I think it’s hard to be a female in a male driven profession. I feel like that statement goes without saying and it’s hard to find any position that isn’t in a male driven profession. Let’s be honest, they have a head start. Women working outside the home was not truly socially acceptable until the early 1900’s and even then it was severely frowned upon. I mean we couldn’t even vote until 1920. This post could easily turn into a broad essay on feminism and the injustice that still exists in the work force architecture, even today. And in a way that is what this post is, but it’s much more personal than that.
I am a theatre artist. I like to consider myself a chameleon. That I am able to float with ease between a director, choreographer, performer, and instructor. That I am equally desired for all of my abilities, and that I am on the forefront of peoples minds in considering what productions they might be selecting or casting. I have worked very hard to make breakthroughs with my directorial ambitions. When I was diagnosed I began to notice the physical toll that performing was taking on me. My brain was still 100% in whatever role I was fortunate enough to be cast in, but I found myself struggling to make my body keep up. With this new found limitation I decided it was time to take a hold of the directorial aspect of my passion. Although equally as taxing, there was much more brain work involved. And even on my roughest days my brain is still with it. All of this being said, there is still a part of me that misses performing as much as I used to. Performing in four or five shows a season was not uncommon. But now I watch as others build their performance resumes and I sit on the sidelines hoping that someone will want me in a project or a production that I can embrace with as much passion as I used to.
More personally, I am envious of Noah. He has the passion that every actor should about creating a character worth investing in. He enters the stage and you instantly want to know more about who he is as a character and what he is going to do next. He is a dream for every director to work with. He takes direction well and trusts fully the director’s vision for a production. Other actors enjoy working with him, because they know he will give them whatever is needed to make the scene and the production what it should be. But here is where the sad part comes in. In my arrogance, I like to think that I possess these qualities too. The difference being I am not the one that is on the forefront of directors minds as they select their casts. I am not the first person someone calls. I am lucky if I am considered as a possibility merely because “If we use Noah, we could use Angela to fill out that crowd scene”.
I know I am good at what I do. Being a director is one of my greatest accomplishments. There are moments where I feel like I am truly a theatrical artist. I just think that sometimes the grass in greener on the other side.
I have never in my life purchased a house, and I am not going to. But, it looks like my mother might be. She is looking for a house that is large enough for all of us to live in without feeling we are bursting at the seams. The house we have been living in has served us well, but when we started, it was a room for Noah and Me with a guest room and a comic book room and an office with a nice sized kitchen and living room. It has now become a 3 bedroom, catch all room, living room/playroom/dining room/ work room with a kitchen that no more than 2 people can be in at once! It is time for a move!
None of us have space that is our own which is causing tension beyond belief. I cannot be the only one who feels that way! I am always in the way and then when I am trying to do something, someone is in my way.
Today we went looking for a house. I have never been house hunting before Not for one that was actually going to be mine. And because it was in a subdivision (I know right) they covered things like lawn care, and there was a pool and park less than 3 blocks from my house! WE COULD WALK TO THE PARK! This is truly more excitement than I can handle. Not to mention that the house it self has a WONDERFUL floor plan.
Mom would have her own room and bathroom (which would also be the guest bathroom but that’s okay) that was not down the hall and next to our room. Eli would have his own room that was down a little hall past the washer and dryer and small linen closet. We would have the master bedroom with a master bath with DOUBLE SINKS, a water closet and a shower. The living room has a fire place and there is a place for an eat in kitchen. There is also an extra room that, I guess should be a dinning room, but can be used as a study/office area.
I know this is way too much detail I am just beyond excited! The thought of having a house that makes our little family work just makes my heart smile. We have a way to have space that is ours. Space is important. Not so much land or a place, but just a way to be alone. Alone time is imperative. It’s a way to bring yourself back to the world in just a little bit better shape.
Fingers crossed, I will be seeing my space soon.
(Found this in my draft. Clearly I was not well enough to post much less make much sense.)
Sorry for the lack of post but I was so sick I could not write much less sit up long enough to use the bathroom.
I feel like I am on the upward swing, but I am headed to bed to secure rest so that tomorrow might be “normal”
Well I am back to as normal as I get. Today I had to go see my psychologist (the one who gives me psych drugs) and had to report in on what was working, what I needed more of, and what my therapist thinks might help. When I came in she had this look on her face that made me feel like I was a little kid that had told some sort of lie. In my defense, it was somewhat a lie of omission. It just did not occur to me that waking up in the middle of the night and having to pace the hall until I can fall asleep again was really relivant. Turns out, they think it may be PTSD. The issue is, we don’t know what was PT because I cannot ever remember what wakes me up. So…yeah…that’s why I didn’t say anything.
So yeah, that’s where we are with that. Let’s see if I can sleep through a night or maybe just remember what I am so stressed about that it is waking me up!
I feel guilty about not writing about last night. Noah took me on a date, and despite the minor meltdown and Xanax that had to be consumed, it ended up being a wonderful night out. Any night filled with bacon cheese fries, theatre, and gourmet cheesecake is bound to be an excellent evening.
Despite all of that I still have not pulled myself out of the fog. It was worse today than it was the day before. I can hardy keep my eyes open and my train of thought is non-existent. Nothing feels right and everything feels backwards. I keep feeling like I should be someplace, but there’s nowhere to be. Because there is nowhere to be, I feel like there’s no work to be done. When in reality the work is piling up. But it’s all irrelevant. Nothing seems to hurt. Nothing seems to make me happy either. I would rather feel something at this point than nothing.
I have been in a depression fog all day. I keep trying to adjust my sleeping habits, but it never seems to work. Everyday I wake up, scared I am going to fail the day. Some days I feel like I have failed and I have not even gotten out of bed yet.
My therapist says I am a perfectionist. I laughed loudly at her and explained we had only had two sessions and although we have established I am a whole bunch of crazy, perfectionism is not one that I would imagine to be in the collection. She then told me that it is not a matter of life being perfect, but that I have ideals and when I fall short of them, I tend to be to harsh on myself. Most people are like this, she explained, but I am so desperate to be right or good that I will drive myself into a depression when I feel myself falling short.
And that’s what happened today. I woke up so late and was lacking in energy that I felt guilty. I ate lunch and then promptly feel asleep again. I did all the things you should do to help yourself when you feel your falling into a depressive state, I went on a walk, I played with my son, I drank lots of water, I carried on, but it was not the same. I felt like I was pretending to be okay, but for no one other than myself. And it’s at times like this that I have to remember that depression is not just a mental illness. It is also a chemical imbalance. I did everything right, but my chemicals were just not in my favor today. And if they don’t get better, then it is back to those who can help the scales tip in my favor.
An open letter to my pain doctor:
WHAT THE FUCK! I know we agreed that we were going to try an aggressive route to end the nerve pain in my port area but Jesus Christ! I have grown up using capsaicin on sore muscles so I thought surely this would be okay. IT IS NOT! I come to you because I no longer want to be in pain! There has got to be some camera somewhere that you are watching me put chili peppers on the most sensitive part of my body and laughing maniacally you sadistic fart.
I cannot decide if it is finally subsiding or if the right half of my chest has just given up and fallen off. As it fades all I can think of is the fact that you have also given me other medication to help with the sudden onset of pain and if you knew that I was going to need it to get through this 3 TIMES A DAY FOR THE NEXT 4 WEEKS! I can’t even bring myself to do it to myself. I have to make Noah do it! I made him go wash his hands for fear he was going to touch something that he didn’t want to accidentally sear off.
In short, next visit, lets find either a faster aggressive route or a slow and painless one. K?
The client who you keep telling “that shouldn’t hurt anymore” but IT STILL DOES SO FIX IT!
PS – My heart still hurts. Today was better, but it brought forth it’s own struggles. New struggles. I see hurt all around me. People I know personally hurting and those I only know because of similar struggles.
But I am going to try not to focus on that. There is not one thing I can do. All I can do is try to put some sort of joy in the world. Be the joy that people remember, not the pain they will move past.
Tonight’s post is hard.
Today I found out that one of my students committed suicide over the weekend. Being a contracted teacher, I don’t know many of the details, nor am I sure I want to. The school is so small and everyone knew him that it has shaken the entire community. Grief counseling has been made available to the students. I am sure it has been available to the staff as well but, like I stated before, the entire school is in shock.
I only found out today, because I am an outside contractor and I don’t technically start until October but the Head of School was nice enough to inform me as he was one of the many students I got to know last year.
To me, he was your average kid. He had been sick for an extended period of time around flu season, but everyone seemed to think it was a physical illness. Looking back on it now, I wonder if this was the start of something much deeper. When he returned, I had already cast the show his class was participating in and had left him off the list, mainly because he was not present at the time of “auditions”. When he returned he was anxious to be a part of the play so I quickly found a part for him with a few lines and a super silly joke. He never knew that he had been over looked and was excited to participate.
To me, he was your average boy, rowdy at times but always good natured. He participated in every activity we did and never made a fuss. He was never the last to be chosen and always had something to contribute.
So what did I miss? How could I have not seen the hurt in this boy? I would call him a young man but I can’t. He had just turned 12 years old. All the selfish questions continue to run through my head. What could I have done? How could I have reached out to him? If I had started my program earlier, would he have had the outlet necessary to save him from the thoughts that made him do what he did? Could I have saved him some how?
Then I start wondering what happened. What happened in this boys life that made him think that this world is better off with out him.?
Because it’s not.
This is where I have to confess. There have been times where I have thought the world might be better without me. That I am not capable of handling the world I live in and I want to give up. I have never wanted to be dead but that is largely because I know how much it would hurt those who do love me. But there are times I feel like no one really loves me, that no one really cares. I say this because I am lucky that I have the ability to know there is nothing in this world worth taking your own life.
PLEASE, if you ever have thoughts of suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They are even available for online chat. I have called them before when I have had those feelings, even with the knowledge that I was not going to kill myself. They are nice wonderful people who will help you in anyway they can. Do not feel like you have to wait until the blade is in your hand. Call when you think about it. Call when you can’t face whats in front of you. They are there to help.
I wish they could have helped my student. All I can do is share his story. I can let the world see how one young life effected so many people. I can continue the battle cry:
“Depression lies and suicide is never the answer.”
I am sitting in the pain clinic waiting for them to come tell me that my pain should have gotten better and that the ever growing spots on my hands are just dry skin. But just to add insult to injury, I have not internet. Ahhhh!
The doctor just came in and I will be damned, he believes me and understands that the pain is NOT going away! We are going to try prescription strength capsaicin on my port site. I’m not looking forward to this because it is basically like putting 1000000000 flaming chili peppers on my chest 2 times daily. But if they think it will help the nerve damage, I AM IN! He did however say that the spots in my skin were dry skin and to just not wash my hands as much which to me sound contrary to what a doctor normally tells you to do. But he is also going to give me like an industrial strength lotion to use so hopefully that will help with the hand pain.
On a TOTAL side note there is, for whatever reason a topical map of North America in the the room I’m in. It’s not framed like a piece of art it’s just thumb tacked in. I wonder how and if he ever has to use it. How relevant can geography be to pain? I have provided a visual so you can decide just how relevant this may be?
PS- When I asked Siri how to spell capsaicin, because spell check thinks it’s not real word, she said “I found something on the web about cat assassin”. This concerns me greatly, but then Noah told me she actually said ” cap Sason”. Which I can only assume that someone is someone is going to bust a cap in Sason? Watch your back Sason.
“Get in my eye! Why wont you stay in? You think your special? You’re not special.
That’s it. There’s the burn. That’s the burn I like.
– Noah talking to his contact.
It is times like this I want to turn to facebook and post something veiled and cryptic about how I am feeling.
Instead I will come here. Where I know 7 people will read it and those who relate will appreciate what I am saying and those who don’t will just write me off as odd or a whiner and move one. Either way, it’s a win win. Noah and I had a fight last night. What started off as he just hurt my feelings turned into an all out battle about how he disregards the things I do for him. He always says thank you when I do something that is right in front of him to see. But when it comes to the small stuff he just says that he can do without it so it’s my fault for feeling upset that it happened.
Almost every night he has a show or a late rehearsal, I cook dinner for my mom and Eli. I put Eli down and then start some work. Sometimes that is cleaning (rarely) or just working on stuff for my job. When he text me he is on the way home I start our dinner which I have almost always prepped and start cooking our dinner. I always wait to eat with him because I hate eating alone but also, I like the more adventurous food I fix for us more than a cheese burger or pasta. I make BBQ chicken, Shrimp scampi, or teriyaki chicken with pineapple. All these things my mother and Eli would NEVER eat.
Last night I had our dinner all prepped and ready to go when I heard my phone go off. I was sure it was him and I was STARVING so I was glad to hear from him. We had plans for burgers, veggies and a side of potatoes. I was ready to go. And then the message said “I got asked to go to a Wing place with the cast. Can I go?” This upset me for 4 big reasons.
1. We had made plans to eat together and now he was ditching me for the “better party.”
2. He has been out with these people 2 times in the past 2 weeks and has not once asked me to go out with him. I have tried to make plans for us for a couple of things now but he has shot down every idea but 1. So friends 2, wife 1 (sometime in the future TBD).
3. He didn’t ask if I wanted to come, if I wanted him to bring me something home, nothing. We ask my mom that every time we come home, but he could not ask me?!?
4. If I had said no, I would have been the bad guy. I would have made it so he couldn’t go out with his friends and I would have made it obvious that the reason he could not go out was me. How shitty is that! I’m not his mother, I’m his partner. And no matter what, if I had said no, I would have felt like an ass.
I just took it. He asked if I was mad and instead of listening and understanding, he just started swing for the out field. Anytime I brought out a point, it became pointless in his mind because:
“Why would you wait for me to eat. I never asked you to.”
“I have said yes to one of those things and I don’t remember you bringing anything else up so it must not have happened.”
“I figured you had already eaten so there was no reason to offer you anything or call you to tell you I was on the way home.”
“If you had said no I would have just come home. No one is thinking about you as much as you are. Stop feeling like an ass and calm down.” (RED FLAG! HE HAS FORGOTTEN I HAVE ANXIETY AND “CALM DOWN” IS A HUGE TRIGGER FOR ME!)
This fight went on for way too long and I will admit that I lost control. There is only so much one person can handle.
The one thing I have taken away from all of this is that “I’m sorry” doesn’t fix things if you are not ready to hear it. There is a penalty for your actions and sorry does not make the penalty vanish. Sometimes it is that you just have to let that person get the hurt they have off their chest. It may hurt you to hear and it may suck and you may feel like shit as they tell you how much what you did hurt them, but that’s the penalty you pay sometimes. Getting defensive, or deciding that you are done hearing about what you did is not up to you. You hurt someone. The least you can do is listen and say your sorry.
“Never ruin an apology with an excuse” – Benjamin Franklin
PS – I am following up with the fact that this was/is a trivial fight. Yes I am hurt, but it won’t last. I believe people fight. But I also believe people learn from their fights. If we stop fighting, we stop learning. If we stop learning, we stop fighting. Complacency is deadly.
PPS – We are both dramatic so fighting is going to happen. It’s just not always worth talking about.