Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Giveth vs. Taketh

There is a lovely moment in an episode of South Park ("Spontaneous Combustion") where the minister at the church is eulogizing Kenny and says something along the lines of, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Sometimes the giveth seems a little disproportionate to the taketh. There seems to be a lot more taketh-ing going on, but there it is." And then they go on to pray for the Broncos to win. It's a lovely moment, and one that has been on my mind as of late.

I've been posting recently about being positive and I'm sorry, but today is not one of those days. Today, I am a cynic. Consider yourself warned.

In light of all of the positive energy I've been trying to pump into the universe lately, the negative energy spewing in my general direction seems a little disproportionate. Or, perhaps in better terms, I feel like my giveth-ing is rather disproportionate to my taketh-ing in recent days/weeks/months. And the truth of the matter is, I'm worn out. Completely worn out. I don't know how much more giveth-ing I have in me at the moment. I need to recharge.

One thing I particularly like about myself is that I am very easily amused. My best guy friend remarked on this a couple of weeks ago when I was laughing hysterically in public about a picture I had seen earlier in the day. And I am the sort that notices the small things. For example, I thank the Parking Gods every morning when there is a space for me on the street for which I don't have to pay. And I thank Them again when I return to my car and find it in the same spot with no ticket on it. I was absolutely giddy yesterday watching a short video of a man blowing up 1500 ping pong balls with liquid nitrogen in a one-liter drinks bottle (and at the fact that he called it a "drinks bottle"). The point is, it doesn't take a lot to make me happy.

For about the last month, I have been without that which is most precious to me, so I realize that I may be a bit on edge coming out of the gate. Nonetheless, the fact that I have given this thing away for the benefit of another would seem to suggest I should be racking up some good Karma points, yes? One would think? Instead, there was an incident yesterday that still gets me so angry my hands start shaking when I think about it. Someone else getting so upset with me for something so stupid, and in the end, I was the one who had to give in to the demands of the other because I am the less-squeaky wheel. Truth of the matter is, while I may not be entirely blameless in the occurrence, it is really a matter of me standing up for myself and being called a bitch for doing so. Literally. "Fucking childish bitch," actually, who apparently needs to grow up.

Side note: One of my high school English teachers thought they should teach kids a class in creative cursing because to always fall back on "fuck you" smacks of a simple mind. And it starts to lose meaning after a while. Had this person said to me, "Grow up, you festering spittoon of snake belch," I might have some respect for this person's point of view (I also might have laughed). But to get so upset about something so minor and resort to, "Grow up you fucking childish bitch," just makes me weep for the state of our language. And for the fact that this person has children who will likely not be any more creative in their insults than their parent.

And I sort of have to ask, "Why?" I do a lot of very nice things for a lot of people a lot of the time. And I don't even get "festering spittoon of snake belch" in return; I get "fucking childish bitch?" Is that really fair? All of the things that I do for other people, and I get a parking space on the street six blocks away from my office today? Is that really fair? Is this what my Karma points have added up to? Like when you play Skee-Ball at Chuck E. Cheese's for six hours and get 2000 tickets which you find out you can trade in for a miniature plastic comb? Really? Is this how the Karmic savings plan works?

And then I have to check myself and remind myself that really, the Universe owes me nothing. I am lucky to exist. I am lucky to have my own apartment and a brilliant family and some amazing friends and my health (for the most part - I'm really sore just about everywhere from skating three nights a week, but by the same token, I'm really fantastically lucky to get to work on this project that has me skating three nights a week). I am a lucky person. And there is a lot of good around me. And the Universe owes me nothing.

It just might be nice if the Universe gave me something every now and again just for fun, to even out the giveth-ing and taketh-ing. Something with slightly greater significance than a free parking space. I know, it's a lot to ask for. Nevermind. Pretend I didn't ask.

(It's better if it's a surprise, anyway.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lists and Happy Things

People seem to like blog posts made up of lists, so I thought I would make one today. But first, some background.

I've been thinking a lot lately about being positive. Which sounds weird, to sit around and think, "How can I be a positive person." Because being positive is a choice and it is one that must be made daily if one wants to consider oneself a positive person. I would like to be a positive person. I would like to be thought of as a positive person. I would like to pump positive energy into the universe. So I find myself very conscious of my positive choices as of late.

(Now, I'm not saying I want to be so sickeningly sweet in my life affirmations that I give you cavities, but I'd like it if people were happy to see my face when I show up somewhere as opposed to thinking, "Crap, here she comes. Brace yourself." I've read a lot of those affirmations and they strike me as very Martha Stewart, while I'm more of an Erma Bombeck. I'm trying to be realistic in the happy things so my course of positivity is sustainable. Like gradually changing one's eating habits instead of trying some new fad diet.)

I think that there are a lot of ways to be positive, though I also think many of them are often overlooked. For example, when you get together with your friends, do you talk about the happy things in your life, or bitch about the bad ones? Not that there is anything wrong with an occasional bitch session, but is that all you do? Do you find the negative in everything and use that to bond with the other people around you? "He was so supportive when I was going through that stuff with the idiot at work. He listened to be complain for hours." While you are pumping positive energy into him in a sort of roundabout way in those sentences, I'm betting a lot of negative energy was released in his general direction while getting there. And he's probably a little wiped out from it, if he's anything like me. Yes, it's necessary to talk through bad things. Yes, it is exhausting to talk about nothing but bad things for weeks on end.

So I've made a choice to be more careful with the words I use in various situations. I'm on The Twitters now, and I'm trying to be very careful about what I say there. When I'm having a bad day or something is irritating me, I try really hard to not post vague tweets about the stupidity of others. I, instead, started a little game called "Make Kitty Gigglesnort" which inspires my friends to go find funny things on the interweb and post them on Twitter. This doesn't mean I'm ignoring the bad things; in my mind I'm just choosing to spread something positive on the interweb instead of spreading something negative. Does that make sense?

There is something particularly annoying going on today, but I don't want to dwell on that, or speak ill of another person on the web, or fill this space with all of the stupid. Instead, I'm going to make a short list of some very happy things in my life to try to spread the positive. So here's my list. It goes to eleven.

1) The weather this time of year does fabulous things for my hair.
2) I got to hang out with a friend last night who I haven't seen in quite a while and we had a lovely time.
3) Tea exists in close enough proximity to me that I can drink it daily.
4) I should be able to reclaim something I lost very soon.
5) It got there in time.
6) There is an adorable fuzzy face waiting for me every day when I get home.
7) I get to meet a new friend next week and go bowling.
8) I reintroduced lentils into my diet yesterday and they were brilliant.
9) The roller derby show is doing amazing things for my self-esteem. And I was able to turn around on my skates the other day.
10) Today is Friday.
11) You.

Enjoy your Friday. Go out and make somebody smile. Chances are, the same will then happen to you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I have a lot of big dreams, but in this case, I'm referring to actual literal dreams. The little movies you watch while you are asleep that some people think are windows to your soul and what is going on in your life. I had a lovely one last night.

I've dreamed about David Tennant before, several times. The most notable two were the one where I was able to get back into the same dream after my cat woke me up and explain to him that I was pretty sure I was dreaming, and the one wherein I offered him advice on flinging cheesecakes with a slingshot at some press event. It's pretty safe to say my dreams about David Tennant are PG rated at worst - they are not sex dreams. They are dreams about meeting a brilliant person and sort of discovering my own brilliance in the process.

So last night, I dreamed that I met him. I don't remember the exact circumstances of the encounter, except to say that there were a lot of other people there, none of whom I remember. I think some of them were supposed to be my friends, but in the sort of "work colleague from a job you don't actually have" sort of a way. We were going to a dinner somewhere and I sat in the back seat of the car with David Tennant and another person in between us, who leaned forward to chat with the people in the front seat and I was sort of stuck, petrified, having to talk to him (how terrible, right?). The conversation started out really awkward, as I probably know more about him than he knows about me, and I had that feeling of, "Oh, the poor man would rather be talking to anyone else but me just now." But we managed to find some common ground and he was a really good conversationalist, so we chatted along just fine in the car. When we got to the restaurant, we were all sitting around this giant, square table. There was one chair left at the corner, a yellow upholstered chair that looked like a surrealist's take on an antique chair with a much longer area for sitting that one would normally find. I knew he needed a seat and figured he was probably tired of talking to me by now and wanted to chat with the other people in the room, so I started moving away to find somewhere else to sit, but he pulled up another chair for himself, swung the crazy yellow one around the corner of the table and insisted I sit in the crazy yellow chair next to him. Rather close next to him. I think we were both very aware that he is a married man with kids, but he was still flirting and playing and close enough that I could feel the stubble on his chin. Nothing inappropriate happened - just to be clear. But it was lovely to have this person be not afraid of physical contact with me.

The dinner went really well and it ended with me feeling like I had a new friend. A good friend who would be my friend for a long time. And then, as happens in dreams, we were all back at someone's house where I was chasing a fire-engine red cat with black paws through the yard. This was my cat. I caught her and introduced her to David Tennant, who was friendly with her, and she took off again. Then things got weird. As in my cat would go up behind another cat, bite the cat's rear end, and assist in extracting...I don't even know what, icky things? From the other cat's rear end. She did this to two other cats and then went for a particularly shaggy dog, from whom she extracted a complete other dog. The original dog was significantly less shaggy after the extraction, too.

And then I woke up.

I liked this dream because it had the feel of a normal "getting to know someone" process - the awkward start, the thrill of something new, the comfort of a lasting friendship. I might be reading too much into this, but it was a dream about meeting my hero and not being intimidated or squished by his awesomeness. I would like to think this means maybe I'm recognizing some of my own awesomeness and/or I'm recognizing that my heroes are just people, too, and as people we all kind of want the same things - love, compassion, comfort, and a fire-engine red cat with black paws who can pull one dog out of another dog's rear end.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Miss Vicky

I had a friend named Miss Vicky. Well, Vicky, technically, but we worked in the costume studio in college together, and everyone who worked there was "Miss" whatever. Miss Kitty. Miss Vicky. And it stuck.

I remember being terrified of and intimidated by Miss Vicky when I first met her. She was larger than life with a huge laugh and a brilliant smile that filled the room. For an introvert making the life decision to be an artist instead of a chemist, meeting someone like her was a little bit shocking. I didn't have friends like her in my circle prior to that. But I learned while working with her in the costume studio that she was brilliant in every sense of the word. Beautiful in every sense of the word. She was hysterically funny, tremendously supportive, and one of the few people in my life who I believed when she told me she loved me. The woman was love. She was laughter. She was light and beauty.

Vicky was the kind of person you wanted in the audience at any of your shows because her laughter would inspire others to laugh, too.

Vicky was the only person to ever tell me my butt wasn't big enough (as she was fitting me with a bustle for a period costume).

Vicky noticed things, like how I would twirl in this really awful dress as the curtain went up to add some life and motion to the scene, which she knew I would do if she gave the the twirly dress.

Vicky was also one of the only people from the group I hung out with in college who stayed in touch after college not only to invite me to her parties and shows, but also to attend mine when she could. She showed an interest in my life years after we graduated and I had sort of dropped off of the radar of most of my other college friends. I would comfort myself when going to their parties by reminding myself that Vicky would be there, too, and if nobody else there notice I was in attendance, at least Vicky would be happy to see me. With her brilliant smile, her "Hey, there, beautiful lady," and a fantastic hug.

One year ago today, Miss Vicky lost her battle with ALS.

I know she wouldn't want me to be crying. Sorry, Miss Vicky.

The day she died, I was at a wedding for two of my other friends. The day my college theater friends celebrated her life, I was at a trade show in New York. I don't know where she is buried, so in many ways, I don't know that I ever really got to say goodbye to her. I did my best to let her know throughout her life while I knew her that I loved her dearly. And like I said, she was one of the very few people in my life who I honestly believed when she said she loved me.

I miss her.

I didn't see her very often, but it was comforting to know that there was such a person in the world. It was comforting to know there was someone in my corner. It was brilliant to have a friend that I could just be nice to.

I know she wouldn't want us to mourn too long or feel sad that she is no longer with us. One of our mutual friends suggested we all wear silly hats on Vicky Day and I think I may have to wear one to my rehearsal tonight just because. But I can't help but think about all of the people who missed out on getting to know her. It makes me sad she never had kids - the world could use some little Vickys running around. It makes me sad I won't get to ask her for advice on the style of my wedding dress (if I ever get to wear one), or that I won't get to wear an original Miss Vicky design to the Oscars someday to help spread the word about what a brilliantly talented woman she was.

But I was lucky enough to know her. I was lucky enough to hug her. I was lucky enough to love and be loved by her. And I am lucky that I will never forget her.

Love and laughter to you always, Miss Vicky.