These Hours

September 3, 2016 3:00 am

There’s something about these house, these hours, the wee small ones, tiny, baby, minuscule hours of the night where only the wolves can see and speak and congregate together with their kind. Their likeness, fur matted, together in a circle, huddled mass. Amen. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost of the night, the invisible sheet covered being, three in one, two, three, one, two, three. Guard my sleeping children. Night lights burning bright, the first star I see tonight. If I can even see anything at all. What is there to see beneath the covered sky masked by the smog and light and colors so bright they dull the night lights left on by Mother or Father to keep us safe from the magical boy outside the window pane, pain, paint, pain, pain, pain, pain, pant like the wolf. The hot breath of the wolf howling for me to come hither. Whither must I wonder through the forest or else I’ll be lost or found. Who knows the difference? Am I contrite or contrived controlling ink from a pen? NO! Get out and stay out. I’ve had enough of the walls and the blocks building walls on my thoughts. The true thoughts under layers and layers of brick and mortar, too expensive for a pop-up shop, too easy to not let it flop. Let it go. Let if flow. Let it roll out like thunder. Don’t control. Just let it go, out, out, out, and away from my pen to my head, from my head to my pen. My pen is red like a childhood joke or game. It depends how you look at it. My hand is second guessing. The penmanship fails, the frail, aching, and tired, out of practice, fatigued like a soldier’s threads collected in the Plaza boutique. All we have on this block is one small corner to congregate and create. As if anyone cared what I have to say or what you have to say. What am I doing anyway, other than rambling away in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep because of the caffeine, which isn’t worthy or worth it even. The first thing I can think of because there’s so many filters and filters on filters and filtered through filters of hashgram no filter. Because nothing comes out without being filtered through lomo or loco, amaro of black and white slides of an instamatic app. What does that say about your life or your photo that you make it all up? Nonsense. It’s all nonsense and blocked and walls are built with or without our consent because the tiny glowing screens and particles that make it up impress upon our impressionistic impressionism lives which zoom out to be some sort of semblance of a glowing life with or without the filter, with or without the darkness: a time when words come out and the worms crawl out to be seen, just to be seen. For example, if I must, and I might make an example of myself talking about worms and flowing without a seam or a segment. A section of parts making up a whole of a soul…or a sole…or a soal? Who even determines the meaning when autocorrect will just make a decision for you anyway and you have the audacity to think you matter. When your handwriting changes every page, every line, every word you’ve ever heard changes meaning and scope. Just chalk it up to experience so you can take something home in a styrofoam box to have something left, if anything is even left when you decide to go searching and pray there’s no mold eating the meal you were intended for with or without the dowry. Selling yourself once again to a man or THE man, with or without the meaning you deserve or intend to tend to yourself or take care, if that’s even allowed. But most of the time you won’t have a say anyway, because you are stuck wide awake when the world is asleep and rumor has it you’re more likely to be a psychopath for enjoying the night and the crickets song and the cricking and screeching of the owl and barn noises. The inhabitants who inhabit the night with you by their side, they don’t seem as crazy as you do with or without the cursive “z” or “y” because who even writes like that anyway? A mix of letters, a mix of styles. Keep it pure. Segregated. That’s what they want. That’s what they tell you but you know it’s wrong. You never believed them. There is so much more and you have always known, whether you could make it out or not, or if you could translate or decode the writings of late night ramblings. Somewhere between the mixed style and writings lies the answer.The answer only found when the early bird is fast asleep dreaming of that worm, who does his best work at night. Because it’s all connected, whether wiggly, squiggly, square, straight, black, white, gay, or rainbow skinned, the pigment is all the same to the worm, the defeater of man. The king of the feast, seated in the Father’s lap, to the left of the Mother, who knows the difference in a subtle bark better than Father could ever scrape a stray hair from his trousers. Mother knows. She knows the night. She created it. She lies and breathes and prays and sins best under the night lights. Keep my children safe. Burn steadfast tonight.

 

I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Oz Anymore

If anyone knows me, they know that I am a very intense person. I take things to heart, especially things I am very passionate about. I am a 110% kind of gal. I think a lot of people in my generation have this kind of go-getter, make-things-happen type of attitude. We are a generation whose parents said “You can do anything you want. You can be whatever you want to be.” We are a generation who gets the privilege of saying “I am the first person in my family to go to college.” Continuing education is the new high school. I think because of this, a huge part of my childhood was centered around answering the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A simple question that we have probably all been asked from the time we were just learning to talk all the way to graduation day 16 years later. As lucky as we are to be presented with this freedom to make such a huge decision, I think there is something fundamentally wrong with this question, at least for me. Because when I heard this question, it wasn’t a question that would simply help me pave the path towards future career goals, but more of an existential question. “What do you want to BE when you grow up?” We were encouraged to give answers such as “A Firefighter” “A Doctor” “A Vetrinarian” “A Lawyer” A Movie Star” etc. Once we established a solid answer, and received a few encouraging words from family and friends, we pursued this life of learning and training towards BEING this certain label or person. Well, me, being the intense person that I am, took this VERY seriously. I said “I want to BE an Actress. I want to BE a Singer. I want to BE a Dancer. I want to BE a performer.” I had complete tunnel vision focusing on being this identity. It defined me as a person. My whole life was dedicated on figuring out how to be a professional theatre performer.

So like most theatre folk do, I dreamed my whole life of moving to New York City. I wanted to be at the center of everything, contributing to the hustle and bustle of crazy city life. I was going to be on Broadway, maybe even a celebrity one day! I spent my whole life as long as I can remember focusing on that one dream. I would always be the one who never gave up. I was going to make it despite the warnings and the ridiculous odds. I was different! (Weren’t we all?) Except, when I got there I was sort of paralyzed. I used to think I would do whatever it took to follow this one narrow-minded, poorly planned dream. But when I was face to face with the reality of the industry, the early mornings, the politics, the countless uncontrollable factors, the games, I found that I had to force myself to even go to an audition, much less take a class or practice. The dream I had chased was not the reality I was living. I felt like a complete failure. That haunting question played on repeat in my mind. I had no worth if I didn’t accomplish this one thing I set out to do because I had defined who I was by what I DID.

I started tossing around the idea in my head that maybe it is okay for dreams to change, or at least the fine print. I knew that before I made any major life altering decisions, I had to get to a point where I wouldn’t feel like a complete failure for changing my mind. It was very difficult because people would reach out to me and tell me how brave I was and how much they looked up to me for having the courage to leave everything behind to pursue my dreams. Though I gladly accepted the kind words, it secretly put a lot of strain on me to live up to their expectations. Even more so, I felt that I had to live up to my own unreachable expectations. I could see my younger self in my mind’s eye shaking her head at me. “You were supposed to be the one who made it.” The phrase “making it” bothered me for years. I finally discovered that “making it” doesn’t only have one definition. I remember when I was younger performing at local theatres in Oklahoma City and Dallas and looking down on those who had day jobs and pursued theatre as an extra curricular activity. I thought, “Well if you were really serious, you would be in New York trying to have a REAL career” or, “They are way too talented to be performing here. What a waste of talent.” What I didn’t stop to realize is that they WERE making it because they were happy. After all, if BEING a performer was the goal, those community theatre actors were doing that way more than I was sulking in my over-priced, 600 square foot excuse for a suitable living space in Queens.

At the end of the day, I still felt like a complete failure. Yes, I had excelled in many different areas of life, but it didn’t matter because I wasn’t this specific thing that I told myself and everyone else I was going to be. Then one day it dawned on me, probably after talking to my mom on the phone or hours of pinning motivational quotes on Pinterest, that (as cheesy as it sounds) all I was required to BE was ME. IF “me” didn’t want to live this supposed life that a theatre artist is suppose to live, then that is okay! I had always defined who I was by what I did, all because of that one question. “What do you want to BE when you grow up?”

Well what I want to BE is kind. I want to BE loving and a good spouse. I want to BE helpful and encouraging. I want to BE a good friend and a good listener. I want to BE educated and interesting. I want to BE well-rounded and cultured. I want to BE fun! I want to BE happy.

At the end of the day, I wasn’t happy. I had to make a change. I let the weight of trying to BE something instead of trying to DO something become two separate entities and a huge weight fell off of my shoulders.

The many sacrifices we had made to live that lifestyle were no longer worth it. We had been miserable for several months. Ben had been experiencing similar feelings artistically over the course of living in New York City as well. We would alternate between who was inspired to be there and who hated it. He even wrote a musical about it! We said that we were worried for the day that we both hated it at the same time, because we knew that would be the end.

It was Easter weekend, the season of new beginnings. After 3 years in New York and 2 in Boston, we decided it was time for a new chapter in our lives.

So 6 weeks and 1500 miles later, we landed back in the land of the OCU stars, Oklahoma City, OK. Random, I know.

Honestly, it’s very strange. I never thought I would EVER be back in Oklahoma City, much less living here. Like Dorothy, I feel like I was in a weird dream, then I woke up and realized I never actually left Kansas (or Oklahoma). Because as wonderful as Oz is, what is a life where happiness can float away as easily as a bubble in the wind?

So here we are, back in Oklahoma City, filled with wonderful memories of talking scarecrows and dancing tin men, flying monkeys, glittering buildings, strange roads, and a lot of evil witches. But Oz isn’t going anywhere. That’s the beauty of it. It’s always there. Who knows, one day a twister of fate might sweep us back that way but I now can reflect on a very different message that Dorothy taught me. That no matter how wonderful Oz might be, and it is wonderful, the true message of The Wizard of Oz is to remember that “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t go looking any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with….”

Well…you know the rest!

And as far as that QUESTION goes, I hope we can re-word it just a bit for future generations. Maybe we should take a hint from the French who ask “Qu’est-ce que tu fais dans la vie?” which translates literally to “What do you do in life?”

I love that! It empowers and comforts me to know that there’s a limitless amount of things I can DO in life but only one thing I can BE and that is ME!

Quotes from “Mrs. Poe” by Lynn Cullen

I just read Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen, a historical fiction novel about Edgar Allan Poe and his alleged affair with the poet Frances Osgood. It is set in 1840s, high literary society, New York City. There were a lot of really awesome quotes from the book that I wanted to share! 

Enjoy! =)

“The stench of rotting sea creatures commingled with sweet scent of perfumes, as did the spicy odor of unwashed human flesh and the aroma of baking pies.”
– about downtown Manhattan; still pretty accurate in 2013

“The unspoken truth was that New Yorkers considered everyone in the world to be just a tad – well, more than a tad, a lot more than a tad – old-fashioned, compared to themselves.”

“Maybe we all have the ability to perceive another’s soul, and do so every day, only we take it for granted and don’t even know when we’re doing it. It’s called knowing someone’s ‘character’ or ‘personality’.” 

“If by a soul one means the creature who lives within each of us, a creature born loving, born joyful, but who with each worldly blow shrinks more deeply into its shell until at last, the poor desiccated thing is unrecognizable even to its own self, yes. I do [believe there is a soul]”

“Our soul is as much a part of us as our hand or our voice yet we are terrified to acknowledge it. Why is that?”

“It is as if producing a creative work tears a piece from your soul. When it is ripped completely free of you, the wound must bleed for a while. How similar it is to letting go of a dream, your hope, or your heart’s desire. You must open up and let it drain.”

“Pay attention to fate. It will always have the last word.”

“I admire any wild thing that won’t be ruled by man.”

“Americans are being poisoned all in the name of profit, producing a weak-minded race of people who are given to lust and desire.”

-“How many people have ruined their lives by giving into their desires?”
-“You’ll excuse me, but I cannot agree. Many people have improved their lives by following their desires.”

“Desire inspires us to be our very best.”

“Tell me, who is behind a great woman? That’s right. No one. She has to get there by herself.”

“Mid-May in New York: the season for foolishness.”

“Is their a creature more unstable than a woman made mad by desire?”

“It is my belief that marriage is made holy by two souls in communion, not by the order of the law.”

“What if women don’t want to control men’s desires? What if women have their own? Why must women always deny their desires? Why must men always deny theirs? It is unnatural to do so.” 

“Don’t fall in love with a poet. All they love is their words.” 

“Madness is as a drop of ink in water. It sends sly tendrils from the afflicted person into everyone around until all are shaded in black. Soon one does not know who is mad and who is not.”

“Need is the mother of creation.”

“Wedded bliss is a tale made up to keep the species going.”

“Why are we doomed to crave most that which we cannot have?”

“Fortunate is the person who can succeed in extracting honey from such a flower as this life, whose root and every petal is bitterness.”

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but loving you isn’t one of them.” 

Which one is your favorite? 

Such a good read! I definitely recommend. 

Push on

So I have really wanted to get back into writing lately. I used to write poetry, stream of consciousness kind of stuff but for whatever reason I stopped. I have also been thinking a lot about journaling lately and how important it is for any artist to do. I learned a really cool style at a workshop once that involved stream of consciousness, prose-type writing where you just write whatever comes to your head, completely without stopping to think about it. It’s crazy how stuff just comes out. Sometimes I will even go back and not even remember writing certain things. So, tonight as I rode the subway, I let the pen take over and here’s what came out. Also, I tend to rhyme…. Not sure why, it just comes out that way …hah!

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34, 42, 50 etc, counting numbers up and down on a grid-locked grid we call Uptown, Downtown, stay away from Midtown, if you can, sardines jam, jelly-packed like a bunch of rats. Lookout. Beware. There’s a scare of disease that can spread to your skin,, burning your soul. It burns out of control, like the need the hear. Anywhere but here. The sky is never clear. We love. We fear; a rainbow of emotion, an ocean of feelings ebbing and flowing, like at Chelsea Piers. Chelsea queers, walking pups in their Sperry’s, pounding pavement and concrete in boots and heels and toes, head and shoulder, eyes and ears and mouth and nose: a whole factory, olfactory, filling each and every sense. Can you spare some change, a few coins on the corner for the man seeking shelter from this crazy, crazy weather, ever changing, ever fading from black to white, where North meets South. Can you open your mouth and shout and holler and hail a cab to drive you away from your scabs and scars that are engrained so far inside, outside, any side of the island is like paradise, roll the dice to decide your fate. Are you lucky today? Is it yes or no? Rejection or show? Move on or move out, because theres absolutely no doubt that this city is no place for you if you can’t take the hits and blows way below the belt in the gut and deeper in the inner most private place where you store your treasures and prizes, your disguises, the masks that you wear to hide all the tears that you won as consolation prizes, battle wounds. But soon it will heal. It will shine. Open your light to the world and don’t hide behind the falsities that you are made to believe: You’re not good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, tough enough. Can you take it? Not rich enough, fast enough, rash enough? Will you just toughen up because you are YOU enough, and that’s all that matters. Be “Who You Are” says the British pop star who shoots across the radio waves, static, straight, ball change your identity, or better yet your mindset south of 59th street to the Great White Way that someday you WILL play, if you keep holding on to what is engraved inside of you since you were Peter’s height. You can fly second to the left or right no matter your frights. Toss it away. Sink it down. Let it drown. Destroy the weight keeping you on the ground, because earthbound is no way to live, no way to be. Be free. Fly free. Fly high above you and me, above all the rest, digest the struggle and regurgitate the answer to the test which is to strive and be alive, truly feel alive no matter what spiders, monsters, creatures, enemies, daggers trying to stab you or pin you where you clearly don’t belong. Breakout in song. Bust a move. Dance. Wear crazy pants. March like ants, one after one, driven to build their empire, climbing higher and higher up the tree of life, up to pride rock. Knock off the socks of the jocks, judges, pharisees, and the rest. Do better than your best. Express. Progress. Don’t regress but press on. Let the coffee wake you up to each new day. Take a whiff, fly away. Swing through this concrete jungle like Tarzan, with your courage like a sword in your hand to slay all your doubts and fear, because the path is clear. So don’t stumble on the pebbles but push. Push. Push. Push on and on until the fruit of your loins joins you here in this town, this city, that sometimes is shitty but exists like a microcosm of irony swirling like a twister, in the midst of bright lights, big city, smelly concrete, hobos urinate, dancers kick, singers thrive, just trying to stay alive doing what they were called to do, where it’s beg, play, jog, dance, study, film, paint, explore or try and try and I-think-I-can and try. Because it may not seem like a ballgame or a walk through Central Park but the Times and my mother and my gut tell me that it’s worth it. I’m worth it. I’m worthy of it. So stay. Endure. Stay pure. Push on.

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So that’s it. Hope you enjoyed! =)

…Hopefully more to come…

Another Day, Another Pancake Breakfast

Day 31 – January 31, 2012
Another Day, Another Pancake Breakfast 

Started off the day right…….with pancakes. I have pancakes for a lot of meals. They are very cheap and very easy to make. But today, I decided to mix it up a bit. I have been craving chocolate like a crazy person for the past few months so the answer was simple. Cocoa mix + pancake mix = delicious chocolate pancakes. They were delicious!!!

Ben hasn’t been feeling well the past few days so we laid low.

I had a short rehearsal tonight. We reviewed some dances and I got released early.

Pretty straight forward day. Not much to comment on. I work early tomorrow so time for beddd!!!