Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 31 - Pittsburgh

Owen is drinking water. This brings me so much joy, I can't even tell you.

Today was quite possibly the most difficult day I've ever had. Saying goodbye to my Mom... I know millions of people have moved away from home, and thousands of them have left just for the sake of leaving, not because of a bad situation at home or anything like that. And I can't help but wonder if it is/was/has been as hard for them as it was for me. Yes, I was unhappy in my job, but I have such a close relationship with my mom, I have an amazing group of friends, I was living in a gorgeous apartment with lots of space in a very safe neighborhood, and Chicago is one of the most wonderful cities on the planet. Chicago has WXRT for crying out loud. There is no other radio station in the country like WXRT - where am I going to find my new music now? (The internet. I know.) I'm giving up a lot by moving to New York and as much potential lies ahead of me, it hurt to leave. Physically hurt. I left something great in the hopes I'll find something better. The outpouring of love and support and encouragement I have received from so many people is a little overwhelming - I think some of them think I am going to do better in New York than I do.

I found myself thinking of two major analogies when I left. I keep reading that Adrien Brody gave up everything when he was filming The Pianist - his apartment, his car, his girlfriend, his cell phone - so he would know what it felt like to lose everything. I still have a lot of stuff, but I did just give up an amazing apartment, my home, my job, my security, the ability to ask my friends out for a drink on a moment's notice, my cat's piece of mind, access to great hugs. I may not know what it feels like to lose everything, but I feel like I know what it feels like to lose a lot now. It is not fun.

And the other one I was thinking of a lot today was David Tennant's regeneration into Matt Smith. He got to say goodbye to his companions, and then went back to the TARDIS alone and said, "I don't want to go," before turning into someone different. The regeneration had to happen - there was no stopping it - and while Tennant loved his time on the show, he needed to move on and work on other projects. I spent this week saying goodbye to all of my companions, and while I know I need to give New York a shot, the first thing I thought of when I got up this morning was, "I don't want to go." I'm about to regenerate into something new - Kitty the New Yorker. Or at least, Kitty the Transplant from Chicago. And I can only hope that my regeneration is more of a Smith into Capaldi thing, or an Eccleston into Tennant thing, than a Tennant into Smith thing. I don't think I could handle three years of crap before something good starts to happen.

But then it was also killing me to have Owen in the car with me, being totally silent, not wanting treats when I offered them. As stressful as this is for me, it is a decision I have been thinking about for years, and I've been planning for it for months. To he was put in his carrier and put into the car, where he never goes except when he is being taken to the vet. No warning, no say-so. He just has to come along for the ride. I was worried about how he would take it and it looked to be just about as awful as I had feared. But I think even more awful would have been leaving him behind. At least this way, he still has his person.

But me, being the dorky cat mom that I am, noticed that my guitar playing seems to calm him down. So I brought my guitar into the hotel room where we have stopped in Pittsburgh for the night and I played four or five songs for him. And then I moved his food bowl closer to him and he ate a few bites. And then I brought his water dish closer to him (he has yet to set foot out of his carrier), and he has been drinking water. Maybe too much, but I'm not going to quibble. I would rather have him eating and hydrating than not. His eyes look brighter, and he is facing the rest of the room now, instead of burying his nose in the far corner of the carrier. He is more animated and alert, reacting to the sounds of people in the hallway with curiosity and fear instead of just terror. He'll be fine. And if he can be fine with this, I will be fine with this, too.

Thank you, everyone, for the kind words and the beautiful send-offs. Thank you for your generosity and enthusiasm. Thank you for encouraging me to follow my dreams, and for not calling me crazy for doing so. I will do my best to not let you down.

Chicago, I love you and miss you. No matter where I live, I will be a Chicagoan. Always. And because I know you have my back, I can go off and do this thing I've wanted to try for a really long time. That is pretty amazing in and of itself, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30 - Moving

The movers are here. They were, apparently, not told that there would be furniture involved. Granted, I underestimated the number of boxes, but when I requested a quote, I certainly included a bed, a dresser, a nightstand, a bookshelf. Oh well. They are moving all of it anyway. 

It is weird to see all of my stuff get loaded onto a truck. I am very conscious of how much stuff I have, especially since they apparently we're not expecting this much. But they're being nice about it. Wrapping things up securely. I also feel a little bit bad that my eyes are still so puffy from crying all night last night. I really just want to shut my eyes at this point, but I need to be present while this is going on. 

I'm actually doing this. I'm actually moving to New York. I'll be there in three days' time. And then the real adventure begins. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

August 29 - Last

My last day of packing before the movers show up. It all needs to get done today, and hopefully in time for me to go out and say a final farewell to whichever of my friends decide to show up. It is because of these things that I woke up at about 6am in a panic. I'm tired of panic. 

On the up side, I got a little bit of sleep last night. Not a lot, but there were a couple of stretches between bouts of consciousness where I wasn't sure how much time had passed, so that's a good thing. I kind of miss sleeping. 

So yeah, today is not off to a fantastic start. But it will all get done. My mom is coming over to help later, and I can get more boxes if I need them, and it will all get done. That's really the only choice at this point. 

Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August 28 - Almost

I wish I had something more interesting to talk about, but I only have packing on the brain. My apartment looks like utter chaos as boxes are getting filled with the bigger pieces first and the little assorted leftover bits are scattered all over the place. I am almost at the point where I am going to stop trying to make any sense out of the packing and I'm just going to put everything in one box or another just so stuff is packed and ready to go. 

I am also waiting on movers to come get one last piece of furniture out of here that I am not taking with me. I feel like once they come and take care of that, I can take a car load of stuff to the Salvation Army or Goodwill or wherever. Which will help. When I have a better grasp of what is actually going with me and what is not, I might not feel quite so overwhelmed. 

The movers are coming early on Saturday morning. Then I can clean on Saturday afternoon and figure out how to pack the essentials into my car before I take off on Sunday. It feels very soon, yet very far away. 

I promise, I will have more interesting things to talk about again at some point. I just need to get through the next few days and then I'll be able to think about things other than playing Tetris with all of my stuff to get it half-way across the country. Just a couple more days. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27 - Seven Years

Seven years ago today, I started working at my current job. Today is my last day here, which means I am having all of the feelings today.

Not only does leaving this job mean a change of career, a change of routine, a change of income level, but it also means I am that much closer to actually being in New York. No more "I'm not going to pack up my kitchen yet in case I need things." Pots and pans and utensils started going into boxes last night. Clothes will start getting divided into what is going in the car with me and what can go with the movers. I'll have to throw away all of the condiments in my fridge that won't travel, and should probably throw away all of my spices because even though they would travel, they're likely too old to be flavorful anymore and should be replaced anyway.

It is really happening. I'm really leaving. The movers are scheduled to come three days from now. I've booked myself a hotel room for Sunday night so I don't have to do the entire drive to NYC in one fell swoop. My first month's rent has been sent in. The gas company and electric company have been informed of my leaving, and the change of address form submitted to the post office. This is real. My plan to go live in New York for a little while before I die that I have been toying with for years is becoming a reality. This week. It's kind of crazy.

I feel lots of things today, as I say goodbye to the company that has kept me sheltered and fed for the past seven years. I am looking forward to a change of scenery and new challenges that await me elsewhere. But it is sad to take my pictures off of the wall, to pack up my tea, to know that I will never again drive this same route to work in the morning while listening to WXRT. They say it takes twenty-one days to form a habit. I've been at this for seven years. It's going to take some time to undo the habits.

Seven years invested. Seven years to the day.

Four days until I move and start all over again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 26 - Mourning

I find myself mourning a lot of things, little things, and my guess is that it is good for me to get the mourning out of my system now so that when I get to New York, I can start the next chapter of my life fresh. 

My bed left yesterday; I shall not look upon it's like again. My dining room table and chairs that I bought eight or nine years ago left today. I cleaned out my desk drawers at work today, and have been training my replacement. It's down to packing my kitchen, my clothes, and my toiletries, pretty much, and I'm good to go. I have a bunch of stuff to take to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, too. But I'm actually feeling like I'm in really good shape for someone who is moving in five days. Four days until the movers come, actually. 

But I didn't sleep last night. I was trying to sleep on my futon, which will be my bed in New York, and I don't think I lost consciousness for more than ten minutes at a stretch. I was missing my bed, in my bedroom. As was Owen - he didn't come sleep with me until nearly morning. And today, I was mourning the projects I won't do at work since I am leaving. Mourning taking down my pictures and removing my secret personal stash of tea from the second drawer. Mourning the routine that I've gotten used to over the last seven years, even though I was very unhappy with large portions of it. 

The thing about mourning, though, is that it needs to happen. Be it the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship, or the comfort of a stable lifestyle, as circumstances in life change, I think it is important to take notice and mourn the loss of what you had. I'm not saying dwell in the past forever. I'm saying take stock of the event in retrospect, and figure out which memories and life lessons you want to hold onto and which ones you should let go of. 

I love Chicago. I have loved living in this apartment. I have loved having a steady income that has allowed me to save some money. I have loved so many of the people I have met along the way. These things, I will not forget. 

It is time to go adventuring. So I'm going to pack up my kitchen and my clothes and my remaining knick knacks and I'm going to go off on an adventure to see what new cities, apartments, jobs, and people I can fall in love with next. 

I hope I have enough boxes. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24 - Crying

Crying has really gotten a bad reputation. People tend to equate it with weakness, which is where I think a lot of the whole "boys don't cry" thing comes from. If you're tough and strong, you can avoid crying. Or, if you really have to cry, you should do it alone, away from other people, because they won't know how to deal with your tears. 

Phooey, I say. Phooey on that. 

I cried at least three times yesterday, and another four or so times today. It has nothing to do with weakness and the people I've been with when I cried handled the situation perfectly - they just let me. I think there is actually a lot of strength involved in being able to be emotionally present and available and vulnerable enough to cry, and I know from personal experience that crying can be very therapeutic. If something hurts so much your eyes start leaking, it's probably best to let that out. If you keep it in, you've got something trapped inside you that hurts so bad it wants to make your eyes leak, but it has nowhere else to go, so just imagine what it does to your other organs. 

I like to have a good cry every now and again. Especially now. I'm leaving my hometown to move a thousand miles away from my family and closest friends to live with three strangers while I try to see if I can make my nearly impossible dreams come true. If that didn't hurt or didn't give me a moment's pause, I would be dead inside. And I've been dead inside, so it is a joyous thing to me that I feel so loved and supported and grateful that the thought of leaving makes my eyes leak. I am grateful that I love these people and they love me so much that leaving is hard. So if that makes me cry six times a day for the next week, then so be it. 

There is no shame in crying, and it is not a sign of weakness. It is part of being a person. I think if we all accepted that, we'd all be a little bit healthier in the long run. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August 23 - One Week

I woke up promptly at six in the morning today for no reason other than my body was tired of the dream world it had created overnight. In the dream, I was saying goodbye to my home town, to the grocery store where I had my first job. The produce department where I had worked had taken a turn for the pathetic, but it was now run by a woman I went to college with (who, I'm pretty sure in the dream was supposed to be someone I had worked with at the grocery store), so I felt like I had to say nice and complimentary things even though I didn't believe them. No wonder I wanted to wake up. 

And I have spent the subsequent hour lying in my bed, wishing for more sleep, snuggling with my cat, and getting increasingly sadder as the phrase, "I don't want to go," swirls around in my head. The phrase is, of course, said in David Tennant's voice, from the first time he said it (not the repetition in the 50th anniversary special). Movers are coming to take my things to New York one week from today and the panic is setting in. For as prepared as I felt earlier in the week, I now feel like there isn't enough time and I'll never get it all done. I only get to sleep on this bed two more times and then it will be gone. This is my last actual weekend in Chicago, leading up to my last night swing dancing in Chicago, my last visits to my neighborhood haunts, and my last hugs from my friends and family for a while. Later today, I'll be going to my first and last Cubs game of the season. My last visit to Wrigley Field. And I'm sad. 

I am looking forward to New York. I think it will be a great experience. The hard part, though, is that I truly, truly love Chicago. Chicago is a great city and it has been wonderful to me. My friends are here. My family is here. My heart is here. If I didn't love it so much, leaving would be easier. But I do. So it isn't. 

Seven-fifteen in the morning, and it is already looking like an "I don't want to go" kind of day. I hope I'm able to enjoy the game and the time with friends and the Doctor Who premiere without crying too much. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22 - Cosplay

I spent the whole day dressed as the Tenth Doctor today. I was going to a comic convention, and decided to not change my clothes at work, so I just wore my suit to work. And it is going to sound strange, but I felt confident and calm and attractive all day because of it. The clothes making the man and all. 

I think I'd make a good Doctor. Just give me the costume (and the role) and the rest of it will all just fall into place. 

There we go with me dreaming big again...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21 - Thoughts on Leaving

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

Again with the Hamlet quotes. I wonder if they swirl around in my head so much because I've done the show twice or because they really are so apt for so many situations.

I think it is safe to say for a lot of people, that even the really bad things that have happened to them in their lives (divorce, loss of a job, etc.), that at the very least in retrospect, the event was not one hundred percent bad. Yes, it likely felt one hundred percent bad at the time, but often times, there is some good that comes from terrible things. Divorcing the wrong life partner frees one up to find the right life partner. Leaving one miserable job (by choice or not) allows one to find something more fulfilling to do with one's time. Even those who are the victim or theft or accidents or whatever can gain valuable knowledge later on, or a sense that they can survive their worst fears if they are able to look at the situation in a different light. I know when I was hit by a car while out walking, I felt almost invincible for a little while afterward. I was hit by a car while on foot and walked three miles home after the event. That's kind of a cool thing to be able to say. And now I know, if I see another car speeding at me about to hit me, I can once again use my stage combat training to take the impact in a way that will hopefully minimize any damage. Granted, I am not invincible. But traumatic events can give us tremendous personal strength in the long run.

This is also not to try to minimize some really horrible things that happen in the world, like the mess that is Ferguson right now, or the journalist who was beheaded a few days ago after being held hostage for a couple of years. These things are terrible, and for those people directly involved, I'm sure they would be just as happy going through the rest of their lives never having experienced them. I wish that for them, too.

What brought me to this today is that I am in the process of cleaning a lot of negative out of my life. I do not think it is a secret that there are certain elements of my life that have not been bringing me joy for some time. But as I find myself beginning the process of saying goodbye to the negativity, I find myself remembering the few bright spots that were also associated with those things and those places. There were some nice people. There were some great opportunities. I have some wonderful stories to tell because of these things. Recognizing these positive moments, buried under all of the negative, is making me sad today. Or if not sad, then very emotionally confused.

I have been getting more and more excited about my new adventure in New York in the past couple of days. As I think about myself leaving those ills I have in favor of flying to those I know not of, I am reminded that the ills will not seem quite so ill once I am removed from them by time and space. I may come to think of them as good. Because there is "nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." It's all about changing your perspective.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 20 - Ten Days

Well, ten sleeps left in this apartment. Five days left of work. Eleven days until I'm on the road and an official resident of Brooklyn, New York. 

I feel oddly ready for it today. Yes, there are things that still need to be packed. Yes, there are things still to be sold. Yes, there are things to be donated and gifted away. Goodbyes still to be said. But I feel very prepared today. I feel like it will all get done and everything will go smoothly. Even if I allow myself a relatively quiet evening tonight. 

I submitted to a few auditions today, too. Listings are starting to show up for auditions that happen after I get to New York, so why not try to get a jump on filling in my calendar? And it sort of made me feel normal again, to be on the lookout for projects. 

Things are happening. Change is coming. And I am finally getting excited about it. I will be very sad to leave Chicago. Chicago is a brilliant, beautiful, vibrant city that will always be my home. It's hard to leave a place you love. But I am moving to another place I love to go adventuring for a while and see what happens. How exciting is that?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 19 - Incremental

My bookshelf went away today. I sold it, so it went away via a method of which I approve, but yeah. As each little piece is taken out of my apartment, I feel like the move is getting closer (which it is) and that it is the sort of thing I will be able to handle (which it is).

And suddenly, my apartment starts to look emptier. Visible progress. I'm really doing this. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18 - Daydreams

I find myself daydreaming while I work today, inspired in part by the music I'm listening to. For a change. But I find myself in the position of wanting to create things. Wanting to start a video series when I get to New York, focusing on I don't know what yet. Wanting to learn to play more songs on both my guitar and my ukulele. Wanting to read more. Wanting to go out and explore.

I also find myself thinking things like, "I totally should be the next companion on Doctor Who," even though in all truth, I'd rather be the next Doctor. And I compose letters and lists in my head in support of why I should be on the show. Things like my passion and my dedication and my imagination.

And I find myself thinking thoughts like, "I would make an awesome girlfriend for a rockstar," even though I know I am always miserable in relationships. But dating a rockstar, I'd still have my own space and he'd have his. I have been known to inspire others to greatness, too, so bonus for him.

And while I am getting work done while I'm dreaming these daydreams, I keep allowing myself to dream them because I feel like they are a sign that I'm moving past the absolute, abject terror phase involved in this move. I have spent so much time and energy thinking about what I am giving up in this move, which is justified because it amounts to almost everything. But it has been draining. It is exhausting to fret about what you are going to do with all of your things and what if you get rid of something you need or find you will miss later and what if the people you hold most dear fall to the wayside as neither party remembers to stay in touch and what if the whole endeavor doesn't work out the way you hoped so you will have lost everything for nothing? It's exhausting. And frankly, I'm tired of it.

But today, as I daydream, I am looking forward. I am looking to the future and trying to shape the life I want. That's what this whole endeavor is about, right? I'm setting off into the (relatively) unknown to follow my dreams and to be the person I know I'm supposed to be. So why not dream about having the best possible job I could ever have, and the best possible relationship I could ever have?

To all of you naysayers out there, I am acutely aware of just how slim the chance is that these things will ever happen. I haven't lost my sense of practicality. But I'm a dreamer. I've always been a dreamer. Being a dreamer is what keeps me going. And gosh darn it, it feels good to be dreaming big again.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 17 - Friends

Today is the birthday of a woman who I have known since I was about eight months old. I literally cannot remember a time when I didn't know her, and she has always been brilliant and funny and supportive. She's the sort of person you can't help but adore, and I am so lucky to be able to call her my friend still. Happy birthday, Susie!

Today is also a day when I feel the need to thank my best guy friend for his existence. He is letting me store a lot of my stuff in his garage since I won't have space for it right away in New York. And what's more, he's helping me move those boxes out to his place, even if it means extra, random car trips for him. I've told him several times that if I'm storing too much or taking up too much space or he needs the space back, to just tell me. He retorts by showing me how much more space I can use if I need it. He and his family are a sort of font of never ending generosity and I can only hope that he feels as loved and supported by me as I do by him. Thanks, Bill!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

August 16 - Update

I have too much stuff. Stop. 

I am making good progress in getting through my stuff. Stop. 

I feel guilty about storing my stuff at my friend's house even though he offered. Stop. 

I am annoyed at the very pushy woman who wanted to buy my bookshelf and then didn't show up to get it. Stop. 

I need a nap. Stop. 

I have two weeks to go, which is plenty of time to finish everything up. Stop. 

I have two weeks to go, which feels like an eternity of living in chaos. Stop. 

I may not have a bed as of tomorrow. Stop. 

This whole thing is weird. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 15 - Hamlet

I'm thinking about Hamlet a lot today. Not exactly sure why, but she's in my brain.

Disclaimer: I know a lot of people are used to thinking about Hamlet in the masculine (i.e. his uncle killed his dad and married his mom), but since I played her, I tend to think of her in the feminine (i.e. her uncle killed her dad and married her mom). So please pardon me when I refer to Hamlet as a she.

Today, I am specifically thinking about the infamous "To be or not to be" speech, probably because there has been so much talk of suicide and depression this week and in the past, when I have been depressed, I have read this speech out loud and it is perfect. It captures my depression and my weakness and my powerlessness perfectly. If you don't know the speech, let's take a look at it (borrowed from here):

To be, or not to be, that is the Question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the minde to suffer
The Slings and Arrowes of outragious Fortune,
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to dye, to sleepe
No more; and by a sleepe, to say we end
The Heart-ake, and the thousand Naturall shockes
That Flesh is heyre too? 'Tis a consummation
Deuoutly to be wish'd. To dye to sleepe,
To sleepe, perchance to Dreame; I, there's the rub,
For in that sleepe of death, what dreames may come,
When we haue shuffel'd off this mortall coile,
Must giue vs pawse. There's the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would beare the Whips and Scornes of time,
The Oppressors wrong, the poore mans Contumely,
The pangs of dispriz'd Loue, the Lawes delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurnes
That patient merit of the vnworthy takes,
When he himselfe might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would these Fardles beare
To grunt and sweat vnder a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The vndiscouered Countrey, from whose Borne
No Traueller returnes, Puzels the will,
And makes vs rather beare those illes we haue,
Then flye to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of vs all,
And thus the Natiue hew of Resolution
Is sicklied o're, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprizes of great pith and moment,
With this regard their Currants turne away,
And loose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The faire Ophelia? Nimph, in thy Orizons
Be all my sinnes remembred.

Some of that looks a little odd, yes? This is the First Folio text, the First Folio being sort of the first official publication of Shakespeare's works, after someone bothered to sit and write them all down. There are other Folios, too, like different editions, that might have different spellings or different punctuation, or that may have this soliloquy happen in a different place in the play. But most Shakespeare scholars tend to turn to the First Folio to try to get as close to Shakespeare's original meanings as possible. If you're not used to reading First Folio text, here are a few hints to help navigate:

  • The letter U often looks like the letter V, so "vndiscovered" is actually "undiscovered." 
  • Similarly, the letter F often looks like the letter S, and J and I can look similar, because they wrote in very pretty script back then. 
  • This soliloquy is written in iambic pentameter (as is most of Shakespeare's verse work), which means each of those lines has ten syllables that happen in a sort of duh-DUN-duh-DUN-duh-DUN-duh-DUN-duh-DUN pattern. 
  • A break from this pattern, either in the rhythm of it or in the number of syllables, is intended as an insight into the mental state of the character. For example, some lines have eleven syllables and end on a down-note instead of an up-note. This could indicate sadness or madness or just general off-ness, flusteredness, or confusion. 
  • Just because you have come to the end of a line does not mean you have come to the end of a thought. 
  • Thoughts end with sentence ending punctuation, like periods, exclamation points, and questions marks. 
  • Commas indicate a slight pause, a breath. 
  • Colons and semi colons can indicate a shift in thought pattern, and often, a breath. 
  • Parentheses are sort of asides, or tangents. 
  • If a sentence ends in the middle of a verse line, the next sentence is a rather quick continuation on to the next thought, almost like the speaker is trying to avoid being interrupted. He or she still has more to say and needs to indicate that with the ending of one sentence and the beginning of the next. 
  • Verse line endings can indicate that a character needs to "search" for the next word by answering the questions "who," "what," "where," "when," "why," or "how," though this does not mean that every verse line needs to have a big dramatic pause before continuing on to the next. 
  • I learned most of this from taking classes with Susan Hart and Jeffrey Carlson and by reading Thinking Shakespeare by Barry Edelstein. I would highly recommend both these classes and this book. Seriously.
The bit that a lot of people look at when looking at this soliloquy is the first bit, "To be, or not to be, that is the question," because that is the first bit and the easiest to remember. And it can mean a million and one different things. I had a sort of awakening when one my high school teachers told us to put the iambic pentameter rhythm to the line and you realize that the emphasis falls on the "is" instead of on the "that." Also, it is an eleven syllable line, so an irregular one, indicating an irregular state of mind. So it's like Hamlet has been searching for answers and not knowing what to do, and she is finally able to identify the problem in it's basest context. The question really is, "To be or not to be." That's it. That is the question that needs to be answered. Now, a lot of people, including myself, attribute this to the contemplation of suicide. I've certainly used it in that context, as mentioned above. And it makes sense. Hamlet has been dealing with a lot of shit recently - her dad was murdered by her uncle, who then married her mom, and the ghost of her dad came back to tell her that not only is his afterlife hellish, but that she needs to avenge his death. She thinks she's going crazy, she feels betrayed by her friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and she hasn't really gotten to talk to her mom about any of this, which, from my point of view, would have helped a lot. I always feel better after I talk to my mom. So Hamlet gets a solitary moment (sort of, she's being spied on, as has become the norm in her life lately), and she wonders aloud whether or not she should end it. It makes sense.

But I think it makes sense in a broader context, too. Apparently, it wasn't until the German Romantics got their hands on Hamlet that she became the moody, ineffectual, emo drip we all expect her to be these days. I haven't seen the articles myself, but the man who played Claudius to my Hamlet did a bunch of research and found that the idea of Hamlet being a man of inaction wasn't so played up until the German Romantics. He had previously been depressed and angry, yes, but not quite the removed, whiny twit we associate the character with, as portrayed by, say, Ethan Hawke. If you listen to the DVD commentary of Hamlet: The Series, I believe he talks about it more intelligently than I am here, because he is the one who actually looked into it. But anyway, when I was looking at Hamlet trying to figure out how to play her, I realized that the language and her actions and whatnot don't necessarily support the idea that she is inactive or ineffectual. She coordinates with the guards to see the ghost. She follows and talks to the ghost. She tasks her friends with keeping her secrets. She concocts this whole "crazy person" personae to throw other people off of her real plan to kill Claudius. She ferrets out Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's plans to spy on her. She tries to protect Ophelia. She organizes a play, and writes a new speech to be performed in the play. She finally confronts her mother. She kills Polonius in Act III, thinking it is Claudius. She is completely prepared to fulfill her mission in Act III and does, except it is the wrong guy. She cleans that up. She escapes her own murder by having Rosencrantz and Guildenstern killed instead. And she finally returns to Denmark and gets her revenge. How can one say she does nothing in the course of the play?

So with that in mind, "to be or not to be" could also contain elements of "should Claudius be allowed to live or not" and "should I become a killer or should I not?" Which is a huge question that then speaks volumes about the motivations behind Hamlet's hesitation about killing Claudius on a whim. Many of the things she does throughout the play are to try to get proof that the ghost is telling the truth, that Claudius really did kill her dad. I think it is safe to assume that Hamlet had not previously killed anyone - her dad was the war hero, she was a scholar away at school. And the decision to take another's life is not one that should be made lightly. I think Hamlet wants to know that if she does this, if she becomes a murderer, she will be able to live with herself and the consequences afterward. 

I don't think that in the performance of the line "to be or not to be," the actor has to choose only one of these options. I think that all of these thoughts exist in Hamlet at the time, so there should be elements of all of these interpretations behind this speech. It is a momentous speech designed to talk through a momentous decision, that is obviously causing her distress since she starts with four irregular verse lines in a row.

She spends the next few lines romanticizing the sleep of death, and how nice it would be to not have to deal with the shit life throws at a person, speaking very regularly and logically, before getting to the root of the problem: fear. We don't know what death is like, so it is hard to make an informed decision about whether death is a better option than life or not. She talks about how people screw each other over, about unrequited love, about the annoyances of governmental involvement, about how life just in general beats a person down, and wonders why people put up with that shit when it would be to just end it with a knife. Something as tiny and simple as a knife could make it all go away. If it wasn't for that fear that we don't know what is next. We don't know what happens after the heart stops. And that fear keeps us plugging away at what we do instead of taking action to end things and find out what's next. In more recognizable spellings:

"Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn away,
And lose the name of action."

We're all afraid. And as much as we might want to do something, thinking about it, thinking about the consequences and what is involved in actually doing this thing, scares us away from doing it. Because we can think about it and analyze it, we think about it twice, and out of fear, we choose inaction.

I think Hamlet is pissed off about this. Pissed off at herself, pissed off at being human, annoyed with being burdened with thought. And yes, she could be talking about why she hasn't killed herself and why she hasn't killed Claudius all at the same time. She most likely is. But if anyone (Freud) thinks that the motivations for her "inaction" are missing from the play, this is it. Right here. She is an intellectual, and killing someone (be it herself or someone else) is something she is scared of because she has no way of knowing what comes next. She is scared and frustrated and pissed off about it.

A couple of scenes after this, after she has been very publicly inappropriate with Ophelia in front of both of their parents, and after Claudius has given himself away at the sight of the play, she does stop thinking about it and shoves her knife through the curtains to kill the man who has been spying on her. Unfortunately, it is Polonius instead of Claudius on the other side of the curtain, but still. She takes action. She hits that tipping point where fear doesn't matter anymore and she does what she set out to do.

There has been a lot of talk online about Robin Williams' suicide, and whether suicide in general is selfish or cowardly or desperate or the result of depression or drug use or whatever. I already talked about my depression, and I can't begin to imagine Robin Williams'. But part of the reason "To be or not to be" is such a perfect depression soliloquy in my mind is because it shows how crappy both choices are for those considering suicide. And I think when someone finally makes that decision, as horrific as the rest of us find it, it is because they reach that tipping point where the fear of what comes next is no longer greater than the fear of plodding along with things the way they are. It is not about selfishness or cowardice or any of that. It is about needing something else. I think it takes a great deal of courage and strength to go through with it, a kind of courage and strength I hope nobody I know is ever able to find. And I think it takes a lot of courage and strength to not go through with it, and if anyone needs help finding that kind of courage and strength, please just let me know.

Again, I don't condone suicide. And the desperation that comes with needing that specific something else so badly that one has to take one's own life is tragic in the truest sense of the word. If you find yourself in that place, please find help. Talk to someone. Read this soliloquy out loud and really mean every word. Find your one little branch to hold onto. Talk to me. Suicide is not the best option. Ever. Even Hamlet gets that, even if she is not happy about it.

So that's what I'm thinking about today. How Conscious does make cowards of us all. And how sometimes that is a good thing.

I'm also wondering if I did a video blog series about various Shakespearean scenes or monologues if people would be interested in that. Maybe something to do while I'm in New York looking for other things to do. Who knows?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 14 - Stuff

There is that point when you're just about to move somewhere new that your life takes a temporary turn for the uncomfortable and you just have to deal with it. I'm there right now.

Last night, I took apart my bookshelf in anticipation of someone coming to buy it from me. This morning, when I walked into the kitchen to feed my cat, looking into the living room at the wall where my bookshelf had been was a sort of sobering reminder that this is real. This is happening. I'm turning my entire life upside down to go somewhere else and try something new. My bookshelf is not going to be a part of that. And the more I take apart my current apartment, the more it sinks in that everything is going to change. Everything. But I'm on this ride now, so I should make the best of it.

I did have a moment today wherein I was excited, as I'm starting to make plans for things I will do when I get to New York. There will be a couple of weeks of uncomfortable as I wait for the movers to show up with my things (which has sparked a whole other packing debate in my head). But I can use that time to do temp work, and work on my demo reel, and go out swing dancing, and build myself a website. I can start talking to my friends about having random dinner plans or coffee dates. I can go out for walks and explore my new neighborhood. And I can finally get back to auditioning! Without having to say, "I'll be there in a few weeks..." at the end of every cover letter.

So like everything else in life, this will pass. Just a couple more weeks of crazy, random, and messy, and then I get to build a new life for myself. That's actually pretty awesome.

And I'll figure out what to do with all of the junk I'm leaving in storage at my friend's house later.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13 - Balance

I feel like I'm living a balancing act at the moment, even moreso than I generally am.

There are tears always at the ready, but I'm not always in a physical space where it is okay to set them free.
I have a lot of packing up to do, but still a lot of time in which I will need to use my things.
I have a lot of arrangements to make, a lot of contacts have been made, but things have not been finalized.
There are a lot of people wanting my time, yet I feel selfish in wanting time alone to process everything.
I have a million plans to make, but I feel unable to make any plans right now.
There is a lot that has been thrown away or purged already, yet I still feel like I have too much.
I feel like I have too much, but I'm still having problems parting with some things.

I know that these are silly things to complain about - too many people love me and want to see me before I leave! How awful! - and I feel silly complaining. But I'm at that point where my life is in limbo, sitting on that really uncomfortable place you have to live right before you jump off and follow your dreams. There are things I wanted to do this summer that I haven't done. There are choices I have made that I know I have made in the best interest of my future that wake me up in the middle of the night in a panicked sweat. There are offers of assistance dangling out in the wind that I want to take advantage of but don't quite know how.

And all of this manifests in me living with tears always just behind my eyelids. A snarky comment for everyone. A brush-off for those who don't deserve it.

I apologize to those to whom I have been less than courteous lately. I'm sorry to my friends who's events I have missed recently in favor of staying home and crying while I pack. I'm sorry I don't have better words with which to describe the gratitude I feel toward all of those who are being so helpful and gracious and generous and supportive of this new life direction for me. It's a balancing act, and I promise I'll get better at it.

In September.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 12 - Depression

It seems that everyone is talking about depression today, in the wake of Robin Williams' suicide. And while I am glad that people are talking about it, it makes me sad that people only talk about it when it is thrust in their face. This seems to be the case with our culture - we're only really concerned with what is going on immediately in front of us, which makes sense. There is too much going on in the world to think about all of it at the same time. Maybe that is why Obama has so much more grey hair now than he did before he became President - trying to think about all of it at the same time is exhausting.

But as everyone is talking about it, it is very much on my mind, too. So I'm going to talk about depression today. Specifically as I have experienced it in my life. If you don't want to hear about my experience because it is hard for you to imagine me specifically having those sorts of thoughts, please stop reading now. I will not be offended.

I would also like to preface this discussion with the disclaimer that I am not depressed right now. I am stressed and scared and sad and tired and excited, but not depressed. I know there are people who love me and care about me and who would be devastated if anything ever happened to me. So this post is not a cry for help, it is not a plea for adoration, it is intended as a clinical discussion of what depression was like for me.

What I have been able to glean from so many people writing and talking about depression is that it is different for everyone. Some people need to hear from their loved ones that they are loved. Some need someone to just sit with them, to just be there. Some need medication or therapy or some combination thereof. Some need all of the above. I don't know what I needed when I was depressed. I remember telling my mom at one point that when I was at my lowest, even though I knew people loved me because they told me all of the time, I didn't feel it. To have them continually saying it almost made it worse, because the little voice in the back of my head would follow their "I love you" with "No they don't. They're just saying that because they are supposed to." So while some would say that the best way to deal with a depressed friend is to tell them how much they mean to you, that didn't work for me. That didn't fix it. Now, I'm not saying don't say it. I think you should tell the people that you love that you love them all the time, or at least every day. It is always a brilliant thing to hear. But it didn't cure my depression.

The thing about my depression is that it just hurt. Everywhere. All the time. My head, my face, my heart, my limbs, everything hurt all of the time. But not in the "I just got kicked in the shins" way, more of an "It really just takes too much effort to do anything and there is so little payoff that the thought of moving is too overwhelming and I just can't" kind of a way. I remember days when I would wake up praying that my legs wouldn't work so I would at least have a legitimate excuse to not move. It may be that part of the reason I didn't think medication would help is that pain killers don't treat that kind of pain. And yes, it was probably a chemical imbalance of some sort in my brain, but that imbalance wouldn't even let me ask people for actual help. I didn't think it would be worth it. I didn't think I was worth it. Because for me, a lot of it boiled down to a lack of hope. When you hurt that much for that long, it is hard to imagine that there will ever be a time when it won't hurt anymore. You lose hope, you lose will, you lose desire, and without those things, why bother?

I am not condoning suicide or self-harm. Someone else said, "If suicide is the answer, you're asking the wrong question," which I kind of like. Suicide is not the best solution. Ever. And if you currently think that it is, please find someone to talk to who can help you find the right question to be asking. I realize it may not help at all to hear me say this, but it does get better.

When I was most actively entertaining suicidal thoughts, one thought that came into my mind was that it would really hurt my mom if I went through with it. I thought about the very practical things that she would have to deal with, too, like planning a funeral and going through all of my stuff (which I can tell you from experience is a pain in the ass). And as much as I just wanted to be done with everything, I couldn't do that to her. There were other times when I would hold on to the thought that my cat would really miss me if I wasn't around anymore. Having just that one thing, that one tiny little thing in the "no" column was enough to stop me from going through with any of it. So if hearing that someone loves you doesn't fix it, or having someone sit and hold your hand doesn't fix it, or the therapy and medications are getting exhausting and you're tired of it, my recommendation would be to try to focus on one thing. One thing that means something to you that would be damaged irreparably if you weren't there anymore. That one little thing could save your life. If you need someone to talk it out with to help identify that one thing, please let me know. I'm more than happy to do so.

What I've learned from being depressed on and off is that life is worth living. And things do change. The thought that they may change in my favor is what keeps me going. This is probably why I have a tendency to dream so big now. Yes, I know that in all truth, I will likely never star opposite David Tennant in anything, and I'll likely never be in a Joss Whedon project. But I like pretending that those things could happen someday. I like having that very nearly impossible "what if" to look forward to. Because if I give up before I've exhausted all avenues to make those things happen, then I'll be really angry with myself and who wants to spend the afterlife angry at herself?

So I don't condone suicide, but I understand it. It breaks my heart that there are people who have lost their hope and lost their love and who are living in so much pain that even if they know how much they are loved, ending their life still feels like the best option. I don't agree with that choice, but I understand it. And the world lost someone wonderful when we lost Robin Williams yesterday. Wherever you are now, Robin, I hope it doesn't hurt anymore. I thank you for all of the years of love and joy and laughter you brought to so many people through your work. Thank you. You will be very much missed.

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11 - The Plot Thickens

The plot thickens. As in, I'm getting a bit more information about the place I will be living in New York and it is making me alter my plans a little bit, in terms of what I'm taking and what I'm not. I like having more information - that is the good part - and some of these changes are making me feel oddly better about things that I wouldn't think they would make me feel better about. For example, my roommate suggested that trying to fit a queen-sized bed into the room might be too much for it, so I might want to use my full-sized futon as my bed. Which, oddly, I am completely okay with. The mattress is newer - it's actually a nice piece of furniture - and I was having all sorts of anxiety about getting rid of the futon that I don't seem to have in relation to getting rid of the bed. And it sounds like there are other things that I was going to get rid of that we might actually want or need in the apartment. So it is more boxes for me to bring along, but less that I have to get rid of. Which is oddly comforting.

The next thing is to do is to get the movers lined up. I have requested several quotes, and the first one I got is about ten times what I thought it would be. So here's hoping the other ones are more competitive.

And I'm also remembering that people like being able to help. It has been scientifically proven that people like to help. So maybe it would be a good idea to take some of my friends up on their offers to help me, right?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 10 - Haiku

Tired of going
Through boxes of my old stuff
Yay for three more weeks

Saturday, August 09, 2014

August 9 - Stuff

So I'm packing and looking for space to store things and kicking into a higher gear to get ready to go. It is kind of fun to be moving along and making progress, and some of the conversations I've been having are leading me to believe that I will be able to find good homes for my things. Which is nice. Less stress. 

I have friends who are moving to LA next week and I have to say good bye to them tonight. That's going to be rough. And it makes me think about this little circle of friends I've been lucky enough to find. We are a great group. We work in all sorts of configurations, all kinds of settings, at all sorts of events. We're supportive and loving and helpful and kind to one another. And three of us are moving away, to opposite ends of the country no less. I don't think the friends staying in Chicago will fall apart or anything, but this has to be rough on them, too. And tonight, it all begins. 

Big changes, kids. Big changes are coming. Good luck to all of us. 

Friday, August 08, 2014

August 8 - The Big Scary

Okay, now that all of the people who need to know about this officially know about it, I can tell the interwebs what THE BIG SCARY is.

I'm moving to New York. In about three weeks.

We all know that I love New York, and I have said for a long time that I want to live there for a little while before I die, so I'm going now because I know if I don't go now, I probably never will. But if we're being completely honest, I can't remember a time in my life when I was more terrified of anything than I am right now.

Moving to New York is exciting. Yes, I am going to try to pursue an acting career there. My first apartment there is in Brooklyn, where I will be living with at least two, if not three, other people. I am looking for a day job that will allow me to pursue the acting career, and my brain is full of all kinds of possibilities. Maybe I should try for something at, say, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or Starbucks so I have flexibility in my schedule. Or maybe I should go with office or temp work so I have enough money to enjoy New York while I'm there. Or maybe I should take my guitar into Central Park and play some tunes and see what happens. I'll probably do that last one regardless, because if I'm reading the regulations correctly, unless you are using an amplifier of some sort, you don't need a license to play music outside. But there are so many choices and options and possibilities in front of me right now, I'm having a little bit of a hard time focusing. And I know that many of these questions won't have answers until I get there, and while that is exciting, it is also scary. I am venturing into the unknown, and that is frightening.

I think a lot of it has to do with what I'm leaving. I'm leaving an apartment I love. I'm leaving the best circle of friends a girl could ask for. I'm leaving a brilliant, vibrant theatre scene in which I'm just starting to make a name for myself. I am leaving the comfort of my own space for shared space with people I've not actually met before. And in doing so, I'm going to have to leave behind or purge my life of all kinds of things that I thought I had settled and wouldn't have to worry about again. It's like that moment in Fight Club, where he talks about how he grew up and bought a couch, so the "buying a couch" thing could be checked off of his life list and he wouldn't have to worry about it again. Achievement accomplished: buy a couch. But since I am doing this move so much later in my life, I have a couch. I have tables. I have bins full of my history that will have nowhere (really) to live, so I have to get rid of a lot of it. Which means at some point, when I get to the next phase of my life wherein I need my own couch again, I'll have to worry about buying a new couch. Which will make me miss my old couch. I like my couch. But I'm giving it up to go on this adventure. And I'll have to worry about getting another one at some point. These are the thoughts that are clogging up my brain space and making it hard for me to not just spontaneously cry. I'm not doing well with the avoiding spontaneous crying thing.

My family and friends who know about the move are being incredibly supportive. I think they're all more excited for me than I am right now, which is kind of nice because they are reminding me to let go of some of the terror every now and again and just enjoy the fact that I'm doing something amazing. I'm following my dream. One of my friends is letting me use some garage space to store some of my history, which is so amazingly generous, I don't know how I'll be able to thank him. People have been wonderful in helping me find a place to live where Owen and I can make a new life for ourselves. And I do have friends in New York, so it's not like I'm going in totally blind. And there is always the lindy hop community - I can pick up dancing again and meet more people out there that way.

But it is entirely possible that the thing that is scaring me the most is that I am going out there to follow my dream - to be an actor - and that when I get there, I will not be cast in anything. I'm putting it all on the line and I could fail miserably. I could get out there and learn that the most I will ever achieve as an actor is to be a supporting character in storefront productions in Chicago. Not that I haven't loved being supporting characters in storefront productions in Chicago - I have - I have just been dreaming bigger for a very long time and could be smacked in the face with the lesson that there is nothing bigger for me within the next couple of years. I really hope this is not the case. Everyone to whom I have expressed this fear, that I'll not be cast in anything, thinks that it is highly unlikely that I will not get anything. Even though some of those people have never actually seen me perform, the support and positive energy is appreciated. But I'm still terrified that I will take this leap and not be able to do the thing I love most.

I'll be fine once I get there. I'm not worried about finding a job. I'm not worried about being able to pay my rent. I'm not worried about making friends and finding ways to occupy my time. I am worried that I will not be able to act. But I've also made a deal with myself that I'll try this for three years, to give it a full, fair shake, and if, after three years, I've not been cast in anything, I can always come back to Chicago. But I have to try this. I'll be very disappointed in myself if I don't at least try.

I'm terrified.

I'm excited.

But mostly terrified.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

August 7 - Haiku

I promise that I
Will say all of the things soon
Now I just need sleep

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

August 6 - Semantic Proposal

I saw an article the other day (which I, admittedly, did not read) about the rise in popularity of the spelling "theatre" in the United States, as opposed to "theater." The British vs. the American, some might say. As one who grew up with the American spelling, I do feel a bit snobbish when I use the British spelling, but I think I have a proposed solution to this problem that will also make things clearer when using either spelling in written situations.

Theater, n. A venue in which pre-recorded entertainment is watched by a large audience, i.e. a movie theater.

Theatre, n. A venue in which live entertainment is watched by a large audience, i.e. an opera house or venue in which plays or musicals are performed.

Now, I put "large audience" in there to differentiate between an actual theatre and watching your friends do an improv skit at Thanksgiving dinner because let's face it, 1) that happens, and 2) your dining room is not a theatre. But this is not meant to imply that if a venue can seat 400 people and only six show up for a performance that the space is no longer a theatre (or theater). This is only meant to imply that the potential for a large audience is there and/or that the purpose for people going there is solely to watch entertainment. Or largely to watch entertainment. Some go to appease spouses and significant others in the hopes of future sexual favors with the theatrical performance being secondary to that. But I think you get the gist.

This differentiation also pays homage to the origins of both media - theatre existing long before the United States did, and movie theaters being so prevalent in the United States as Hollywood is still considered the be-all-end-all goal for many film actors even though movies of higher caliber are often produced elsewhere.

So what do you think? Theatre for live entertainment and theater for pre-recorded? Sound good?

Okay. Done.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

August 5 - Time

I have become very aware of time lately. How quickly it passes and how much of it there is. How slowly it goes sometimes when it seems it is about to run out. If we want to get really existential about it, we could delve into the fact that time is basically a human construct, the way we experience it now. The duration of an hour is completely arbitrary. Someone took a wild guess, based on the blooming and dying of native fauna, about how long a year is, and we have yet to measure that amount of time accurately. And those measurements are useless on other planets because they move around their suns at different rates. But there are machines that can measure nanoseconds and all of the things that can happen within a nanosecond. Time is a really weird thing.

I'm aware of how much of my time I spend doing things I do not enjoy, or how much of it I spend with people who do not excite or stimulate me. I am aware of how spending that much time in those activities with those people has trained me to believe that in most situations, I am not welcomed or liked, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I am aware of how much time I have left to spend in my life and how little my desire is to spend it doing things that make me miserable.

Things are changing, time is passing. Things will be different in the future, possibly better, possibly worse, but at the very least, different. And while I wait for the future to get here, I find myself acutely aware of how slow the clock ticks, and how many moments I could be filling with something else. I don't want to waste moments. Even if it means enjoying the time spent sitting on my couch with my cat on my lap, playing some silly game on my phone. I want to be aware of all of these moments in between, to catalog them all somewhere in my brain so when I need to remember what contentment was, or what water tastes like, or how my apartment smells when it rains, I can. And in doing so, I can be transported to another time and another place.

Because, after all, time is a human construct. Why not play with it a little?

Monday, August 04, 2014

August 4 - Note

When purging, it is not necessary to purge everything to get down to zero. The past is not always toxic; sometimes it can be warm and friendly. The past made us who we are, right? So it's okay to hold on to some things. Not everything. But some things. 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

August 3 - Love

I think one of the things I love most about the artists I love is how much they love what they do. If you watch Glen Hansard play music, or Moby, or Frank Turner, you can see that they love it with every fiber of their being. They love getting to share the music with their fellow musicians and with the audience. And they know how lucky they are to get to do that. Like Frank Turner says, "There's no such thing as rockstars, there's just people who play music/And some of them are just like us and some of them are dicks." These guys, the musicians I love, are just like us. But luckier, obviously.

I hope I can bring that love of art into the rest of my career, too. I want to be the sort of person other artists like working with because I'm positive and energetic and fearless and encouraging. I want to be the sort of person who audiences love to watch because I've invited them on my emotional journey and they're along for the ride. I want to be one of those artists who loves making art so passionately that everyone else around her wants to make art, too. And I want to be the sort of artist who gets to share my work with all sorts of people and who is grateful for every second spent on stage.

Please don't let me forget about that.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

August 2 - Dents

As I start to make little dents in the Big Scary, I'm finding it to be not quite as scary as I thought it might be. Or as difficult. Which is good, because I'm sure I have many more dents to make and some of them will be deeper and may cut up my hands. Metaphorically speaking, anyway. 

I also want to apologize for the blandness of my blogs recently. I'll be able to talk more openly about the Big Scary soon, and since that is pretty much the only thing on my mind at the moment, it'll free me up creatively. I hope. Coming soon. Eep!

Friday, August 01, 2014

August 1 - You're Doing It Right

There's a gas station/auto body shop near where I work that I walk past twice every day - once on my way to work and once on the way home. It's always the same guys working there, and I have wondered if they've noticed me in the respect that the same woman walks past the shop twice every day. One day a couple of years ago, it started raining, like, monsoon rains when I was walking past the shop and they let me duck into the garage to wait for things to clear up a bit. So I know they're decent people, but we don't interact much. 

Today, on my way home, as I passed the shop, one of the men who works there looked at me - my face, not my rear - and said, "You have a good weekend." It was not a derogatory comment, it was not loaded with innuendo, it was one person who has recognized another person walking by on many occasions wishing that person a pleasant weekend. I replied, "You, too," as I continued walking. Not sarcastically. Exchanging politeness for politeness. 

When I was about a half of a block away, I thought to myself, "Yes! That's how you do it!" There has been so much talk recently about street harassment and the objectification of women and microaggressions and whatnot and a lot of men seem to think that hollering at a woman about her physique as she walks down the street is a compliment. They honestly don't understand why it makes her uncomfortable and then they get frustrated that their attempts to find a lady friend are often unsuccessful. And there has been talk about how to talk to women that makes it sound like women are of a completely different species and we have to be treated with the utmost care, like wild animals that will bite your head off at the slightest provocation. Honestly, I think those articles do just as much harm as good. Women are not crazy, irrational, bloodthirsty creatures from another planet. We're people. Just like men are people. Interact with us like we're people. Which is exactly what this man at the gas station/auto body shop did today. He wished a person he recognized a pleasant weekend. No leering, no patronization, no fear, no walking on eggshells. Just looked at my face and said, "You have a nice weekend." That's it. That is all that is required to keep a woman thinking you're a crazy stalker pervert. Not so hard, right?

So to this man at the gas station/auto body shop, I hope you have a nice weekend, too. Keep doing what you're doing because you're doing it right.