13 Things I Learned in 2013

1. JANUARY: You can get an A+ in “being an actor,” but it still doesn’t mean you’ll succeed.

It’s about being ME, and living my life, and knowing, deep within myself, that this moment is temporary. To forgive myself when I get another “no” or I’ve gone months without a “real” job. To acknowledge that I’m WORTH forgiving. To trust myself enough to believe that the next job will come.

It’s not that you don’t do the hard work– it’s that you don’t depend upon it to make your life perfect. I don’t think I expected that when graduating from high school, or when I moved to New York, or really… ever. Until the last two years of being in the world. I’ve become more and more comfortable with it, but I have to constantly remind myself that the balance is the key. As one of my favorite professors loved to say about the process of acting (and, ergo, the process of living) is “always balancing, never balanced.”

2. February: I want all the things.

This is something that has surprised me about my relationship with A. I never dreamed about my perfect wedding, I never felt like anything was missing when I was alone, I never wanted anyone to spend money on me. But with A, I google engagement rings (not that I want him to propose yet, but again… suddenly I want all the things). I want him to buy me nice dinners. I want him to get his book deal so he can take care of our little family. I want to cook for him. I want him with me all the time.

This is not to say I’m going to get married and become a housewife and give up everything I’ve dreamed of– I’m just as ambitious as always. But I realized that I maybe do want some of the things we’re told women want, and that’s okay. Like Hannah, I feel weird about wanting all the things, but truth be told… I kinda do.

3. March: I know that there’s no quick fix to this.

Everything hurts me.
I’m easily irritated, and I hate that.
It is physically difficult to do anything, and mentally even more so.
I feel as though I’m wasting my life.
I am not entirely sure that “I am enough” for this business at all.

My spirits are very low. And the thing that makes me the most happy in the world is so far away from me. I have nothing to look forward to. I don’t know what else to do. I’m scared and feeling very hopeless. Why can’t the universe throw me a bone? A small one? Any one?

I know this will pass. I know I will eventually work again. But right now I feel like my insides are made of hardening cement– heavy and painful. Nothing give me joy right now. Everything hurts. Everything makes me cry. I want to be nowhere; to hibernate until this time is over. And I just want it go away.

4. April: Our love is the truest thing RIGHT NOW, and for the time to come.

We talk about love a lot. So do most couples.
But my darling, I UNDERSTAND you. We FIT. “I” am not a “thing” without “you.”

Just wanted to share.
I never take you for granted.
I never am not surprised and grateful when you make me coffee.

Our love is energetic and exciting and romantic, but it’s also comfortable. It’s home. And that’s something that’s harder to put into words than the platitudes and poetics that make up the language of most relationships. A year ago, I couldn’t imagine a love like this.
Now, I can’t imagine my life without it.

5. May: Self-harm is the is the easiest game to play.

I’m always amazed by the ways in which I know how to hurt myself.

Food.
Cutting.
Watching videos of my boyfriend’s ex on his computer.
Saying “no” and staying in.

I have hurt myself more than anyone has ever hurt me.

6. June: The way I see myself, the way I see the world, has transformed.

Everything changes. It would take years and years to trace each seismic shift from its starting place, to its catalyst, to its change. There are patterns, of course. My triggers are familiar. Many of my dreams are the same. But the way I see myself, the way I see the world, has transformed, and on more than one occasion.

I’m okay with that.

As long as I still find those moments where all the pieces of my life, my desires, my city, can balance momentarily on a finger. As long as I feel those sharp flashes of knowing I’m exactly where and what and who I’m supposed to be. The inside transforms the outside, and the same is true the other way around. And maybe that makes me hope that I’ll never stop changing, that with each turn of the season and spin of the axis, I’m finding my balance on the point that feels just right, at least for a moment. And then I’ll fall off, only to tip and spin and flounder until I’ve found my perfect, temporary fit again.

7. July: I hate this business sometimes, I doubt my strength when the going is tough, but I honestly CANNOT imagine my life any way but this.

And those raw moments of the play, where the only thing that exists is the look in Reed’s eyes-the kiss or kill- or the way Angie skips onstage after a betrayal, like nothing has happened, or the genuine nerves and laughter of the epilogue– I am so much myself. I get to experience worlds different from my own, physical contortions, and heartache and lust and love, it really just boils down to ME, really looking, really hearing, really standing there and taking it, and letting myself feel every bit. No hiding.

It’s not really disappearing, I guess. It’s allowing honest feeling to seep out and be seen. I am actually standing there, actually slapping his face, actually kissing his lips, actually blocking her way.

And unlike life, much of the time, I get to experience it fully. That’s what I share with the audience. And that is joy. That is release. That is certainty.

8. August: I ate pasta for dinner. And I feel A-OK about it.

Starving made (and makes) me angry. Being hungry sharpens things, sure, and I’m more productive, but I’m also touchy. I’m isolated. Everybody and everything annoys me. It’s manic, but it’s also pissy. I’m never more outwardly angry than when I’m hungry.

Binging makes me sad. I turn inward here, too, but for different reasons. I want to be invisible. People don’t piss me off– I just feel as though I don’t deserve to be near anyone, like I’m worthless and I want to be alone. It’s almost more painful because of the shame. Not eating isn’t shameful. I don’t care what anyone says. For women, and anyone who has ever experienced an ED, eating is shameful. Not eating means self-control. This is not the objective truth, but it is the truth we live every day in this society. I would get more auditions if I was starving than if I was binging. If I’m sick from not eating, that’s almost understandable. If I’m sick because I tear into myself with food, punish every body part, my stomach and my brain in particular, I lack self-control.

9. September: I am a participant in so many tiny universes.

Looking at A’s Facebook page today, loaded with those lovely “Happy Birthday!”s that pop up through the day, I noticed my universes converging. That’s how life goes, I guess, and love is the catalyst for it. Actors I worked with last summer post greetings after friends from college share their blessings. A knows these people and they know him because I exist. I love A, so I bring him places. I love my friends, so I make a point to go to those places.

I know I’m not the only one with these many orbiting galaxies, meshing and meeting, with only me, my strange and special life, at the center. How did I become someone whose world has so much variance? It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I exist.

10. October: I have confidence that I can care for myself, for the first time in a long time.

Look at all this SHIT I had to fight through, tooth and nail, to get to this point. Look at how hard I worked. Look at all the time I spent fighting for the life I have now. I battled an eating disorder, crushing anxiety, self-hatred, depression, mania, self-injury in every way you can imagine, and I’ve come out the other side. And I have confidence that I can care for myself, for the first time in a long time. Isn’t THAT crazy?”

My life is nothing special to me, as I walk through it. And yet, I realize that I have walked through incredible forests, forded wild rivers. I am lucky to have it, and I am grateful. Overwhelmingly.

11. November: Eventually, someone will reach out to me because they want me.

Andddddd. Here is me letting go. After a day of excitement, then a day of so much nervous energy I could have powered NYC… And the video audition is taped, looks just fine, and was sent off to my agent. Now. I can feel good about this. I just need to stop fantasizing about it.

What’s next to get me excited?! Anyone? Mom and dad are coming for thanksgiving in two weeks! Artie and I have two movie dates next week! I have a play audition on Monday! I have amazing supportive friends! Life is good, y’all. And that’s the end of this chapter. Page turn, cover close, on the shelf, as high as it can go. :)

12. December: I love that in spite of EVERYTHING, every time the lights go down, my heart fills and beats just a little harder.

I love this community, despite its flaws.

I love this craft, despite its strangeness.

I love these shows, despite some of them being kind of dumb.

I love this city and its passion, despite the fact that it’s exhausting.

13.  2013 was not a “banner” year. My career was slow. The first bumps in my relationship appeared. I struggled with friendships, I struggled at work. I fucked up a lot. It’s hard to look at the strides I made last year (huge show, Equity card, agent, new boyfriend, moving in with boyfriend, new cat) and compare them to last year. Yet 2013 was not devoid of growth. It was just that the growth was subtler, harder to see, less exciting, less bright.

I rekindled incredible friendships through the process of R’s wedding.
I did a show that reminded me why I love the theatre.
I shot my first lead in a TV episode, and did really well. And had so much fun.
I am happier with my body, and also more content with my “recovery,” than ever before.
I took some great risks (new dance studio, solo vacation, new doctors).
I supported my boyfriend through a career change and the ups-and-downs therein.
I watched my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend in a play, then watched her leave the state, and slowly stopped letting her hurt me (still working).
I had my final appointment with my amazing therapist.
I said what I wanted and boldly asked for things (“I want an audition for this.” “Could you please do the dishes?”)
I reconnected with my relatives (though my grandmother would disagree).
I attended my first wedding.
I looked more beautiful than I have ever looked before, and I felt that.
I accepted that there are things that I can’t do because they make me feel bad, and that’s okay.
I was more in love than I’ve ever been.

So yeah. 2013. Things happened. As we enter a new year, I want to continue to make things happen. I want to continue to take risks. I want to give back. I want to be kind. I want to keep learning.

What did you learn this year? And by the way, I’m so grateful for your presence in my life this year. Happy new year!

Detox.

533168_540376390603_1834508623_nOkay.

It’s time. I’m not getting any less obsessive, and I’m not feeling any better. It’s time to make a change.

I’m detoxing from A’s ex. I’ve cleared my search histories so her Facebook, blog, and Instagram don’t pop up. My laptop, iPad, and iPhone are clean.

She’s a part of our relationship, and she’s a part of what I look at every day, and it’s not good. She doesn’t even live here anymore. She’s living with someone else in the South. Her life depresses me. SHE depresses me. I don’t like her. I feel sorry for her, which is worse. And none of that makes me feel good about me.

So here we go. Time to focus on the here and now. No more stalking. No more self-flagellation (because that’s what this is– self-harm via feeling less-than this girl who he was going to marry, this girl who lived here and slept in this bed, this girl who was with him four years).

I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

“Army had half a day.”

FROM FRIDAY. A’s been gone for two days. I miss him. I’m exhausted. Nothing new. xoxo

I was okay with his leaving. Two weeks in Vermont with the army, completing required training to match his new sergeant rank. Basically, just two weeks a plane ride away, hot and busy in his ACUs.

I’m busy and exhausted anyway– running one show and rehearsing another, struggling to keep up with office work, and also battling these overwhelming demons, return to pick and taunt and obsess and hate about the fluctuation in my weight, the food I put in my mouth, the shame and the sadness and the frustration. Some time to myself would be healthy.

And then today came.

I couldn’t go back to sleep after he left around 6:30 (he officially leaves tomorrow– this was just prep at the armory so he has one more night with me). I lay with my eyes closed and listened to half of a This American Life episode. I made a smoothie and checked my email. I put on workout clothes and headed to the train. I did some basic strength stuff (it’s been a while! Eek), and then went to the drugstore to pick up a prescription and a couple of other things. I got back on the train around 10 and headed home.

I felt good. Productive. Independent. For the rest of the day, I did a little work on the show (the one I’m rehearsing and DO NOT want to be doing), watched some project runway, took a bath. Around 3, I realized that A would (hopefully) be home in an hour, and I was leaving for the show in an hour and a half. And then I’d do the show. And then we might go out or just go home but then we’d go to bed and in the morning he’d be GONE.

And then sadness hit like a ton of bricks.

I’m afraid.

Living with him is safe, even when it’s insanely difficult and frustrating and new. But A is so much easier to be around than my own obsessions and neuroses. Without his calming presence, without the life requirements his simply EXISTING places on me, I’m out in the open again, trying to stay on track.

And I’m already feeling vulnerable, so. Great.

I’m sad.

I’m genuinely sad.

And not just because I’m nervous about being home alone.

I am completely, head over heels in love with this boy. He is my life. He’s a limb. I’m going to miss him A LOT.

So twofold, I guess.

Sigh.

Busy busy busy busy busy

My anxiety these days is subtle. It creeps in, undetected, until I can feel it roiling in my veins.

I sit at a table, waiting for rehearsal to begin, and very quickly, I feel desperate to disappear. To curl into a tiny ball and not be seen.

I don’t feel scared. I don’t feel sad. I just feel completely uncomfortable. Nerves exposed. Fragile. It’s almost the tenuous nervousness before speaking the first lines of a play, or waiting in the dark for the lights to come up. Except I don’t have a line. And the lights are already up.

Maybe it’s the Wellbutrin. I know that can cause anxiety. But it has been really wonderful to feel able to accomplish everything I want to do– the Wellbutrin is doing its job of activation very well. I’m reading up a storm, I am okay with leaving the house every morning and making my way around the city all day and stumbling home at night. I used to get headaches while drinking, but for some reason since the increase, it hasn’t been so bad. Maybe the difference is taking it in the morning. Ah, who really cares, as long as it’s working.

I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been busy, and to be honest, sort of bored. Not genuinely bored, like “ugh, so much time to do nothing, I’m so bored,” but more like “I’m really busy for the most part, but not with much that’s exciting, and everything I do is all over the place and inconsistent and even when I’m home I’m not totally relaxed.” Although I guess that’s not “bored?” Is it? Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

Well, let’s see.

On Saturday, I got fitted for my bridesmaid dress for R’s wedding. Her family is very wealthy, so they’re generously buying all of us our dresses– which, just FYI, are DESIGNER and STUNNING. Here’s mine:

(except in Lavender) ml-monique-lhuillier-vanilla-oneshoulder-tulle-gown-product-1-8292021-001396589_large_flex

Yeah. I KNOW.

Then we got mani/pedis and went and got dinner and margaritas at one of R and our favorite places downtown. I had to leave early to meet A to see a show we had comps for, but all in all, a really nice day with a very complementary group of ladies. I have had struggles with each and every one, but today we celebrated R and each other, no strings attached.

Last night, I did a reading with a young theatre company I occasionally work with (they’re the folks who did the Sir Peter Shaffer event where I was in a reading of one of Sir Peter’s plays for an audience that included the man himself, Alec Baldwin, John Guare, Stephen Sondheim, and the woman who originated my role on Broadway, Juliet Mills.) It was a goofy play, and my part was supporting, but it was fun. And guess who it starred, theatre nerds?!

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Yep, that’s Anthony Rapp of RENT fame. I know him from other stuff, and I’ve met him a couple of times before, but it really impressed my mom. 🙂

What else?

I’m working less this week, since my boss is in tech. That’s a real pleasure. I basically just sit in the air conditioned office and half work, half goof off in the quiet. I love A, but it’s nice to have time where we can be separate and just work on our own things. He actually just got an email back from his agent, after waiting a while, and it turns out his agent wants him to do a serious overhaul on the book before he pitches it to the American markets. I know A is disappointed, and I do wish that he could just move forward towards the next project, towards making a deal, and be done with the editing, but of course, THIS is the work of being a writer. At some point soon, he’ll have to radically accept that. And it looks like his agents wants him to really dig in deep. So. I’m trying to figure out how to support him through that, when I know that’s not really what he wants to do. We both (or at least I) know it’s undoubtedly necessary, but I know the time and workload feels very overwhelming to him. He’ll do it… we’ll just see how it goes.

Tomorrow is exciting! A and I planned a “day of fun” where we took off work completely and didn’t worry about money and splurged on fun stuff. So, here’s the agenda:

Drunch at Big Daddy’s:

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A matinee of our favorite show in town:

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Dinner somewhere followed by a performance of this fabulous play (I’ve seen it, he hasn’t):

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And finishing (if we can) with dessert and a bottle of wine at our “2nd date wine bar.”

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Annnnnddd…. maybe I should do some work now. 😉

What have you guys been up to this week?

Tomorrow.

And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time.

This is my tomorrow.

11:30am

Head down to the box office for THE TESTAMENT OF MARY to pick up the ticket that I can’t use. (awesome).

12:30pm

Drop off my refills for Spiro and Wellbutrin (gone up on both).

1pm

Go to work. Make the magic happen.

4pm

Hop on the train down to near Madison Square Park for my first-ever national commercial– eeek! It’s for Chase, which would be amazing, since they are my bank anyway. Send me tons of juju around 5:10pm EST.

6pm

Head to the Rattlestick to usher the show there.

8:30pm

Meet with A downtown. Probably grab a bite. Otherwise get excited for the weekend.

9:30pm

See L in a singer’s showcase at the Duplex downtown.

10:30pm

Head home and go to bed for our EPIC MORNING…

Bonus: Thursday!

7:55am

Flight out of JFK, through Denver, to IDAHOME! for the Easter weekend. We’re home on Monday.

Creepy Stalker

Sometimes, I wish that one specific person would read my blog.

And by one specific person, I mean someone who I have this weird obsession with. Someone I have never met, and someone I don’t like on principle. Someone who I want to obsess over me.

By one specific person, I mean A’s ex.

I can’t explain this consuming obsession I have with her. I check her Facebook and Twitter daily. I read her blogs. I stalk their old correspondence (most of which is gone because A is incredibly sweet and generous and 100% mine and deleted it or threw it out). On a daily. basis. Not good, team.

To backtrack briefly, my therapist lent me this book called Attached— mostly to glance over in regards to my relationship with my mother. Most of the book, though, is about romantic attachments. It posits there are three types of attachment: secure, anxious, and avoidant. Our relationship is remarkably secure (the ideal attachment style)– we are independent, but comfortable relying on each other, equally loving, good at communicating through issues, etc.

However, I definitely have traits of anxious attachment. This is a problem in my general life, too, and something that’s a constant topic in therapy. If someone is upset, I blame myself. This ain’t great for relationships. Luckily, we’re good communicators, so we get through it. The ex-gf stalking, though, is like, EPICALLY anxious. What is it about?! I really can’t explain it.

Back to A– he’s remarkably secure (almost textbook). However, he has a few, I dunno… “concerning” avoidant traits.

1. He cheated on the first girl he lived with (who is the one he loved the most fully before me, according to him). He describes the total detachment of it. That’s not, like, a great sign.
2. He’s lived with two girls prior to me. Now, that means nothing, really, but it could be a sign that he doesn’t see living together as as big of a step as maybe I do. (do I?)
3. He was 110% going to marry the last girl for the first years of their relationship. Although, of course, they didn’t marry, and that was really because he realized they were going in separate directions.
4. He’s not nostalgic. This is just plain weird to me. God knows I’m disgustingly nostalgic and loyal. I can’t let ANYTHING go. He doesn’t speak to his exes. He doesn’t really speak to, like, anyone, except me.
5. He doesn’t speak to anyone except, like, me. I know he hasn’t been in the city as long as I have, and most of his friends are back in Philly, but… he doesn’t really have friends. That’s weird to me. All I usually have are friends.
6. He went from working with his ex DAILY for YEARS to not speaking to her (and this is post-breakup years). It has been months. That seems abrupt. And he doesn’t seem to miss her. Which on the one hand is GREAT! But on the other… feels like a red flag?
7. He lies. He lied to his ex about little things while we’ve been together, which is fine. But he’s lied to her before. And he’s not particularly open with anyone but me about anything in his life. I learned over Thanksgiving that his parents didn’t even know we’d done a weekend trip to Amish country and Hershey Park in September. THAT seems like a huge omission.

So. Does any of this make me doubt his love?

I don’t know. No. I don’t doubt he loves me. I have never felt more loved, supported, cared for, important. I have never felt so sure of a relationship and so confident in myself with another human being.

So why do I stalk his ex-girlfriend? Some theories.

1. I want to know what happened to this LONG relationship that they both thought would lead to marriage.
2. I want to know if he loves me more than he loved her, and I’m jealous of their long time together (4 years).
3. I want to feel like the most important part of his life.
4. I want her to feel jealous of me.
5. I want her to be single. (WHY do I want this?! Am I evil?! But I DO!! I can’t wait till she breaks up with her new boyfriend!! What is this demon inside me?!!)

I have no explanation, is really what I mean. But I think I need to detox. Or something.

Okay. Here’s what I’m gonna do.

1. My sister’s here this week, so I’m going to not talk to him about this yet. We should be alone.
2. When we can be alone, I’m going to tell him that for some reason, I feel a lot about his ex.
3. I’m going to ask him to just tell me everything he can about her and their relationship. I don’t care if I’ve heard it all before. I need to hear it again. I need to hear that our love is different.
4. I’ll detox from my stalking. Just 100% cut. that. shit. out.

Okay. HAVE to go to bed.

(it’s been a shitty weekend because A’s away at Army, and my sister’s in town but not with me. I spent the whole day alone. I didn’t binge, but I ate more than I wanted today and especially after losing 5 lbs from being sick… I’m thinking about it. I HATE thinking about it. I want my love home to me. It gets worse when he’s away.)

(Ohmigod also THIS IS IT: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/valley-girl-brain/201003/the-power-the-ex-girlfriend )