I'm Annoying The Shit Out Of Myself
I’ve made my living as an “ARTIST” for many years now, so I feel at least I have an excuse for why I’m such a spaz. Hey, I’m an ARTIST!
About once a year – usually near the end of the summer because it’s often the end of a long, slow work period – I freak the fuck out and wonder what I’m doing with my life. I question every career choice I’ve ever made, I wallow in self-pity, I wonder why my phone’s not ringing, I can’t focus on a single thing and and the voice in my head plays something like this:
I wonder if I should try to do more stand-up I wonder if I should just quit doing stand up I wonder if I should write a book maybe I should become vegan it was probably a mistake to cancel my gym membership just to save money I haven’t had an audition in a million years maybe I should go back to school and become a doctor I hate school school sucked I really should practice the piano since I have a piano now I should really practice the guitar I wish I had a new guitar I’d really like to do a play there are no good parts for Asians in plays I should write a play what should I write a play about are marshmallows vegan I wonder if I should try to date again men are such a useless waste of time unless I need something heavy lifted I’m so glad I found a reliable guy to lift heavy shit for me for $60 omg I hate it when I see someone I know on Tinder gross so glad I deleted all of my online dating profiles I wonder if I should get pet health insurance I should probably Google that I should figure out when Aubrey and I are going to go to Minnesota next I should write my memoir how did Alan Cumming find time to write two books wtf I wonder how long he’s doing Cabaret would I be a bad mom if I took Aubrey to see that I really want to see it I really should write that script about my dad’s hijacking I should just find someone to write that script about my dad’s hijacking I wish I could dance I’m such a shitty dancer what should I eat for dinner I should try to just eat vegetables and fruit all day tomorrow why are hot dogs so delicious I just don’t know if I could give up cheese forever cheese and butter god I love butter I want to go to the movie theater where the seats recline when’s my next stand up show
…and on and on. And while we’re on the topic of ADD, the yard of one of my neighbors is up on a hill and I can see it from the window where I sit at my desk. Every once in a while their dog runs around in a big, empty, dry dirt area and I think it’s a goat, but it’s not. It’s just a dog. Looks like a Border Collie mix. Like there’s a wild goat running around the SF Valley. So add this to the stream of bullshit: IS THAT A GOAT UP THERE?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m a tad dissatisfied with my career right now and it’s causing me some anxiety. No one is starving to death… yet… but things are not going the way I want right now and I think I need to get a little wacky before I have my next great idea. Or I may just have my mid-life crisis and become a complete embarrassment to my child. I think that’s what normal people do, right? People who work normal jobs.
I have found it to be near impossible to do anything artistically productive when I’m in this state of mind. All I seem to be able to focus on is the daily minutiae of life. Grocery shop. Walk the dogs. Empty the dishwasher. Load the dishwasher. Call the dentist office. Sort the laundry. And we’ve all had slumps but no matter how many well-meaning friends say, “You should ____ (go for a walk, take a class, do some yoga, hire a life coach, get laid, have some wine, take a nap, make a spreadsheet, read The Secret, take the Landmark Forum, try CrossFit, write something),” it doesn’t matter. You can’t just shake a funk. Funk has to make its own exit when the time is right. And you can’t force creativity and that’s the only way I’ve made my living for over 17 years. I suck at everything else, so I’ll just be here. Riding out the funk wave.
And in the meantime, maybe I’ll do a pilates DVD. My abs feel so flabby.
The Big Purge in L.A.
In preparation for a move at the end of this month – only a few miles away so no need to freak out – I have been gradually going through piles, closets and drawers of things. A giant purge is taking place and even though it is slow and painstaking, I know how good it will feel to shed some dead weight.
I just completed the mostly horrible task of cleaning out a 4-drawer file cabinet. Self-employment in the entertainment industry (contract after contract = PAPER!!!!) and life in general, really stacked up on me over the years. But I did come across some gems like the original artwork for my old pet care business logo. It’s still so cute! And hand-written journals from 2003-2004. Almost every entry talked about how broke I was and how much I was struggling:
“I told my friend Jennie I didn’t think I could afford to pay my rent this month and that I might have to ask my parents for help and she just GAVE me $200. I don’t know what I did to deserve such great friends but I swear I’m going to be the most generous friend when I have money.”
Things have changed a lot since that journal entry. Two major and dysfunctional relationships started and ended, I had a child and somewhere after that 2nd shitty relationship, I found an independence and peace in my life that was worth the struggle. And even through the hardest of times with no money, becoming a single-mother who often couldn’t afford gasoline or groceries, I still loved this city and knew I was where I was meant to be.
I don’t know if I’ve been such a generous friend, but I try and reading some of those old entries reminded me to appreciate how far I’ve come since my dog walking days. I have been in L.A. for almost 13 years now and I love it more than ever. She is the city that told me to keep going when I didn’t know how, she gave me a career, a home and the best friends possible and I can’t think of a more magical backdrop for the life of my daughter.
Here’s to the next chapter in our lives! I can’t wait for the next adventure and if anyone wants a dented, upright, 4-drawer, metal file cabinet – it’s yours if you can take it out of here.
#YesAllWomen - Just Read A Few
I’m not the type to jump on social media bandwagons, especially not “hashtag activism” but, I felt this one was worthy of my attention and time. The #YesAllWomen hashtag that popped up after the Elliot Rodger murders and suicide in Isla Vista/Santa Barbara has taken on a life of its own and I would imagine the woman who scrolls through this Twitter hashtag feed and doesn’t read several things that resonate with her, is rare indeed. Perhaps non-existent. This feed is compelling. thought provoking, upsetting, disturbing and truthful.
We live in a world where women and girls live in fear of men. Unfortunately, this is fact. For all of the maniacs (especially women) who are going to freak out at this statement and say “I don’t live in fear of men!!” Calm down. Don’t get your undies in a bundle. I don’t mean every second of every day or every man in the world. I know not every man is a murderer or rapist and not every man is violent or abusive. But there are several different levels of fear and our society and culture feeds this malignancy.
Why did it take such a tragic event for people to start talking? Is social media helping or harming? I generally hate the political side of social media and stay away from it, but I’m glad to see these thoughts being put out there. Wherever “there” is. What is happening online is not a real dialogue. Few things online are real. But hopefully this feed sparks some real dialogues. Helps people put down their smartphones a little bit and discuss a real issue.
I am 41 yrs old and I have experienced NUMEROUS assaults, threats and abuses from men and boys throughout my life. From early childhood until fairly recently. Physical, sexual, verbal. Some were men I knew, some were strangers. Unfortunately, I’m not special. I’m not a survivor or a victim. I’m a regular person. We need to stop being so clandestine about how common this is and, perhaps, #YesAllWomen is a small step forward.
We hold fast to the stereotype of the woman who is a victim of abuse. She’s weak, she’s unintelligent, she’s desperate for attention, she has low self-esteem, she dresses inappropriately, she’s a flirt, she’s a bitch. I don’t think anyone who knows me would describe me in any of these ways and the bottom line is that these stereotypes are irrelevant.
When I was pregnant with Aubrey and when she was an androgynous looking infant people constantly asked me, “Boy or girl?” When I told them “girl”, here are the standard responses I got:
- Good luck, girls are hard
- They’re cute when they’re little, but they are horrible as teenagers
- I have both and boys are so much easier
- I’d take a boy over a girl any day
- Girls are so emotional. Wait until the tween years.
- I’m so glad I have/had boys
- Girls are so cute, but boys are easier to raise
…and on and on and on. I still hear these types of remarks today and she’s almost 7 yrs old.
Why is it that we treat girls’ natural emotional and expressive personalities as “difficult” “bitchy” “scary” but assume boys’ sullen, withdrawn, quiet personalities as “easy to raise” when a hell-fire storm of unfathomable proportions could be brewing just below the surface? Maybe we think boys are so easy to raise because we aren’t actually raising them.
What Elliot Rodger did was horrifying. It was extreme and it wasn’t typical. But his attitude towards women falls within a very common misogynistic norm in our society that is mostly ignored and, at times, even celebrated.
Please read the #YesAllWomen hashtag feed on Twitter and if you don’t have a Twitter account or you’re like my parents and have no idea what Twitter is, here is a link that will give you a sampling:
If you’ve been under a rock, and don’t know about the Elliot Rodger murders that happened on May 23, 2014 in the Santa Barbara, CA area, here is the Google search result.