Tuesday, November 22, 2011

why it still really sucks to get pseudo-dumped by someone you were "sort of seeing"

(Giving credit where credit is due: I've been reading a lot of Thought Catalogue lately, so this post is largely inspired by them, though not as well written.)

Take this formula: girl meets boy in bar, thinks nothing of it. Ends up casually seeing this boy for several weeks. Refuses to decide if she think it's anything more than casual, even though it seems like he'd like it to be more than casual. Grows unwittingly (or wittingly but without admission) more attached while maintaining to herself the relationship's casual nature. Continues "casually" seeing this boy for several more weeks, verging into the multiple months territory. Suddenly becomes wittingly more attached/admittedly attached at the precise moment when the boy starts to ignore her. Decides to, as best as she (in a somewhat emotionally stunted about relationships way) can, put it out there that she'd like to make this less casual. Learn he did make it less casual. With someone else.

The argument could be put forth that, since while it seemed he was looking for something casual she was looking for something less casual, she sort of had it coming. On the other hand, the argument could be put forth that she misread the signs and had no real reason to be surprised when this abruptly blew up in her face. The argument could be put forth that at least she tried, and isn't that something? And all these arguments have their merit.

The thing about these arguments is they don't account for the part where the girl can't help but just not get it. What changed, and when. They don't account for the part where the girl always assumed that if and when this DID blow up in her face, it would be because he was bored or busy or not looking for anything serious. They don't account for the part where he was looking for something - just not with her. They don't account for the part where she can't stop asking why not her. They don't account for the part where it's about him, but it's more about the deflation of that scary but great feeling where she thought this could really be something.

But these are all feelings contingent upon a real relationship, she'll think. These are all feelings she doesn't necessarily deserve to have, so she'll stuff them down as best she can when talking to friends and pretending that she knows she's making it a bigger deal than it really is. These are all feelings she shouldn't have when being blown off by someone who very likely didn't care very much in the first place, or very likely wouldn't have mattered much in the long run.

The trouble is, the girl is me. The story is, the girl is me. And the trouble is it's not a story at all. So for the next few days, I won't send the passive aggressive text and I will continue pretending it's not a big deal. But it turns out? This still kind of blows.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

When we first moved to California and I was miserably, desperately homesick, my dad - no stranger to the relatively nomadic lifestyle already being bred in his then 8 year old child - would remind me that my friends may no longer have been physically close, but it was no reason for them to no longer be close friends. "How do you get mail? Send it" was the refrain, and it instilled in me a fairly important lesson at a young age - that friendships, no matter how close, take work. They take putting in the time and the effort.

I mentioned in my life recap that I recently reconnected with someone I was fairly certain I'd never speak to again. And it's funny, actually, because years and years ago when things first started to go south with this friend, I believe I said something to the effect of "I've never let somebody walk out of my life, and I'm not about to start with you." Only... I kind of did just that. Whoops. Now as is always the case, the falling out wasn't nearly that simple, but it's also not the point of this post.

Rather what's been floating around in my brain is the process of reconnecting - because I feel like it's supposed to be awesome, right? And it is nice, but you know what else? It's fucking WEIRD.

Because everything feels like it should be easier. Because somehow you're supposed to ignore that time where you weren't in one another's lives, but it's impossible to pretend time hasn't passed that you didn't know each other. Because there's a trust that has to be rebuilt, and yet it's supposed to already exist. Because everything seems the same, but nothing is.

To be honest, I never thought I'd be here - certainly not with this person, but really in general. I thought I had taken that lesson to heart when I was a child, thought I was a better "friend" (in the abstract) than this, extenuating circumstances in this case notwithstanding.

I realize now, a good deal older and a (only a little) more mature than I was at 8, that our California move had to have been harder on my parents than it was on me. Their friends too were all on the other side of the country (world, it might as well have been to me then), and they of course 1) didn't have the luxury of school and 2) had already left everything behind only six reasonably short years earlier. And yet they spoke to those friends almost everyday. Still do, and they are still across the country from those people. It's something I admire immensely, and something I often feel I should work harder at.

For a lot of reasons I'm glad the person that inspired this post has come back into my life, and as I said I was pretty positive that wouldn't ever happen. It took a lot to get to where I am now, to be glad instead of to be afraid it would all go to hell again. But that's the risk, I think. Of relationships, but of friendships too - those wounds can sting just as deeply as a relationship gone wrong, and often sticks for a lot longer.

The quote that titles this post is by Audrey Hepburn, and like the right quote does, rang very, very, almost painfully true to me the first time I heard it. It still does, but I haven't done quite as good a job with it in recent years. This situation is specific unto itself, but has in a larger way reminded me that that's true. To extrapolate from what my dad said those many years ago, how do you keep friends? Be one. 8 year old self with the silly email address and horrific long distance bill (sorry family!), you might have been onto something.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Epic. Audition. Fail.

This Thursday, I had the absolute worst audition of my life for Northern Stage's upcoming production of Annie.

Let me first preface this by saying that I'm not rock solid on why I submitted for this in the first place as 1) it's Annie and I didn't even really like the movie as a kid, 2) it's in Vermont in December and I'm cold enough in New York as it is, and 3) doing the show would mean not going home for Christmas following me already not going home for Thanksgiving. All the same I did, and they called me about auditioning, so I scheduled the appointment and in I went.

Now in my not-so-long and reasonably undistinguished career, there have already been a handful of auditions all ranging from so-so to downright awful, but nothing quiiiiite tops my experience from Thursday.

To begin, I should say the first problem was my own, namely that I was given music to learn and clearly did not do so to the best of my ability. I can blame work and the apartment hunt for taking up all my time and this is true, but frankly, I just should have known the song better. That, plus though it wasn't, say "Tomorrow" or "Little Girls," just about every aspiring musical theatre diva in her right mind knows "NYC" - or at least, every one but me. Nevertheless to be sure it created a not-to-stellar impression when I had to stop and restart not once, not twice, but a record three times. Strike one.

Then I finally actually start singing to discover that I have NO voice. And for no good reason, either! Not allergies, not drinking, not yelling, not sleep deprivation, nor ANY of the other usual culprits (aka really one of the first two but every once in a while a different one). The sounds I was producing in no way resembled good singing but in every way resembled the voice of a person who - to outsider ears - was far, far too sick to have bothered coming to audition that day. And I can't even justify that it was a good acting performance, because my only thought was "please god let me get through the song so this will be over." And we all know I can't keep anything off my face, so clearly that much was obvious as well.

To top it all off, I have (I would later learn) an ulcer on the surface of my right eye, thus making the eye in question at the time of the audition a frightening shade of Halloween costume red.

Not my finest hour. I quite literally apologized on my way out the door and bolted from the building like it was on fire. Humiliating on EVERY level.

But here's the thing - two years ago, if that had happened I would have gone home and cried to myself for an hour or two and then beaten up on myself for the next anywhere between two hours and weeks, convinced that this WOULD happen to me and it was a sign of my general talentlessness. (What can I say, I'm kind of hard on myself.) And I can't say that twinges of that didn't creep in as I called my parents and texted sympathetic actor friends to complain. But my overall reaction was "well fuck, that sucked, I'm fairly well humiliated, but I'll get over it." This is BIG, people. It means I might actually - finally - be learning something about the game I'm playing here. And so on to the next.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

oh hello there, blogosphere!

Lately, I've been on a blog reading binge, which lead me to remember, oh right! I have a blog!

Out of curiosity I added my own to my reading material and lo-and-behold, noticed that I haven't updated since July. Whooooops. (And crapped out in the middle of my second 30-Day-Challenge that I made it only like 6 days into. Double whoops.)

So what have I been up to? It seems like it hasn't been that much time since July, but it would appear I've done quite a bit.

Since July I've:
Quit a job that was making me slowly but surely completely insane.
Seen three Broadway shows.
Looked manically for a new job and perfected the art of lying through my teeth/convincing people I am a far more competent waitress than I appear on paper.
Did a show!
Procured said new job!
Met a nice Irish boy.
Said goodbye to the nice Irish boy a few weeks later.
Braved a (totally uneventful/lamest ever) hurricane.
Signed on to do a show that, I thought, was totally not me at all.
Reconnected with someone who I was pretty sure I'd never speak to again and became, it seems, pretty good friends with that person again.
Finally saw an actual baseball game at Yankee stadium.
Joined a new gym.
Quickly realized I had transitioned to working all the time.
Actually opened that show I thought was totally not me at all and completely fell in love with the show, the creative team, and just about everything about it.
Danced in the rain, performed for the New York Times, wore a prom dress in public at age 22, and learned to operate a puppet.
Wrote my own love letter to New York.
Discovered that I really, really hate brunch.
Discovered that I really, really love fall.
Had a lovely albeit brief visit with my family, both biological and otherwise.
Turns out, met another boy. More on that later.
Made significant headway on my student loan debt (perk of working all the time).
Fell down on the job a little with the whole audition thing - downsides of doing 7 shows a week and working all the time.
Began to plan to move to my 12th address in 22 years.

...And the usual shenanigans with the usual suspects and a new cast of characters at work, and about a million and a half other things. There are some entertaining anecdotes, some things I need to puzzle through, and some reflections. And I figure since I've spent so much time reading blogs lately, it's probably time I gave my own a little more love.

I can't - and won't - promise consistency, but hey. Who knows? Maybe someone out there (besides my dear friend Kitty Kat) will add me to their compulsive blog reading!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

mmmmm delicious

30+ Day Challenge: What You Ate [Yesterday]

...Okay so 1) it's supposed to read "today" but it's the beginning of today rather than the end of yesterday and 2) why is this one of the questions?

Nonetheless, yesterday:
1) 1 slice Papa John's pizza. Didn't quiiiiite work out.
2) Aloha Pineapple Jamba Juice
3) Sourdough Parmesan pretzel
4) Bread & sundried tomato olive oil
5) Caprese salad
6) Spaghetti pomodoro
7) Coldstone

Mmmm delicious/fatness. Note to self: re-join a gym at earliest convenience. Double note to self: go grocery shopping & stop spending money.

...Really though. Why is this a question. I now bring you back to your regularly scheduled life.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ooooh, i really hate yo ass right now

30 Day (ish - look I'm tryinggggg this is still the most blog posts I've done in a month!) Challenge: 5 Pet Peeves

1. Whining about things that are good: These things include but are not limited to whining about travel (ughhh I'm never home! I was just in Europe for two weeks and now I have to go to Asia), over-commitment with things that are awesome (oh fuck, I have an audition and a rehearsal and a callback AND another rehearsal and a staged reading), and why having a boyfriend isn't as good as being single (he bought me dinner AGAIN and all I wanted to do was stay home!). This might actually be my biggest pet peeve at present.

2. People who are not poor who say they are: If you ever openly admit in my presence that you a) don't have a job, b) aren't looking for a job, and c) intend to live off of mommy and daddy's money for as long as humanly possible without contributing at all because you for ANY reason feel that they owe you after the age of 22, the next time I say let's go to dinner if you say you can't because you're broke/it's expensive, I'M GOING TO STAB YOU. I have three jobs and I'm still way below the poverty line. Shut the fuck up, tell your parents thank you, and don't talk to me until you learn ANYTHING about the value of money.

3. Reading over my shoulder: A simple classic. Please. It gives me the heebie jeebies. I admit that I have an unreasonably high personal space boundary, but really. Just ask - I'll give you the book/magazine/newspaper or turn my computer your way.

4. Poor grammar: Another simple classic. Your and you're? Not the same. Ditto there, their, and they're. See again it's and its. Don't get me started on comma usage or incorrect plurality.

5. Being asked why I don't have a boyfriend: Dear men everywhere - asking me why I don't have a boyfriend in that bewildered, "you're so great" way is not flattering, it's annoying. It does NOT make me want to smile demurely or laugh or bat my eyelashes or flirt. It makes me want to say "I don't fucking know, so you'd better tell me what it is about me that strikes you as undateable" and then stalk away in my most enraged but still appealing way. This goes double if you and I have ever engaged in any sort of... flirtation and triple if we've ever actually dated but you're curious as to why I'm still single now.

[6. Honorable mention -the word moist. Seriously, my hatred of this word is so well known that people will say "that word you don't like" rather than say moist in my presence.]

Sunday, June 12, 2011

dj blow my speakers up

30 Day Challenge, Day 6 (and change. so sue me.): Your views on mainstream music.

You know it's funny - when I moved to New York, I essentially altogether stopped listening to the radio, because I stopped driving. So for the better part of 3 years, I knew songs that became monster hits & songs that got played at bars, but I had more or less no idea what was "mainstream" music. Oh, except for songs that became part of the baller medlies. Obvs. This of course happened not because of a conscientious abstention from pop music but rather a matter of simple circumstance, rather than my younger days of trying to suit my music taste to fit that of my punk and alternative loving friends.

Then I began working at a dance studio, and my life was all top-40 all the time. A friend and I had a conversation last summer wherein he decided to see how many songs on the Billboard Hot 100 he knew - he came up with 6 in the top 10, I came up with 45 in the top 60. Which, though faintly humiliating, also lead me to a realization - of those songs certainly MANY sucked, but there were a good number I actually enjoyed.

I've spent most of my life having an extremely eclectic music taste - I've always said that I'll listen to anything as long as it's good. And yet, I've also spent quite a long time trying to make my music taste suit that of those around me - listening to alternative bands or indie bands or rap artists or hair metal bands because someone close to me said it was worth listening to, and pretending to like bands I love less because they were a cliche or obvious or unpopular choice. Then I got sick of that and decided that YES, I do love the Spice Girls in a non-ironic way and YES, I still count Something Corporate among my favorite bands and NO, I really don't actually like Taking Back Sunday. Etc.

Oh and by the way? Yeah. Some radio music is pretty fucking catchy and even really good.

So mainstream music? Yeah. Fine. This is me turning in my fake hipster card once and for all.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

and so it is, just like you said it would be

30 Day Challenge: Things you want to say to an ex.

It's just...

I miss you. Not as my boyfriend, but just as you. Being in my life. I miss us as we were, but more than that I miss an us I'm not sure really ever was - I miss us as we could have been, I guess.

It's just. It's strange. It's too weird and it's too hard and it's all too far gone but... god I wish there was a way to start over.

It sucks knowing there's not a way back from this, and it sucks even more that just when I think I don't care I'm reminded that that's not exactly true - it creeps in without my being able to stop it, which I hate, but there it is.

...I could go on, but I'll stop, I think. Honesty was never really my style.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lifestyles of the not so rich but hopefully soon to be famous

...I have to admit, the premise of this, though easy at first, now seems vaguely like the nightly reports I have to send to my boss at work, which is to say mostly unappealing.

Also I'm cheating, because I definitely won't get to this before the end of my day.

30 Day Challenge: Bullet your whole day
  • Woke up before alarm because it's too damn hot in my room
  • Went back to sleep for all of 20 minutes
  • Woke up again 20 minutes later even unhappier about the heat
  • Showered, dressed, makeup'd
  • Bought coffee at deli
  • Waited for fucking ever for the select bus
  • Arrived late to work because of waiting forever & balls traffic on 2nd ave.
  • Worked, waited many tables
  • Broke plate at work, cut open finger on aforementioned broken plate
  • Worked more
  • Learned good news about a friend, was pleased to learn I was actually excited for her rather than pissy and jealous (AHA! maturity! i'm growing some!)
  • Finished working, ordered food
  • Bus home, ate food
  • Reviewed where I was in 30 day challenge, saw this, saw tomorrow's and got a little concerned
  • Was annoyed to learn that my cell phone isn't sending texts (wtf, cell phone)
  • Short nap
  • Drankin/reunion with favorites!
The end.

...On second thought, this was slightly less annoying than my nightly reports. On the other hand, it was also a complete waste of my time and that of anybody who read it. Thank you aaaand goodnight.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

what do you read? words, my lord.

30 Day Challenge, Day 3: A book you love.

Aha! I tricked you with the title. The book ISN'T going to be Hamlet. Though I do love me some Hamlet to a nerdy and somewhat absurd degree. Okay slash I feel that way about all Shakespeare, let's just be honest. (I may or may not have made myself a list of all the Shakespeare plays I've never actually read - seeing or being familiar with doesn't count - while at the Globe and made it my project for summer. Errrr I mean I'm really cool).

I've strayed. The book in question today is The Great Gatsby.

Junior year of high school, I believe I deemed this book the only worthwhile thing we read in all of American literature - a lofty generalization, to be sure, but dear Harker - the books you cover in American lit are boring as hell. Just sayin'. Regardless, I loved it. LOVED it. The book came into my life at the right time the way The Catcher in the Rye (which by the way, I hate) finds most 16 year olds. Something about it captured me (and about 90% of Harker juniors before and since).

Interestingly, I had a conversation much later (around my 3rd or 4th reading of the book) with a dear friend who hated the book, on the basis that nothing happens. And in the course of this conversation, a third friend asked me to explain the plot and I... couldn't. Because in terms of action, minus the last, say, 30 pages, not a lot does happen. Which is interesting, come to think of it, because thinking about it this way Gatsby shouldn't've been a book I loved. I love reading, I really do, but I also get bored unbelievably easily - just ask anybody about my six-month sojourn with Catch-22.

But there's just something about it. Even if, sort of, nothing happens. I believe I've read it 5 times now, and I find something new each read. A new sentence to love, a new idea to think about, a new character to sympathize with who I didn't like last time. The book breaks my heart and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside each time I read it.

Hmm. Perhaps I re-read when I finish with Richard III.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

this I believe...

...That I am completely incapable of follow-through when it comes to this blog.

But but. Saturday I... well. No, no valid excuse there. Sunday I had auditions & work and was out of the house for like 6x longer than expected! Hah. Monday I... had to go to Mamaroneck for an audition that was so NOT worth commuting out to Westchester for. Yesterday I had no internet. Today I still kind of have no internet (because I am an idiot but for the time being I'll let that one alone).

Anyway. 30 Day Challenge, Day 2: Something you feel strongly about.

In London two weeks ago, I got in a small debate with my director over breakfast wherein he claimed that theatre that serves a political function - or any function beyond the purely artistic - was antithetical to the true nature of theatre. Now, this was hardly the first time this director and I had butted heads ideologically, but I was floored. A working professional in the New York theatre that said that theatre served NO function besides to entertain? ARE YOU KIDDING?

I was raised from before I had cognitive thought to believe in the importance of the arts - not because they are pretty or entertaining or make people feel good, but because they are necessary. Art serves a uniquely human function. We need it. Plain and simple.

My last year of college I took a class about contemporary American playwrights, and our final paper for that class had a rather unique assignment - touch on a theme that all these playwrights addressed when they spoke to the class, something that speaks to you, and write a 10 page paper. Go.

Plagued with a) laziness/senioritis and b) being overwhelmed by such a topic, at first I was like wait, what? Most. Pretentious. Topic. Ever.

But... somehow, as it always tends to do in my life, it came back to Shakespeare. That "the purpose of playing, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature." The quote that's made it into at least 50% of papers I wrote in college ultimately lead me to my topic. Because while all these people were wildly smart about art and literature, and were hugely funny and incredibly articulate, they were also very very insightful about people. About the world. And about why theatre matters.

It hasn't always been the easiest, among future doctors and lawyers and the like that comprise most of my childhood friends, to defend why theatre school is not only HARD (hello, 40 hours of class a week) but also important. Why it's as valid a choice as biology or political science. Why it's not an entirely frivolous career choice particularly when you, like me, don't come from money. But the thing is, nobody I know that's in the arts got into it because they want to divorce themselves from the world. Rather because those people, to whatever degree, think that the creative impulse can and should change the world.

In mindlessly auditioning, I had sort of let slide the fact that actually yes, not only do I love theatre for me, but I love theatre for what it can be. Probably because I haven't seen a play in a long time, truthfully. So in a weird way, thanks, director, for coming out with a statement so ludicrous, so dangerous in it's dogma that it reminded me what this thing of ours is. It's fun. It's art. But it's also important. And it's also powerful.

Friday, June 3, 2011

he's the man of my dreams...

30 Day Challenge, Day One: Five Ways to Win Your Heart

1. Have an accent. Really of almost any kind, provided it's charming rather than unintelligible. It is ASTONISHING how much of a sucker I am for an accent, especially of the British Isles.

2. Be smarter than me. I've been trying to figure out the non-pretentious way to say this, but to hell with it - I'm smart, okay? I'm articulate, I'm pretty well-read, I went to prep school, and I graduated from college early and with honors; I dislike feeling like I need to apologize for this. Oh but. Don't be pretentious.

3. Musical talent. Even if you play a dorky non cool-guy instrument, in which case I will probably still find it endearing because you are musical. Actually, if you're cute and into a dorky non-cool guy instrument I may or may not even like that more.

4. Accept that I'm neurotic. (Bonus points for somehow finding that charming.) Look I'm a little crazy. I know this. I'm slowly but surely working on it. In the meantime, pretend like I'm not or pretend it's cute that I am crazy.

5. Be straightforward. Okay so I know I just said I'm crazy, plus I'm a girl so I'm inherently a little prone to game-playing BUT I can't play the read between the lines with you game. I don't like being jerked around. Talk to me. Tell me what you're thinking. Communicate. I won't flip out, I swear.

...It's not like I'm asking a lot, right? Perfect men everywhere, come out come out wherever you are.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


You likely wouldn't know this to look at how long I go between posts on this blog, but I keep a running list on my phone of topics I would like to cover blather on inanely about - it's just that these topics get 1/3 composed in my head, and then I get distracted and forget about them until the next time I'm in front of my computer, which is generally hours later.

So this one time, I was reading a friend's Tumblr and found the 30 Day Challenge. Aha! thought I - something to motivate me to write multiple days in a row!

...False. I made it exactly two posts. BUT THEN. I found a new 30 Day Challenge. And these topics are more asinine which fits my current level of brain power. So I'M GOING TO DO IT, AWESOME. And all four of you that read this blog should too! Wooo.

The challenge:
1. Five ways to win your heart
2. Something you feel strongly about
3. A book you love
4. Bullet your whole day
5. Things you want to say to an ex
6. Your views on mainstream music
7. Five pet peeves
8. What you ate today
9. How important you think education is
10. Put your music player on shuffle and write the first ten songs that play
11. Your family
12. Five guys whom you find attractive
13. Your opinion about your body and how comfortable you are with it
14. What you wore today
15. Your zodiac horoscope and if you think it fits your personality
16. Something you always think "what if..." about
17. Something you're proud of
18. A problem you have had
19. Five items you lust after
20. Your fears
21. How you hope your future will be
22. Your academics
23. Something that you miss
24. Five words/phrases that make you laugh
25. Something you're currently worrying about
26. Things you like and dislike about yourself
27. A quote you try to live by
28. Somewhere you'd like to move or visit
29. Five weird things you like
30. One thing you're excited for


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm an optimist, but I'm an optimist who takes her raincoat.

For most of high school, I was little miss sunny outlook and positivity. Problem? Bring it to Siobhan. Besides the listening and the sympathy, she would generally be able to provide you with the way to rationalize, come down from the ledge, and find you the light at the end of the tunnel. Even when bogged down in my own shit, I was generally pretty good at doing my best to provide this service for others - and more often than not, doing it for myself.

As you might have garnered from this anecdote/the title of this blog entry, I am less than stellar at doing that these days. When I have a problem I latch onto it and fixate. I don't wallow - it's not really my style - but a problem sits with me until I am good and ready to let it go. Generally this requires blowing it out of proportion, getting spectacularly mad, and then coming down from the ledge a step at a time.

This process takes a lot of time and emotional energy, and annoys both me and most everyone who has to deal with me while this is happening. And while I've protested on frequent occasions that current me would not be friends with high school me (owing to the aforementioned sunny disposition and relentless positivity), high school me was probably onto something. And okay, yes, the "stay positive at all costs" mentality was generally her way of just pretending everything was fine rather than ACTUALLY coping with anything that went wrong. But about half the time she was pretty good at pinpointing when something was actually not a big deal and subsequently taking immediate action towards fixing it.

So okay, high school me. You're in there somewhere. Let's do this.

Step one: identify the problem. Today, I am pissed off because I overslept, meaning I missed auditions. Additionally, woke up having overslept from dream about both roommates talking to me about their successes, whereas I still moooostly feel like a failure.

Step two: analyze why problem is bothersome: I feel guilty about skipping auditions. I feel lazy because I only have 1 audition lined up this week. I feel pathetic/jealous because my roommate has 4. I feel doubly pathetic/jealous because my roommate has a callback tonight.

Step three: perspective: Ugh this one is the hard part. Okay so the dream means I'm actually NOT confronting the problem all the way - I'm still scared and I still feel like I'm not working hard enough and I'm jealous that the work I AM doing is still going unnoticed while I feel that's not happening for my peers. But I've had some really positive responses to auditions lately. I got called in for a pre-Broadway show, even though I'm non-union. I've been getting callbacks. And I'm IN a show, for Christ's sake, with a good part, going to Europe in three weeks. All this is good. I'll get back on track with six auditions next week, and it's only Wednesday so more things could easily turn up for this week. And I shouldn't feel jealous of my roommate's callback for something I didn't even audition for.

Step four: other good things happening in my life: Well... see, this is where I always fail in this part of the exercise these days. Perspective trips me up and then I get here and I'm like WELL SHIT. But. 1) It's ACTUALLY SPRING. 2) I have time this morning now for grocery shopping/laundry. 3) I've lost 7 pounds (hey, gotta throw it in somewhere). 4) Did I mention it's spring? 5) My throat hurts like a mofo, which means my singing would have been less than stellar today anyway. 6) Again. Spring. (See my last post about LA or this post about winter for reasons that's so prominent).

Okay okay I know how obnoxious that was, but all of I think 5 people read this blog so I don't really feel THAT badly about that.

...The thing about this method - which no, I don't itemize in steps in my head but do run through all of that when I'm actually trying (tune in next week for the litany of reasons Siobhan is CRAZY) - is that it doesn't always work. In spite of myself the big problems are still there. But I have, as it happens, talked myself all the way off the ledge.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

we've been on the run driving in the sun looking out for number one

I have an extremely difficult confession to make: I really liked LA. “Well, sure, Siobhan, what’s not to like? The palm trees? The sun? The beaches? The general aura of relaxed fabulousness? Or if none of those work, how about the fact that you were on vacation? OBVIOUSLY you liked LA.”

The thing is, the experience was wholly unexpected. I grew up (to simplify… see previous discussions on my lack of hometown) in Northern California, and promptly moved to New York City where Los Angeles is viewed as maybe the most evil place in the country except perhaps Texas. Therefore in spite of any hard evidence, I knew in the emotional/spiritual way that I didn’t like LA.

Sure, in the back of my mind I remembered enjoying multiple trips to Disneyland, a couple of middle school and high school state championship FPS trips (that’s Future Problem Solving, for those not in the know, which is a super cool academic competition thing that I was very involved with for 4-5 years maybe?), and a thoroughly enjoyable college visit expedition in the eleventh grade. But really, when it came down to it, I live in New York which is (arguably) the center of the universe, and had spent many an evening sophomore year getting into less than sober lighthearted but nonetheless intensive quarrels with my LA native roommate and her friends about whether the Bay or LA was better. Psh, like that’s a real question.

So well known was my “hatred” of LA that when I told friends I was going, their response – besides those who dwell in LA, who were very graciously excited or at least pretended to be – was “really? Why?” Actor friends asked if I was going to figure out if I liked it enough to move there, to which I promptly responded that I already knew the answer to that one and it was no. The simple explanation of “to go on vacation?” sufficed to shockingly few. Surely there must have been an ulterior motive for such a trip.

You can imagine my surprise then that everything that probably should have triggered my instant and instinctive hatred did no such thing. Rather I curiously liked Los Angeles pretty much from the moment I touched down at LAX. [I will pause here to comment that I’m mostly joking – clearly if I really expected to hate LA I obviously wouldn’t’ve spent money going on vacation there, but for the purposes of my story we’ll keep pretending.]

I spent five days in the company of dear friends both old and new, on beaches, outdoors, in numerous bars and more numerous restaurants, generally eating drinking and being merry on vacation. One easily understands how these things engendered a generally positive feeling about the city I was in pretty damn quickly.

This is the thing though. I have visited other friends at their colleges, and though it’s always fun and interesting, I hadn’t yet visited friends at any school I’d actually even considered, let alone applied to, let alone been accepted to in the case of USC (oops). Driving around one day, it occurred to me that it was sort of a phantom version of what my life might have looked like, minus of course the attendant responsibilities – but then I never considered those in early trips to New York either. And I found myself quickly coming to the conclusion that I could easily have been happy out here. Would I have been crushed at first that I wasn’t going to New York? Of course. But I could have made a life out here and enjoyed it and been happy and maybe not have ended up moving to New York until my middle twenties, if at all.

But – and here’s the part that if you are my parents I would like very much for you to stop reading, and/or please read without jumping to the immediate conclusion that I am giving up and moving back out here/there (I’m currently writing this somewhere over Kansas, so either pronoun is actually incorrect) – something else occurred to me. I could easily be, present tense, happy in LA. I can absolutely see what my life would look like. And some really, really appealing things about how my life would be easier – lower cost of living, slightly less competitive theatre scene, idyllic weather, and most importantly proximity to such a high number of friends and family – jump out almost immediately. I have a hard time shaking those. I know it has something to do with the idea of leaving 1) warm weather and 2) the end of my effectively two week vacation (including Memphis), but I found myself distinctly not excited to go back today.

Also, there were, as it happens, ulterior motives to booking this trip so many months ago. New York is an astonishingly easy place to feel lost and alone, and in January when I planned the trip and February when I booked it, I was feeling this in a biiiiiig way. I wanted to be somewhere that felt like home, somewhere where it felt like people still loved me and I was still important to them. Somewhere I could feel a little more like me, aka not so stressed and angry and unhappy.

Obviously all of these problems are things that were to do with me, and not New York. Also they definitely owe in part to the fact that as it turns out, I hate winter. That having been said, they don’t call NYC the concrete jungle for no reason. So the idea of getting out for a while, particularly to a place with warm weather and palm trees, seemed incredibly appealing

I have said on a variety of occasions, when asked, that I’m not opposed to moving back to California, I would just have to already have a job to do it. I still feel this way, and in some way this was good to prove that I could do it easily and not unhappily. I was, though, taken aback with how quickly I came to that conclusion. It threw me, I think, to realize that I had no real desire to get back yet – I can’t think of a time I’ve ever been on vacation that by the end of it I wasn’t at least a little ready to go back to my real life.

I’m going to chalk it up to duration, I think. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but I believe it’s possible brevity is also the soul of overly fond generalizations. I’m pretty sure that eventually, the lack of public transit and cabs and things open 24 hours and walking and tall business and urbanity would eat away at my sanity. But sometimes I feel the same way about the days at a time without sunshine and the lack of palm trees and (dare I even say it) nature.

It’s funny, too, because as I’ve also touched upon before I never considered myself a Californian until moving to New York. And I still feel a kind of spiritual homelessness, which I honestly mean in the most un-self-pitying way you can think of; I am one who is at heart always defined by being from somewhere else. I have been for my entire life. But I joked routinely throughout the week about being from New York – and though to others it’s just semantics, it’s an important distinction to me that I say from New York rather than live in New York. Which feels true in many ways at this point; New York is no longer where I live because I go to college there, it’s just where I’m making my life. It is where I am becoming from.

[Second disclaimer: I started this blog by wallowing and listening to songs about/that remind me of California and at some point decided it was wise to switch to songs about New York… apparently I’m very suggestable.]

Obviously, the solution is easy – become wildly wealthy and successful beyond all imagination, and go bi-coastal. That shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

Friday, February 11, 2011

In defense of Valentine's Day... Hatred.

I have been hearing as of late - this year more than in previous years - that single women who hate Valentine's Day are a cliché. And as one such single woman, it is a thought that has been bandying about in my head more than a little throughout the last two weeks as we lead up to this holiest of holy Hallmark days hallowing happy coupledom. Woo, alliteration. (See? Single people have time to figure out how to do clever things with grammar.)

I have several thoughts on this notion of the "cliché" of single women who hate Valentine's Day.
  • To begin - if we're being technical here, the whole notion of the day is a cliche, so REALLY, my disinterest in participating in it fits into the tradition. While you couples are busy celebrating whilst reminding us all that Hallmark created the holiday anyway and you should show your love all the time, just think of me and my kind as the Grinch to your Whos. The story just doesn't work without it!
  • Secondly - listen. No woman who is single on Valentine's Day isn't acutely aware of how well she's fitting the stereotype; pointing it out is, ahem, unhelpful. To put it mildly.
  • Thirdly, it is my staunch belief that EVERYONE who levies this accusation is a) clearly IN a happy relationship but more importantly b) has absolutely no recollection of the time when they too were not poised to receive roses or candy hearts or adorable missives [from someone to whom they weren't related] or had to watch couples in their happy couple-dom complain about how us single people are ruining it for them. Dear couples: say it with me. Self-fulfilling prophecy. Love, Siobhan.

It's probably time to stop and point out that this is light natured riffing on the holiday, rather than serious, pent-up vitriol. Just thought I should get that out of the way before we go any further. Also no, I have never had some traumatic Valentine's Day related moment - my one and only Valentine's related breakup was my doing, and to this day I think the story is hilarious (also, possibly proof that I may be missing a part of my soul). If by chance you're reading this, HSB2, and remember that that happened - sorry, my b.

But seriously, as someone who has never managed to have a boyfriend when this holiday actually falls, I know from whence I speak on "Single's Appreciation Day"/"Chinese New Year (give or take some days)"/"...that holiday in February"/"Overindulge in Chocolate Day."

There are things I enjoy about the holiday - the proliferation of good chocolate in all the stores & the always AT LEAST 50% discount on said chocolate the day after Valentine's day, cute red dresses and shoes cropping up in stores, and the excuse to go out with your girlfriends and drink excessively while "celebrating" your single life.

And I really don't hate the idea of Valentine's Day, so we're clear. I am no enemy of love, and though I agree with those who say that if you love someone you should express it all the time, I like the idea of a day that reminds you just how much you SHOULD say that.

But listen. This is my open call to all people in happy couples. Once upon a time, you were me. You did not have a boyfriend. You did NOT have happy fun couply Valentine's Day plans. You understood the point when you were told to lighten up, it's just a holiday. And you had to buy your own chocolate/flowers/candy.

So we get it - we, the single people. We're a cliche. Some day, we may rotate and play for the happy person team, but for now, we will be at the bar with our other single friends and we will buy our chocolate on sale the next day and continue to complain about Valentine's Day. Judge accordingly.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

but if by chance you are here for the night, then all i need is an hour or two to tell the tale of a dreamer like you

I was, of course, genetically predisposed towards musical theatre. My grandpa Don, who I unfortunately knew only as a very young child, did community theatre and musical revues for most of his adult life. I have heard on several occasions a hilarious story about him getting a speeding ticket without his license on him, having to be picked up by his teenage son, wearing makeup. In 1960something. I would be told often in my high school career that various family members wished he had seen me in shows; I wish I'd known him well enough to be able to say the same.

As is so often the case, musical theatre was not love at first sight. My mother showed me her favorite musical as a child, My Fair Lady, sometime in my youth - I remember finding it boring and falling asleep sometime shortly after Eliza leaves Higgins. I remember sitting through Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, waiting and waiting for them to stop freakin singing and TALK. I wanted it to be more like the first musical I saw, Beauty and the Beast, with pretty costumes and a plot I could follow.

...But that lasted until the end of act 1. I can honestly say that the song "Go, Go, Joseph," arguably one of the WORST songs in musical theatre, may have changed my life. I LOVED the number. Loooooved it. And it was hook line and sinker for me for act two. By the time we were leaving the theatre I was begging for the cast recording. Original Canadian cast featuring ex-hearthrob Donny Osmond, natch. I owned it on both CD and tape.

I saw the show at least once more during its sit-down run in Toronto. My best friend in Canada and I would spend HOURS playing the tape and taking turns being the Narrator. Memorizing the colors of the coat. I think I knew every lyric by age 7 or 8.

But though musical theatre had crawled into my veins, the gene (disease?) laid dormant for a while, beneath my first love, figure skating (though as I type this I'm remembering wanting to do a short program to "Any Dream Will Do" so... there you have it, the damage was done).

Sometime thereafter, of course, I moved to California and I've already detailed the end of my career as a figure skater. Indirectly because of - you guessed it - musical theatre. Middle school was my first foray into the world of show choir, and thereby the first staged musical I ever did. Which, ironically, I hated a lot of. I still have unpleasant memories of that production of Cinderella. But it was definitely game over - gone were the summers of horseback riding camp, or art camp, or CTY, or whatever else I was doing any given summer, replaced by theatre camp everywhere. I was by age 14 already an encyclopedia of theatre summer programs in the Bay Area, and a snobby one at that.

Sophomore year I became one of "those" theatre kids. You know. The girl that everyone reeeeeeally, really hates because she sees nothing wrong with goofing around with friends at lunch and proposing we all start singing "La Vie Boheme" on the tables... had I been as generally apathetic towards authority then as I am now I shudder to think how much further THAT misadventure would have progressed. Suffice it to say that if you wanted to know anything about just any musical ever, I was your girl.

That was the year Rent entered my life. It found me at an important time, actually. Not that I was particularly in the demographic to be relating to it, but it was one of the first shows I saw that sat with me for DAYS after the production. It was the first piece of live theatre I cried during. And I wasn't, at the time, easily moved by movies/theatre/anything not my life. Rent showed me that this thing I enjoyed so much could also be important. Could also really have something to say. Could really tell me something about humanity the same way plays could. It was the first time I began to understand the musical theatre dictum that music spoke where words simply weren't enough. It would later that year be the first Broadway show I ever saw, and several years later, the first Broadway ticket I purchased out of pocket. To date the only thing on Broadway specifically I have seen more than twice.

By junior year, I was sitting in my annual certificate consultation when my teacher asked if I had considered theatre as something I seriously wanted to do - I hadn't, really, but it was clear to me by that point there was nothing else I was even halfway as happy doing and I sure as hell had no idea what else I wanted to do. It was in that split second moment that, with no prior consideration, I said yes, it was. And knew that I was right.

I have complained BITTERLY about musical theatre. I have seen some musicals that were horrifying and that would have done better to be plays. I began learning senior year of high school but came to college and really realized that I find plays as magical and as endlessly fascinating. But in my daydreams, I win my Tony award for Best Actress in a Musical, so there you have it.

What makes me think of all this is that In the Heights closes tomorrow. Which is a show I've told myself I was going to see again dozens of times, but now won't get the chance for. In the category of shows that found me at the right time, this one may almost win. It's a tossup for "shows seen freshman year" whether I cried harder watching "What I Did for Love" and realizing that it was my life, or watching 19 year old Nina grapple with the same questions that 18 year old Siobhan was at EXACTLY that time - who am I now and where the fuck do I go from here and what do I tell all these people who expected me to be an instant star and all I am is scared and lost? (Hey wait... that sounds an awful lot like a recurrent theme in this blog for 21 year old Siobhan, doesn't it?) The show was beautiful, it was a little painful, it was splashy and musical, and it was universal. And it, again, had something to say. It reminded me, after a year away from musical theatre and coming to feel that commercialism and art had to necessarily be separate, that a commercial musical - as in, something not written by Odets or Tennessee Williams or Chekhov - could have something important to teach us about ourselves.

I wish that I could get down to the Richard Rogers tomorrow, but winter is NOT the ideal time to be playing lotto, especially not closing day. I feel similarly dissatisfied as I did seeing Rent in its closing week, but not its closing performance.

I said, and I still say, that not getting into CAP at NYU was the best thing that ever happened to me. I am a miles better actress - and probably singer - now than I would have been had my training actually been in musical theatre. I learned to look at a song as an actress first and, as every teacher I've had since says, a fuckton more people can sing and be chorus girls than can act and be leading ladies. Okay, they don't say that and the word fuckton is usually missing, but that's the idea. And I do now ALSO cherish a dear aspiration towards winning a Tony for Best Actress in a Play, so you know, there's that too. But. I miss musical theatre - I haven't been in a musical since December of 2009, and it's been even longer since I was in an actual published musical. I've long since grown out of being the girl with exclusively musicals on her ipod, but I do miss it. The putting it all together. Remembering how much better music can tell the story sometimes. So come on, musical theatre gods, throw me a bone here - I may have strayed, but I think I'm coming back to the fold.

...Too much exposition?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

And just for a time, everything was beautiful and nothing hurt

Thanks, Kurt Vonnegut, for the inspiration on the title from a book I've admittedly not read.

I'm back in the concrete jungle, again living my life in this strange and weird place I call home.

I'm in the adjustment period, that period where I say I've arrived "home" from "home." It's like wearing one of those shirts that fits really well the second wearing, but when you put it on the first time you pull at it and look at it funny in the mirror all day and feel like everybody notices that it's not so flattering.

In the grand scheme of things it might not have been the most idyllic trip home - I don't feel like I spent enough time with my family, I'm not sure that I went everywhere I wanted or saw everyone I should've. In spite of my inherent hatred for it, I'm a little bummed I missed my last alumni reception at Harker.

But then I think about that and all I hear and all I see is really, really blue skies - the kind you don't see in New York in the winter - on the freeway singing along to the same questionable music I've had in the car since 11th grade. I think about eating a pizookie for approximately the eight-thousandth time. I laugh at the stupid shit we do for entertainment because actually, the Bay Area is kind of boring. I think about Christmas shining out of my house or driving or seeing movies in the afternoon or home cooked food or vintage shopping or watching Sex and the City or drinking too much coffee at too many psuedo-hipster coffee shops or laughing until I can't breathe with people who I've known for longer than I can actually remember at this point.

I hear the voices and I see the faces of my friends and my family and for every time I've wanted to say "but you don't get it" when they tell me I'm going to be fine, I can't help but be filled with gratitude that they are the people who are against all the odds, still around and still cheering for me. Even when I can't.

It's California that I miss, but I know walking around downtown San Jose that while it would be easy to be there, I don't belong. New York has taken me for it's own and I don't fit in there anymore. But these people, them I miss. Them I feel the absence of everyday, all the more when I've most recently left. If a place is it's people that may perhaps be why I was finally able to learn how to call California home.

I don't mean to say that I don't have friends here, that I don't have a support network here. That I don't have friends I love so, so very much who I know are just as there for me. I know this, I believe this, I feel this in my soul.

It helps, of course, that going home is now a vacation - no work, no stresses, no auditions, just a lot of time to eat and drink and be merry and run around with my friends. But for fifteen days, what a difference it makes to feel lighter. And, you know, warmer.

I have, however, come back recharged and ready and excited to fall in love with New York all over again.

But it was a time. It was certainly a time, moreso this time than the last. I haven't yet figured out how or what made it that way, but a time where for just a few days, everything was beautiful.