Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 31 - Vague Haiku is Vague

Wheels keep on spinning
Some good choices, bad choices
Please don't bite my ass

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 30 - Stuff

I am having lots of thoughts today, some of which are appropriate for posting on the interweb and some of which are not, so let's talk about the ones that are, shall we?

VEDA (Vlog Every Day in August) starts up again in two days - appropriately enough on August 1. I have participated and succeeded in vlogging every day in August for the past two years, so I signed up again this year and am hoping I can keep my streak going. It's going to be a challenge with all of the other things I have going on, but I'm going to try for it.

For those of you who don't know, a vlog is a video blog, usually posted on YouTube. That's it. People talking about stuff in video form, and they post it and we all comment on each other's vlogs and it's an interesting way to make friends in this crazy cyber world of ours. The last person I tried dating, I met through VEDA.

The thing about VEDA for me, though, is that I want to make fun videos. I want to make content that is engaging and entertaining and maybe has some production values not found in some other vlogs. I try not to shoot them on my phone if I can avoid it, I try to make sure I am audible and properly lit. I even make the occasional parody video to avoid being just a talking head all of the time. It's fun. A lot of other vloggers look for the real, intimate connection that comes from being a talking head talking about your most intimate moments - fears, hopes, dreams, whatnot. Last year, I felt I missed out on some of the community that forms around VEDA since I was focused on my own content and since I didn't necessarily have a weepy connection video where I poured my heart out. I poured my heart out in other ways, which spoke to a different audience. Which is fine.

So I find myself in the position of wanting to keep myself entertained making these videos as much as I want to keep my audience entertained and engaged. But how much of the community do I sacrifice for the sake of creative content? How much creative content do I sacrifice for the sake of community? I don't know yet. We'll see where the month takes me.

Oh, and if you want to check out the videos I'll be making, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here. Subscribing ensures you won't miss anything. If you want to check out the other vloggers or join the fun, you can sign up here.

See you on the interweb!

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29 - Thoughts on Acting

It's funny; a lot of people think it's odd that I consider myself an introvert yet I am so passionate about acting. They think it an odd contradiction to be an introvert but to "crave the spotlight" that comes from performance. The other day, I think I figured it out, and I've been trying to put it into words that are understandable and make sense.

I love acting because it is not about me.

This probably flies in the face of what a lot of actors believe. I have had teachers say that every actor has to have a ginormous ego, every actor has to think they are the best in the world. I think to some extent, that is true - every actor needs to believe in himself and his abilities. But acting itself, for me, is not about me. It is about everyone but me, so it feels comfortable. Let me see if I can explain.

If acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances, then what I put on stage will never actually be me. It will be versions of me that are subjected to imaginary, extraordinary circumstances. And the more extraordinary the circumstances, the less actual "me" is there. It becomes an exercise of "what if I had been born to a poor family in the south in 1862 instead of to a middle class family in Chicago in 1977? How would I then react to being courted by someone of a different social standing than me?" There is an element of me in there - my logic, my thought patterns - but the situations and the words are someone else's. It's not about my life on stage, it is about theirs. My job is to bring another person to life. The side effect is that I feel like I get to live more fully because I get to experience all of these other things, through the eyes of other people, that I would not normally if I spent my entire life just being me.

To take it one step further, I believe that as an actor, my job is to make my scene partner look good. I am going to go into every scene I do trying to give my partner what he or she needs to get where he or she needs to be to make the scene work. Hopefully, he or she is doing the same for me. So that's not about me, either. And when I am not doing a scene, but rather a monologue, my job is to make the audience or viewer feel something. It is my job to take them along with me on my emotional journey. So every moment I spend on stage is spent trying to elicit a reaction from someone else. It's not about me.

And even further, and specifically as it pertains to film as opposed to theater, it is about the production design and camera angles and lighting design and music and special effects and whatnot. Film is not an actor's medium. I don't say that to be harsh or to belittle film in any way; I quite love the art of filmmaking and I love performing in films. But I know when I do so, it is not about me. The right editor can make or break an actor's performance. The film would not happen without all of the technicians there, I'm just standing in front of their scenery saying words.

So as an introvert who hates calling attention to herself, it makes perfect sense to me that I would seek out a career where I get to spend time in public (so as to not appear insane) being someone other than myself. I love myself; don't get me wrong. But if people are going to be paying that much attention to me, what better way to allow them to do so without feeling like my personal space is overly imposed upon than to put on a character and do a show?

I don't know that I'm explaining it very well. Suffice it to say that I love acting because it is not about me, and that statement makes perfect sense in my head. I love acting because it is not about me.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28 - Stupid Interaction

So on my way to the set today, I was driving along and got to one of those intersections where on this side, there are two lanes in either direction, but just on the other side of the intersection, they merge into one lane. It often happens at intersections like this that some cars will fill in the right lane in the hopes of passing slower cars in the left lane before the merge. Today, at this intersection, I was the third car in line in the left lane, and there were several cars in the right lane which were going to either have to turn right or merge into the left lane once the light changed. When the light turned green, neither car at the front of the line took off very fast, so as the merge point neared, the first car in the left lane got out ahead and the first car in the right lane merged in behind. The second car from the left lane followed, and the second car from the right lane merged in in front of me. The third car in the right lane was a black sedan that was not speeding up enough to get in front of me, nor was there space in front of me, and since the rest of the merging in front of us was going left-right-left-right, I didn't see fit to slow down so drastically as to let him in. We then ran out of merging space and he had to fall in behind me. No sooner had he done so, than he turned on his siren and lights, revealing himself as an unmarked police car. I pulled over, wondering what violation he was going to cite me for. No sooner had I made room than he passed by me and turned off his lights, not interrupting the rest of the flow of traffic, but making sure I could not rejoin the flow of traffic until the seven or eight cars behind us had passed me, too. 

I would like to think that there are a lot of police officers out there who do a lot of good things and help a lot of people and justly stop those participating in wrongdoing from continuing to do so. But then I encounter a cop who uses his lights to pass me because I didn't let him merge in front of me when he was not in front of me and it would have been disruptive to the flow of traffic for me to wait for him, and I can't help but lose a little bit of faith in our civil servant protectors. I prefer to put my faith in those who lead by example, rather than in those who abuse their power for petty reasons. 

My apologies to the family and friends of any police officers who are offended by this post. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 27 - Happy Happy

My youngest niece turns one today. Happy birthday, punkin'!

I also survived the filming that involved all of the words, and I think I got most of them right and in the right order and even managed to have some feeling behind them. Yay!

And I think my cat understands the phrase "move your face," which is what I say when I'm about to close the refrigerator door and he is trying to investigate the contents thereof. He does, in fact, move his face out of the way of the door. 

I hope to have words and original thoughts back tomorrow. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26 - Words


Just a quick blurb. Tomorrow I am shooting two extremely dialogue-intense scenes in Hamlet, so I've spent the week cramming as many Shakespearean words into my brain as possible, which has left very little space for words of my own. I'm not complaining, mind you. I love the puzzle of figuring out what all of these words mean when said in this particular order, and what sort of mindset I would have to be in to say them in this order at this particular time. It's fascinating and fun and brilliant and I friggin' love Shakespeare.

Doing Shakespeare as a film is interesting and challenging - much different than doing Shakespeare as a theatrical production. See, in theater, you have at least a couple of weeks, sometimes a month or two to rehearse, which means you're saying the words and performing the motions every day for weeks until they are so ingrained in you that you can't screw them up. Film does not usually have the luxury of extended rehearsal periods. Often times, you show up to set with your lines memorized and figure out the blocking and props and whatnot on the day. It feels a bit more like "winging it." With Shakespeare, "winging it" is a challenge, because there are very specific words that have to happen in a very specific order and I know professional Equity actors who are thrown for a loop if they have to switch in which hand they hold a prop. So it has required a lot of patience on the part of our entire cast and crew to make these scenes happen the way they are supposed to happen. And since I haven't had weeks and months to say these lines to my scene partners, I find myself cramming for each shoot the week before. I figure at the very least if I know my lines inside and out, hopefully whatever other wrenches are thrown into the system on the day of the shoot, I can handle them. I'm not sure if this is the best way to go about things, but it's working so far. I think.

Anyway. I have a lot of lines tomorrow that I need to make sure are in my head in the right order, so I don't have very many original thoughts floating around in my brain at the moment. It's my own "brainish apprehension." Which hopefully will not inspire me to stab someone through a curtain. Anyway.

Enjoy your evening!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 25 - Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today my Dad turns 70. I just wanted to take a moment to wish him the happiest of birthdays, with many more happy birthdays to come. Love you, Dad!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24 - Business Calls

If you have ever worked in an office, you probably know how to answer the phone. "Hello. Thank you for calling [company name], this is [your name]. How can I help you?" Or something to that effect. If you work somewhere "fun," you may get to say something like, "It's a bazongo day to get blasted at Blitz Farmers. Can I offer you a blitz blaster bonus pack?" But in any case, you have likely received some sort of instruction on how they would like you to answer the phone while you are at work.

Where much of society fails us, however, is in teaching us how to place a phone call to a business. I'm not talking about telemarketers - those people have computer screens in front of them that tell them what to say in a "choose your own adventure" sort of format so they know how to respond when you tell them the person they are trying to reach has recently passed away. I'm talking about regular people. Customer service people. Accounting people. Customers needing assistance with a product they purchased. Sales people looking for information from the factories they represent. So today, I would like to offer these simple tips to make calling a business a little easier, a little less frustrating, and a little more pleasant for everyone involved.

1. Find a quiet place with the best cell phone reception you can find to place the call. I know, this may be asking a lot, but if the person on the other end can't understand what you are saying, you are both going to leave the conversation frustrated and annoyed. If you have to shout over people in the background and can't hear what the person on the other end is telling you, you'll just get pissed off. I know the pace of our crazy work-a-day world says everything has to happen right exactly now, but the call will go much smoother if you are both able to hear and understand one another on the first try. So find somewhere without a carnival in the background where you have at least two bars on your phone so the call will be clear and understandable.

1a) Do not place the call while driving. Let me say that again: Do not place the call while driving. I know, I know, you're thinking, "But it's okay! I have a hands-free device so I can legally make calls from my car!" That's only half the issue. While you are driving, you should be focused on driving. If the person on the other end of the call needs information from you, you may not be able to provide it because you don't have access to that information in your car, so you end up wasting your time and the other person's time. If the person on the other end needs to provide you with information, you may need to make a note of what they tell you, which you should not do while you are driving because you should be paying attention to your driving. Yes, traffic sucks. But a phone call to a business requires your participation (see points 5 and 6), so it is best to make the call when you can participate fully. Which is never when you are driving. Do not place the call while driving.

2. Wait for the person on the other end to answer the phone and introduce him or herself. Honestly. This seems like a no brainer, but you would be amazed how often (as a customer service representative) I have answered the phone to someone who is mid-sentence explaining their problem to me. When you're calling a business, the person you are calling is going to have their schpeil that they have to say when they answer the phone, so let them say it. Not to mention, if you didn't hear someone answer the phone and greet you, who are you talking to? Wait for the intro, then proceed to step three.

3. Introduce yourself. Honestly. While many businesses have caller ID, often times, that caller ID only shows a phone number, not a name like your cell phone does. The person answering has likely not memorized every phone number in the country, so they only know upon answering that they're receiving a call from, say, Florida. It is your job to tell them who in Florida is calling. And I'm not saying you should say, "It's Fred and I want to talk to Larry," unless you know for a fact that the person who answered the phone knows who Fred and Larry both are. If you have done step two correctly, you will know who you are talking to. It is only polite to let that person know who they are talking to, so they can begin to get an idea of the context and purpose of the call. And unless you speak to this person on a daily basis, it is best to state not only your name but the company you are calling from. There are a million Johns and Susans and Bills in the world; if you let them know which one you are, they will know how to interact with you appropriately.

4. State the purpose of your call clearly and concisely. If you have a question, ask a question. Do not assume that the question is implied. "Hi, this is Sally and I bought something from you that doesn't work." This is not a question. "Hey, it's Mark and I placed an order the other day." This is also not a question. These are statements that could each be followed with a myriad different questions. It is your job, as the caller, to let the person who answered the phone know why you called.

5. Listen to what the person on the other end of the phone is saying. If you ask a question, wait for the answer. If they ask a question, try to answer the question they asked, not the question you wish they had asked. There will be time for further discussion, but phone calls work best when both parties are engaged in the conversation. This means both talking and listening in turn.

6. Be prepared for questions. If you are calling with a question about some specific thing, have as much information as you can about that specific thing available when you call. For example, if you are calling to get service on your cell phone, have your cell phone handy so if the person on the other end needs a model number or serial number, you can provide it, or if they tell you to try something with the phone to get it working, you can try it right then and there. If you need to follow up on an order, have the order number handy so they can find your order quickly. Know your own contact information when you call so on the off chance they need a billing zip code or contact phone number to get back to you later with a status update, you can provide that information. Phone calls are conversations, which means both parties must participate. Calling a business to ask questions is not a passive activity - be prepared to participate in the conversation.

7. Remember that you are talking to a person. We've gotten used to automated phone answering systems now that when you do actually get through to a live person, you're often so frustrated you just want to scream. I get it. I've been there. But the live person you're talking to on the other end has likely not been involved in your frustration to this point and needs a moment to catch up. Yes, they are an agent of the company you are calling, but he or she may need a moment to familiarize him or herself with your specific situation or the specific product you are calling about and it is not a plot to make you even more angry. You know why you're calling; they don't yet. Give them a moment to catch up before you start berating them for their ignorance.

8. Know what information you are looking for. This way, you will know when the conversation is over. Say "thank you" and hang up.

I hope these tips have been helpful and that they will make your future business calls more pleasant and more productive. Join us again next week when we explore how to use the antiquated piece of office equipment, the land-line phone.

July 24 - One of Two

I think this is going to be a two-post day because I've had an idea kicking around in my head for some time that I want to write about, but I also had kind of a disturbing dream last night that I want to share and I don't want to mush both into the same post, so I'll write about them separately. First the dream (this post), then the idea (the other post). Ready? Here we go...

So in my dream last night, I was in one of those fake Hollywood relationships with John Barrowman while we were promoting a film that we had worked on together. But, as everyone knows Barrowman recently married his partner of 20 years and is openly gay, so the fact that he would have to be in one of those fake Hollywood PR relationships is ludicrous. But who says my dreams have to make sense? Anyway. We were in some fancy schmancy town somewhere for a film festival promoting our project and it kind of looked like the Paris casino in Las Vegas and Barrowman's husband Scott was there, but he and I were still supposed to be all schmoopy and stuff when in public. Which we weren't, really. I did a lot of things on my own while he canoodled with his husband and it kept raining so there was an underlying theme of needing an umbrella and who is going to be polite and hold the umbrella for the other person and whatnot. And at one point, I made some sort of comment about how if we were supposed to be putting on a show for the press, we should probably spend some time together and in a really snippy tone, he replied, "I paid for your cab, didn't I?" Which bothered me in the dream and is still bothering me now that I am awake. I have spoken to Mr. Barrowman in real life twice - once at Comic Con in 2011, and once at C2E2 in 2012 and on both occasions, he was completely lovely. Completely lovely. I follow him on Twitter and he is charming and courteous, while still being completely professional about his work and conscious of presenting the right image in the media. Not a fake image, just one that is worthy of looking up to in case small children feel like looking up to someone. He is a completely lovely person as far as I can tell. Yet in my dream, he was a jerk to me. I hate when my subconscious turns a completely lovely person into a villain. I feel like I need to apologize to that person for miscasting them in my imagination.

So to Mr. Barrowman, I am sorry my brain turned you into a jerk while I was sleeping. I do hope that in real life, we get to work together someday and I am sure you will be just as lovely on set as you were at the conventions. Thank you for everything you do.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23 - August

So August is going to be kind of nuts. I am going to try to keep up with the blogging every day, and the selfie every day, and I'm adding in vlogging every day, too. For those of you who don't know, I have participated in Vlog Every Day in August (VEDA) for the last two years, and I just signed up to do it again this year. It is always a lot of fun, and I have met some great people doing it. I've also made some videos that I am rather proud of. Thing is, I tend to put a fair amount of time and thought into my videos, so with that, the blogging, the picture, Hamlet, my full-time job, and trying to have a life of sorts... I may have to not have a life of sorts for the month if August. Which is sad, because I keep telling people August is when I will have a life again. 

Oh well. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22 - Almost

There are days when I feel like I live a life of almosts. I almost got to be a kid actor. I almost got picked to be an elf during winter week in high school. I almost got the boy I had a crush on in Spain, at the wedding, at speed dating. I almost got noticed by the big director when I was an extra on his film. I almost won at ALHC (we came in second). Almost. And while I treasure these experiences, because honestly, the "almost" stories are almost as good as the "got it" stories, I sometimes wonder how I can break out of my cycle of almosts. How can I turn the almosts into got its?

I think this is one of those times when my only choice is to take charge and step up my game. There are a lot of angles to play and I'm not sure which is the best, but I have to start somewhere, right?

Let's do this. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 21 - To Be

I filmed quite possibly the most famous monologue in history today, which may also be the most perfect monologue in history. "To be or not to be." You may know the rest, or think you do, or you may not know any more than those six words. But you know them. You've heard them. Today, I got to say them as if they were mine own.

It is frightening to play Hamlet, because everyone has played Hamlet and everyone thinks their take on Hamlet is the best. Tackling this role invites criticism, practically begs for it. But when you're saying these words that have been said a million times before, you can't dwell on the fact that they have been said a million times before. You can't say them knowing they are cliche. You have to say them for real. With honesty and consideration. As if they have never been said before. As if each word is a brand new thought that just occurred to you in the moment. 

I hope I was able to do that today. I don't know if I brought anything new to the words (other than my gender), but I did my best to say them as if they were mine. And I loved saying them. There is a reason that speech has endured as long as it has. 

To be or not to be. I hope I was. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

July 20 - Thoughts

I have often thought that if it was my job to wake up and work out every day, if that was all I had to do in a day, I could have the Hollywood starlet body. What if I made that my job?

I have often dreamt of being "discovered" while doing theater in Chicago, while I secretly know I would have a better chance if that if I went elsewhere. So what if I went elsewhere?

I have known for a long time that a lot of the fun, up-and-coming artists in Chicago got where they are because they weren't getting cast anywhere, so they got a group of friends together and started their own theater company. What if I got my friends together and started making my/our own projects?

It is easy to dream. And it is easy to wait for "someday." What if I did something to make someday happen just a little bit sooner?

Just a thought. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

July 19 - Travel

I may have said this before, but I think the way to travel to a major city is to avoid the downtown area. Yes, that it often where the tourist attractions are, so if you're into that sort of thing, you might want to stay there. I don't know your life. 

But I think the real life in and of any city happens in the slightly more outlying areas. I'm not talking about the suburbs, necessarily, just the areas where people actually live; not where they just go for a few hours every day to work. The outlying areas have the dive bars that carry local microbrews. The non-downtown areas have restaurants that are not chains. The neighborhoods away from the city center are where you find the people who live in that city doing what people do in that city. It is where you find the real culture and heartbeat of the city. Or I'm just biased and in love with my general neighborhood and want everyone to see it. 

Anyway. This is why the big flashy hotels and attractions don't appeal to me as much as the places slightly off the beaten path. The joy of going somewhere new is seeing new things and meeting new people. So, with that in mind, where should I stay in London?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18 - Ugh

My apartment lease renewal came in the mail today. I hate this day, every year. Because the thing is, I love my apartment. I really do. But I always find myself thinking I shouldn't be spending this much on rent, or I shouldn't be tying myself to this neighborhood or this city for one more year. I should pick up and move somewhere exotic or somewhere better for my career and kickstart my life. And then I think about finding a new apartment - the looking for a place, the negotiating with the landlord or property management company, followed by the moving and the packing and the phone calls and the updating my address in everything and the thought of tackling that now, when I'm filming Hamlet and have sixteen other projects on my plate and it's stinking hot outside...I just don't want to. I know it would probably be more practical to at least do some investigation before I sign the renewal. And I probably will. But I will probably then sign on the dotted line and hope that everything works out okay over the next year. Maybe next year I'll do something else.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July 17 - Gender Roles

I went to an audition a week and a half ago wherein before the monologues and things started, we all sat around and talked about amazing women from Chicago. I mentioned the Bechdel Test and got the chance to explain it to the people in the room who were not familiar with it, one of whom is a script reader. She is the person who reads scripts for producers and tells them which ones are worth their time and which ones aren't. She said she was recently presented with a script that had five male characters, all described by character traits - strength, intelligence, shadiness, etc. - and one female character described solely by her physical characteristics - skinny, brunette, hooker with a heart of gold. She didn't bother to read the script, nor did she pass it along for others to have to read, but I think this is a telling indicator of how women are viewed in the film/television/theater industry.

Then, last night, after watching Whose Line is it, Anyway?, the show I adore because it makes me squeak like no other, I left the television on and saw the new dating game show travesty, Perfect Score. The premise of this game is that you have two people of one gender fighting for a date with one of ten people of the other gender. There were two episodes, back to back, one with women fighting for a date with a man, one with men fighting for a date with a woman. The two that are fighting for the date and the ten people they have to choose from take compatibility tests before the show starts, and then the ten are ranked from most compatible to least compatible with the two based on their answers. Each date is also then given a dollar value, with the date with the most compatible person being worth the most money, the date with the least compatible being worth the least. Through a series of question and answer type rounds (and semi-humiliating stunts), the two gradually eliminate people from the group of ten (who are sent to the Loser's Lounge) until they finally choose one person to go on a date with. Whichever of the two picks the most compatible date in comparison to his or her opponent wins the date and the corresponding dollar amount. It sounds way too complex to be this ridiculous and vapid, but ridiculous and vapid, it is.

What I thought was really interesting was the gender roles people fell into on this show. I found myself wondering if they really are like that, or if these people just want to win dates and money. For example, when the women competing for a date with a man were asked what kind of men they liked, they used words like nerdy or smart - character traits - but then proceeded to eliminate most of the nerdy guys, keeping the traditionally hotter men in the competition. When the men competing for a date with a woman were asked what kind of women they liked, one said the more petite the better, and the other pulled the superiority card to say he likes a woman with a nice round booty. Like that made him more mature and accepting of different types of women. The first woman he eliminated was a little older, not as "traditionally beautiful" as some of the other women, but she was his third-most-compatible date.

It was fascinating to me that even in our every day interactions between the genders, women are reduced to body parts while men are allowed to have personalities. It reminded me of this interview with Dustin Hoffman, too. Somewhat for the women, but especially for the men. Neither gender really wanted to give people a chance who were not physically attractive to them, even when it turned out those people were their most compatible partners. I'm not saying physical attractiveness isn't important - it is - but we all know how the more you come to know and treasure a person, the more attractive they become to you, yet we're all programmed to not even get to know people who aren't attractive at a first meeting. I'm sure I'm guilty of it, too, for which, I apologize. But seriously, what the fuck? What is wrong with our culture that we think it is okay to reduce women to body parts and judge books solely on their covers? Aren't we better than this yet?

If someone could cryogenically freeze me for the time being and wake me up when American culture is a bit more sane, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16 - Coming Into Focus

I was walking down the street the other day, listening to music, enjoying the hot weather, and about a block ahead of me, I saw the figure of a man. He was standing in the shade, one arm folded in front of him like he was holding a beer, a bulldog sitting at his feet. I couldn't see his face, and for a moment, I allowed myself to fall in love with this man. I allowed myself to admire the beauty that is the male form - we talk about the female form all of the time and reduce it to its component parts, yet we often miss how graceful a man can be. The beauty of his component parts. His broad shoulders and small waist. His confidence, standing on the sidewalk on a summer night with his dog and a beverage. There was something so serene and "normal" about the scene that I let myself imagine he was holding the beer for me, waiting for me to come home from work so we could spend a summer evening just being quiet together. I fell in love with my imaginary life.  

As I got closer, though, I saw that the scenario I had dreamt up was nothing like the reality. The man was...worn, and not in an attractive way. He was grizzled and bitter, as if he was only outside with his dog and a beer because the dog had already peed on the living room carpet and he didn't want that to happen again, nor did he want to have to stop drinking. The dog was timid and slunk from me as I got closer, as if he had been previously told many times with varying amounts of anger not to greet strangers. As I passed, the man stepped toward the houses and turned his back to me, preferring to ignore the stranger.

I am sure I have lived this exact moment dozens of times before, but it hit me as a bigger moment this time around. How often have I seen a man from afar and allowed myself to fall in love, only to realize that in the close-up, we would rather pretend the other doesn't exist? How much of it has to do with him not living up to the expectations in my head? How much of it has to do with me not living up to his?

I have to think that at some point in my life, I will see a man from afar who will turn out to be exactly the person I hope he is, and I will be exactly the person he hopes I am, and we can stand out on the sidewalk with our dog and a beer on a hot summer night and just enjoy the normal. So I will continue to let myself fall in love with strangers until they give me reason not to, as I walk down the sidewalk looking for home. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15 - Thoughts

I wonder what my cat makes of all these kisses I give him. Does he understand they are a sign of affection?

I wonder if I will ever feel normal living somewhere that has air conditioning. 

I wonder how Hamlet is going to turn out. 

I wonder how hard it would be to launch some of the projects swirling around in my brain. 

I wonder if buying enough lottery tickets to actually win something substantial makes for a worthwhile return on investment. 

I wonder if I will ever be enough. 

I wonder how hard it would be to just stay in England when I go for a visit later this year...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

July 13 - Hamlet Update

So we shot the fencing and the dying today and I have to say, I so love this project. I love being Hamlet, I love the cast, I love the energy that surrounds it. And I hope, with every fiber of my being, that it turns out an end product that other people can love as much as I do.

The rest is silence.

Friday, July 12, 2013

July 12 - Nerves

I'm nervous about tomorrow's shoot. Tomorrow, we fence and we die. There is a lot that is going to have to go into these scenes and I hope we are able to get all of it given the time constraints surrounding the production. So I'm nervous.

That's all. And Pacific Rim is ridiculous - I can't wait for the movie physics guys to get their hands on it. This coming from a non-physicist. It is ridiculous. I highly recommend you see it so we can laugh about it together.

Have a good night!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 11 - Cuteness

So my last couple of entries were big and heavy and potential flame war fodder. Sorry about that. Today, here's just a little tiny happy. 

When I talk to my cat, it is usually in LOLCat speak, some silly accent, or Dutch (the one phrase I know and probably pronounce wrong). I've been finding myself increasingly frustrated that I don't speak cat. BUT...I think my cat is learning English. Or at the very least, he knows the words "breakfast," "noms," and "snugglies." If he is napping in one room and I tell him I am going to lie on the couch in such a way that there are snugglies to be had, he will get up and follow me to the living room and proceed to snuggle. It absolutely melts me. Just like I learned to say "I love you and miss you" in Dutch because I figured that was a nice way to start learning a language, Owen has learned "snugglies" in English because it is his favorite way to nap. 

Even more than knowing whether or not he loves me, I want my cat to know he is loved. I think he just might. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 10 - Transit

Okay, this one is going to get squidgy, but it needs to be said.

There is a certain road within the City of Chicago that has been notoriously bad for bicyclists, yet one of  the most popular roads for bicyclists to use. My guess is that a lot of the sort of people who choose to ride their bikes to work live along this road, so they see it as a good thoroughfare for their commute. In the last month or so, the City of Chicago repainted much of this road to include bicycle lanes going in both directions, often times on the opposite side of the parked cars from the moving traffic. While I think setting up separate bike lanes is a good idea, I don't think much thought was put into making this stretch work well, as it also involves a couple of the worst intersections in the City of Chicago, where now motorized vehicles (including public transportation vehicles) are stuck and stalled for a mile or so, waiting for all of the bicycles to pass so someone can turn right. I'm not saying I have a better solution; I'm just saying this one doesn't seem particularly well thought-out.

There is one particular intersection, though, where they did give it some thought, as there are an inordinate number of cars that need to turn right in that spot, and a large number of bicycles going straight. This intersection is maybe 400 feet from the light preceding it, which is a six-way intersection, so to have all of the motorized vehicles wait for all of the bicycles at this would end up messing up three major roads in Chicago, not just one. So they installed a traffic light specifically for the bicycles - it has red, yellow, and green bicycles that light up to indicate when the bicycles have the right of way - and next to it a turn lane with a right turn arrow light (red, yellow, and green) to indicate when the motorists have the right of way. This is the one intersection where I think they did things right.

So on my way home today, traffic in that general area was particularly bad, so a certain motorcyclist decided that since his vehicle has only two wheels, it was appropriate for him to ride in the bicycle lane. One of the bicyclists stopped at the intersection in front of the motorcycle (maybe more of a scooter, but still), turned around and informed him that the bicycle lane was for human-powered vehicles only, not motorized vehicles. The motorcyclist moved slightly into the motorized vehicle lane to get through the light, and proceeded on to the next light - the one where there is a bicycle light and a right turn light. I was about three cars behind them at this point, and I saw that the right arrow light was green and the bicycle light was red. The bicyclist in question had moved over in front of the right-hand turn lane, blocking the motor vehicles who had the right of way at this point. In moving out of the way of the oncoming traffic, the bicyclist turned very widely to the right. The motorcyclist also turned right, but more directly. The motorcyclist hit the bicycle's rear tire and the bike went down. I don't think anyone was seriously injured, but the bicyclist was certainly pissed off as he brushed off his knees checking for injury. I just kept driving. My curiosity to find out if they were okay was overwhelmed by the desire to get out of my car and scream at them both, so I figured it was best for everyone involved if I just kept going and didn't disrupt the flow of traffic further. Because honestly, who is more infuriating: the motorcyclist who thinks it's okay to ride in the bicycle lane, or the bicyclist who thinks the giant red bicycle stop light doesn't apply to him?

I know, I know, bicycles have lower emissions and cause less damage to the roads and take less space to park and yadda yadda yadda. And I know I am going to get screamed at for this, but I hate bicycle riders in the city. As the driver of a car, I know I check before I change lanes or turn in front of a bicycle, I wait for bikes to pass before I open my parked car door, I wait for bikes when I'm turning left and they are part of the oncoming traffic. I know not every car looks out for bikes, but I do. And yet, bicyclists have nearly run into my car at least three times (while I was stopped waiting at a light), and I have nearly been run down by bicycles as a pedestrian more times than I can count. Even this morning. The thing is this: it feels like bicyclists think they have carte blanche to ride however and wherever they please, following some sort of hybrid car/pedestrian rules, picking and choosing which rules they want to follow when. That's not how it works. We all have to work together to use the roads properly so we can all get where we're trying to go, no matter if we are in a car, on the bus, on a bike, or on foot. Everyone has to look out for everyone else.

And while we're at it, people have to take a class and pass a test before they are allowed to drive. There is no such testing for bicycle riders. Hell, I'm guessing most of them haven't even read their city or state laws on bicycle riding. So before you get too snippy with me, please check out the Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Road, the Municipal Code of Chicago concerning bicycles (pay special attention to this bit), and the Illinois Highway Code concerning bicycles. I've read them. Have you? Do you know how many laws you broke riding your bike to work this morning? I'm just saying. And no, a cursory glance over your shoulder where your head moves three degrees to the left does not qualify as "signaling."

The public roadways are for everyone to use, on the vehicle of their choosing or without any vehicle at all. We all need to realize that we are not the only person on the road, and that our destination is not the only one that matters. If we all look out for each other, and everyone obeys the signs and signals that apply to them (yes, bicyclists who run red lights because they don't want to stop, I'm looking at you), we'll all get where we need to go in a reasonable amount of time with minimal incident.

And to the motorcyclist and the bicyclist who got into that accident today, a pox on both your heads. I saw it coming a mile away - why didn't you?

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

July 9 - Beauty

I watched part of an interview with Dustin Hoffman today wherein he talked about what it was like to try out the make up for Tootsie. He talks about how they made him look like a woman, but he then asked them to make him a beautiful woman and was told that they had done the best they could with his facial features. He cried to his wife, lamenting how he thought he was an interesting person as a woman, but he knew he would not have talked to himself as a woman had he met himself in a bar, and he wondered how many interesting women he has not talked to in his life because we are all brainwashed into thinking that only the beautiful people are worth our time. Take a moment and watch the video - he gets choked up talking about it. And what is brilliant, is that they titled the video "Dustin Hoffman Breaks Down Crying Explaining Something That Every Woman Sadly Already Experienced." Because we have. Women experience this Every. Single. Day.

I know there are those of you who would argue and say I'm one of the pretty people. Thank you for that. I am only now coming to the realization that people see me that way. I've not always been pretty, and it still kind of freaks me out to say I am because I know I am not Hollywood pretty, not Hollywood shaped, etc. Whatever. That's not the point of this.

What is striking to me about it is exactly how pervasive this is in our culture, even in places you wouldn't really think to notice it. Like actors. Think about the male actors you like and make sure to go see their films. I bet a bunch of them are "traditionally hot" - Brad Pitt, Chris Hemsworth, Taye Diggs, etc. Guys with muscles and symmetrical faces and soulful eyes. But there is probably someone in there who you adore who isn't traditionally hot. Dustin Hoffman is a great example. Or Tim Curry. Or Steve Buscemi. Or Phillip Seymour Hoffman. These men have also made brilliant careers for themselves with the odd tooth or the larger than average nose or the pot belly or whatever. We are so willing to give non-traditionally-hot men a chance in Hollywood, and we buy them in all sorts of different roles (hell, even Willem Dafoe has played a romantic lead). But then take a look at the women in Hollywood. Right now, we have the super skinny, super beautiful women who get lead roles, and then the other women who play supporting roles but who are also attractive. Melissa McCarthy is beautiful, but since she is heavier than some of her cohorts, she gets the buffoon roles now. Even if you look at former Saturday Night Live cast members (back when they had female regulars), Amy Pohler is gorgeous, Tina Fey is gorgeous, Kristin Wiig is gorgeous, Maya Rudolph is gorgeous, Gilda Radner was gorgeous, Jan Hooks is gorgeous, Cheri Oteri is gorgeous, Victoria Jackson is gorgeous, Molly Shannon is gorgeous, Jane Curtin was gorgeous, and all of these women were of a certain size and shape. The one woman I can think of in recent SNL history who is not traditionally beautiful is Rachel Dratch, and let's look at her career next to, say Tina Fey's. I'm not saying they are the same woman or they have the same talents, but one has to wonder, with so many funny women from SNL becoming A-listers, where is Rachel Dratch? Why isn't she along for the ride? I don't know - maybe she doesn't want to be or maybe she's miserable to work with or maybe it is because she is not as traditionally beautiful as the women around her so Hollywood doesn't know what to do with her. I don't know. But maybe.

We love seeing the ugly, nerdy guy kissing the super model in a Super Bowl commercial, but the thought of an ugly, nerdy woman kissing a hot guy (or anyone, really) is deemed repulsive and wrong and implausible. Anyone else see how messed up this is?

I want to know when it was decided that women aren't worth as much as men. I want to know when it was decided that a slightly odd looking man can still be a good guy with a heart of gold, but a slightly odd looking woman is crazy, undesirable and untouchable. I want to know why we are so forgiving of the genetic rainbow of male traits, and so disdainful of the genetic rainbow of female traits. Does it go back to caveman days when women would die in childbirth while men were out killing animals? Does it date back to when people figured out that men were involved in the procreation process and they decided they didn't want to rear someone else's kids so they had to put the lock-down on "their" woman? Because female repression dates back a lot farther than one might think and it is still very much alive and well in today's world. I'm not even talking about the horrors that women in some other countries have to endure; I'm talking about the raging debate in the United States about what women should and should not be allowed to do with their own uteri. Decisions being made by people who don't have uteri, for the most part. Frankly, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of all of it.

When I tell my friends that they are beautiful, I am talking about their souls as I see them - they are beautiful people. And my friends come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors, and I see them all as beautiful exactly they way they are. When are we, as a culture, going to embrace the beauty that is the female form with all of its variations and nuances? Because truly, to be female is to be gorgeous. We create life. What could be more beautiful than that?

I'm sorry. I'm rambling and ranty now. It just pisses me off that today, in 2013, as equal rights are being fought for and won for all sorts of minority groups, that it is still culturally acceptable to hold women (the majority of the population, by the way) to unattainable, outrageous standards. I'm tired of holding myself to those standards and hating myself when I don't meet them. I'm just tired of it. Can we be done with it now? Please?

Monday, July 08, 2013

July 8 - Auditions

I have said for years, as have millions of other actors, that I hate auditioning. It is nerve wracking and terrifying and sometimes you don't even know why they called you in because you know in your heart of hearts that while you could rock this role, you're totally wrong for it because you're not sixty-five years old yet, nor could you look sixty-five without massive amounts of prosthetics. And I'm pretty sure I've talked about how silly monologues are, and how they serve such a tiny purpose as to make them really just an exercise in frustration because what if you chose "the wrong piece" or whatever. If any of you, my dear readers, are performers, you know of what I speak. Auditioning sucks. But it is a necessary evil, so we do it.

I want to take a quick moment to say that there are several theater companies out there for whom I have auditioned who make the audition process so much nicer. And I have been on the other side of the table, too, so I know that honestly, they are praying that every single person that walks into that room is amazeballs fantastic - they really are on your side. So when you do get the odd audition where you get to talk to the auditors just as people for a minute, or they throw some silly exercise at you that just makes you chuckle and makes them smile...I love those theater companies. Thank you to those theater companies for trying to make a necessary evil a little less evil.

I was fortunate enough to audition for one such theater company yesterday. It is a company I've wanted to work with for a while, because I know one of the founding members and she is brilliant - so talented, so dedicated - and I know they do really good work within the company. And the audition yesterday consisted of conversation, monologue, and scene work, so it felt well-rounded and like I had a lot of opportunity to show that not only am I a talented performer, but I could be a really fun person to work with and could bring a lot of good energy to this show in particular. It was much more satisfying than the in-and-out-in-two-minutes audition where you say hi, do your monologue, and leave.

That being said, I think I figured out what I hate most about auditions and that is the period of time afterward when I sit and pick apart every single little thing I said, every gesture I made, every smile or laugh (was it forced or was it genuine?) that the auditors gave me. Was it a good thing that they gave me direction and had me do it again, or was it a bad thing? I know I messed up that line, but I did it in character and in the moment, so maybe they'll let that go? Did I ramble too much, or did I sound conceited or condescending when chatting before the monologues? Was I engaged when the other people auditioning were talking? Was I polite or was I weird out in the hallway with the person checking us in? Is it okay that I complimented someone else's dress, because I meant it, but it could have sounded like I was trying too hard? Could they see how badly my hands were shaking with nerves? And then I start re-auditioning myself as I walk up the stairs to my apartment, because redoing the monologue there will certainly help me get cast. I do this for hours, sometimes for days. I pick apart every little moment of the audition trying to figure out if I nailed it or if I blew it and more often than not, I just have to admit to myself that I honestly have no idea. It is entirely possible that they loved me, but there just isn't a part for me in this show. Or they hated me as a person, but I nailed the scene work in a way that nobody else did. Or they see my potential but don't have enough rehearsal time to get me where they want me to be. I just don't know. Since I am not the auditors, I don't know what exactly they are looking for, so all I can do is do the best I can and be me and hope that that is what they are looking for for this production. (Wow, two appropriate double words in one sentence - do I get a prize for that?)

So yeah, it's my own crap. My own desire for feedback that will help me become a better performer, even though I know feedback is not something you get in an audition setting. Thank you to all of the theater companies who have sat through my auditions, and even moreso to those who have cast me in their projects despite my nerves and neuroses.

And now I just get to wait to see if I am called back. Cue the Jeopardy theme music...

Sunday, July 07, 2013

July 7 - Mish Mosh

July 7 already - when did that happen and where was I? And is it true that I've only missed two days of blogging this year?

I have all of the thoughts today - about how women are represented in the media and how we treat each other and how I want to eliminate the word "fat" from my vocabulary when used as an adjective and what amazing friends I have and how I'm kind of surprised that for all of the different and varied situations in which I found myself this weekend, I seemed to get along with just about everybody just fine and I'm hoping they all walked away from those experiences with as positive an impression of me as I got from them and how silly it was for an online food ordering company to send me a coupon last week that had a coupon code that expired May 5 and whether that is a reflection on their marketing person or my postal carrier and how I may be reaching an age where I'm growing into my own beauty and how I'd really like to be reading more but you know what? It is Sunday night. And it has been a long weekend. Honestly - even Friday night feels like a year ago. So I am going to take the cop out route and tell you that I have too many thoughts in my head and not enough energy to flesh any of them out tonight while I wait for my vegan Thai food to arrive. But I did want to write something, so I wrote this.

I hope you all survived the Fourth of July shenanigans and if any of the components of my epic run-on sentence there strike you as an interesting topic for discussion, please let me know and I'll try to get to that one first.  Happy Sunday!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

July 6 - Happy Happy

There needs to be a word that encapsulates that person who is friend, number one fan, confidant, brainstorming partner, supporter, cheerleader, teacher, inspiration, and life-saver all in one. 

Oh, yeah! There is! "Mom." Specifically mine. 

I love you, Mom, and wish you the happiest of birthdays with many more to come. 

Friday, July 05, 2013

July 5 - Friendly Confines

Wrigley Field is the greatest ballpark in the world. I know some native Bostonians will cry foul at that statement and say, "Fenway! It's all about Fenway!" I don't doubt Fenway is awesome. I hope to go there someday. But to me, Wrigley Field is the greatest because it is my childhood. It is my home. 

Wrigley is where my brother and I watched a standing room only game, camped out on a ramp near the vendor stand that sells decent beer. Wrigley is where my friend had her bachelorette party. Wrigley is where I sat in the bleachers, baking in the sun with a sign asking Mark DeRosa to come back to Chicago. Wrigley is where I went to my first game as a kid with my mom and grandmother and we arrived late for the first game of the double header and left before the second game ended, leaving me feeling gypped for my whole life that I didn't get to see a complete game my first time out. Wrigley is where my mom used to wear a shirt with tons of pockets so she could sneak in healthy snacks for us to eat between hot dogs. Wrigley is where you get the good hot dogs, and where you used to get the best Pepsi on the planet. Wrigley is full of tributes to the history of the game, like the statutes and the flags. Wrigley is a monument to the current state of the sport because it keeps the focus on the game, not on the jumbotron or the games in the outfield between half-innings. Wrigley is home to the best organ player in Major League Baseball. Wrigley is where my heart broke in Game 7. Wrigley is where I was when every tornado siren in the city of Chicago went off at the same time in a crazy storm and we all had to smush into the concourse to stay dry. Wrigley is where my friend's nephew would like to go again "in the summer when the food's not wet." Wrigley is where I learned to play mound ball. Wrigley is where I saw a man get served divorce papers (or something). Wrigley is where my brother first told me about this new girl he was dating who is now my sister-in-law and a beautiful addition to our family. 

So when people try to tell me that Fenway is the greatest ballpark in the world, all I can do is smile and know that they are entitled to their own opinion. But I know better. Because I know that Wrigley Field is where time stops, where new friendships are formed and old ones renewed, where families bring generations to celebrate traditions, where everyone has a ritual that makes the day special for them. And whether the Cubs win or lose, I know Wrigley is where magic happens. 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

July 4 - Independence

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

I myself am exercising my right to freedom from other people and bucking tradition by not going to a barbecue. I am going to be social the rest of the weekend, so today is my day to clean and study lines and watch stupid action movies. Oddly, I don't feel the need to consume obscene amounts of crappy beer and blow things up like many of my countrymen today. So I'm not going to. If you are, though, please be safe. 

Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

July 3 - Problem (Not Really)

I love that I am a creative person. It is largely how I define myself. I think of myself as an artist and a creator, rather than a consumer or destroyer. And truth be told, I am a terrible consumer - I can always think of a reason to not buy something. As I type this, I'm wearing a little black cardigan that is probably five years old and is so worn I have had to fix the sleeve seams two or three times, sew buttons back on it, and the cuffs are now so frayed and stretched out that I can't really push up the sleeves anymore. But I still wear the cardigan because it still functions as a cardigan and I've not been bothered to go buy a new one. Like I said, I'm a terrible consumer. (Unless it is TARDIS themed merchandise, as I seem to have an abundance of that - TARDIS watch, TARDIS notebook, two TARDIS lunchboxes that came with coasters and TARDIS travel mugs, TARDIS teapot (a gift, but still), TARDIS phone case, TARDIS bobblehead, two TARDIS t-shirts - seriously, what is wrong with me?)

But back to the point. I am the creative sort. I like making things, I like having ideas, I like working on projects. And I often find that the more projects I'm working on, the more ideas I get for other projects I should be working on. Granted, not all of them are good ideas and I don't always see all of them through, but it's like creativity begets creativity. The more I'm working, the more I want to work.

Which, of course, means now that Hamlet is in the middle of shooting, I'm being bombarded with ideas. I'm playing my guitar again, I'm auditioning again, and I had one idea this morning that is probably so crazy crack-pot too big for me to handle on my own that it might just be brilliant. My mind is abuzz with plans and thoughts and ideas and people I would want to approach to collaborate and things I'll have to do to sort out the legality of some issues and whatnot and the more I think about it, the more I think it could be really fun.

But, of course, I have to spend about nine hours a day at my day job. Where I don't get to plan and investigate and collaborate on these amazing creative ideas that I have. I have to do the things that I have to do to make money so I can live and have an apartment and eat food while I have all of these lovely creative ideas. Sigh.

Such is the curse of the creative person - trying to find balance between creation and survival. I will admit that maybe my balance is a little too skewed toward survival every now and again. I hope that someday, having to choose between the two and having to schedule time in which to be creative is not such a challenge. I hope someday I just get to create.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

July 2 - Stuff

I had perhaps the best dream I have ever had last night, and I woke up angry at the fact that I have to walk around and function in this world instead of in my dream world. Honestly, there are times when given a choice, I would rather live in my dreams. Last night was one of those times.

In my dream, I was working with David Tennant. We were shooting a television show (I think) that might have been a sort of cop drama, or it might have been Doctor Who where I was the Doctor and he was my companion, I'm not sure. At one point, I think I saw myself in a mirror wearing my Tenth Doctor suit, though it was somewhat worse for wear, losing color in odd patches on the trousers. Oddly enough, what we were filming wasn't nearly as important to me as how well we worked together. We just clicked. All of the amazing stuff that can happen on stage when you're perfectly in tune with your scene partner and you forget that you had to memorize these lines at one point because it just feels perfectly natural to say them happened in this dream. I felt that "on." If one of us went a little off script, the other one was right there, playing along, making a brilliant scene. I kept up with him brilliantly, though I did feel a little bit like we were confusing or befuddling some of the other actors around us, and that some of the crew had no idea what was going on, but there were going to follow us and keep rolling no matter what because they knew they were capturing magic. It was also the first night in a long time where I didn't wake up twenty minutes before my alarm was scheduled to go off, so when my alarm did go off, it startled me out of my dream and pissed me off. So I'm a little grumpy today.

But then I remember that in this world, I have an amazing, adorable, brilliant-beyond-brilliant niece who turns four today, and if I lived in my dreams, I wouldn't get to see her as much or give her hugs. So happy birthday to my favorite four year old. I'll trade David Tennant dreams for a squeeze from you any day.

Monday, July 01, 2013

July 1 - Possession

I've had this idea floating around in my head for a little while now that my problems with relationships have to do with this weird idea of possession. I know a lot of people have a negative reaction to words like "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" and every time you see two people in the movies who are clearly attracted to one another, it is still a terrifying conversation when one asks the other to "go steady" (or whatever slang the kids are using these days to signify exclusivity) because once you're "going steady," you're his and he's yours and there is all of this stuff that comes with that. Expectations. Standards. And the potential to get really, really hurt.

Growing up, I had a handful of good friends and a few really terrible ones. Friends in whom I placed my faith and on whose opinion I based my value as a person, who I found out later were not to be trusted and who really thought very little of me. I'm sure that young me was not a perfect friend, either, so I don't mean to point fingers at others and say they failed me or anything, but a lot of the important early relationships in my life turned out to be very flimsy and easily swayed on the whims of others. Such is childhood, yes?

Now, before we go any farther, I do want to point out that my "honorary sister," the woman I've known since I was eight months old, is still a very dear friend of mine and someone I know I can count on, even if I forget that every now and again. And I hope she knows she can always count on me, too. I had an "honorary brother" at one point, too, who turned out to be... But anyway. The damage was done long before we had our falling out. So there were good relationships in my childhood, but there were bad ones, too.

Which brings us to the present day. I've not had a successful romantic relationship of significant duration. Hell, one could argue that I've not had a successful romantic relationship at all seeing as I am currently not in one. And I'm at the point where I'm pretty sure it is me. See, what I've learned through my failed friendships and the relationships I see on TV and whatnot, and through my experiences as an actor who is quite adept at seeing things from another person's perspective, is that I don't really have the right to "lay claim" to anyone else. When my very first boyfriend cheated on me, I was hurt, but I wasn't angry with him for a very long time afterward because I knew he felt justified in what he had done - he talked himself into thinking it was okay - and I could see his side of it. And I knew at the same time I knew we were over, that I didn't really have the right to be angry with him for living his life the way he chose to live it. All I could do was choose not to be part of that anymore. Which puts me in a really odd position now when it comes to relationships. I never feel like I have the right to impose my will on another human being. If I'm with someone who would rather be with someone else, what right do I have to say he can't be? If I'm with someone who refuses to try vegetarian food, what right do I have to force him to? If I'm with someone who likes doing things that I really don't, what right do I have to ask him to stop? I can only be responsible for my own actions, and in situations like those, where we reach an impasse, I can only choose to not be in the relationship anymore. To not lay claim. To not be his.

I think this extends to friendships, too. I think there are a lot of ways to show someone that they are important to you. I try to let the people who are important to me know that they are important to me whenever I can by supporting their art or sending a random text message when I know they have a big day ahead or just listening when they need someone to listen. I know I don't always succeed, but I try. I hope my friends know that I think of them often and that I think of them fondly. Which is why it is disappointing to me when those people miss a big obvious opportunity to let me know that I am thought of. I know people just sometimes forget. Even my oldest friends forget sometimes, but with them, they let me know I'm thought of in other ways, so it doesn't bother me so much. I know people have lives and have better things to do. But that's just it - they have better things to do. It lets me know exactly where I fall on their list of priorities, and that is often times somewhere lower than I hoped it would be. But I don't have the right to ask any of these people to prioritize me. I can't lay claim to them, I can't call them mine and get upset with them for having their own lives. All I can do is live my life the way I live it, and maybe be a little more cautious in regard to where I place my faith in the future.

Happy July, everybody.