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 pervert 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 such an unbearable insult. (The word itself! Hyster  – Greek – “Of the womb” = hysteria.)

“Oh, go on now. Silly, dramatic girl,” Boise State “said” to me, practically patting my pretty little head. That mentality pisses OFF!

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 they committed against me.  They permitted that man to live with students and then took and hid the proof I gave them that he was a sexual predator!

Roger T. Black was a obese, gangrenous diabetic in his 50s (You could smell his dying flesh!) He rode around barefoot in a jazzy power chair and probably died in prison. (In fact, I’m sure he got better care in the hoosegow than he provided himself.) (And he only got 3 years for Disturbing the Peace, because he didn’t actually pull the trigger, just told the neighbor he was going to. When the police broke down his door and hauled him off, they found an arsenal of weapons and ammunition, and detailed plans of my murder drawn up in his room. As well as buckets full of his waste. He only used the girls bathroom to masturbate in, leaving a pile of cigarette ash to identify the deposit as his. Oh, he almost burned down the building, too. There were holes burned into his carpet from the many times he passed out smoking. Thanks, Boise State, for checking up on me after months of abuse and weeks of reports, evidence, and complaints.)

How did he even get near campus? He was a sexual predator, using his GI Bill – still – to “go to school,” with its endless bevy of victims. Hell, Housing will serve them up, right across the hall. BSU didn’t skip due diligence; they didn’t do any! Then they humored me when I brought aggressive, dangerous harassment to their attention, until Roger T. Black nearly killed me! Actually almost killed me. As in, he had a plan to kill me.

I could have sued them 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-and-twenty from mom (and my darling toddler nephews). There are some former-Mormon high school friends in Boise to meet up 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.

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 Dump’s election win (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, he’s out in 3 years. (I still describe that election cycle as akin 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 imagination and emotional endurance. That alone. You cannot undo what gets online. The bullying there transcends my ability to understand, and I wouldn’t want to face sexting with my pre-teen. Every modern parent will. I’m out, and I’m relieved.

As a childless woman, I will never cry the tears of the damned. Worry and pain for your children is worse than anything we soloists endure alone. I can get through anything. Motherhood is its own brand of terror and heartache. I’m not sorry to avoid it.

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

Jax was my attempt to slip a sperm past that gate, and that recalls Jax ‘n’ Carrie, the real reason 2017 can suck it. They nearly killed me, and they knew it. It was obvious how sick I was. I confessed as much the innumerable times I begged to be left alone – begged – and Jax was there when I swallowed a bunch of pills. I haven’t been that close to suicide since my 20s. I wouldn’t have survived them then.

Oh. That was awful. It makes me sad to remember, and I remain incredulous.

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

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!

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 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.
DSC_7319

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.

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