Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Funny story.  I was sitting on my couch reading I Am Malala, crying.  Sitting on my couch, in my climate-controlled, well-lit, safe, two bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, after eating a giant plate of food I made on my gas stove (for which I didn't have to go buy gas somewhere in town), with my perfect child sleeping in his room, where he would likely sleep through the night, which he has done pretty much every night for the last year, reading a book about a girl who got shot three times just for wanting to get an education.  Oh, but I wasn't crying out of guilt over my privilege.  I wasn't crying out of compassion.  I wasn't crying at my inability to right all the wrongs in the world.  Basically I was crying because I'm not on "New Girl".


Back in September, when I was in Brooklyn, I read a great story in The Sun called "Three".  It's about going with what life brings and wondering how you ever lived without things you initially didn't even know you wanted.  The family in the story lives in a rural part of the country, near woods and rivers.  Their Thanksgivings are filled with friends, and laughing children, and wild-caught game.  A place where it's cold in the winter and hot in the summer.  Where it's gloriously green in spring and the leaves turn orange and yellow and brown in the fall.  I'm assuming.  He doesn't mention where they are exactly, but in my mind it was somewhere with four seasons.  At any rate, I suddenly had an image of standing at the kitchen sink, looking out at Monty playing in the backyard and I wanted that more than anything.  The next few days were filled with images like that.  Screened-in porches, fireflies, local farms, hot cider.  Hot cider, guys.  I was fantasizing about hot cider.

When I left grad school after one semester it was to go back in to acting.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I left the grad school I was at, I would say if you asked, because I didn't think their curriculum was grounded in concepts of social justice and equality.  My classmates giggled when our instructor recounted the time a patient wet himself during group therapy.  They were young.  They spoke of their potential private practices where they could treat the worried well and whenever the issue of internships with truly sick populations came up they all got squirmy and uncomfortable.  And this is me being super judgey.  The truth is, what my classmates thought or did shouldn't have had any bearing on my education.  If I had really wanted to, I could have seen past them, and stuck with it.  But also?  The program was hard.  And I was terrified of it.  I was working at a different school in their graduate program where it is extremely difficult to not pass.  I watched idiots go through the whole program and graduate (we can only hope they didn't pass their licensing exams.) doing work that would not have sufficed at my high school.  But the school I was going to had actual letter grades and real tests and students were actually held accountable for proving they were learning what was being taught and I was straight up scared of it.  It may not be clear, yet, but I have an overwhelming fear of failure that I've carried around like a God damned prize my whole life. 

I dropped out of that grad school with the intention of switching to the one I was working for and coasting through, but in the middle of the application process I decided to go back to acting.  In retrospect anything that school could have thrown at me would have been easier than a life of maintaining a living as an actor.  And so now I'm having these images of a rural life and I know that getting there as an actor would be a sysiphean task I'm not sure I want to undertake.  I want to actually spend time with my son.  I don't want to have to be constantly worrying about my next job in order to maintain a lifestyle.  And I'm not talking about living like a king.

So, I Googled the best social work programs in the country and narrow the list down to a half dozen or so in cities I could imagine living in, did a little research and narrowed that list down to University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.  Raleigh has been voted best city in which to raise a family this year, there is a large performing arts community, the cost of living is extremely low, and there are four distinct seasons (though God only knows what the climate will be like in ten years...).   Yes, there are cons, but you people are always yelling at me to "BE MORE POSITIVE!"  And by "you people" I mean the voices in my head.

I booked a flight to Raleigh for the first week in November so as to scout the area for potential neighborhoods to move to in January.  The next day I get a call about the possibility of a gig in NYC.  On the Broadway.  You get it?  I booked a flight to do preliminary moving research to RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA so I can go back to becoming A THERAPIST and THE NEXT DAY I get a call about possibly returning to Broadway after 15 years.  Which is great, right?  But after more than 20 years at this I've learned not to get excited until I'm moving into my dressing room (not, like, MOVING IN, like I have a heroin problem and I've been kicked out of my home so I'm "moving in" to my dressing room.  Just, you know, putting my stuff in there and setting it up...  I don't do heroin.)  So, my initial reaction is like, "Great, now I have to put everything on hold again."  Well, my initial reaction is like, "Nifty!  Broadway!"  and then I'm like, "Great now I have to put everything on hold again."

A few days later I'm on my couch reading "I Am Malala" and crying because I'm not on TV.  I'm fully aware of how gross and icky all of this is, even while it's happening, which only makes things worse.  Nothing like feeling shitty and then feeling shitty for feeling shitty.  So, I did something I've literally never done before.  I got on my knees and I "prayed".  I was like, "Well, nothing else is working..."  And I say "prayed" in quotes, because I still don't understand the concept of a Higher Power.  I don't even know if I believe in one.  So, I was "praying" to my "Higher Power" just asking to be made aware of the "plan".  If that's a thing.  And it became painfully obvious that I have a vice-like grip on my need for control.  Which, good thing I chose show business!  Nice and stable.  Lots of control.  So, I need to, like, "let go" of my need for control and "trust" that "God" has a "plan" for me.  Which makes me just feel like a dandelion seed blowing along in the wind.  That sounds nice and relaxing, right?  Like, I just get to float along on the breeze, in the sunshine.  Wherever I land is where I land.  What a nightmare.

In the middle of all this I blurt out, "I want to live in Los Angeles and I want to be on T.V."  So, there it is, I guess.  I asked for knowledge of the plan for me and then said the plan out loud without thinking.  So, it's settled, right?  I stay in Los Angeles and "be on T.V."  But that puts us right back where we were at the beginning.  I don't know if it's realistic to pursue this path when I want to stand at my kitchen sink and watch Monty play in the backyard.  Those two goals seem at odds.  If I want to make enough money so we can live where we want and have a backyard does that mean I'm ever actually home or am I constantly out chasing the next job?  And really, this issue is more dire than "I want to watch Monty play in the backyard".  It's actually about making any kind of living and having health insurance and being able to send Monty to a good school. 

I don't want to be a dandelion seed.  I want to be an ant that has a very clear job.  Go to the potato chip, nibble off a piece, bring it back to the... farm?  Repeat.  But then, at the end of the day and on weekends I want to be able to go to my nice home in a rural part of the ant country, where my ant family is happily living.  And maybe we have a nice garden.

I'm going to go ahead and post this blog now because I've been worrying over it for a couple weeks and I want it off my mind.  But I'm not happy with it because it's whiney and so navel-gazing it hurts. So, forgive me and please stick with me.