fantasy how “dreams” can become a nightmare for an innocent child!

She met Jax on the 4th of July, and they’re already shacking up. You’re a mother!

At that point, I’d stop dating, get my shit together, and care for my son. Period! That precious boy should be the only man in her life, not the men who come calling when that ass gets waggin! I’m sorry. It’s none of my business, but it was in my face, and that makes me mad. I was molested. I know danger. Single mothers are targeted by bad men. You should be more vigilant than any parent! Shame on that mother.

It just so happens that she hit the jackpot with Jax. He’s a reliable man, strong, hard-working, likable. I can’t think of a better step-dad to guide and mentor that little boy, and heal some of the things he’s seen that he didn’t choose. And Jax is in love with this girl, like he never was with me, so she won’t have the problems with intimacy we had. Jax unconsciously eliminated all invitations for closeness by coming home from work (in actual dirt) and marinating in his own stink, with headphones in to plug me out, until I gave up and went to bed alone. Nothing in his behavior invited intimacy or fostered love. I’m the idiot who thought we could make something work from that.

I’m the girl you fuck and leave behind when the Primrose Family moves to town. It sucks. He didn’t do it on purpose or with malicious intent, but that’s what I’m left with.

Geez, do you think he has a type? The girl you rescue, maybe? She obviously plays the damsel in distress much more cleverly than I do. He gets to feel like the protector, and why shouldn’t he? He is that guy!

For that young mother playing fast and loose with a 10 yr-old boy’s safety, that’s pure luck, and I sorta don’t have a whole lot of respect for her. I know, I know, it’s easy to judge when you’re not a mother, but that’s risky behavior, bottom line. A vulnerable child can’t choose for himself. He’s at her careless mercy. They’re lucky Jax is good.

As for this messed-up girl, Yours Truly, I’ll die before letting you see how scared I am, and how much I crave tenderness, without any ability – STILL – to generate it, offer it, or accept it. It’s just how my violent childhood shaped my energy into a sometimes very-aggressive response to intimacy. I push you away when I need you most.

Jax and I were both unapproachable, and stupid enough not to notice long ago how pathetic and hopeless we were. I’m embarrassed, bereft; he’s on to “next.”

It kills me. So that’s where I am tonight. With monstrous emotions of hate and envy eating me alive AND a prayer in my heart for this woman who stole my dream, and for her sweet boy who’s going to love the cat I’ll miss more than Jax.

I don’t hate Jax or his girlfriend. I don’t wish them ill.
And I hate them both. And hope they fail.

You know, the easy stuff.