Because Ansara said

An astrologer told me, back when my daughter was 6 (she’s 27 now), that I would one day write a book that would change the way people see relationships.

That hasn’t happened, and I think about it all the time but am not compelled to do it.  I do want to tell everyone that the world isn’t what our society says it is.  I do want to tell everyone that the societal pressure to conform is why we have so many problems; because of it and in spite of it.  Attempting to conform to our model of success is the source of depression, addiction and violence.

Personally, conformity for me takes the form of attempting to survive at an office job by not saying anything about all the shitty treatment from the hierarchy.  Just typing this sentence has me hearing the judgements that I’m a whiner, that I need to shut up and put up.  The power of our cultural conditioning is overwhelming.

So recently, I was let go from a temp position that I had been at for over a year, where I thought I was successful, and where I was in such deep denial I spent the last three weeks telling many people how much I would miss them and the position.

Now that I’ve had the distance and safety to be honest with myself, I am irate.  Again, starting to think about listing the litany of offenses has me redirecting the abuse at myself; I caused the problems by not accepting the culture and environment.

In fact, it was a sick place, as are almost all offices that I’ve ever worked in. There are twisted dictates about whose behavior is acceptable.  There are distorted dictates about the distribution of compensation.  Despite the company sending a firm-wide memo about their excellent profits and financial health, I was refused a raise and worked for the full year with no paid time off and no offer of permanent employment.  In the end, my position was outsourced to their contractor who would cost them half what they were paying my agency.  I was released in November.  Happy Fucking Holidays.

So, although I feel completely liberated from that sick environment, I’m angry.  Today I’ll be working as a background actor (shhhhh.  it’s a tabu in the entertainment industry to work for a paycheck even though no one is hiring you for a real acting job).

Already I’m anticipating a day of being treated like a lowly life form.  My experience on set, with wardrobe in particular, has been traumatic.  I’m actually not being dramatic.  I will detail those horrifying stories in another entry.

Today I am anticipating an encounter with a certain security guard.  On the set of Okja, this particular asshole  assaulted a skinny, homeless guy.  I happen to be nearby and started demanding that this asshole keep his hands to himself.  This asshole is about six feet tall and probably at least 250 lbs.   He had such a problem with five foot, one hundred ten pound me, that he sought me out on set afterwards (there were 400 extras that day).  “Where is she?!”  he was heard demanding.

He approached me and started confronting me with “don’t you ever. . . “.  I immediately told him “don’t you yell at me.  You have no authority. ”

“What’s your name?”  was the only question necessary to end the confrontation.  He immediately left.  Fucking coward.

I do not have excellent facial recognition, usually.  Most people are types to me, and if there are a lot of people around that are the same size, shape and coloring as you, it’s going to take me a few encounters to delineate you all, one from the other.

On subsequent sets, this asshole would appear.  Although I felt a similar energy, and contemplated that I might know this person, it never occurred to me that it was the asshole.

On every set, he stalks me and has to say something about this Okja incident.  The last time we had an encounter, I tried to be friendly, but he was a stony asshole and demanded, “I’m still waiting for an apology.”

My Complex-PTSD has me already being hyper-vigilant about today’s set.  I have already decided, however, that if the asshole is on set and makes any attempt to harass me,  I’m simply getting his last name and filing a complaint.

Which is a sign to me that I am making progress.  I don’t feel a need to educate him or engage.  I am going to protect myself through the proper avenues and I am not taking responsibility for his bad behavior.

This attitude, that I am not responsible for anyone else’s bad behavior, has been a saving grace for me.

I may not write a whole book about relationships, but if you continue to read my blog, little pearls such as the one above might dribble your way from time to time.

Blessed Be.

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I’m best in the morning

I’ve decided to use my blog as a journal.  The odds of anyone picking up my writings seem fairly slim, so I might as well just blab.  I prefer handwriting on paper for this purpose, but I’m somewhere where that is not an option, so I’ll process this way . . . .

This morning I’m rediscovering the singing sensation of my masque.  Singers will know what I’m talking about.  For the rest of you I’ll explain it thus:  you know how your sinuses feel when you have a cold in your nose when you’re not necessarily stuffy, but you have ‘stuff’ in your sinuses?  It makes you sound ‘funny’ when you talk.  What you’re hearing is the sound resonating through all the extra fluids in your facial cavities.  Most people don’t notice this day-to-day.  If you’re a singer, this is an important sensation to be in touch with.

For me, one of the joys of singing used to be that sensation of the sound producing through the masque.  I have had little joy in singing lately.  I find I don’t enjoy the act of it or the sound I’m making.   It’s gotten to the point where I am ready to let go of the choirs I’m in, since there was drama there I didn’t want to deal with anyway.  I was weighing whether or not to set the drama aside to continue as a part of the group, but found I had no real reason to do so.

I started working out again on Sunday.  While hunting down music to use, I remembered that I sometimes like Bollywood type beats.  On one You Tube video, there was a woman singing and her masque sounded especially clear.  This reminded me of that sensation of singing with a healthy, clear, open masque.   When I walk to work I sing, most mornings.   These last two days I have been trying to rediscover my clear, healthy, open masque.  I had some success today and am happy to continue on this path of discovery.  I am willing to work with this discovery and continue with the choir for another minute.  Also, I woke up this morning wanting to attend rehearsal tonight for the first time in a couple weeks, so I guess the full moon is effecting some sort of change in energy.

*                 *                    *                 *               *                *                   *                *                    *

I’m happy at my current assignment.  I creatively visualized an environment of high frequency and vibration; finely appointed, professional, friendly, well-paying and peaceful for me.  The irony is that I find when I leave I am very grumpy, dark and angry.  this morning I believe  I understand why; because of my sensitivity and because of my understanding of the world as it is currently manifesting.  The prevalence of privileged people (men, mostly) who refuse to take responsibility for themselves and insist on acting as though they are toddlers having tantrums and who bully petite, female me, is overwhelming.  Their behavior begs me to assault them.  I won’t, of course, and that is where my repressed rage comes from.  Letting go of it, forgiving them and accepting them as suffering people is impossible for me when I have had to grow up and take responsibility for myself.  Ahhhh.  This is why we journal; Discovery!   By saying forgiveness of them is impossible, I am being exactly the same as some extreme, poor-bashing, ignorant hater who thinks that people who want enough for everyone are somehow saying that their own hard work is meaningless.  Big leap to make if you’re not with me on that one.

 

 

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Nehara is a word for the light that shines from your face when you are happy.”

Struggling with the question of whether to venture up to 191st street to the lady who runs the Mister Softy truck for my cherry-dipped chocolate soft serve cone, I wander out of my apartment, up in the elevator and through the lobby.  On the radiator where people often leave things they no longer want someone has deposited three books.  They are all New York guides: one for free stuff, one for nightlife, and I don’t pay attention to the third but scoop up the first two.  First come first served.  I continue out the door and around the corner to my neighborhood park, J Hood Wright Park and settle on a bench in the sunshine.  People are barbecuing on this Father’s Day, an activity that is expressly prohibited by metal signs placed in the park.  As with many ordinances here, it is ignored.

I continue debating the question of whether I truly want an ice cream cone.  Ultimately, I know I won’t stop thinking about it till I have one so off I go, into the subway station, where an uptown train arrives as I descend the stairs.  I take this as a sign that I have made the right decision.

My underlying thought is that I just don’t want to walk anymore.  At this point I think it’s just habit, as I’m not feeling quite as beat as I have for the last week.  Maybe my vitamins are kicking in or maybe I ate the right thing, but I feel a little less tired than I have since starting this new waitressing job and returning to dance.  I round the corner at Cabrini Boulevard after coming out of the subway station and am thrilled to see the Mister Softy truck and hear it’s generator humming away.  I smile as I approach the wagon and the lady in the truck window.  She turns her back to me.  She turns back as I arrive at the window and smiles when I order from her.  I am happy to have my bright red swirl topped cone in hand.

Working with the drips of chocolate leaking through the red shell, I contemplate that there must be some kind of wax product in this confection to give it it’s wonderful, crackly texture.  Probably not entirely good for me, but hey, life’s short and sacrifices must be made.

I wander onto the Heather Garden path with my dripping cone, stopping at certain flowers to study them.  A woman is letting her dog sniff a  low lying salvia plant and I just know she’s going to let that dog pee on those flowers.  Some people.

There is a gentleman with his gentleman friend on the path and they are discussing the name of a flower and how lovely this combination is together, or that they have that flower in their garden.  We engage in conversation about the plantlife, and I mention that I think I have seen a hummingbird here.  I also mention the lady who let her dog pee on the flower, but after some discussion choose to feel that there are decidedly more important things in life to be concerned about than a dog peeing on some flowers.

The gentleman introduces himself as Christopher and tells me there is an Oriole’s nest in ‘that tree over there’.  He describes the Oriole as a bright orange bird with a black stripe and assures me I would know if I had seen it.  He wonders if the bird still inhabits that nest or if it has fledged or been shooed out.

I let Christopher and his friend travel on away from me as I study other flowers on the path.  We  meet and separate again a time or two.  Towards the end of the path we see some dancers in white ponchos floating and prancing towards us.

“They look like Isadorables,” I say.  Dara, a friend of Christophers who had joined along the path laughs and says ‘Is that what they are?”  I ask if she knows what Isadorables are.  She does not.  “It’s what Isadora Duncan’s progeny were called,” I educate her.

There is a tour guide with the dancers, and a small group following him.  He is talking about how all of Fort Tryon used to be covered in ice.  A scientific tour!!!  I leave Christopher and Dara and the other gentleman, and join up with the tour group.

The guide, a lovely young man with cafe au lait skin and dark eyebrows brings us to an archway and tells us we must be brave if we are to continue on this journey with him.  The dancers join us, no longer in their ponchos and we are brought to a large rock wall where we are instructed to place a hand on the wall and one of the dancers talks about , well, I don’t remember what, but it had something to do with feeling the curves and spirit of the rock or something, and then he tells us to touch our faces and feel the curves there, which I don’t do.  I mean, we just put our hand on this rock and it is Manhattan after all.  Ewwww.

As the tour continues, we are brought to different people who give us different spiritual experiences to try; one has us remove our shoes and feel the grass and ‘the worms and ants and beetles moving beneath your feet’.  Another has us hold the wrist of the person to our right, close our eyes and suggests, “you are on a mountain top.  What do you see?”

Once I get over wanting to giggle at all the earthy-crunchy, touchy-feely stuff it’s kind of cool and I decide to kind of go with it and I feel a companionship with the tour group.

After the last woman, above us on a staircase, tells us we will eventually embrace all of our cracks and scars, she gives us each a marble.  We follow her around a corner and when we get there all the actors and dancers have evaporated.

I strike up a conversation with a woman named Susan.  She is a student of acting and has two daughters, one of whom is a dancer in LA with her own company. When I get home and on the computer,  I go to the website that Susan has given me and see her daughter, Nehara’s website and bio.  The final line of her bio is  “Nehara is a word for the light that shines from your face when you are happy.”

Indeed.

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Relaxed with Pep

Somehow, wiping the sweat off of my iced coffee was really important to me a minute ago.  My energy is really charged today.

After work yesterday, on the way to my voice lesson, I just started feeling really strranngggeee.   If I was still fertile, I would’ve said I was getting my period.  I swear I still get PMS.  Sometimes I feel like I’m pregnant.  It would be immaculate conception, though.

In the past, I think I may have tried to discern anxiously where this chaotic energy was coming from.  Yesterday, I didn’t really care about finding out where from or why.  I went with it and it’s like a cover has been taken off of a shaken bottle of pop.  My fizz runneth over!

At the same time, I’m more relaxed than I’ve ever been in my life.

I suffer from C-PTSD, which is a form of Post Traumatic Stress that is most easily understood as that being suffered by those who have been subjected to long-term,seemingly inescapable abuse or imprisonment.  A segment of the characteristics involves a lack of personal identity and hypervigilance. Add to that my natural tendency toward teaching, my overly organizational brain and a Mary Poppins attitude  (“Well begun is half done!”), and you get an uptight chic who has to have all  ducks in very neat rows and wants to know what’s happening when and why!

Flash forward to this summer.  In April I was ‘separated’ from another office job.  I was uptight there.  I wanted to know why!? everything was so disorganized and how come they did it like that?! and why was everyone so rude?!

There is a book by Dr. Joe Spinoza called Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself, How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One .  My daughter sent me a screen shot of a page that described some neuroscience of changing your brain.  It came at exactly the right time, as these things are wont to do.

The premise in the book that worked for me is that your neurotransmitters are hardwired through emotional memory.  If there is a recurring, strong emotion that you would like to change, first sit with it – even if it’s uncomfortable, disturbing or frightening,  (ESPECIALLY if it’s those things!) so that you can try to see why it’s such a persistent thought.  Perhaps it indicates something you are missing, a hurt you haven’t healed or an anger that has not been dealt with.

When you have some awareness of what the issue is about, you can move into CHANGING it.  Whenever the emotion comes up and you find yourself revisiting the emotion, events and memories simply say, outloud, “CHANGE!”.  When that neurotransmitter loses it’s power and chemical connection, it will release, opening up a new transmitter for a Positive! thought!

Sounds so simplistic, and it is!  For me the physical sensation and visceral shift when doing this was notable.  I practiced this over the summer.

Here we are now, about to enter Autumn.  Lately, I find myself forgetting to tend to things.  Little things that aren’t going to cause anyone’s death or dismemberment, but things I used to be vigilant about tending to.  I find it amusing.  I’m uber relaxed.

I’m reminded of  Whatta Man by Salt N Peppa; “and when he comes home, he’s relaxed with Pep”.  The more relaxed I find myself, the more I find a youthful energy returning.  This is after the last six or so years of a kind-of death of my old life.

I stopped running, which I had done every day for seven years.  I stopped taking dance class. I stopped working out.  I watched movies and TV in all of my free time, lying on my bed, for the most part.  I wondered when, or if, I would come back to life.

Now I’m ready to move into a new life which I had previously given up hope of ever having the ambition for.

I’ve always been most charged in the morning; choreographing, singing, my mind zinging around ideas, being its most brilliant.  This is even more true now.

I’m ready to be teaching you Adult Ballet in the morning, choreographing my next combination or production number, singing songs and working out.  I’ve started running again and working out.  I woke up absolutely intent on a run on Sunday, threw on some gear, ran to the park, did lunges, squats, pushups and a Jazz Technique warm up!  Yay for being too sore to walk!!!

Follow me on Twitter @WickedTuff for science based fitness advise and notices about classes I’m teaching!

In the meantime, I’ll just be chillin’ over here.

 

 

 

 

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You can’t understand Depression

Robin Williams had success and wealth. He was loved by many, but clearly, he was not understood on the level he needed to be to feel that staying on this plane was tolerable.

The fact that the topic is being discussed is hopeful. However – we have a very long way to go . .

DEPRESSION: If you don’t suffer from it you can’t understand it. I know people are trying to because they care, but what’s not being talked about is the self-loathing and belief that there is no future, no hope, to fill the well of grief that many suffer.

Living in our society, where people have many layers of defense in public, which often expresses in anger and disdain, is a huge trigger for many.

Living in our society where value is placed on personal net worth, career success and relationship longevity, for someone already struggling with their own self-worth these criteria can be devastatingly oppressive. If one hasn’t achieved these benchmarks, the cycle of self-loathing and inability to try – for fear of failing, again, is debilitating.

The constant barrage of messages to ‘be happy’ and ‘go for it’ and that – if you’re not going for your dream you’re somehow wasting your life, dismisses the personal stories of a huge segment of the population.

The truth is, some people will talk about it, some will care, but very few will actually change the way they operate with people they don’t know to take an attitude of kindness and understanding.

I’ve made attempts in the past to share the truth about ‘where I live’ with people when it’s become relevant. The lesson I’ve learned (and, clearly, I was sharing with people who hadn’t the imagination to empathize) is that it is a rare and intelligent breed of human that truly ‘gets it’ and isn’t afraid to look at it.

I have been lucky in that I’ve had a highly gifted counselor, and a friend or two who knows this country a little bit. I have been given tools to evolve up the spiral of my psyche to a place where I understand that many of the beliefs I was given about myself and my life were truly inappropriate to reality.  I think it’s nothing short of miraculous that I’ve had these insights, and to someone who has less qualified and competent guidance, and a less innate optimism and joy (which I have discovered under the mountain of detritus piled up by a childhood of neglect, abuse and crazy-making messages) will be hard pressed to come up from the deep cone of despair without a great bit of help.

 

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#lysistrataproject

As with most problems in our world, there really are simple answers; people just keep getting in the way.

In a recent interview, Stephen Soderberg, the director, mentioned that people who dig in their heels against new ideas with the defense of “I don’t believe in that”, will stop a creative process dead.

Women are embattled. This is indisputable fact.  There is a War on Women.  This is not news to anyone who’s paying attention and sees women as people.

Men in government (which to me has become synonymous with despotic, mean, cruel and vindictive, not to mention pompous, condescending and disdainful of the general public) are working their hardest to make sure that the majority of us can’t have nice things; women especially,

I believe there is an extremely, almost embarrassingly simple remedy for this.  It is as old as time, and it is classic, written about in Greek mythology and recently given a musical theatre treatment that, in my not-so-humble opinion would have been saved from total turkeydom with a John Water’s treatment and some Julie Taymor production values.  If you haven’t guessed it by the hashtag header, I’ll ‘splain.

I suggest the Lysistrata Project.  Lysistrata, the title character in Aristophanes comedy, “…persuades the other women to withhold sexual privileges from their menfolk as a means of forcing them to end the interminable Peloponnesian War.”  I propose that the Women of America withhold sex from their men until legislation stops being anti-woman.  Of course, sex workers would have to be on board with the whole thing.  As a matter of fact, considering the behavior of the boys in DC, they would be the most important players.   I may have to do a kickstarter so that I can compensate these Generals and make it worth their while.

The majority of the population in America is female.  Many of them are heterosexual and in relationships; committed or otherwise.  I would be interested to see what would happen if the bargaining chip for a man’s pleasure became a call to a legislator insisting that women’s issues stop being abused and start being respected.  No blow jobs, no hand jobs, no pussy.  Unless they make a phone call.  ONE. PHONE. CALL.

I hope you’ll join me.  #lysistrataproject

 

 

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I do not like the sight of hipsters in my neighborhood.  It actually causes my lip to curl in a sneer, involuntarily.  Lately, there’ve been more than a few up here in the Heights and I tell you, it’s just wrong.  This is not the place for that attitude.  Nobody here gives a shit about obscurity.  Au contraire mon fraire.  I’m pretty sure up in here the more popular something is, the more it has street cred my nigga.

Not that I really care.  About anything right now (except my daughter’s success.  THAT is AlwaYS paramount).  I’m supposed to be training this week to get ready for next week’s rehearsals for my dream-come-true choreography premiere at City Center.  I’m really, really excited about it, but I am so exhausted I don’t want to move.  It is entirely possible that my fatigue is due to a killer respiratory infection that I was sporting last week while I worked full time, took dance class every evening and had a 9PM performance every night.  By Friday of last week, my motivation decided to go walk-about.  it makes perfect sense in light of my schedule, but I just can’t with this. (GREAT grammatical bastardization, BTW, whoever came up with that one.  That’s what I call word efficiency).

This damp, chilly, foggy shitty weather is great for staying home and sleeping or surfing netflix and that is the extent of my motivation.  I’m not getting any work, although I’m submitting to everything.  I have no desire to commute to class in this.  And I bought a Steps dance card the day before I discovered that two of my more-well-liked teachers are at BalletArts on alternating days 7 days a week.  AND their class card is $20 cheaper.  Grrrrr.  So I need to motivate my ass out of the house in crappy weather that’s just begging me to nap, to take a class that I am really quite ambiguous about.

I hoped that writing about this would give me a clue or perspective on my lack of motivation, but that ain’t happenin.  As a matter of fact, I’m just getting groggier as I sip my Berry Zinger-laced-with-ginger tea.  More and more the idea of leaving the house to go and try and exert myself physically just seems blatantly WRONG.

When I was younger – as few as three years ago, you couldn’t hold me down from going to class.  Sick or tired or hungover or depressed, I’d be in my ‘tards and tights and a half hour early.

I want to buy yarn  Knitting scarves is appealing to me.  Watching movies and knitting.  That sounds just lovely.  Crafts.  Arts and crafts. and Movies.

I’m going to stay in today.  But just today, because I’m 11 days away from performance, and motivation or no, I’m not getting up on that stage unprepared.  Oh!  Look at that.  I found my motivation.

 

 

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