Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Fear Not/Want Not, Wanton Woman"

I first posted this in 2009 - after coming out of school.. but I think it still stands very much relevant to what I feel today.

I was scared I would be heard
so I began to sing

I was scared to be visible
so I let my Light shine again

I was scared others would hurt me
so I came to love them

I was scared no one would love me
so I learned to love myself

I was scared I would not make friends
so I started liking others

I was scared others would think me sensitive
so I let myself cry

I was scared people would only see a clown
when they saw me...so I played more

I was scared to Shine
so I learned to breathe, and to Let it be

I was scared I had no direction
so I followed the path in front of me

I was scared to be rejected
so I auditioned/applied for it anyway

I was scared my body was no longer beautiful
so I dared to dance...onstage...in lingerie!

I was scared to be found and get hurt again
so I went public on interweb and said, Here I am!

I am not Fearless
such claims I do not make
but I have come to know
that Boldness is the flip side of Fear
the choice is there I have pushed through

as I choose to stand in spite of fear
so I stand in Love for me

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What's Your Story, Morning Glory?

So while killing time on set a male colleague off-handedly turned to me and asked, "So...what's your story? Are you married? Got a boyfriend...what?"

"So, we are starting there, are we?" I thought. Having caught wind of this person's rather unwelcome M.O. around other women on set (he was becoming notorious for making sexist or sexually suggestive comments). Women were initially broached as objects of conquest, secondly as colleagues, it would appear.

Smart retorts quickly flooded my mind but I resisted, being mindful that spewing something out would be hostile. Perhaps I didn't need to be defensive if his angle was not to offend (at least, not intentionally). In the few seconds it took to think on how this comment was intended, I asked myself that question: What WAS my story?

My "story" didn't really start where his started, nor circumference itself around relationships in my life. It operated on a different levels, across various fields and scopes which had very little to do with whom I was romantically entangled with. In short, my story did not subscribe to this rather traditional, patriarchal (and heteronormative) paradigms but rather sat outside these confines to be its own wild animal, its own running horse, unfettered and free of the constraints of societal expectations whenever possible. I chose to be the writer of my story, not just its recorder. 

What was my story comprised of? What factors in my life had created my story and shaped me as its favourite protagonist?

My mind, heart and spirit all have long grocery lists of influences on identity, including my own temperament and brain, as well as many horrid and or 'challenging' things, wonderful things, excruciatingly painful things, character-building lessons, inconveniences, humilities, perceptions, joys, loves, defining moments, risks taken, roads less travelled and many inward quests...the likes of which only another "Quixote"-ian dreamer/lover/fighter might understand (where we are both battle weary from charging at windmills a time or two). If I was a conquistador of my sordid little tale, I knew not its end, but only its rough beginning and a middle I was now immersed in.

What those "who are you?" identity questions posited around my relationships to male figures are really asking is, 'To whom do you belong?'. Not too surprisingly, this ideology harkens back to when Marriage (the institution, with a capital M) was more a contract, or exchange between the initial proprietor of the female (the Father/Guardian) and her newest owner (the Husband) and less a love story* (nowhere are Ryan O'Neal or Ali McGraw featured*). Starting one's story from the pinnacle point of one's romantic partnership does not have the same sweet ring as say, "So...how do you define yourself in relationship to others, the world and most of all, yourself?" Now THERE would be a juicy question indeed.

We run into a bit of identity-erasing danger when the "married/not married", "single/not single" is the initial ruler from which to splay out a woman's identity. It's fantastic to be Mrs. X, but I would like Mrs. X to also be asked, "What ELSE about you and your life, your experience, your spirit, your passions, your knowledge, your travails makes you, you?" Black or White, This or That-type dichotomies are too small a space from which to see a full picture, the breadth and scope of an identity. I would need to chew my arm off to wriggle out of such a steel-jawed contraptions to liberate myself in all manner, in order to remain a free thinker, paradigm-buster, and self-defining individual that I am endeavoring to be!

I may look like an apple, Sir, but I am a pomegranate, composed of many tiny planets. We all are. Clueless Colleague meant no harm, I'm sure, but we seemed to be speaking across at each other from different islands and nary a boat in between. How to bridge such a divide?

I decided the best way to answer his question was to be truthful. My truth was not only different, but also bigger than his truth. Of course, I didn't expect him to know any of it, having barely met me, so I thought it best to just inform him.

"What's my story?" I took a breath. "Well, I am an actor, a writer, an artist, an explorer of life, a friend, a social creature. I am doing props, kitchen help and set dec, and am learning about indie film first-hand, which is awesome. I have an interesting story, lots of them actually! But my Story doesn't gravitate around men nor is defined by my relationships to them. I don't see things that way. My story stands apart, all on its own. I am the sum of all my experiences, and lessons and perceptions." Then I smiled in earnest, and stuffed my hands back in my pockets. (It was cold.)

Another male colleague who was standing close to me had heard the conversation. I glanced sideways to see he had a small smirk on his face.  

The inquisitor of the initial Question looked at me for a moment trying to gauge if I was being 'bitchy', hostile or had gone slightly mad. The confusion was because I was none of these things. After a moment, he mumbled something or other then stepped away. My male friend and I exchanged a look. I was glad I had a cohort, the kind of man I could befriend, the kind who was on the 'same page' regarding women's stories. He got it.

I'll bet he has his own richly woven story. A tapestry from which his relationship to a partner, may be a part of, but not all encompassing, nor defining of his whole identity. After all, we are all pomegranites.

Friday, August 16, 2013

To lovers, past and future

I cried a few nights ago because I was missing that sense of being Special to someone. Then I got upset at myself for even thinking those thoughts, for even coveting such a feeling. What kind of insecure fool was I? Why should I wait to be Special to someone in order to feel loved?, I wondered.

There is the dreamer, a romantic inside who does yearn for a tender place to lay my heart upon, and a kind fellow to reciprocate in kind. That has never left me, and will stay with me yet. There is nothing wrong with wanting to find a true (read: romantic) love. In fact, when I was fortunate enough to find it with two men, I learned that I could be very happy being in love and part of a couple. That kind of softn place in one's heart is hard to replicate.

So I cried into a pillow as I realized the fellow I had been seeing did not provoke me to feel like I was the apple of his eye, that he never gazed at me adoringly, and in fact, when I studied it, hardly seem to gaze at me at all. There was a lack of enthusiasm for me and I took it personally. Then I started to reason, 'Just because he does not feel I am Special (to him) , that does not mean that I am not.' Some wiser part of me gently called, "Remember who you are..."

So I remembered.

With that quickly came the realization that I needed to start with the intrinsic belief that I, all unencumbered and on my own, and naked and flawed, and hopeful and loving, and insecure, and grand, and powerful, and shy and bold and funny...that in all my glory, I am Special to begin with! Better is the notion that anyone who does not support this view, in their feeling or in their manner, needs to move along.

Future lover, whoever you may be, my one condition is this: if you do not join me in the reverie of celebrating my being a beautiful and special person, or erode any trace of shine off of me, so that I may forget it for one moment...then my friend, we do not see eye to eye on this most critical matter.

This lack of this recognition must signal to me that I must let you go too. We are all learning lessons, including me. Some sting is the price of a risk taken. As we part I will wish you well in sincerity. I hope that you find what you need to. I hope too that along your journey, you will come to see your own light shining. Perhaps only then, will you recognize a likeness and really see someone like me.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Lady Shoes

I have my reasons for loving my "Marilyns" . This is a term of endearment reserved for my special-occasion, smoky pink, subtly curled heel oh-so-evocative-of-a-Monroesque-era shoes. la sigh.

there are reasons I also adore my tiel low-heel, 60's glamour girl summer shoesies. they make me walk a bit wobbly, but I am more aware of my bum- of even having a bum to sway. there is that. and there are moments, where I am of two minds.

there is the issue of being desirous of something 'cute' or pretty, what I deem sexy shoes. there is almost  instantaneous sexiness about stepping into them. they have sex appeal that can scarsee be disputed centuries over...

BUT.

there is also the bunion-ing resentment building one blistery step at a time, while starting to gauge just how much farther you need to walk until you finally reach your destination and can remove the awful demon shoes from your tortured toes and twitching soles! ahh. sweet freedom! My spirit and my mind cry out: WHYYYYYY??? but why to pain us sexy shoe wearers so?! to what purpose? to what end? cannot a woman find a sensible shoe with a heel that has cushion already built in? with a support that fits snuggly around the heel, to prevent blistering? why, oh why must I suffer for the 'beauty' part?

[Disclaimer: there is a rather lengthy and involved discourse to be explored regarding gender and expectations, socialization, and culture, power dynamics, submissiveness vs. possession, objectification, control and powers of industry, capitalist gain, etc....which I will not be cracking open, for that is not the feel of this nighty rant.] :)

my mini bloggery is rather an observation, that at once pains me (literally, south of the ankle) and also bemuses me to realize that, not ONE of said 'cute' shoes I have (there are NOT many- for cuteness comes at a cost) can actually be worn to walk comfortably longer than two long blocks. not one pair. ouch to that. 

that saddens me and as much as I want to boycott and write letters of frustration to shoe manufacturers and mysoginisticly-bent footwear designers, I find I grow tired to pick too many a battle, and the night is almost over and my shoes are nevertheless bringing me home, in one wobbly, sexy piece, and I did feel purdier wearing them and so on.. as much as these blistery thoughts pop (much like bubbles of misfortune on a foot that has walked a mile too many in ill-fitting foot housing), I also reason that: OF COURSE SEXY SHOES ARE NOT GOING TO COMFORTABLE! of course, they are not going to be made with a cushy, comfy platform in lady footwear, or made bunion-producing FREE! bahaha! what a silly!

if indeed there WERE comfortable cushioning in drop-dead-sexy foot housing, where would the insole producing industry be? where would foot powder industry? where would the cute-shoe accutrements industry be? panty hoes wouldn't run with shoes that did not tug on the fabric, thereby: where would the panty hose producing industry be? why, NOWHERE of course! where would the foot cream, bunion-filing, foot soak, aspirin, red wine, hangover-cure, contraception, Day After pill, ok-you-got-a-little-carried-away with the bunion-pleasure-and-pain thing and now are slightly distressed, inquiring at clinics and labs about a certain Plan that comes after A... Anyhoo, where ever would the feel-better-let-me-take-the-pain-away-with-our-stuff industry be?! I mean come on! they would cease to EXIST! and all because I selfishly wanted to walk good and speak proper-like and be pretty with shoes that did not kill me. selfish me! these industries found their niche/s, I'll give them that, but I'll be riggity-ding-danged if the shoe industry didn't give them plenty of area to play with with respect to niche and need-filling. thanks. I love spending $12 on insoles for already kind of expensive (for my piddly budget) shoes. Mind you, I hardly shop at the best footie stores with you-know-whats made in Italy, that's the good stuff. and the good stuff has a bad price for me. I can wear my shoes, but then would have no place to go with nary a dime to take myself out with them on! oi.

But I'm not bitter. I love looking at beautiful things, to fantasize with them, to feel different things evoked by my footwear. the things of beauty are to be admired,...but to wear, happily, without having to break them in by breaking your foot, and pinching a nerve...well, I guess maybe not so much. I wish I could have it all - in a fair world, we would not have to compromise, and I could be literally, footloose and fancy-free while enjoying clickety-click heels. But don't go criticising a woman for wanting both what is beautiful AND what is right. Before you bitch me out for resorting to 'lady shoes' in spite of knowing their consequences...for liking purdy things AND believing I deserve comfort, for chasing this mythical concept, still dreaming of it coming to fruition in my sexy-shoe-wearing lifetime...don't judge too harshly until you've walked...well, you know.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Water, water everywhere...but I aint thirsty.

Fishing, Shopppin' Around and other useless analogies for the dating pool:

Fishing around on Plenty of Fish feels like going to the supermarket and looking for your favourite brand- and seeing they no longer have it- and not realizing there are other, newer brands out there that, given the chance might actually become your New favourite brand. Yet still looking on the shelves, hoping they have misplaced one, one left over of your favourite brand- still pining. Having that picture in your mind's eye and no stock on the shelves to match it. Ever.

:P

And...well, I am loathe to shop. But until I get on my boots and pull up my bootstraps and decide to go shop in a completely different store, not knowing what the hell I really want, I will wait and look at brand names of products I have never thought about nor used and which may even repel me, and ponder if...maybe I should be a better shopper.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2013 - the layers are shedding

"2013- Is it going to be any different?" I ask myself.
The answer: that is up to me.

(NOTE: In efforts to change my linguistic patterns and by extension, my brain's gridmap, I have applied the PAST tense and the PRESENT tense.) 

I decided that it IS going to be~ and for the better! 2012 was about much pain, and poverty.. on the plus side, it had plenty of performance (the only thing redeeming a year of chaos. truly!). and so, enough of the PAIN! I want to live again...and it all starts with an Intention. So here is what I want for 2013:

I want love, romantic love, a good partner who is sexy, fun, makes me laugh, makes me feel safe, and is a good playmate/companion. maybe I will test the waters, maybe I will jump into the deepest end of the pool. time will tell and I will listen well... one heartbeat at a time.

I want a good job with good pay- that will lend itself nicely to setting up a secure, sustainable lifestyle for me, to live alone, happily, comfortably, not hurting for money, but not struggling because I have to work so hard at making money. It will be a job that I can do with minimal stress on me. Quality of life matters.

I want to do more acting. I've accepted it is still a part of my heart this past year and capable to bringing me joys to make me forget the smelly rides on the bus home. I want to get in front of a camera (as scary as the prospect of seeing myself in camera really is..!). I think I have the chops for it & I will have to believe that, no matter my age. I want to acknowledge TO myself other qualities that make me a resilient contender in this world of ours.

I want to change patterns of thinking that no longer serve me. and on that note...

It is those 'other' things that I dared not look into, that I dared not 'count' on, that I now look squarely at. things I had trepidation in considering, things which felt so foreign, so distant from me, so safe with respect to other people- they could use those qualities, just not me, just not yet. "not yet". but the right moment never came, because the right moment existed only in my mind. and the trappings of my mind, like my spirit, are a powerful thing. Hence, it is to these seldom-spoken, oft-neglected parts of the puzzle, that I am now giving full reign to, full acceptance and pardon to not only come to the fore, but to flourish, the "Why Not's":

WHY NOT see myself as a good looking person; WHY NOT see myself, walk and talk like a person who is intelligent, well-rounded, articulate, knowledgeable; WHY NOT see myself as an athletic person, who IS capable to enduring tests of strength, of stamina, of sweating WITHOUT wilting, without succumbing to illness or fatigue (those days are gone. I am here to stay. I am healthy. I am strong.); WHY NOT see myself as an enterprising, bold, confident person who can 'sell' herself without apology or self-reproach. is it manipulative to do what the rest of the world seems to be doing around me anyway? self-enterprise is now a tool for survival: one needs it when looking for work, when looking for love, when showing the world you too are present, to count you IN. it need not mean, I have no ethics, or morals. what it truly means is that I am sensible and am playing the game as it needs to be played. but without shame or apology- aye, there's the rub. there was always a slight embarrassment at networking, as an insincere form of socializing, to do it only because you need something from someone else.

the truth is we are always in an exchange with others- we are always getting something from someone, while they too are getting something from you. I include in this my friends! I get companionship and fun out of being with them, while they get a few bad jokes and a good listener from being with me..from time to time, anyway. self-marketing (as I'm noting with most actors I know) is merely on the list of To Do's, it is part of what must be done now, period; ok, so I will do. I'll do it in way is still Caroe- making a sincere social connection, the sincere conversation, but with leaving a business card lest they should need me- rather than just leaving a transparent residue of who I was with a blurry, hasty little ending;

and...here is a big one for me; WHY NOT see myself as a sexy person who uses her wiles from time to time, to please herself mostly, yet who knows she holds a rich arsenal of loaded little charms to charm the everyman, or the world if need be. Is there shame in it, as before? Have my old notions of said 'practise' - as being a lowly and manipulative art for women who have no other skills, no other tactics to use to succeed - become a misconception, in light of watching the many, the varied and the confident peacock-strutting of deliciously-shameless burlesque dancers? the idea of using one's sexuality in a coy, playful, empowered way is appealing now, feels healthier now. my hat is off to all those brave souls who bare their physicalities, talent and their sexiness with the world. Indeed, it IS a brazen act...of self love. So WHY NOT (re)claim that for myself too? I've always had such reluctance in being perceived or seen as 'sexy' for fear (negative) attentions would come my way, or that I would be targeted in some threatening way to my person, my psychological space, my emotions. always much fear. (*this may, in part be the product of being a child of war who perceived that the way to remain Safe was to Hide, and who, perhaps - some have speculated- might have had some unwanted sexual attentions as a child..though not remembered). too there was an inner conflict with ideas about feminism and succumbing to 'patriarchal oppression of women' by objectifying their bodies. Trying to be pretty or sexy confused me. "If I diet and do situps, am I bending to a patriarchal system by enslaving my natural body's beauty?" I thought real feminists were real, untainted, with no fanfare, no bells and whistles- so content were they to be real women, untempered. Do I shave my legs, or do I say, "fuck 'em" if the world can't deal? Unable to resolve things, I hid beneath the layers, the clothes and the humour (itself acting as a cloak of sorts, a filter for the world). But there comes a time to prove oneself wrong, for shift in focus. can I then take pleasure in being pleasurable, unabashedly, and knowing that this too, is a part of me? surely that is so, since like many parts of my being, in all their colours, it too, makes up what is the whole Me. I am good, and so by extension, it is good too. goddess knows I have good hips, and soft lips and big eyes. on the stage, perchance these calling cards, I will play, in the life stage, well.. I will sexy up at my discretion, when it feels right (sparingly on some), and as often as my spirit feels the need to. that is freedom.

I shied away from being 'the squeaky wheel', but then I ask, how I am to get any oil? oil, money, auditions, love? it's all the same. Why not try diving right in, pushing my way to the front of the class again, using my smarts, using my personality, using my knowledge, using my (dare I say it...) Power. I will use and yield these flowers and these arrows in my arsenal, as though I am not only enjoying the game, but with a wink and a smile and a Knowingness now, that I am (and have always been) one of the best goddamned players around. I had my ruby slippers on all along...

Now that there is some self-Awareness.
That there is some self-Love, with a capital L.

That there is a Manifestation Tracking Device...and may yet be my compass.

Now that there...is a Plan.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Defining Moments (thus far) 2011 & 12

1) Getting access to the world at large via Grimley. I climbed a little hill all by myself, mentored by Des and nurtured by a little theatre community who said to me, without words, you have a good work here and it is worth producing, We believe in it. By extension, I started to believe in myself again, as being capable (if not, good) writer, at least. I started to Believe again, and started to Hope anew- things considered for too long as whimsical and nonsensical to rely on or pay much mind to. Things painfully put upon a sad little shelf, where they left a missing-an-appendage ghost type of feelings. Something felt amiss yet I could not put my finger on what.

Grimley was the dark rose that would blossom for me. Paradoxically, through it I found such light and joy again, 'pleasantly surprising' people, receiving support and accolades from friends and kind strangers. This high would carry me for weeks after the work had passed...the song of Grimley and the happy residue of its ghost danced upon my heart and dared me to cut a rug with a little gleam in my eye again. A spark was lit anew!

2) Getting access to the Green Room - and the innards of the Theatre Actor life again... Ah! treading the boards again! What joy. I missed the old costumes, the smells, the powders and wigs, and the private little jokes that are posted and hanging all over the room like a mad scavenger hunt... I was playing in the sandbox again, something I had once done so well, the way children 'play' with abandon. I had to push myself into discomfort in order to be bold and fearless, and not be afraid of visibility. I had to leave all fears aside as I focused on the Work. The Work would also translate into relying on instinct more than intellect again and learning to trust that there was 'something' there to not only catch me, but also propel me up and keep me standing. I lost a lot in "the 5 year war" (CFS)...Trust in my talent and physicality being chief among them.

3) "Deciding to Get An Agent"- something I had not seriously contemplated for want of 'being in a better'... position financially, life-wise, career-wise, weight-wise, etc.. until finally I looked at myself and the way I was actually living my life. I was, and had been for some time now, living it as though I was making room for Acting and writing in some manner, leaving flexibility and access to return to it. Realizing this, I figured I might as well go all the way in, and try to earn some money at doing something I enjoyed and had loved all of my life. It would no longer be a closeted "want" that ould never manifest. I would give this Manifestation thing a decent turn! This meant, changing up The Plan re: career chasing and job structuring, perspective on work vs. career, etc. and some turmoil was had by that... sigh. In the end, I have not given this Artist part of my life such front and centre precedence before, until now. I was to Seize the Day before I get too old, or sad, or settled, forgetful or wayward off the path of who I really am: an artist with a social working heart, but an Artist, first and foremost. My brother was right.

4) Getting, procuring, almost begging for a laptop, or notepad on which to take my scribblings out of the house and away from the four walls! It will cost me $125 for an old laptop from a friend, but that is a modest price for my sanity and for nurturing my writing without it feeling self-punitive, by virtue of trapping me inside a tiny room in order to do it! The world, both inner and outer felt expansive again and so I breathed. I went to a coffee shop, where I opened my new (used) tool and...began to write.