Thursday, December 23, 2010

Addiction and Recovery

There's a moment just before I fall asleep wherein I have the ability to fight off the soporific effects of my medication. My mind pops and fizzes during the last moments of creativity that exist only between sleep and waking life. These are the moments that exist for writers. The inner critic has already fallen asleep. The subconscious is just waking up. This is the time I am most likely to cry.

Who would think that life could be so mind numbingly difficult? Who could imagine every step is capable of tilting the balance? The days when nothing happens seem like wastes and blessings. I always feel like I should be doing more than I am currently doing, even when what I am currently doing is bearing down on me. It makes breathing, time to breathe, almost uncanny. Glorious.

I have a friend who claims that everyone is an alcoholic in one way or another. Everyone has an addiction. Everyone walks anonymously along the path of his or her own personal addiction. Everyone needs a sponsor. Everyone needs a support group.

I've lately been trying to figure out what my personal addiction is. I think, perhaps, it is the idea that things should be easy. Never mind the fact that I tout the inevitable difficulty of anything worth doing. Anything worth doing is hard. I believe this. Then I enter into a project, imagining it to be too difficult to think about. This leads to a weak completion of a lot of my endeavors. Looking back on things, I find that a concerted effort and a clear driven vision would have pushed me further along my path. Would have awarded me more fully with the satisfaction that can only come from the knowledge that I did everything I could possibly do.

But, then again, I've been told that I'm often too hard on myself, and I'd have to agree. I fluctuate between healthy drive and detrimental self-criticism. Despite the stars under which I was born, I struggle to find the correct balance.

The truth is, I am frightened. I am frightened of failure and even more terrified of success. So, perhaps my addiction is fear. And fear is a cold place to live. It aches, and it paralyzes. My heart tells me to listen carefully, to take heed, while my brain tells me to breathe and to listen to the breath. Behind the breath is a powerful mechanism. The air goes in, and the air comes back out again, and it requires little to no effort on my part. Under the sound of the breath, I can hear the truth.

You're not out of it yet. Each day holds the capability to hurt and to heal. Fear will tell you to sit still. Fear will remind you of all the ways you will cause yourself to fall, to fail. Let your breath bring you back. There is no pain without pleasure. There is no pleasure without pain. And there is no way to recover from the pain without faith. Faith that fear is lying. Faith that the truth that gives you effortless breath will carry you forward. You will cause yourself to fall, to fail. But you will forgive yourself, over and over again, with every breath, and you will keep walking.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I'm currently struggling with the fact that I've been sickish for almost a week now and with this sickishness has come one fail after another. I have a huge list of intentions that just don't seem to be hitting the top of my priorities. What are my current priorities? Sleep a full night and...remember to take my medication.

The real question is: what are my intentions? Clean my house. Christmas shop. Call about my insurance (honestly should be a priority). Go on a walk every day. Do yoga every day. Write for an hour every day. Lesson plan for an hour or two every day. Buy groceries. Cook. Buy a dry erase board to list priorities vs. intentions.

What do I do instead? Lie awake in bed until around 11. Pout because I have to actually make coffee if I want to drink it. Eat the easiest thing available for breakfast. Watch television. Find creative ways to be warm. Stress out because no one wants to hang out/too many people want to hang out.

My existence is a plateau.

My final question is: Is this so because I am ill/school is out, or is there something bigger going on? Perhaps it's my aversion to the holiday season in general. Christmas is ten days away. Shouldn't I be more excited?

In my head this blog sounded a lot funnier than it reads. Anyone want to pat me on the back?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Cheesy Soul

If you know me, you know I love a metaphor, and when life gives me one, I have to share it. Hey! Chicken Soup for the Soul, NOTICE ME! Ima talk about how things happen for a reason, and stuff.

I'm amazed at how little I care about getting dirty, and uncomfortable. I remember a time just a little over a year ago when I approached nearly EVERYTHING with trepidation. I suppose it was the fear of being uncomfortable, of getting dirty, of not being able to enjoy myself. Seems a bit OCD thinking about it now. I carried around a lot of anxiety about...everything. I don't know what has happened to me. I don't know if it's medication induced, or if I'm actually growing out of my fearful self, but I like it.

Saturday afternoon I was out at the Garden (you know) with good friends/awesome people, working on a horror film we wrote together. Final scene! It was the end of a "chase," and Mr. Foy Tootle (yes. that's his real name), God bless him, decided it would be cool to have me running through the creek and up the bank before running into my scene partner (Julie Best-est). Usually creeks don't tend to get much deeper than mid-calf, but this was a bend, and a deep one at that. It was a deep bend full of rotting fallen trees and stagnant cold water. I know. I had draped myself over a fallen tree to get my nose close enough to the water as to catch a glimpse of some secret underworld. No such luck. Just muck.

My first reaction was to say "Hell no! It's too deep," and I did. But my next sentence was, "I mean, I'll do it if you think it will actually look good," which was a totally STUPID thing to say. OF COURSE it was going to look good: Me scrambling through the mucky water and up the bank. It was going to look terrifying and desperate. So, it should have been no surprise to me that I found myself doing just that mere moments later.

The first thing one instinctively does before endeavoring to cross any kind of body of water is to look for ways to avoid getting wet at all. I climbed gingerly from one fallen tree to another, throwing my body against the high bank and hanging on to visible roots, and it worked, that one time...for the practice shot. For the first shot, I slid down the opposite bank and stepped clean through the first "stepping stone" covering myself with mucky cold water.

It was then that Carrie remarked, "Okay. Now, you're ready." And I was. All bets were off. I was already wet. It was time to go all in. So, for the next shot, I threw myself across the creek towards the pile of fallen rotting tree branches that had collected in the bend, but none of them would hold. Everywhere I stepped, they gave way until I was desperately gripping the roots on the bank with my body in cold water up to my waist. I made it. I pulled myself up, and the shot was great. Better than great.

And there it was: the metaphor glaring me in the face. Do this thing. It will be good. It will be awesome even. And don't be afraid. But you are. And you step cautiously. Trepidation. Then, your footing gives way, and you fall in up to your waist. NOW you're ready. Forget those initial fears. You're already wet. It makes the feeling when you get to the other side and you get dry that much better.

Half-living is not living at all. Fear is a liar. Trust me.

This message brought to you by the fact that I'm getting more and more sentimental. Suck it.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I was sitting in the backseat of Matthew's car last night on the way to Dad's Garage, when I realized. I'm the third wheel. I'm actually on a date with my friends Matthew and Carol, two really awesome people, and super fun, but in a relationship with each other and not me. Have I become that person? I mean, it's one thing to be young and hanging out with your dating friends, but I'm 30-something with a job, and a sense of responsibility. I had this bazaar vision of myself at 50 in the same position. Hey! Let's invite our funny single friend, Caroline, along! She can sit in the back and make jokes about the date MST3K style. And that's pretty much exactly what I do. But hey, I look damn good while doing it.

So, in general, my third wheel status doesn't usually occur to me because I'm so awkwardly starving for attention anyway. However, next time I demand that someone whisper sweet nothings into my ear, so I don't feel too ostracized. It doesn't have to be sexy. You can say things like "man, kittens are awesome!" You just have to lean in close and whisper it in my ear. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!

Does Seltzer count as water?

I'd go so far as to say that I've spent so much time with myself this past year, the two other people in my company are the 2nd and 3rd wheel on my unicycle. It takes a while to figure out the correct balance for riding one of those, but once you do, it's exhilarating. So, if anything, joining a couple for a night of free/discounted fun is pretty much like riding a tricycle, and I get to be the big wheel up front, the one that determines the direction in which the unit goes. I win!

Is it obvious that I'm an only child?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Closing That Door

I have now been single for almost ten months. It is time for me to stop being bitter about my breakup and start being bitter about being awesome and single. No more sad blogs about disillusion. Let's move on to ironic blogs about disillusion. No more questions about the meaning of life. More jokes about the meaninglessness of daily battles.

So. Let's begin.

Oh, my good Lord. My wit has left me. I'm sitting here with a cup of coffee in my hand, and I can't think of a damn thing to say but "yawn." Last night I had a glass of wine with dinner and a beer when I got home. I was going to go to karaoke, but the beer (unit number two) knocked me down. I watched Scott Pilgrim again, curled up in a ball on the little couch, smiling to myself because I liked it. I wish movies were cheaper to see at the theater. I wish Dahlonega HAD a movie theatre.

Sometimes, despite the fact that life is awesomer at age 30 something, I DO miss parts of my twenties. The newness of everything. The stress. The confusion. The hilarity. The camaraderie. Life now is a different kind of awesome.

Then, going to bed with a little beer buzz was a warm and happy occasion. It meant I was previously out with friends, and I was currently choosing to go to bed. Now, going to bed with a beer buzz means I had a couple of beers with my front of the television. But, hey, I made the dinner, and I listened to NPR while doing so, and I'm awesome.

Then, going out meant I was going to see a million people I knew for impromptu partying. No invitations required. They would all be there, wherever I was, and if they weren't, I would find them at a different location, but I would find them. Now, going out means making plans to make sure I'm not the only one there, and a good time is ensured by the people that agree to come out. If I go out on my own, there's a 90% chance I'm going to be sitting at the bar alone chatting with the bartender while occasionally striking up a conversation with another bar patron. Great way to meet people, though.

Then, being with friends meant drinking, dancing, social networking. Now, being with friends means making art, drinking, cooking, eating at the table and telling stories, dancing, and social networking.

Then, everyone, and I, was single, even the people that weren't single were totally single. Now, 80% of everyone is committed in one way or another, except for me, and the other 20%.

Then, I had no idea how pretty I was, how much value I possessed. I just knew people liked me. Now, I see myself, and I try to share my value, and I know people like me, and I like them.

I'll try to be more cynical next time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Girl and Dog Go for a Walk

Girl puts on a scarf, hat, and jacket. Dog wears his collar and a leash. Girl and dog go for a walk. They find a secret path through the woods off the square. Girl and dog follow this path happily.

They are surrounded by leaves of red, gold, and orange. They climb over fallen trees, soft from decomposition. Girl climbs, and dog leaps.

Soon, girl and dog realize that they are lost. The path is gone. Girl tries to find the easiest way through, while dog tries to convince girl to follow him to a small creek. Girl finally gives up and follows dog. Dog leads girl out of the woods.

Between the woods and the road there is a giant muddy patch. Dog prances over the mud, while girl gingerly attempts to avoid getting too muddy. Girl steps in every wrong place. Girl steps in mud up to her knees. Girl is upset for a moment, then she shrugs.

Dog pulls girl away from the mud. They are in the back yard of someone's dream house. Girl and dog hide in the woods and rinse off in the small creek. Girl rolls muddy pants up and continues on the walk with dog.

Despite being muddy and having cold feet, girl and dog are very happy.

Girl and dog watch the sun set behind a red, orange, and yellow ridge.

Girl and dog walk home in the dusk.

Girl makes spinach and goat cheese pizza, and girl and dog curl up on the couch to watch a movie. Tabby cat joins girl and dog.

Everyone is warm.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An old friend did this: give it a listen.

I'm sitting at my kitchen table, calm and warm. I've had a couple of fairly normal days. No more rehearsal. No more fast food. No more gasping for air. I'm ignoring my cat. He can't decide whether he wants to be inside or outside. I'm making him stick to his original choice: outside. I'm also wondering what sort of wisdom, if any, I have to impart. I'm not sure.

Walking back to my house from school today reminded me of London: Spitting, cold rain, the smell of diesel as a truck or two passed, no umbrella. Nothing ever seems quite as clear as it does when I'm looking back at it. Even the moments that felt more alarmingly real, they look like raw film shots that have yet to be layered. If that makes any sense. I'm slowly learning about film by listening to my friends as they chat about it over storyboard drawing and motion graphic type headache work. But looking back on it all, it's my brain...the finished product. I have no fascinating stories yet, I mean, I'm sure I do, in the recesses of my brain, but nothing comes to me right now.

I was thinking the other day, I don't really have ideas. I mean, I have ideas that are good ideas, but I don't have great ideas. I haven't been inspired by myself in...I don't know how long. Maybe my head's in the wrong place. Can anyone remember any really good ideas I've had in the past...two years?

You know what (my brain's a little fragmented right now)? It'd be nice to find people that aren't afraid of me. It'd be nice to never have to apologize for myself. It'd be nice to not get knocked down for a little while. It'd be nice to be able to let go. It'd be nice to be able to trust. Anyone. Ever.

That's as good as it gets right now.

Monday, October 18, 2010

This is the Actual Blog for Today

And, just as I'm thinking I should be falling asleep because I am so damn tired, the real blog for today makes that impossible.

Let's stop pretending this is a cute little howdy-do kind of blog. I've always been fairly gut wrenching in my explanation of my life on these pages. I'm sorry for tip-toeing earlier.

I noticed my old blog "Outlaw Gardener" picked up another follower. I haven't written for it since May. The pictures on the last blog are so outdated, so sparse, of a land that had not yet grown to its full potential. I read the last blog, and I remembered that small part of my pain that I keep to myself most of the time because I can't imagine who would understand. I'm just going to let it go now. If I talk about it outside of my head and my walks, during which I cry very briefly and quietly on occasion, perhaps I can more efficiently let it go. So, here it is:

When I moved here, I wanted so badly to be a part of what Brad was doing at the restaurant and winery. I felt so utterly useless most of the time. Everyone had a place but me. I begged to help out, but was rebutted. I don't know why. I cannot fathom any reason, but I do not share a mind with my past loves. I can only see my part and try in some way to see his.

I planted a garden. I planted a garden for him. And I say it like it was nothing, but it was everything. Every single day for a year I spent 4+ hours on 2 acres. I walked with no shoes when the ground was newly tilled, soft, wet from the torrential rain of October 2009 that washed trenches through my spinach rows. I wore nothing but clothing stained in the mud and clay because there was no point in wearing anything else. I trudged through the creek, carried pails of water back and forth because it took a year to secure a working irrigation system. I dug ditches. I pulled weeds. I hurt. I sweat. I froze. I worked in the rain and snow. I watched the weather. I woke up in the morning, every morning, in anticipation of the first frost. And in February, I awaited the end of the cold. I know what the earth feels like when it's frozen. I know when it's ready to give. I had no idea what I was doing, but I did everything I thought would help. And every day, I waited for him to come and to see what I had done.

But he didn't. And every day I wrestled with my own anonymity. The hidden member of the family. Alone in the garden. I begged for a raise to make ends meet, but I was refused. My work wasn't important to anyone...but me.

When Jenni told me she was leaving, I cried. Jenni was my help. She was scared to make decisions most of the time, and that made me crazy, but she was inspiring and comforting. She truly gave of herself to the earth. But she hated it here, and when she left, I cried out loud because I hated it too. Because no one saw nor heard me. At least, that's how I felt.

So, everything fell apart, despite my efforts to hang on, it hurt so terribly much to be invisible. So I let go, but I kept working for him. I couldn't let the garden go. And I brought in someone that I thought I could trust to replace Jenni. Someone that I enjoyed. Someone that I knew could teach me.

Over a period of three months, I was gradually pushed aside. I did get to see the fruits of a year's labor. I enjoyed it too. I learned so much about myself. I learned so much about life, and for that I am so grateful. I had one of the best jobs anyone can ever have. Trust me.

But I had to let it go. And I still cry about it. I still feel like I'm a part of those two acres. When I started digging the beds for the fall garden in August 2009 by myself, I would sit in my car when it rained and draw pictures of what I had done, and what I envisioned for the future.

The garden taught me how to be an artist again. It taught me to take risks, to dig in, to work hard, to hurt. It reminded me of how it felt to be a child, and it quelled my fears.

I quoted Emerson in my first blog post on Outlaw Gardener:

Our age is retrospective...Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?...Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to-day [sic] also.

For a year, I rested in the arms of nature and let the floods of life stream around and through me; thus, I cannot continue to grope among the dry bones of the past. I have been invited to action proportioned to nature, to action as mighty as the earth and her workings. The sun shines today also. And I am grateful for that.

It only takes me so far

I had a bit of a fantastic/frustrating/empowering weekend. I'm not going to go detail by lame detail, but I will say, I feel a bit at sea, or I did this times. At sea like, on a cruise that's kind of great sometimes, but also kind of lame other times. You know...those cruises...that are like that.

It's scary to put yourself out there. I will also say that. It's scary to open up. It's like jumping off of a cliff. You know how it sucks when you convince your friends to do something or go somewhere with you, and they seem to be all about it, but, when you get there, it's just you?

I don't know what I'm trying to say. I kept feeling like I was going to throw up all weekend. I couldn't make it stop. My skin feels too small right now. I hate feeling like no one gets me. I'm a what you see is what you get kind of gal. I don't say much that I don't really mean, and I tend to take people at their word. This gets me into trouble. A lot.

Anyway, enough about that. I'm tired. HA! I was so excited about getting home tonight to finally finish my laundry (I was holding off for fabric softener so as not to pull crusty clothes off the line) that I promptly changed into stretchy pants, climbed into bed, cuddled up with Alexander the Great, and am thinking about staying here until I fall asleep.

Today rolled at a pretty good pace. I thought I would be miserable having slept a mere 5ish hours, but coffee came to my rescue, and I powered through, even after an afternoon bath, but now, I'm dying.

Can you tell that my brain is currently holding itself together in fragments? I wish I could find the balance. It seems I am either out of my mind busy, or bored as hell. Are you bored as hell reading this? I'm going to try to get up early tomorrow, do yoga, wash dishes, and finish this God-forsaken laundry. Going to try not to focus on the fact that I'm terribly lonely. BAH! Pretend I didnt' say that. Okay?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What's on the Other Side

I had a thought this morning. I know. Crazy. Why is it that I can only think of two songs about rainbows: Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and Rainbow Connection, which actually inquires, "Why are there so many songs about rainbows?" I love that song. I love it so much, I want it to be a pizza topping. But, I can't think of more than two songs about rainbows, and that does not equal "so many."

I had the biggest crush on Kermit the Frog when I was a child. I also had a crush on the Robin Hood fox from Disney's Robin Hood. I'm serious. I wanted to be a cartoon marvelous much so that I could marry that Robin Hood fox. I miss those simple urges. The child-like dream that perhaps there is a world in which cartoons are real, and they are waiting, just as I am, to be friends.

Last night, after my show, I took some complements, changed clothes, simmered down, and went home alone. Man, I was sad. It's hard to look forward to an evening alone after something as earth shattering and intense as the role I'm playing right now. Of course, I still feel that my college acting coach would not be happy with my performance, but that's not really important at this juncture. I went home alone, and I was sad. And I thought, "if only I didn't have to go home alone..." If only. There was a time when that thought would end there, but not last night. Last night, only moments after the conception of the first thought, I replied to myself, "Going home to someone is not always the happiest of things." And it's true. It isn't the person waiting at home that brings happiness. I have had plenty of nights, when I was in a relationship, that coming home to someone was not the proverbial icing on the cake.

The truth of the matter is that it isn't up to the person waiting at home or the person that wants to be with me after the show to make me happy. What a horribly difficult responsibility to bestow upon anyone else. No, my happiness is entirely up to me.

OH NO! I've figured it out...the answer at least. Practice is the hardest, most frustratingly painful part. And that's where the rainbow song comes into play. So, there aren't that many songs about rainbows, but the songs that do exist are fantastic. So, there's no one waiting at home to tell me how fantastic I am. I have a home. I have a bed. I have cuddly animals. I have me. I always have me. I wait for the day when the comfort is that I am waiting on the other side. I follow the rainbow from one end to the other, and I Comfortable, strong, loving, and happy.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No subject

It's hard to get back into blogging. At it's height, I feel like my blogging was pretty entertaining, but it always starts a little ragged. I lose the ability to start with a bit of a thesis, ramble, and then tie it all back together in the end. PLANNING. I've never been good at it.

I'm back in the whirlwind. I had forgotten how much time and energy is required to make theatre happen. I'm reminded of my days as an undergraduate student. At the end of every semester, I would look back in awe of how I had managed to survive. It's hard to see it when you're in it, though. I feel fine. I don't feel like I'm falling apart or anything. I just feel that if anything shifts, if only slightly, I will. So, I'm trying very carefully to balance.

My least favorite aspect of theatre kids (and I'm speaking as one of them) is their propensity to have competitive conversations about who is the busiest. I used to sit and listen, while drowning in my own hell of too much, to everyone, "You think YOU'RE busy, well I...," blah, blah, blah. I resented it. I still try to stay away from competition. I simply tell people I'm busy, and I'm sorry, but only when I need to. I don't begin to think that I am perhaps more busy and important than anyone else. I'm trying to stop thinking of myself as the star of the only film ever made.

It feels good though. I think that's why we like to talk about it. It gives purpose. It opens our eyes, pushes us to the limit. Makes beer necessary and good. ;)

And busy-ness often leads me back to this: blogging. I may have only an hour to myself every day, but if I can spend it putting my thoughts into words, it is a well spent hour.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm going to try to be "back" for a little while

It has been OVER A YEAR, I know. This past year has been absolutely...just life, the way it should be, I suppose. I turned 30. I'm about to turn 31. I am no longer in a relationship. I have a dog. I teach theatre at NGCSU. I'm fully active in a number of improv projects in Atlanta. I live in a small house off the Dahlonega square. I refuse to mow my lawn on a regular basis. I worked on a farm for a year. I spent most of my days for a whole year working outside in all types of weather. I built wooden compost bins in the snow. I dug ditches in the heat of the afternoon. I had a killer tan. I swam in rivers. I ate. I drank. I was merry. I hurt. I was hurt. I hurt others. I repented, or, at least, I tried to. I sang karaoke.

I've been practicing trust. I'm not always good at it. I do yoga. I meditate. I'm not always good at it. I've been practicing forgiving myself. I'm not always good at that either. I've been practicing self love, self acceptance, and self awareness. I'm not always good at it.

The only thing missing is writing (or ego stroking, call it what you will). So, I'm going to try to be back for a little while. Let's see how it goes. I'm not lying when I say I'm not always good at this, but you know that already.