It was such a good idea…

But life intervened. Per usual.

As you can see, I’m not posting really, like at all. Even those cute daily worksheets. Why, you ask? Is everything okay?

So, the answers to all your burning questions:

1. I am okay. I’m on the better side of okay, actually– I’ve lately been very successful with looking at the daily work and each little step with great confidence, rather than looking at everything from a wide lens and freaking out about how behind I am. This is keeping me pretty happy– like a step above “happy enough to function.”

2. Eating is good. I think about it, sure, but I don’t binge. This is miraculous to the me of 2 years ago, when I couldn’t imagine this kind of freedom.

3. A is struggling. His agent (very kindly, but still) dropped him a couple of weeks ago, and general malaise about not working and worrying about money has cast a shadow over him this month. Still, we have managed to find many moments of levity, including a beautiful day at the Brooklyn Book Festival.

4. I will likely be writing less here because I’m working on putting together something exciting and new and totally terrifying with a colleague. Not a solo piece per se… But something we create with me as the axis, as it were. I’m interested in exploring fantastical short stories in theatrical form (Oh hi, it’s me, Pretentious Polly). Karen Russell, Aimee Bender, George Saunders, etc.

5. I’m taking “workshops.” I hate this shit. But if I want to get into these casting offices, I have to go. And I have to nail it EVERY TIME. I’ve got an important one (prob my most important casting office) on Monday.

6. I got asked to do a private reading for the director of American Stare. At his house, which is stressful. With a German accent, which is SUPER stressful. Anything else– British, Irish, Southern, French– but German is really hard for me. I’m working on it!

7. The biggest news is that I’m leaving therapy. Yeah, bomb drop! I’m in such a good place with such a good support system and I’ve really internalized my therapist’s voice… That I really am ready. We both agreed, but I was the one who really said it in as many words. I’m sad, because she is a PART of me, and I love her in a way I’ve never loved anyone, but I’m proud.

8. Cat’s good, mom’s good, money is tight, and I still cry when I walk into a theatre. But I feel like I can see my feet on the earth, pushing off, making prints. I am moving, I am making an impact, and the air is clear.

I am here. I read your blogs. I send you love. And feeling still and strong in this whirlwind makes me certain without a doubt that “okay-ness” is possible and coming for all of us in this tiny blog circle.

Till next time, loves.

xoxo
B

Scared, disappointed, lost (and hopeful)

Went to my friend T’s cabaret tonight. It was a benefit for a theatre company and featured a number of young Broadway stars (from Annie, Mary Poppins, Matilda, etc).

I was at a table with the people I so blissfully spent last summer with. They make me feel important. They make me feel like I could be someone; like I AM someone, and it’s just a matter of time.
But we talked about the show we did last summer.
And we talked about the movie adaptation (which is happening). And we talked about how I would play my character’s sister. Because I’m “sexy” now. I’m too old.
I’m too old.
I’m too old.
It’s over.
I will never play Jonatha again.

My heart feels like it’s breaking. It doesn’t feel fair. It doesn’t feel right. It feels like I was given a beautiful gift, but after a few months of enjoyment, it’s been taken from me.

Which isn’t a fair way to see it.
The girl who developed the character through a number of years and a number of readings was replaced by me. It’s the way of the world.

But it was supposed to be me.
They told me it was me.
They told me not to worry.
“13 till 30,” we said.

But it took too long. It won’t come to NYC till next year. Next year I’ll be 25. Wow.

And I can guarantee you that I’ll be too old to play 14, no matter what they said last summer.

The thing is, they still love me. They still talk effusively about working together. How my success is just a matter of time. And I believe them. I do. I wouldn’t be in this business, breaking my own heart, my own spirit, constantly, if I didn’t believe that I would make it.

But that comfort.
The comfort of a part I’m perfect for in a play I love.
The comfort of knowing something is coming, and I don’t have to be afraid of what’s next.
The comfort of having something that’s mine.

Since I left my company, since last summer ended, I haven’t had that comfort. I have been struggling hard, frustrated and broken, scared and yet somehow still hopeful, for the last year.

But to find that one comfort, the comfort of Jonatha and the summer that changed my life, gone? I feel untethered. Scared. I feel like hope isn’t enough. Hope is great except when you don’t have anything to rest it on.

Scared and hopeful.

Disappointed and hopeful.

I guess if I can keep the hopeful, I have something to hold on to.

Hot Air and Cold Air

Days have been long lately.

The weather is volatile– the sky’s the pent-up energy and rage blackens bright summer mornings and spits angry showers onto sticky sidewalks. We become a people of preparation, carrying sunglasses alongside our umbrellas, flip flops wrapped in raincoats and stuffed into backpacks.

Evenings we blast the A/C, attempting to cut through the moist air that hangs damp and still throughout our three rooms. The apartment has been sitting, shut up tight all day long, and the air seems to fester and sweat like we do on the sidewalks. We haven’t topped 85 degrees in a week or so, but the air is still pregnant with moisture, and even in the mildest temperatures, feels thick and unbearable.

It feels as though my body has sucked that moisture right out of the air, swelling my fingers and stomach and arms. I feel bloated and full, and whatever my body has absorbed sits, just like the air in my apartment, heavy and full and completely stagnant. I stumble through my days, out of bed covered in sweat, alternating between blasting my wet hair with the hot air from the dryer and standing, arms out, in front of the air conditioner. I while away the dark hours, when the sky clouds up, in the office alone, waiting for my boss to arrive. He often doesn’t. I stagnate with the air, sitting invisibly behind the desk, dimly lit by the lamp and the computer screen. Event to event, many events lately, hair sticking to the back of my neck, face shining with the pinpricks of sweat at my temples. Self-consciously flipping it from side to side, lifting it restlessly from my shoulder and shaking it, as if to somehow get the air around me moving. The nervous wipe under the eyes, persistently, if not successfully, attempting to staunch my eyeliner’s endless pull from its place on my lids to the caverns under my eyes.

The thickness of the air seems to separate us, somehow, as though we’re all moving on our own lily pads in the great swamp of the city, bumping each other perhaps, but not overlapping. It seems to take hours for a sentence to pass from someone’s lips to my ear, and another eternity to be processed by my brain. Everything appears warped, like wood panels left out in the rain. Sound, sights, thoughts– all bend their way from place to place, never quite arriving at their destination fully formed. Nothing feels sharp.

I long for that sharpness, in a way. The sharpness of hunger, perhaps. Also the sharpness of the burn in my ears and nose and fingers when I stumble into my apartment from the snow-whipped streets of the city. Clarity.

Summer, for me, inherently lacks sharpness. I plod. My mouth hangs lazily open and touch feels heavy and unwanted. I imagine scraping myself, inside and out, of the heavy air that inflates every cell. I slough it off with the metal scraper my mother had in her kitchen, which we used for Play-Doh creations. I finish off with a rough scrup from a loofah, dry and slightly painful. I radiate, red with irritation, but feeling present and alive. The fantasy ends when I inevitably imagine myself filling back up, skin and organs and fluids regenerating, sucking the water that hangs plentifully in the summer air.

So I plod on, sunny mornings through stormy afternoons through muggy nights. I continue to bloat, full of moisture and hot, wet air. I keep moving, and I hope that eventually I’ll pick up enough speed to blast through, cold and sharp, like the air from the city pumped through our old A/C, reappearing in the kitchen with fresh, clean life.

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Falling Apart but Just Fine

When A leaves, I fall apart.
The last two nights, I’ve binged myself into a stupor and found myself unable to get out of bed.

It used to be that I felt like I needed alone time in order to process and care for myself. It’s certainly true that after a binge or when I’m super hungry, I am completely shut off to other people. I retreat internally. BUT… when I don’t allow myself to binge or starve (i.e. when A is here and there’s no opportunity), I am fine. I fall apart when I binge and I binge when he leaves. Ergo: when he leaves, I fall apart.

I’ve got to get better at this, since A is in the Army reserves and has to leave for a weekend every month (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter). Plus it’s not a great system to completely depend on my boyfriend to help keep me stable. But it’s been working. And living with him has been a great gift for that reason (among many others). But when I’m alone again, the bad habits overwhelm me and I fall apart.

The funny thing is that although I’ve been eating less “healthy” than I do on my own (no smoothies for breakfast, more carbs than I like to allow myself, dessert most nights), my weight has stayed stable, and even dropped a little bit. I KNOW, RIGHT?!
It’s actually a kind of remarkable lesson that as long as I’m not freaking out– not binging, not starving– my weight will be fine. I don’t have to starve myself.

So I’ve actively been trying to stop the “freaking out” and stop thinking about losing weight. Because if I just allow myself to focus on my relationship, and allow food to just be food, no matter its calorie content or perceived healthfulness, I’m gonna be just fine.

A’s back tomorrow night. We’re making dinner. Thank god.

So Long, SF

Hey all,

Sorry I’ve been MIA– I’ve been visiting my sister J at school in San Francisco. It’s actually gone better than I could have even suspected, but that’s a tale for another post. Now, on my way back to NYC, I’m just feeling a lot of feelings (no way! feelings? you?).

It’s a confusing feeling.

It’s certainly not that I want to stay in SF longer—I know that Julia is ready to move on and I’m ready to go back to being a somewhat nerdy homebody.

Perhaps part of it is not wanting to jump back in to “real life”—work and auditions and appointments and shows and the endless scheduling it all entails. And maybe a bit of it is going back to being alone primarily. Don’t get me wrong—I love to be alone—but unlike this sort of microcosm of a trip, where there’s only one person you ever have to please, or spend time with, or consult, in my solo life there are so many pieces I have to organize. I have to please my boss, and dress right and be on time for my ushering gigs, I have to negotiate the needs and schedules of my friends, I have only myself to make decisions.  It’s hard to be stretched like that, in many directions with many things to think about. I’d never really thought about that before.

All I really want to do is have the airplane drop me off at my house in the West on the way back to the city, and to have a week where I only have to think about ME. Last night J and I saw a movie called 50/50 with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (my fake BF) and Seth Rogen about a guy who unexpectedly gets cancer—I actually really enjoyed it. Anyway, he is the ultimate example of “needing to be taken care of.” And I felt like a crazy person because it almost made ME want cancer because then at least I could be the first priority for people, so I’d have an excuse to say “I can’t” and have people bring me things and care for me and all that’s involved in that.

Obviously I don’t want to get cancer (OBVIOUSLY) but it was a very clear emotional reaction. I felt really pretty lonely and sad, actually. I almost wouldn’t even mind doing the caring. You know, maybe that’s it. Maybe I wish that people would NEED each other more. Or that we (and by we I mean I and the royal we) wouldn’t have to be so independent and self-sufficient; that we could fall and fail and there would always be someone there to guide us back.

All this to say, I’m coming back, and I’m feeling weird, and I’m definitely hiding inside myself hardcore in order to “get through” today. I’m burying it down because I know once I walk into my apartment I’ll feel somewhat better. I just need to make it through the rest of this unbelievably long day.